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Shutdown's Biggest Ed. Impact: Work-Study, Perkins Loans

As a federal government shutdown becomes imminent, the Department of Education is preparing to notify 4,150 employees that they will be furloughed if a last-minute deal isn't reached before the midnight Friday deadline.

That's nearly 93 percent of the department's 4,465 full- and part-time employees. [UPDATE (April 8): Check out this memo to all department employees spelling out what they can, and can't, do during a shutdown (e.g. no blackberries!). Also check out this Q-and-A.]

In addition, the department said today that although most student federal aid programs would not be impacted by a shutdown, colleges and universities would not be able to draw down and disburse to students any campus-based program awards, such as work-study or the Federal Perkins Loan Program. The impact on the $951 million work-study program would affect about 590,000 students in approximately 3,400 participating institutions. Perkins affects about 673,000 students in some 1,600 participating institutions.

Other than that, the effects on education, especially K-12, will be minimal. School field trips to federal museums and national parks would have to be cancelled or rerouted to non-federal sites, for example.

The department gave a few examples of programs that would NOT be affected: the Education Jobs Fund, federal student aid, and the 2010 School Improvement and Title I Grants.

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