Hello Students-

 

The MSOE Financial Aid Office wanted to make you aware of some changes in regards to your financial aid eligibility.

 

Financial Aid Eligible Course Work

In the past, schools were only required to report whether students were registered as a full-time student, a half-time student, or a less than half-time student.  However, there is a new federal financial aid regulation that states that students must take credits that count towards their program of study to qualify for financial aid.  The purpose of this change is that the government wants to ensure that financial aid funds are being used for credits taken to complete graduation requirements. Any credits that are not a part of your program of study (i.e. curriculum track) are not eligible for financial aid.  The only exception is if the Registrar’s Office is notified by your Academic Advisor that a class you are attending will replace a class that is in your program. 

 

What does this mean for you?

If our office determines that one or more of your classes does not qualify for financial aid, we will email you and your Advisor to determine if you have been granted special permission to take the course to meet a degree requirement.

 

Any class that is determined to not meet your program requirements will be cause for an adjustment to your financial aid to reflect your enrollment level for your program.  In addition to state and federal aid changes, MSOE aid will be adjusted if you are enrolled in less than 12 total credits (full time status) for the term.  MSOE aid includes, but is not limited to, your MSOE Scholarship, Project Lead the Way funds, MSOE Grants, Destination Scholarships, etc.

 

What can you do?

  1. Make sure you are taking classes in your program of study.
  2. If a class is not officially in your program, but you have received permission to take it to replace another class or as an elective required in your program, have your advisor send written documentation of your situation to the Registrar’s Office. 
  3. If you need to take classes to maintain a certain enrollment status (i.e. full-time, half-time) check with your advisor on whether a minor or double major may allow you to keep that status and, if so, fill out the appropriate paperwork and submit it to the  Registrar’s Office.

 

Repeat Course Work

Your enrollment level is determined by what you are registered for as of 4:30p.m. Friday of week one each term.  Repeated courses will be included in the determination of your enrollment status for financial aid purposes.  Successfully completed courses that have been repeated more than once will not be considered when determining your enrollment status.

 

Example:  A student takes a class fall term and receives a D.  The student repeats the class winter term in hopes of getting a better grade and ends up receiving an F.  The student can repeat the course again but he/she would not receive financial aid for that course.  (Remember that when an undergraduate student takes a class and earns a grade below a C, if the class is re-taken the original grade is Grade Replaced.  This means that the second grade counts into the student’s GPA and the first grade is removed from the GPA.   In the example above, the student now has an F for that class and will need to take it again to meet a graduation requirement.)

 

Thank you.

 

MSOE Financial Aid Office

While we all know that education is a great investment in a person's future, many parents and students may not know of the monetary perks that paying for an education can bring them. Whether you're a brand new tax filer or a seasoned vet, you may not be certain about the different tax incentives that the federal government provides that can help defray the cost of higher education.

These incentives come in two different forms: tax credits and tax deductions. Tax credits reduce the amount of tax you are liable for, while tax deductions reduce the amount of income on which you pay taxes. In this post, we'll go over all of the incentives in both of these categories. More information can be found in IRS Publication 970 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf).

 

Tax Credits

American Opportunity Tax Credit- Up to $2,500 per student

This credit offsets what you pay for the first four years of higher education by reducing the amount of income tax you pay. This credit is also partially refundable (up to $1,000 can be refunded if your credit is more than you owe in taxes).

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) of $90,000 or less ($180,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return).
  • Have a student that was enrolled at least half-time for one term in 2013 in an eligible program leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized credential at an eligible school.
  • Claim within the first 4 years of post-secondary education (undergraduate).
  • Student cannot have a drug conviction (possessing or distributing a controlled substance).
  • Must file a tax return to claim the credit (even if you are not required to file taxes).
  • Only the person claiming the student is eligible to claim the credit.
  • You cannot claim this credit if you are claiming the Lifetime Learning Credit or the Tuition and Fees Deduction for the student.


Lifetime Learning Tax Credit- Up to $2,000 per tax return

This credit is available for all types of post-secondary education (helpful to graduate students) and can be used to offset what you pay for tuition and fees, as well as other required expenses (books, supplies, equipment). This credit, unlike the American Opportunity Tax Credit, is non-refundable (meaning the maximum credit is limited to the amount of tax you owe).

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Modified Adjusted Gross income (MAGI) of $62,000 or less ($124,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return).
  • have taken any type of post-secondary education (you don't have to be pursuing a degree or certificate to qualify).
  • Students with drug convictions can still qualify.
  • Must file a tax return to claim the credit (even if you are not required to file taxes) and have some income liability.
  • Only the person claiming the student is eligible to claim the credit.
  • You cannot claim this credit if you are claiming the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

 

Tax Deductions

Tuition & Feed Tax Deduction- Up to $4,000 taxable income reduction

If you are not eligible for the tax credits listed above, this may benefit you. This deduction amount depends on your income and the amount of qualified tuition & related expenses paid for eligible students (tuition, fees, books, supplies, equipment). This is an adjustment to your income, so you can claim this deduction even if you do not itemize deductions.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) of $80,000 or less ($160,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return).
  • Have a student that was enrolled in one or more courses in 2013 at an eligible institution.
  • Must file a tax return to claim the deduction (even if you are not required to file taxes).
  • Only the person claiming the student is eligible to claim the deduction.
  • You cannot claim this deduction along with a credit for the same student.
  • You cannot claim this deduction if you are married and file taxes separately or if another person can claim you as a dependent on his or her tax return.

 

Student Loan Interest Deduction- Up to $2,500 taxable income reduction

This deduction allows you to deduct interest paid on student loans for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents. This deduction amount depends on your income and the amount of interest paid. This is an adjustment to your income, so you can claim this deduction even if you do not itemize deductions.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) of $75,000 or less ($155,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return).
  • Made payments on a qualified student loan (used to fund a student enrolled at least half-time in an eligible institution, pursuing a degree, certificate, or similar program).
  • Must file a tax return to claim the deduction (even if you are not required to file taxes).
  • You cannot claim this deduction if you are married and file taxes separately or if another person can claim you as a dependent on his or her tax return.

 

What you'll need:

1098-T

This is a statement from MSOE that will detail tuition & fees that you have paid for the calendar year of 2013. We mail the statement to your permanent address on or before January 31st, 2014.

1098-E (for Student Loan Interest Deduction ONLY)

This is a form sent from the student loan lender to the borrower, detailing the amount of interest paid for the 2013 year. Statements are mailed to the address on file.

 

Question of the day: Are Scholarships & Grants Taxable?

Scholarships, grants, fellowships and other gift aid that you have received in 2013 that are reported on your 1098-T may need to be reported as taxable income in certain circumstances. In general, however, if you are pursuing a degree, certificate, or program of training toward gainful employment, and used the funds to pay for tuition, fees, or required books/supplies/equipment, then they should not be counted as taxable income. More information on this is found in Publication 970.


Are you overloaded with homework, stressed about the term, and have been thinking about dropping a class or potentially withdrawing? Yes, this is time of the term that hits students hard, but it doesn't mean you have to pick up and leave. There are lots of reasons why you should take on the mindset of the Little Engine that Could, but we understand that it’s not always possible.

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If you’re seriously thinking about dropping a class, you need to consider the following things:

When is the last day to drop? The last day to drop any classes is Monday, February 3rd at 6pm.

Can you reach out for academic assistance? If you’re just stuck on a concept or nervous about an upcoming test because of course content, remember that there are resources available to you. The Learning Resource Center (LRC) offers tutoring of all kinds to assist you throughout the year. They have drop-in mathematics, physics, chemistry and writing help, as well as individual and group tutoring sessions. For more information, you can visit www.msoe.edu/lrc, call them at (414) 277-7274 or visit them in CC02.

Will dropping affect your Financial Aid? Any time you drop a class after the first Friday of the term, it has the potential to impact your standing with Financial Aid. What does that mean exactly? For Financial Aid purposes, we have a Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy that students must follow. In order to stay satisfactory with Financial Aid, you need to do two things: keep a 2.0 cumulative GPA and complete 67% of all of your attempted credits. The full policy can be found here: MSOE Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.pdf.

What’s the bottom line? Think before you drop. Talk to staff members in both Financial Aid and the Registrar’s Office to fully understand the impact it will have on you.

 

If you have questions about this policy or you are thinking about dropping a class or withdrawing, call or come in the Financial Aid Office as soon as you can. We have an open-door policy and are open Monday-Thursday 8am-5pm and Fridays 8am-4:30pm.

It's that time of year again- the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (more commonly referred to as the FAFSA) will be available January 1st and thousands of students are gearing up to submit theirs. The FAFSA can be confusing to many students, parents, and even school officials. But with this quick guide to the FAFSA along with some "do's and don'ts", you should be prepared to file yours!

To start us off, I just wanted to give you the basics. The official FAFSA website is www.fafsa.gov- not www.fafsa.com. If you go to this second website (or anything other than www.fafsa.gov), you may end up having to pay to have your FAFSA processed. Remember, the first "f" in FAFSA stands for "free", so use the official government site to submit your application. NEVER pay for financial aid assistance!

What else do you need to know? Our school code is 003868, which you will need when it asks you to select schools to send your FAFSA to. And finally, our priority deadline is March 15th! What does this mean? Filing by the priority deadline will give you the best chance to get the full amount of federal and state grants you are eligible for! No, it's not the final deadline for the FAFSA, but if you are a Pell Grant, Wisconsin Tuition Grant, or other state or federal grant recipient, we encourage you to get yours in as soon as possible! Now, the part we've all been waiting for... FAFSA do's and don'ts!

DO:

  • File a FAFSA every year. Many students and parents think that the FAFSA is a "one and done" process, but it's not! Remember to file a 2014-2015 FAFSA if you will be in attendance (and would like financial aid) for the 2014-2015 academic year.
  • Prepare your federal income taxes early. Be sure to have your parents prepare their taxes early, too, especially if you are a dependent student.
  • Get a PIN now. This Personal Identification Number (PIN) is used for many things, but in relation to the FAFSA, it allows you to sign electronically! If you already have one, you will not need to apply again. If you do not have one or forgot yours, you should visit the PIN website at www.pin.ed.gov. *Dependent students should make sure that their parents also have a PIN.*
  • Make sure to use your legal name, as shown on your Social Security card. Enter your SSN carefully. An incorrect SSN may delay your application, meaning you miss important deadlines ad opportunities for aid! So double-check before you hit "submit".
  • Read every question carefully and complete every field according to the FAFSA instructions. The computer often reads a blank as an error, and the FAFSA will not always tell you when something is wrong. The FAFSA is equipped with a lovely tool- skip logic- that helps you avoid answering unnecessary questions.
  • Answer the question about work-study. If you're interested in getting a job on campus, most of our positions are for work-study students. Keep in mind that even if you say "yes" to this question, you may not be eligible for work-study funds.
  • Save your online work frequently. Maybe you'll have to get off your computer to grab a bite to eat, check out that new episode of "Luther", or just don't have the time to complete the FAFSA all in one sitting. The website allows you to save your work and return to it later- so take advantage of this feature and don't lose your answers!
  • Review your Student Aid Report (SAR) carefully. The SAR is what gets sent to the schools of your choice and has valuable information for you as well. Not only will this report give you a glimpse of what you can expect for Federal Pell Grant and student loans, but it will also tell you if there are any errors or if you are selected for verification.

 

DON'T:

  • Assume you are ineligible for financial aid. Even the child of a millionaire can still qualify for student loans- you never know what you may qualify for!
  • Forget to sign before you submit. When filing, make sure to use the correct federal PINs for you and your parent(s).
  • Procrastinate. Schedule a time to complete the FAFSA before March 15th and increase your chances of getting all the aid you deserve! Some funds run out quickly and you don't want to be placed on a waiting list for funds that you could have received if you would have filed early.
  • Hesitate to contact our office. We're here to help you with any and all of your financial aid questions- including how to file the FAFSA, explaining different errors that were made, or to help you understand the different aid types we have offered you.

 

So go out there and get started! Gather your materials and get ready to file your FAFSA after January 1st. Keep in mind our priority deadline of March 15th. If all else fails, ESTIMATE- DON'T BE LATE! 

 

Missed the FAFSA walk-through video we posted? Find it here: How to Fill Out the FAFSA - YouTube

Need a nice reminder of the priority deadline? RSVP to our event and add it to your calendar! FAFSA Filing Priority Deadline