Government shutdown guidance and FAQ

The Office of Federal Relations continues to follow the partial government shutdown and is committed to keeping UW-Madison faculty and staff updated regarding potential impacts to campus. Below you will find general guidance and some answers to frequently asked questions. We will continue to update this information as federal agencies release additional guidance. If you have additional questions or stories to share, contact Mike Lenn or Carina Marquez. An additional resource page is available via the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

Affected federal agency operations cease during a shutdown. These federal agencies may temporarily stop making payments. Expect a lack of federal communications related to affected agency proposals and awards. 

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Partial Federal Government Shutdown

The federal government is currently partially shutdown. Several agencies that support important work on campus, such as USDA, NSF, NASA, NOAA, and DHS are currently impacted by the shutdown.

Q. What is the impact on federally-funded research projects?  

A. No new grants or contracts are usually awarded during a shutdown. Researchers can likely submit proposals, but they will not be reviewed until the government is operational again. A shutdown can also have negative impact on our research partnerships and collaborations with federal agencies.

Work may continue on most federally-funded projects that have already been awarded. Routine administrative and support services provided by federal agencies to grant and contract recipients likely will not be available. Awarded projects may be disrupted during a shutdown if they are housed in a federal facility, if the project includes federal personnel, and/or if an award includes restrictive terms and conditions that require administrative action to approve a drawdown of funds. Federal agency staff likely will not be available to approve no-cost extension requests, grant transfers, re-budgeting approvals or other actions requiring agency approval.

Q. What do I do if I receive a stop work order notice?

A. Please send all agency stop work correspondence to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, RSP staff will review the notice and contact you with guidance before taking any additional action.

Q. What does it mean if I receive agency stop work correspondence?

A. Generally speaking, these notices are advising that all work needs to stop immediately and no expenses can be incurred on the project until further notice.

  • In some cases, there are only some restrictions being added to the award terms, for example, restrictions on travel.
  • Please coordinate with RSP in all stop work situations. We will work to come to a common understanding on what transactions are allowable and what transactions cannot be charged during the stop work period.

Q. If I have a scheduled visit with a federal agency (including review panel, advisory group, workshop, site visit, etc.) during a shutdown, how should I proceed?

A. Meetings such as review panels that are initiated by federal agencies will likely be rescheduled.  If a faculty member has initiated a meeting at a federal agency or site, we suggest that you consider rescheduling after a shutdown ends. Non-critical Federal agency employees responsible for operational and administrative responsibilities may not be at work, due to lack of funding. Refer to agency-specific communication on the shutdown.

Q. Can I still submit proposals?

A. Some agencies will continue to accept proposals via automated systems during a shutdown but others will not. Please check the sponsor’s web site to be sure. A link to specific agency contingency plans can be found here:is posted.  For further information, contact

Q. What is the impact on federal financial aid for students?

A. The partial shutdown will not impact federal financial aid programs supported by the Department of Education as Congress approved FY2019 appropriations for these programs.

Q. What is the impact on veterans’ education benefits and services?

A. The partial shutdown will not impact veterans’ education benefits and services as Congress approved FY2019 appropriations for these programs.

Q. What is the impact on immigration services?

A. Because these activities are funded by fees, most of these services are expected to remain operational during a shutdown.

Q. What is the impact on students who are interning with federal agencies? How will this affect internship credits earned? 

A. Students who have an internship with a federal agency should contact their supervisor to determine how their work is affected by the shutdown.

Resources and Support for Students and Families

University Housing

For any student adversely affected by the partial federal shutdown, University Housing will waive late charges and offer payment plans for their quarterly Housing bill. In these cases, holds on academic records will not be applied for late payments. Students in this situation should contact the University Housing Cashier’s Office at 608-262-2230. The standard due date for this year’s third quarterly bill is January 30, 2019.

Crisis Loan

The Crisis Loan program is administered by the Dean of Students and is designed to assist with unexpected costs a student may encounter such as medical expenses, car repair, emergency travel, or replacement of lost or damaged items.  An enrolled student may be eligible to borrow up to $500 to cover expenses related to an unexpected life event or circumstance that causing financial hardship.  Funding for the Crisis Loan program is provided by private donors and from the proceeds of fundraising efforts by student organizations.  More information can be found on the Dean of Students Office website.

Additional General Guidance

Research NOT Dependent on Agency Resources

Unless directed otherwise by awarding agency:

If the research is not accessing agency locations, resources, data, personnel, or additional funding, the work should continue as long as you have available award funding. Performance beyond the time period or amounts covered by the award is not allowed. Exceeding allotted award amounts is not recommended and may not be reimbursed by the sponsor.

Agency Resource Dependent Research

If the research DOES depend on accessing agency locations, resources, data, personnel, or additional funding, the work must cease until appropriations have been reinstated and further notice from the agency sponsor.

Federal Agency Updates

 OMB Director Mulvaney’s memo to agencies states “in the situation in which performance under an already-issued contract or grant is not impacted by such a lapse, the contractor or grantee may continue to proceed with its work during the lapse period. An example is the situation where an agency has already obligated funds representing the entire price under a contract or task order before the funding lapse began…”  Therefore, for already funded work, unless a stop work order is received, faculty should continue to execute on those programs. It is likely that some programs will receive stop work orders from sponsors. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs will reach out to individual faculty and their administrators as those are received. We anticipate NO NEW FUNDING will be received from the federal agencies until after the government is reopened.

Click here for guidance from the White House Office of Management and Budget. OMB FAQs are available here.

As the partial federal government showdown continues, pertinent information from federal agencies is available. All federal agencies have posted their contingency plans.  However, agencies will stop conducting intramural research, issuing payments, and reviewing grants. In addition, staff will not be available to provide assistance and support to grant recipients. will remain operational. Any federal applications, including those to NIH, should be prepared for submission by the original deadline. These applications will be held in until the agency specific systems become operational. As additional information becomes available, we will share this with the community. Other agency specific systems such as Fastlane and are shutdown.

Please forward any communications received related to a shutdown and your federal awards to Kim Moreland/RSP,

Updated January 24, 2019