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Shutdown hits military med students

Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 10:44 AM
Last updated 6:54 PM
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ATHENS, Ga. -- On the evening of Sept. 30, Palmer Feibelman received an email he didn’t expect. It informed him that he might not be receiving his monthly stipend of $2,122 from the U.S. Navy due to the government shutdown.

Feibelman is a first-year medical student at the Georgia Regents University-University of Georgia Medical Partnership in Athens and a recipient of a Health Professions Scholarship. The scholarships, awarded by the various branches of the military, pay for tuition and books and provide some funds to cover living expenses. The program is not only for prospective physicians, but also for dentists, optometrists and clinical psychologists.

In return for the financial support, the recipients agree to serve in uniform. Feibelman, for instance, will spend at least four years as a medical officer in the Navy.

“One of the major reasons for signing on to this scholarship was not having to take on any loans, so I’ve been very fortunate that I don’t have to deal with that,” said Feibelman.

Feibelman’s financial security depends on the scholarship. He has no source of income outside of it, and the time for financial aid arrangements has long since passed for the semester. For now, Feibelman and his fellow scholarship recipients have no choice but to wait and hope for the government shutdown to end soon.

Fortunately, Feibelman’s costs of living have been minimal, and he’s been able to save much of his scholarship money. But what he will miss is peace of mind, he said.

“Being a part of this scholarship program has made things a lot easier,” said Feibelman. “There are a lot of things that I haven’t had to worry about. A lot of my classmates are worried about figuring out how to take out loans, worried about getting financial aid in time, worrying about applying for different scholarships. Not having to worry about that has been huge.”

Feibelman was surprised to learn that his financial standing was in jeopardy. He was aware of the dispute in Washington that might halt some federal spending, but it seemed unlikely that he would be personally affected.

“I’d been following the news a little bit and knew that there was the potential for the government shutdown, but I didn’t really have an idea of what that would mean,” he said. “It was kind of more of an abstract idea, and then I got the email the night that the government was going to shut down officially at midnight.”

The email informed him that he would immediately be paid for the days he had been enrolled in the scholarship program thus far, but unless things were sorted by Oct. 15, when he is due to receive his normal monthly stipend, he would not be getting it.

“This government shutdown is something that pertains to me and pertains to a lot of Americans very directly,” he said. “It was the first time that I felt directly impacted by some of these kind of abstract political games.”

Despite the stress the shutdown has caused him, Feibelman is prepared to live on what he has already saved during the coming weeks. But he still worries about his financial security.

“It is a little scary beyond those 15 days — years into the future, what’s the situation going to be like, what are we getting ourselves into, and how is this going to play out being a government employee for at least the next four, maybe six years,” he said.

Comments (8) Add comment
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soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 10/13/13 - 11:19 am
0
0
"Gloom, dispair and agony on me; deep dark depression,
Unpublished

excessive misery: if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all; gloom despair and agony on me...."

soapy_725
43678
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soapy_725 10/13/13 - 11:22 am
0
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And the Dawgs lost too. What is this world has happened to
Unpublished

America? The land of everything is free and expectations are never denied. College athletes get a scholarship and free college education and still want to be paid. And many that already pay for their education want to give them a semi pro salary.

soapy_725
43678
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soapy_725 10/13/13 - 11:23 am
0
0
soapy_725
43678
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soapy_725 10/13/13 - 11:25 am
0
0
College students are under stress. How about the people with
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families out of work? Working people who pay the taxes that provide for the federal grant money?

KSL
129891
Points
KSL 10/13/13 - 06:08 pm
3
3
Obama's dogs are more

Obama's dogs are more important.

Sweet son
10415
Points
Sweet son 10/13/13 - 07:14 pm
2
3
KSL is right!

Blame it on 'their' spiteful president! He is hurting people and just doesn't give a damn about anyone because he is bent on having his worthless health care boondoggle!

ragingbull
945
Points
ragingbull 10/13/13 - 07:44 pm
2
3
I am fearful of what else he

I am fearful of what else Obama proposes before his term is over, if in fact he does not find some way to exercise his presidential powers and extend it against our will.

Little Lamb
46030
Points
Little Lamb 10/14/13 - 07:36 am
2
3
CIC

The president is the commander in chief of the military. He has total control over where the money goes. If the commander in chief decides he does not want to fund medical military scholarships, then he can take the scorn of the people.

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 10/14/13 - 09:59 am
0
2
Just curious....If Mr.

Just curious....If Mr. Feibelman receives a stipend of $2,122 a month (which would calculate out based on a 40 hr/work week to $13.26 an hour) for living and school expense, does he have to pay taxes on that stipend. He must also receive other benefits like housing and food to be able to save much of his scholarship money. Just my personal opinion but if he has enough scholarship money to "save" it, then maybe they need to re-evaluate his needs and pass those "savings" on to another student who may actually need it.

Dixieman
14968
Points
Dixieman 10/14/13 - 10:09 am
1
2
Too bad

Suffer for your country. That's what military service is all about. Sacrifice a few dollars for a few days to restore our political sanity. Quit whining. Someday you will be a rich doctor or other medical professional, educated at government expense. I don't care. I really don't. Suck it up.

KSL
129891
Points
KSL 10/14/13 - 10:33 am
0
2
Dixieman

Rich, maybe before Obamacare. Who knows what the future holds?

1000's of doctors in Connecticut just got pink slips.

Watermedic
292
Points
Watermedic 10/14/13 - 01:17 pm
0
1
Really?

I can't understand that in the midst of all of this mess, there was a tent set up in Thomson between the Sonic and Dollar General giving away Obama phones.

Something doesnt seem right here!

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