As spring graduation draws near, college seniors are faced with several time-sensitive responsibilities. From securing their grades, to paying graduation fees and all remaining tuition balances, to the grueling process of solidifying post-graduation employment, graduating seniors are overwhelmed with many obligations. With so many stress-factors and anxieties on the horizon, the last thing graduating college seniors need is another variable that could compromise their ability to graduate.
Due to the recent government shutdown, millions of vulnerable citizens will face the possibility of going hungry. For students like Traci Carroll, every bit of financial assistance was essential in getting her to her final semester of grad school. Through family support and government assistance, Traci managed to get within months of graduation which is set to occur in May, 2019. Like many other people dealing with the financial hardships that come along with juggling school and work, Traci felt obligated to turn to SNAP in order to help alleviate the burden of trying to juggle work, school and the ability to afford a meal. If the shutdown continues through February, funding for SNAP, the largest food aid program that supports more than 38 million people, will have been depleted. According to economists, SNAP has a $3 billion emergency fund, but with data showing the amount of funds expensed in the most recent recorded month as $4.7 billion, the reserve wouldn’t be enough to make it past February.
Women, children and other low-income individuals and families are all in danger of losing the necessary assistance in order to provide food for themselves and their families. For SNAP recipients in college, the shutdown could mean a lot more than just not having food to eat — it could affect their grades, which could impact their ability to graduate.
As the shut down enters its third week, people are growing anxious and are understandably frustrated. The shut down is bigger than building a wall, it’s about the Commander in Chief throwing a tantrum when he can’t get his way, and having the power to manipulate and inconvenience over 800,000 federal workers and 38 million SNAP recipients.
For individuals like Traci, the coming of graduation should be a joyous time, however, the government shutdown could change her immediate day-to-day lifestyle and negatively impact her future. All because of a wall. All because of xenophobia. All because of pride.