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UW–Madison prepares for possible federal shutdown

September 28, 2023

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is preparing for the possibility of a federal government shutdown on Sunday, Oct. 1. If Congress does not agree to fund the government before then, all “non-essential” government operations will shut down for an undetermined amount of time.

Campus offices began preparing for this possibility several weeks ago. Detailed guidance for areas in which campus operations may be affected will be distributed. The goal is to provide support, limit disruption and disseminate information as it is available.

A federal government shutdown can have a limited impact on university research operations, though its implications depend largely on the length of a potential shutdown and the corresponding guidance provided by federal agencies.

Faculty working on federally sponsored projects that are already ongoing or employees who are funded off federal grants are not expected to experience major issues. It is also anticipated that researchers will be able to submit research grants to federal agencies during the shutdown, but it is less certain that agency help desks will be available.

Similarly, student aid has already been disbursed, so there is not expected to be an immediate impact on financial aid areas.

However, federal agencies cannot issue new grants or contracts or renew existing projects during a shutdown. Most federal agencies will not be able to provide assistance during a shutdown. As a result, most government employees will not be able to answer phone calls, respond to emails or update informational resources.

Several agencies that support important work on campus, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Science Foundation, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Institutes of Health are expected to be affected.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget is preparing agency contingency plans in which agencies detail how their operations would be affected in the event of a government shutdown.

On campus, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs will stand up a website — — for principal investigators and other members of the research community, sharing the latest information and details.

If you have questions or need additional information, email Federal Relations Director Mike Lenn.