Are You Set for Summer?

Happy almost end of Spring Quarter – and that means almost summer! Whatever you’re up to for the next few months, whether it’s more research, a brand-new internship, or life as a recent alum, take five minutes to review the checklist on how to make sure you’re set for summer.

 

  1. If you’re moving, be sure to update your address in your student portal. It’s important to keep your address up to date any time you change location for more than a month.
  2. If you are expecting any stipends or payments as part of your funding, review the payment schedule and contact your Dean of Students or gradhelp@uchicago.edu with any questions on when you should expect your funding.
  3. If you’re looking for an on-campus job, check the GRAD Gargoyle postings for open opportunities. Summer is also a great time to start planning to apply for fellowships – check out what’s available and make a plan to make some progress.
  4. If you’re graduating, congratulations! Be sure to review how to participate in Convocation and any divisional ceremonies as relevant. Update your information with the alumni office and, feel free to reach out to us in GRAD. We hope you’ll stay in touch.

 

Finally, plan to recharge! Find the activities that help you gain energy and momentum after a long year. You have earned it!

2020 Graduate Student Tax Information Sessions

The 2020 Federal and Illinois Tax Filing Deadlines have been extended to May 17, 2021 and whether this is your first time or fifteenth time filing taxes, you may have questions. Do you need to file a tax return? Do you have all of the tax documents you may need to do so? How do you know which payments are taxable and which aren’t? Stream one of our 2020 Graduate Student Tax Information Sessions here. Still have questions? Email gradhelp@uchicago.edu

GRADHelp is Here with Updates for Student Payments to Student Payments

All student stipends will be paid from the Workday system as of Spring Quarter.

You may already be familiar with Workday if you’re an international student; have held an UChicago job, teaching, or research role; or have received a reimbursement recently. This Spring Quarter marks the final step to move all payments for all students into Workday. Please take 2 minutes to be sure you’re ready for this transition:

  1. Login to Workday
  2. Check your primary home address and make sure it’s where you are currently living
  3. Check or enter your direct deposit information to be sure you receive any payments as quickly as possible

 

Questions and Answers About Spring Quarter Stipends Transitioning to Workday

 

What is Workday?

You may be familiar with Workday if you’ve ever had a teaching position or research assistantship, if you have held a UChicago job, or you’re an international student. Whether you’re logging into Workday for the first time or just checking in for general knowledge, it’s important you understand where, how, and when to check for your payments.

 

What, specifically, is changing? 

Fellowship stipends for US citizens and permanent residents are currently paid through the finances portal of their student account in my.uchicago.edu. As of Spring Quarter, all stipends for all students will be paid through Workday instead of some stipends being paid through my.uchicago.edu.

 

Why the change?

Consolidating all payments to one system will improve the student experience, reducing confusion on when and where to check on your payments and responding to a key recommendation of the report of the 2019 Committee on Graduate Education to make student payments more predictable and less confusing. As of Spring Quarter 2021, the University will pay all student stipends, wages, awards, prizes, and reimbursements through Workday.

 

Anything I should do to prepare?

Even if you’ve been using Workday already, we recommend all students login to check their information at least once per quarter. Please take 2 minutes to do this:

  1. Login to Workday online 

Pro tip: Download the new Workday mobile app to do this from your phone

  1. Check your primary home address and make sure it’s where you are currently living.

Pro tip: Select “edit” and “save” to let us know that you checked – that will mean you don’t receive reminders from us!

  1. Check or enter your direct deposit information to get your payments as quickly as possible. If you’re set up for direct deposit, you can plan to have your funds on your payment date.

Will this change the schedule for my payments?

No. If you receive a quarterly fellowship stipend, you can still expect to receive your funding at the start of the quarter as one lump sum. If you receive payments for teaching and research assistantships on the bi-weekly or monthly schedule, you’ll continue to receive these throughout the quarter.

 

Are there any types of payments that will not be paid in Workday?

Some types of student funding will continue to be paid through the Office of the Bursar, including loan refunds, overpayment refunds, and Emergency Assistance. If you have questions about what type(s) of funding you receive and what system to check, please be in touch to gradhelp@uchicago.edu.

 

What if you didn’t answer my question?

Join us for a Student Payments Ask Me Anything (AMA) on February 26 or March 5 to review payment questions with Emily Easton, Director of GRAD Administrative. You can also reach out to gradhelp@uchicago.edu.

 

Keep Calm and Get Ready for Tax Season 2020!

person holding paper near pen and calculator

The deadline to file your 2020 tax return with the IRS and the State of Illinois is currently April 15, 2021, which is 95 days away. Don’t panic or procrastinate. First, take 90 seconds right now to check and update your home address in Workday and at my.uchicago.edu so any documents are mailed to the right address. Next, sign up for a tax workshop to make sure you understand your responsibilities and next steps. Still stressed? Read on for a few tips on how to prepare to file your 2020 tax return. . .

If you’re tempted to panic about filing your 2020 tax return, first, take a deep breath. You have time to prepare to file – and, in four easy steps, you can reduce your stress on getting this done.

  1. Review any funding you received from the University or other sources. Stipends, assistantships, wages from an on-campus job and other types of student funding have different requirements on how to calculate your responsibility or refund.
  2. Consider your options to file your return. Decide if you will use paper forms, an online service like TurboTax, or work with an accountant. The University does not have any accountants or professionals who can provide tax advice. If you’re an international student, be on the lookout for information on logging into Sprintax, which is a system designed for international students to file tax returns in the US.
  3. RSVP to attend a tax workshop. UChicagoGRAD will host workshops in February to help you understand your requirements. We recommend you attend, especially if you’re new to filing, so you understand your next steps.
  4. Schedule a time to get started. Sounds simple, but it’s important – Winter Quarter is a busy time. Once you have your documents and your method, add some time to your calendar to prepare your return. It’s very common to have questions once you get started, and if so, contact gradhelp@uchicago.edu.

 

Preparing for Autumn Quarter 2020

Autumn Quarter is around the corner.

Don’t forget to:

Autumn Quarter 2020 feels different. You can find up-to-date information on the plans to resume programs and campus operations at UChicago Forward. As a reminder, UChicagoGRAD (along with offices campus-wide) have transitioned to remote services. We are here to meet with you one-on-onethrough Zoom and share our programs online, synchronusly and on-demand. We’re looking forward to working with you in the coming quarter and the coming year.

Tax Deadlines and Financial Advising

It’s tax time again – this time in July. Because of the COVID pandemic, both the IRS and State of Illinois extended the 2019 annual tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020.

If you have not already filed, review our 2019 tax workshops for an overview of next steps. In addition, the IRS extended the deadlines for 2020 quarterly estimated tax payments until July 15, 2020. (Illinois did not change the estimated tax deadline.) Confused? Graduate students can find more information about quarterly estimated tax payments here. Or, if you have general questions, please email gradhelp@uchicago.edu.

Students have been asking for financial advising and we are delighted to announce that UChicagoGRAD has partnered with TIAA to provide free one-on-one financial wellness consultations for graduate students and postdocs. These consultations are intended to answer questions related to investing, saving, and budgeting. You may sign up for an appointment here or by calling 800-732-8353. And, keep an eye out for workshops on these topics coming in the Autumn Quarter.

Economic Impact (Stimulus) Payments for Graduate Students

GRADHelp logo

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) has authorized payments to qualifying US taxpayers who meet criteria detailed here. In general, you qualify for a payment if you 1) are a US Citizen, Permanent Resident, or Qualifying Resident Alien (with a Social Security number), 2) cannot be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, and 3) have an Adjusted Gross Income below the relevant threshold for your filing status. You can use the IRS EIP chart to review the stimulus amounts. If you believe you are entitled to payment and have not yet received it, you may use this IRS tool to check the status of the payment and determine if further action is required to claim the payment. We are not able to provide individual tax advice, but if you have general questions about this, please email gradhelp@uchicago.edu.

Virtual Programming and Resources

UChicagoGRAD is committed to supporting graduate students and postdocs during this challenging time. We are working with campus partners to provide virtual resources and opportunities to help you stay connected and engaged while campus is closed. Please see current offerings below and visit virtualgrad.uchicago.edu for updated information.

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Photo credit: wsj.com

UChicagoGRAD

  • Graduate Admissions Learn more here
    • We have made the decision to cancel all in-person admissions programs and interactions out of concern for the health and wellness of everyone in our campus community and all of our guests. While the Office of Graduate Admissions will be closed to the public on campus, our staff will be readily available to help you via email or phone during these challenging times. We also are offering the opportunity to schedule a one-on-one Zoom meeting with a member of the admissions team – click here to schedule an appointment. You do not need a Zoom account to join a meeting.
    • View media resources (webinars, online publications, etc.) here
  • Sounding Board Advising – Sign-up here
    • Emotional distress is common and normal in the context of uncertainty and potentially health-threatening situations. Taking care of your mental health needs during the COVID-19 Pandemic is challenging and particularly when being required to shelter in place, oftentimes, in isolation. Tend to your wellbeing by reaching out to UChicagoGRAD’S Sounding Board advising service which provides remote phone consultations addressing anxiety, fear, relationship concerns, and other destabilizing reactions during these uncertain and upsetting times.
  • GRADHelpLearn more here
    • GRADHelp is your source for help and information about stipends, payments, bills, fees, insurance, and more. If you have questions about any kind of payment or other financial-related issue and aren’t sure where to turn, email gradhelp@uchicago.edu

  • Diversity and Inclusion Advising and Workshops – Sign-up here
    • All students and postdocs can sign up for advising sessions to discuss issues, concerns and experiences related to diversity as it affects their academic and career development as well as personal wellbeing.

    • Structured Writing Accountability Groups (SWAG) – In collaboration with Student Support Services and the Writing Program, we provide space and structure for graduate student and postdoc quarterly writing accountability groups. Applications are due April 26. Learn more here

  • Fellowship Advising and Workshops – Sign-up here
    • Fellowship advisors are available to work with you on application materials for specific fellowships or grants.
    • Small group advising sessions are also available to help applicants compare the different types of grants, understand the application components, learn about strategies for developing competitive applications, and receive resources for further exploration.
  • Graduate Writing ConsultationsSign-up here
    • UChicagoGRAD is offering one-on-one online Graduate Writing Consultations for graduate students interested in working on their academic writing. Consultants work with writers on academic papers, journal articles, dissertation chapters, proposals, and other academic documents.
  • Career Development Advising and Workshops – Sign-up here
    • For Your Job Search
      • Are you currently in the middle of a job search, or are you gearing up to begin one? Are you planning to go on the academic job market this fall? Talk with a career advisor about how you can refine your strategy now that hiring is happening virtually. This includes advice for crafting a strong LinkedIn profile or personal website as digital presence increases in importance. Your advisor can also share strategies for expanding your options in an uncertain job market.
    • For Public Speaking, Interviewing, and Networking Preparation
      • Are you interviewing for jobs? Getting ready for a presentation? Preparing for virtual networking conversations? GRADTalk advising helps you enhance your oral communication skills for a variety of professional applications. You can schedule a meeting with a GRADTalk advisor to practice virtual presentations for your classes, committee, lab, or prospective employers. You can also use GRADTalk as a low-stakes way to practice using Zoom and other remote technologies.
    • For Your Written Application Materials
      • Are you satisfied with your CV or resume? Whether you are currently applying for jobs or not, this is a good time to refine written materials such as your CV, resume, or cover letters. In a virtual meeting, you can work on live edits with your UChicagoGRAD career advisor, sharing screens and discussing the documents line by line.
    • For Your Career Exploration
      • Are you trying to decide what type of career makes sense for you? Whether you are completely undecided or just want to explore contingency options in case your current plans are disrupted, UChicagoGRAD career advisors are experienced at helping you work through a process of self-reflection and personal discovery. We are here to listen first, meet you where you are, and offer guidance in navigating the range of available opportunities.

Campus-wide

Have an idea for a virtual program or resource to promote academic skills or community building? Know of an existing program or resource you would like us to highlight? Share it with us here

Extended Tax Deadline

The IRS and State of Illinois have extended the deadline to file your 2019 tax return and make any payments through July 15, 2020.

This means 91 extra days to assemble your documents, review your income, prepare and submit your tax documents. It’s also more time to binge watch the workshops we hosted earlier in the year for help filing your return as a F1/J1 student or a US Citizen/Permanent Resident or check out the workshop slides. When questions come up, be in touch to gradhelp@uchicago.edu for general guidance and help connecting with the right resources.

Tax Day is April 15th

We are 40 days and counting until April 15, 2020, also known as tax day. If you received any income in the United States last year, you very likely have a filing requirement. If you’re an international student who spent any time in the US in 2019 on a J1 or F1 visa, you likely have a filing requirement. If you’re not sure what you’re required to do, don’t panic – we can help you get started.

Photo credit: USAtoday.com

  1. Review Your Income

If you received any stipend, scholarship, or fellowship, from the University of Chicago or an external organization, all or part of your funding may be taxable, even if you did not receive a tax form.

If you are a candidate for a degree, you can generally exclude any funding used for tuition and required fees, as well as any books, supplies, or equipment required for your courses from your income. Any funding used for living expenses (e.g. room and board) must be included in your income total.

To review the amount of funding you received from the University of Chicago, login to your my.uchicago.edu portal, select Finances at the top, and navigate to My Financial Aid or My Account.

  1. Watch Your Dates

Please keep in mind the tax year differs from the academic year. The 2019 tax year includes any funds distributed to you between 1/1/2019 and 12/31/2019. Depending on the disbursement date of your funds, your income may include Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Summer 2019, Autumn 2019 and Winter 2020.

  1. Get Some Help

Slides from this year’s tax workshops are available online and session recordings will be posted next week on the Health Promotion and Wellness YouTube channel.

Not sure if you need to hire an accountant? Check out a great primer from Moneygeek on thinking this through. If you do need to hire someone, we included some tips on hiring the right professional in the workshop slides.

And, when questions come up, let us know at gradhelp@uchicago.edu. We’re not able to provide individual tax advice, but we can provide general informational guidance to help you manage your tax reporting responsibilities.