Jobless, students face sequester threats People receiving federal extended jobless benefits could see their payments reduced by up to 9 percent or more starting around the end of March if Congress fails to block automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect Friday. Some college students also could get slightly less federal financial aid in 2013-14 under the planned reductions. Jobless benefitsThe White House says people receiving federal extended unemployment payments - which start after regular state benefits are exhausted - would see their benefits cut as much as 9.4 percent. "Even if sequestration goes into effect Friday, it might be a while before schools understand what their numbers are going to be," says Megan McClean, policy director with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. "The federal funds make up only a very small portion of our financial aid budget," says Karen Cooper, Stanford University's director of financial aid. McClean explains that federal work study and opportunity grants come in two parts - a base amount and an add-on known as a fair share, based on student need each year. David Alcocer, the UC system's director of student financial support, says the Department of Education could cut these programs in some other way that would impact schools not getting the add-on. Pell grants, the government's main aid program for low-income students, would be exempt from sequestration cuts in 2013-14 but not in subsequent years.