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College students face effects of government shutdown

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Park University has a largely alternative population with active duty military or veterans making up about 61 percent of enrollment. Park University has a largely alternative population with active duty military or veterans making up about 61 percent of enrollment.
PARKVILLE, MO (KCTV) -

The government shutdown is over but the after effects are still lingering, especially among college students.

Park University has a largely alternative population with active duty military or veterans making up about 61 percent of enrollment.

That is a group hit hardest when the government shut down, but the university is now stepping in to get them back on track.

Charles Bailey has a lot going on.  He is a full time student, active in the Missouri National Guard and works in the campus resource center for service members.

He doesn't need any more stress in his life, but he got it in a big way with the government shutdown.

"I was wondering, 'How am I going to pay for rent?  How long is it going to go?'  I'm kind of relying on that income to come in," Bailey said.

That uncertainty hit hundreds of students at Park University.

Fellow student and National Guard member Jay Matthews had to drop a class because he didn't know if his benefits would be there.

"It was scary.  We didn't know what was going to happen," Matthews said.

And it wasn't just GI Bill benefits.  Those with federal student loans were uncertain too, as many skipped the semester all together.

So the university stepped up with an alternative to get their students to graduation on time.

"We initiated this concept of an alternative fall two term and created this additional term," said Eric Blair, executive director of admissions at Park University.

It runs from November through December with a break around Christmas.  Anyone can sign up who couldn't enroll last semester or wants to get ahead.

"It will even out and put me just a little bit ahead.  So it is a very nice opportunity," Matthews said.

Blair said it is all about making sure that the university is holding up their end of the bargain to their students, who hope lawmakers can remember that spirit in their next showdown.

That next showdown may be coming up soon.  The deal Congress reached, earlier this month, only funds the government through mid-January.

The alternative term is also open to new students who don't want to wait until January to enroll.

Students can also take classes online as well as in person at the main campus in Parkville or at two other campuses around the metro.

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