Preparing for a government shutdown

| September 29, 2023

Note: This letter originally appeared as an e-mail sent to the Hopkins community on Friday September 29, 2023.

Dear Johns Hopkins Community,

As you may know, the federal government’s fiscal year ends Saturday at midnight, and barring some political compromise to pass a federal budget or continuing resolution, the government will shut down early Sunday morning. We continue to monitor events in Washington, but a compromise that would keep the government operating appears increasingly unlikely.

Given past experience, including the 35-day shutdown in 2018, the work of most faculty, students, and staff should not be seriously hindered, and patient care will continue without interruption. The university did not experience any cash flow or other working capital challenges during prior two shutdowns, and researchers with approved grants are unlikely to experience any short-term disruptions.

  • Continuity of operations. Faculty, staff, and students should plan to continue normal operations for the foreseeable future. Continuation of research operations, spending on grants, and other university business should continue as normal, absent specific instructions from a federal sponsor.
  • Financial aid. Johns Hopkins students who receive federal financial aid will not be penalized if the shutdown delays their payments to the university. No accounts will be deemed delinquent if disruptions are caused by the interruption in federal spending. Students with internships at federal agencies can visit the Imagine Center to speak with Life Design educators if questions arise.
  • Sponsored research. We are monitoring NIH and other federal government sponsors of research. Because federal law grants some discretion in how each department or agency manages lapses in funding, specific impacts will not be fully known until the government issues further guidance. For now, we ask that all sponsored activities proceed as usual unless a specific request is made by the federal sponsor for a given project. We will share information about no-cost extensions, new grant applications, and other grant-related issues as we receive information and instructions from federal agencies.
  • Clinical reimbursement. Mandatory programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are not subject to the annual appropriations process, so clinical reimbursement will be uninterrupted.
  • Travel and immigration status. Johns Hopkins students who are citizens of other nations did not experience any issues regarding their status in the United States during past shutdowns. In addition, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which includes visa and passport operations, is fee-funded and typically is not affected when the government shuts down.

The university is also monitoring the potential impacts if a federal government shutdown were to continue for an extended period of time. For your general information, with more details to follow as the situation warrants, impacts could include stop-work orders on some government contracts, inability of faculty members to apply for new grants at usual deadlines, delayed reviews of grant applications, limited availability of government research tools such as databases and equipment, discontinued student internships at federal agencies, and delays in the processing of certain immigration forms.

Available Resources
Students with questions should contact the Student Affairs leader in their school or division. Additionally, Johns Hopkins University offers robust services for students across all dimensions of their well-being. Students seeking support can access where financial, emotional, and mental resources are all available.

Faculty and staff members: If unexpected issues arise in your own work for the university because of the shutdown, please report them to your school’s vice dean for research, or to your local Human Resources office.

Through the Johns Hopkins Employee Assistance Program (JHEAP), JHU employees and their household family members have free access to confidential counseling and referral services for help with stress at work or at home, emotional distress, a difficult life transition, or other challenges. You can reach JHEAP 24/7, 365 days a year, by phone at 888-978-1262.

For further information about the potential government shutdown, read the Hub article.

The university is monitoring the situation closely and will advise you of significant developments. Thank you for your continued dedication during this uncertain time.


Stephen Gange
Interim Provost

Laurent Heller
Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration