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University of Minnesota spends $10 million to keep critical research going during shutdown

ST. PAUL — As the partial shutdown of the federal government drags on, the University of Minnesota is covering $500,000 per day worth of government grants that are not being paid.

The tally has reached $10 million so far and there’s an expectation, but not certainty, the university will get paid back.

“We will continue to see loss in costs and productivity until the federal government is fully funded,” said Mike Volna, assistance chief finance officer for the university, who added that if the institution didn’t have to cover the federal grants, the money would be invested and earning returns.

A loss of federal grants, which helps funds the University of Minnesota’s many different research projects, is just one impact of the five-week-long shutdown. School leaders are still trying to figure out exactly what the impact will be on students who recently returned to campus for the new semester.

“Students are already stressed out enough,” said Nate Peterson, associate director of One Stop Student Services, which helps students manage registration, financial aid and payments. “They don’t really know how it is going to really impact them until the impact is already here.”