Possible U.S. government shutdown: Information for the MIT research community

Updated March 25, 2024:

Congress has given final approval to legislation to fund the government through September 30, 2024, the end of federal fiscal year.

MIT is closely monitoring the annual spending process in Washington, D.C., and making preparations to mitigate the impacts of a potential government shutdown on the Institute’s research enterprise. The Q&A below addresses key issues. We will post any guidance we receive from federal agencies here as we receive it.

Q: How will a shutdown affect my lab/research?

A: Researchers with active federal awards may continue work during the shutdown unless the Principal Investigator (PI) or MIT receives a Stop Work Order. If you receive a Stop Work Order, please forward it to your Contract Administrator (CA) in Research Administration Services (RAS). The Institute has sufficient cash resources to support expenditures within approved budgets during a short-term government shutdown which temporarily interrupts collections. Note that MIT has limited ability to spend beyond approved project budgets.

Q: What if I need a prior approval, such as a no-cost extension, for my federally funded research project?

A: Researchers should assume that contacts at affected federal agencies will not be available during a shutdown to process prior approvals, including no-cost extensions, resulting in delays. If you anticipate that you will require a prior approval during a shutdown, please work to obtain it beforehand, if possible. Please contact your CA in RAS if you have questions.

Q: I am expecting a new federal award. What should I expect?

A: We will not receive awards from affected agencies during a shutdown. If you are anticipating a new federal award during a shutdown, plan to pause hiring personnel to work on the award. Contact your CA if you have questions. 

Q: Will MIT continue to submit proposals for federal funding?

A: Agencies could suspend the acceptance of new grant proposals and the issuance of new awards. We will provide updates as we receive them.

Q: Will a shutdown affect visa processing for international scholars?

A: The U.S. Department of State has suspended consular visa operations during past government shutdowns. New international students and scholars whose U.S. visa applications are pending or not yet submitted would not be issued visas and would have to change anticipated travel/arrival plans. The MIT International Students Office and International Scholars Office (ISchO) recommend that existing students and scholars not travel outside the U.S. if they require new visa stamps in order to reenter the U.S., and to postpone travel plans until consulates reopen. 

For more detailed information about how a shutdown might affect international students and scholars, please visit the ISchO website.