Tag Archives: SALT

Tax Time! Benefits for Students

It’s officially tax season! Have you received a 1098-T form from Parkland and are wondering what to do with it? If you are a college student who files taxes, there’s a good chance you can benefit from one or more tax programs for students. Read on to find out how you can save some money (and maybe even get a bigger refund!)

There are two main types of tax benefits available to students: tax credits and deductions.

Tax credits reduce the amount of income tax you pay. If you are receiving a tax refund because you had excess funds taken out of a paycheck for taxes, an education credit can increase this refund. Alternatively, if you owe money for underpaid taxes, a credit can reduce or offset this balance. Tax credits are a great way to offset what you pay for school (including payments that you make with money borrowed as student loans). There are two education credits available to college students: the American Opportunity Credit (AOC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC). The AOC is available for students who are in their first four years of college (at least half time), and the LLC is available to students who may not meet the qualifications for the AOC. Students who are part time, already have a degree, or who have already used four years of AOC may benefit from the LLC.

Deductions reduce your total income for the purposes of calculating your tax bill. If you don’t qualify to receive an education tax credit, you can deduct the amount of money you paid for school (again, including money that came from student loans) from your income, which in turn will reduce the amount of income taxes owed to the government. Deductions result in proportionately smaller tax savings than credits, but can still increase your refund.

Speaking of student loans, if you made any student loan payments last year–even if you were just paying the interest accruing on an unsubsidized loan–you may be eligible for the Student Loan Interest Deduction. This allows you to deduct the amount of student loan interest paid from your income, resulting in a lower tax bill. Your loan servicer (the company that collects your student loan payments) should provide you with a statement indicating the total loan interest you paid in 2016.

For more information about each of these benefits, as well as a list of all eligibility requirements, check out this article: www.nasfaa.org/2016_tax_year.

Are you a new tax filer? Learn how to file your own taxes with SALT. Parkland has partnered with SALT, a nonprofit organization that helps student take control of their personal finances. They have informational articles, videos, and even an entire course on how to file your taxes. Get your free account at www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege.

[Julia Hawthorne is an advisor with Financial Aid and Veteran Services at Parkland College.]

 

Top 6 Reasons to Activate Your SALT Account

new-salt-logo

Your free SALT account from Parkland College is waiting, and if you’re still skeptical about joining, here are six awesome reasons to get off the fence and start getting money-savvy.

  1.  It’s FREE – Like, really free. Parkland College hooked you up, so all you have to do is activate.
  2. It can find you free money – Want to tap into millions in scholarship money? Yeah, SALT can help with that.
  3. It builds your skills – Learn budgeting skills that will keep you in control of your cash for life.
  4. It can help you land a job – Get inside tips to grab an internship now and a job after graduation.
  5. It’ll tell you how to own your loans – Show your student loans who’s boss with easy tools to track and manage them.
  6. It’s FREE – Did we mention it’s totally free?

To activate your SALT account join now at:

What does “SALT” mean, anyway?
Back in the day (way, way back in the day), salt was the universal currency. It’s why SALT goes back to the basics to give you universal information, neutral advice, and smart strategies to help you take control of your money.

[Dawn Kamphaus is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

New Year, New FAFSA to Complete!

That’s right, the 2016-2017 FAFSA is now available! For those attending college during the 2016-2017 award year, be sure to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible.

Complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The application is quick and easy to complete. Make sure you complete the 2016- 2017 FAFSA and not the 2015-2016 form if you are applying for financial aid for next year (Fall 2016, Spring 2017, and Summer 2017).

Plus, check out this US Dept. of Education blog post to avoid common FAFSA mistakes before you file!

For more information about the financial aid process, please email our office at finaid@parkland.edu or visit the SALT website at www.saltmoney.org.  SALT also provides helpful information and resources for searching for scholarships to supplement your financial aid award.

What Is SALT?
SALT is a website created by American Student Assistance® (ASA), a nonprofit organization, to help Parkland College students like you become more financially savvy. This program rewards you for making smart money decisions, and we’re providing all of its services to you—including your membership—as a gift, free of charge. Create your SALT account at www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege today!

**Top image from “7 Common FAFSA Mistakes” at http://blog.ed.gov/2014/01/7-common-fafsa-mistakes/**

[Dawn Good is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

Prepare for Tomorrow—Establish Good Credit

Why worry about your credit score now, when you might be years away from owning a car, house, or small business?

For one thing, the longer you have a history of responsible credit use, the better.  For another, even though you can increase your score, it does take time.

What Is a Credit Score?
It’s a three-digit number credit card companies create to determine your creditworthiness (i.e., whether or not you can be trusted to repay your debts). Scores will fall somewhere between 300 and 850.

Your credit history and score can affect your ability to get a loan or a credit card or buy a car or house—as well as how much you pay for these things. The lower your credit score, the higher the interest rate you’ll pay.  Many employers today are even looking at applicants’ credit before extending job offers.

How Do You Establish Credit?
Of course, you’ll have to be careful with credit cards, but they can actually play a big role in building good credit, as long as you use them wisely. Use your credit card to make just a few purchases each month (expenses that are already figured into your budget—gas, your monthly cell phone bill, etc.) and pay the balance in full before the due date. This is a great way to establish credit over time while not going into costly credit card debt.

Check out www.saltmoney.org for more information on credit, credit cards, and good money management practices.

salt

What Is SALT?
SALT was created by American Student Assistance (ASA), a nonprofit organization, to help Parkland students like you become more financially savvy. This program rewards you for making smart money decisions, and we’re providing all of its services to you—including your membership as a gift, free of charge. If you haven’t created your SALT account yet, visit www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege to sign up today!

 

[Dawn Good is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

Cash and Relevant Work Skills for YOU!

With the holiday season upon us, now could be just the right time to save a little extra cash for ________(fill in the blank): a spring break trip, car repair, textbook money, paying down credit card debt, and more. Seasonal employment is a great way to fulfill these needs plus gain valuable workplace skills.  

087But how do you even begin a search for temporary work this holiday season? Look no further! The Career Center and SaltMoney (free to all Parkland students, alumni, and staff) have lots of great resources to make the process as easy as possible for you:

  • Visit the  Career Center for application tips and other job search tips to help you prepare.
  • Check out SaltMoney to receive time management tips for balancing school and work as well as budgeting advice.

What workplace skills can you gain from taking a job outside of your major/career goals?  Employers are always looking for soft skills such as being a team player, working well under pressure, and critical thinking. You can build on these skills with seasonal employment.

Good luck with that holiday job search, and make sure to sign up for SaltMoney and follow the Career Center on Twitter at @connectwithPCC.

 

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in the Career Center.]