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

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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.

Tax Support

Tackle your taxes with confidence. While we’re not able to provide individual tax advice, the University has resources to help you navigate your tax filing process.

Photo credit: USA Today

No need to panic – here are three tips on getting started:

  1. Sign up for a workshop. UChicagoGRAD will offer tax workshops online and in-person to review the basic requirements for domestic and international graduate student filers, including an overview of common student filing situations and how to find the right professional help if you need it.
  2. Review your funding. Different types of fundings have different tax implications – including different forms and reporting requirements. Take the time to look over your records (e.g. bank statements, award letters, my.uchicago.edu portal) to review what types of income you’ve received and what you’ll need to report.
  3. Set a schedule. Annual tax returns are due to the IRS and the State of Illinois on April 15, 2020. Aiming to prevent tax panic? Schedule some time to get started and start early. Don’t wait until the last minute to get started. (April 14 is National Dolphin Day and you deserve to celebrate with videos of dolphins playing with cats.)

When you have questions, check in with gradhelp@uchicago.edu.

Financial Wellness

Winter Quarter is coming! Be financially prepared.

Photo credit: winteriscoming.net

Along with snow, ice, and a wind so famously fierce it’s known as “the Hawk,” Winter Quarter brings an opportunity to review your funding and make sure you’re set to start of the New Year on solid financial footing. Get ready with three simple things to do in the coming month:

  1. Winter Quarter scholarships for tuition, fees, and/or insurance will post to your account on December 27, 2019. Mark the date and log in to your account to check your balance, make sure you understand your bill, and plan ahead to make any relevant payments.
  2. Are you still getting a paper check? Get your funds faster with direct deposit, which you can set up in your student account and your Workday profile. 98% of students have signed up for direct deposit and you should too.
  3. Students get paid many different ways. As you plan for Winter Quarter expenses, get a handle on your situation by reviewing what payments you can expect in Winter Quarter and when you can expect to receive them. Not sure? Your Dean of Students Office is a great resource to review and you’re always welcome to contact us at gradhelp@uchicago.edu for a quick overview,

And, keep email handy – gradhelp@uchicago.edu is the dedicated resource to help you manage you navigate your financial relationship with the University. Not sure who to check in with? Not sure what type of payment you’re receiving? Something doesn’t look right? Email us. We’re here to help.

More to come on the most wonderful time of the year. . .that’s right. . .tax season is right around the corner too! Don’t sweat it though – we have workshops to help you get everything filed efficiently and on time. Stay tuned and stay warm.