Money Smart Tips on Financing Your Education and Tax Credits from the IRS

$100 bills fanned outMoney you paid for higher education in 2015 can mean tax savings in 2016. If you, your spouse or your dependent took post-high school coursework last year, there may be a tax credit or deduction for you. Here are some facts from the IRS about key tax breaks for higher education.

The American Opportunity Credit (AOTC) is:

  • Worth up to $2,500 per eligible student.
  • Used only for the first four years at an eligible college or vocational school.
  • For students earning a degree or other recognized credential.
  • For students going to school at least half-time for at least one academic period that started during or shortly after the tax year.
  • Claimed on your tax return using Form 8863, Education Credits.

The Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) is:

  • Worth up to $2,000 per tax return, per year, no matter how many students qualify.
  • For all years of higher education, including classes for learning or improving job skills.
  • Claimed on your tax return using Form 8863, Education Credits.

The Tuition and Fees Deduction is:

  • Claimed as an adjustment to income.
  • Claimed whether or not you itemize.
  • Limited to tuition and certain related expenses required for enrollment or attendance at eligible schools.
  • Worth up to $4,000.

Additionally:

  • You should receive Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, from your school by Feb. 1, 2016. Your school also sends a copy to the IRS.
  • You may only claim qualifying expenses paid in 2015.
  • You can’t claim either credit if someone else claims you as a dependent.
  • You can’t claim either AOTC or LLC and the Tuition and Fees Deduction for the same student or for the same expense, in the same year.
  • Income limits could reduce the amount of credits or deductions you can claim.
  • The Interactive Tax Assistant toolon IRS.gov can help you check your eligibility.

Click here for articles, books, media and more resources from the Oviatt Library on Tuition Tax Credits for Higher Education.

https://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Savings-from-Higher-Education-Costs

 

Money Smart Tip: Turning Financial Literacy into Financial Action

Stack of moneyApril marks Financial Literacy Month, a time when everyone can learn more about their personal finances and take steps to improve their financial picture. If you’re looking for a place to start, CSUN Saves, a campus partner of America Saves, provides 3 easy ways to assess your current situation and take action to save.

  1. Saver Checklist ToolCheck off your savings accomplishments to see how you’re doing.
  2. Assess Your Savings Tool – Complete the assessment to see if you are saving adequately and create a savings plan.
  3. Pledge to Save – Once you start saving, it gets easier and easier, and before you know it, you’re on your way to making your dreams a reality. The first step is to take the America Saves Pledge.

For college students on a limited budget, saving can be especially difficult. Dr. Linda Bradley, Assistant Professor with the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Health and Human Development and Program Coordinator for CSUN Saves, reminds students to “start small, think big, and make saving automatic.” Simple steps such as developing and following a semester budget at the start of each semester; reducing eating out by packing a lunch and cooking at home; and, finding low cost alternatives for transportation can go a long way in freeing up money to put towards savings goals.

For more savings strategies and to take the savings pledge, stop by the CSUN Saves table at the Farmer’s Market every Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Cleary Walk East.

Savings starts when you take action; those with a savings plan are twice as likely to spend less than they earn, and save the difference. Celebrate Financial Literacy Month by making your savings plan today. Learn more at csunsaves.org.

Click here for more articles, books, media and more on Personal Finance from the Oviatt Library.

Professor Linda Bradley, Family and Consumer Sciences

Find Out About Financial Resources at Our Money Smart Events!

picture of Benjamin FranklinHello Matadors!

Next week is Money Smart Week® which runs April 23-30, 2016. The Library is collaborating with many different people and departments on campus to bring you financial literacy programing. On Thursday, April 28, in the Oviatt Ferman Presentation Room, there will be lots of events offered that will talk about borrowing money; buying a car; locating scholarship money; negotiating a salary for that first big job; and more! Also, if you follow this blog each day next week, you will find different helpful financial tips and words of wisdom from professors and experts in the field.

Money Smart Week® was created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002 and is a public awareness campaign designed to help people better manage their personal finances. The Oviatt Library is partnering with the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Financial Aid & Scholarship Department, Career Center and Associated Students to host these events.

All CSUN students, staff, faculty and community members are welcome to attend the April 28 event. Participants can pick and choose the sessions they wish to attend. Average sessions run 20-50 minutes long. All of the events are free. RSVP is requested. Lunch will be served to attendees who register for the 12:30 p.m. session in advance. Please visit http://library.csun.edu/events/moneysmart to see more details about the event and sessions and to RSVP. We look forward to seeing you there!

The Oviatt Provides CSUN Students with Amnesty for Late Fees on Books During National Library Week

National Library Week Display

The Oviatt Library has several activities and offerings planned to celebrate National Library Week, April 10-16, 2016. To start, overdue fines will be forgiven for current CSUN students with overdue books. Simply bring your overdue books to the Guest Services Desk in the lobby, and someone there will assist you in removing your fines. Please see our National Library Week page for more details as some restrictions apply. Also, please be sure to visit the Oviatt Library’s Favorite Book display in the Learning Commons. Oviatt Library staff members have selected their all-time favorite books. You will be able to see what we are reading and have the opportunity to check out one of these titles as the books are on display. While you are looking over our favorite books, make sure you enter the drawing for a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card. The drawing is open to all current CSUN students. Finally, “I Love the Oviatt” temporary tattoos will be available in the Library lobby on Tues., April 12 from 12-1 p.m. Please join us for the fun!

National Library Week Favorite Books and Raffle

Coleen Martin

CSUN Student Wins Black History Online Game and Raffle

Black History Matters Game Winnerer

CSUN student Gina Manichia

Hi Matadors! Meet Gina Manichia who is earning her credential in Special Education. She is the winner of the Black History Matters online game and raffle winning a $50 MataMoney gift card and a Black history t-shirt. During the month of February, the Oviatt Library celebrated Black history with several Black History Matters events. One of the activities was an online Black history question game and raffle. Each day that month different questions were asked about African American history. Questions included: Who served as the last governor of California under Mexican rule and was of African descent? Answer: Pio Pico served as the last governor of California under Mexican rule. Pico Boulevard and the Pico House on Olvera Street in Los Angeles are named after him. Which city is widely acknowledged as the birthplace of Hip Hop? Answer: The Bronx, New York. Students were able to answer a different question each day. Those with correct answers were entered into the raffle. Congratulations to Gina Manichia for entering and winning the Oviatt’s Black history online game!

– Coleen Martin