Government shutdown estimated to cost U.Va. $2 million, reimbursement expected

University funded various research projects and salaries during shutdown

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During the partial shutdown, no new projects or jobs funded by federal grants could be approved, so the University stepped in for funding and expects to be reimbursed. 

Christina Anton | Cavalier Daily

The University spent approximately $2 million to pay for projects and salaries normally funded by the federal government in order to keep research running during the partial government shutdown, according to University Spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn. The 35 day government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, ended last Friday. 

During the partial shutdown, no new projects or jobs funded by federal grants could be approved. Even though payments from government agencies such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities were deferred for the duration of the shutdown, the University stepped in and funded various research projects, according to University Spokesperson Anthony De Bruyn. The University expects to be fully reimbursed by the federal agencies for the expenses during the shutdown.

“UVA has already initiated the process to obtain reimbursements from the agencies which were closed (NSF, NEH) and will resume the normal invoicing practice immediately,” De Bruyn said in an email statement to The Cavalier Daily. “This is an automated process, and we do not anticipate a delay in the reimbursement process.”

Due to the fact that it was only a partial shutdown, the majority of the University’s contracts — such as the National Institute of Health and federal student aid — were unaffected. Congress already funded 75 percent of the federal government through September 2019. This includes funding for the Pentagon, Department of Health and Human Services and Labor, but not the National Park Service.

The NIH — which provides the University with funding for research projects across the University’s Nursing, Medicine and Engineering schools — remained on schedule despite the shutdown. The University School of Medicine’s discovery about the role of the brain’s cleaning system in aging and Alzheimer’s disease was recently named one of 2018’s most promising medical advances by the NIH.

President Donald Trump announced that the government will remain open temporarily, meaning that some agencies will run out of funding by Feb. 15. If in two weeks there is no budget plan passed, the government will be shut down again, which may force the University to spend more money on continuing research projects.

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