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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Winter 2015
Peer Advisor Availability

Professional Development Peer:
Shawn Warner-Garcia
Mon: 10 a.m. to noon
Wed: 10 a.m. to noon
Fri: 10 a.m. to noon

Diversity & Outreach Peer:
Vacant

Funding Peer:
Kyle Crocco
Tue: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thu: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Writing Peer:
Ryan Dippre
Mon: 1:30 to 4 p.m.
Tue: 9 to 11 a.m., 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Wed: 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Communications Peer:
Melissa Rapp
Mon: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thu: 1 to 3 p.m.

The peers sometimes hold events or attend meetings during their regular office hours. To assure you connect with your Graduate Peer Advisor, we encourage you to contact them by email and make an appointment.

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Thursday
Jan292015

What You Need to Know to Complete Your FAFSA 

FAFSA logoEvery U.S. graduate student needs to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 2 if he or she wants to qualify for fellowships, scholarships, block grants, or student loans at UCSB. If you are not interested in getting free money or loans, then you can stop reading this and go back to counting your pile of cash.

What You Need to Know

Campus Deadline: March 2, 2015

Information needed:

  • Social Security number (enter it correctly on the FAFSA or someone else will qualify for your cash). If you are still a dependent student, you will need your parents’ Social Security numbers.
  • Driver’s license number (if you have one).
  • Alien Registration number (if you are not a U.S. citizen).
  • Adjusted Gross Income (AGI): Do your taxes first. You will need your tax returns including IRS W-2 information, for you (and your spouse, if you are married), and for your parents if you are a dependent student.
    •  IRS Form 1040 (use line 37), 1040A (use line 21), 1040EZ (use line 4)
    • Foreign tax return and/or
    • Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federal States of Micronesia, or Palau
  • Records of your untaxed income (such as child support received, interest income, and veteran's noneducation benefits, for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student)
  • Information on cash (e.g., savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate, but not including the home in which you live; and business and farm assets for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student)
Tuesday
Jan272015

Tax Information Session for Grads on Thursday, Feb. 5

1040 tax document

The Graduate Division will be hosting a second tax information session for graduate students, "Financial Literacy 102: Taxes". This information session will cover free tax resources, credits and deductions, and fellowship taxes for U.S. grad students. If you are an international student, you should contact the Office of International Students and Scholars for information about taxes for non-residents.

Please note, this is NOT a tax preparation workshop, nor is the Funding Peer a tax expert. This is an information session. For detailed tax questions, you should do your own research or contact a tax expert.

When: Thursday, Feb. 5, from noon-1 p.m.

Where: Multipurpose Room in Student Resource Building

Who: Presented by Funding Peer, Kyle Crocco

Food: Light refreshments will be provided.

This information session covers education related tax basics:

  • Free tax resources
  • Education Credits and Student Loan Deductions
  • Fellowship Taxes and Qualified Education Expenses
  • Extensions
  • And more

RSVP: Kyle Crocco at kcrocco@graddiv.ucsb.edu

Monday
Jan262015

Chancellor’s Sustainability Graduate Research Program

UCSB sustainability logoIn Summer 2015, the Academic Senate Sustainability Work Group is launching a new grant program to support graduate students in any department to do research related to sustainability. This includes students from fine arts, humanities, engineering, social sciences, and natural sciences.

The work group is interested in applications from graduate students who are exploring new directions in their research as well as graduate students who are seeking further support for research that they are already committed to.

For more information on sustainability, see the UCSB Sustainability website.

Chancellor’s Sustainability Graduate Research Program

Deadline: Wednesday, Feb. 25.

Eligibility: Graduate students from any field doing research related to sustainability.

Support: For up to 20 hours/week for 12 weeks at a graduate student researcher position rate (not to exceed Step IV, $21.06/hr.). Salary range is dependent on point in career. 

Applications: Send to Katie Maynard, Sustainability Coordinator and Staff to the Academic Senate Sustainability Work Group, at kmaynard@geog.ucsb.edu

All applicants must submit the required three documents to be eligible (see below). All documents must be in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF.

  • The application.
  • Your résumé or curriculum vitae.
  • A recommendation from a faculty member describing the strengths of the candidate and the proposal.

Research:

The goal of this program is to support graduate students to make original contributions related to sustainability in their field of study and/or in interdisciplinary settings. For example, this research might address any one or more of the following things:

  • Seek to better explain the dynamic functionality of and history of earth’s systems as they may affect humans;
  • Seek to better explain the relationship between humans and their biotic and abiotic environment;
  • Seek to better explain human impacts on the natural environment and vice versa;
  • Seek to better explain the effect of environmental issues on humans or society more broadly and vice versa;
  • Explore the relationship of humans and the natural environment through art and culture;
  • Innovate a solution through practice, technology, or artistic expression to an issue affecting our natural and/or cultural environment; and/or
  • Develop a solution specifically towards helping the university achieve climate neutrality by 2025.
  • Other ideas are also welcome.

Projects that actively engage the campus community more broadly, such as through artistic performance, teaching contribution, behavioral impact, public events, or direct impacts to the physical campus (such as through energy modeling of a building) are encouraged. This is not, however, a requirement.

 

Monday
Jan262015

Checklist: 10 Items You Need to Have Before You Do Your Taxes

ChecklistCredit: openclipart.comAre you ready to do your taxes? The best way to prepare is to gather all the necessary materials before you start. Depending on your situation, you may not need all these documents, but you will certainly need most of them.

  1. Copy of last year’s return: You need this for your 2014 AGI (adjusted gross income).  The AGI and IRS PIN are also helpful if you are e-filing.
  2. SSN (or Tax Identification Number).
  3. From 1098-T (Tuition Statement) and/or Form 1098-E (Student Loan Interest Statement): You need this is you want to apply for a credit or deduction. For your 1098-T go to 1098T.com. The 1098-E should be sent to you.
  4. W2s for all your jobs: You need these to declare your income. If you haven't received all of these by Jan. 31, you will need to contact your employer.
  5. 1099 INT: If you have an interest bearing savings account and earn more than $10 in interest, you should have one of these.
  6. 1099 G (refund): If you had a refund last year, you should receive one of these.
  7. 1099 DIV or R (dividends): If you have investment income or dividends, you will need these.
  8. Other income statements
  9. Email Address or Postage: You will need an email address if you are e-filing. Otherwise, you'll need stamps.
  10. Tax Forms or Tax Software: For where to get forms and software, see Tax Resources below.

For more tax information, also see these GradPost articles

Tax Resources
http://gradpost.ucsb.edu/funds/2015/1/19/tax-resources-for-graduate-students.html

Fellowships and Taxes
http://gradpost.ucsb.edu/funds/2015/1/14/fellowship-and-grant-money-whats-taxable.html

Credits and Deductions
http://gradpost.ucsb.edu/funds/2015/1/12/two-ways-to-reduce-taxes-credits-and-deductions.html

Tuesday
Jan202015

Financial Literacy 102: Taxes

1040 tax document

Doing your taxes? Want to learn more about resources, credits, and deductions for grad students? Then sign up now for next week's workshop "Financial Literacy 102: Taxes" on Tuesday, Jan. 27.

Note, this is not a tax preparation workshop. For detailed tax questions, you should contact a tax expert.

When: Tuesday, Jan. 27, from noon-1 p.m.

Where: Student Resource Building in Room 2154

Who: Presented by Funding Peer, Kyle Crocco

This workshop covers all the graduate funding basics:

  • Tax resources
  • Education Credits and Student Loan Deductions
  • Fellowship Taxes
  • Extensions
  • And more

RSVP: Kyle Crocco at kcrocco@graddiv.ucsb.edu

Monday
Jan192015

Tax Resources for Graduate Students

Valentine's DayCredit: openclipart.comValentine's Day is almost here and that only means one thing: it's time to start filing taxes. So here are some resources to start your process of filing Federal and State taxes cheaply, accurately, and electronically (or by paper, if sending things by mail is your thing).

Forms, Publications, and Filing

Federal

Paper Forms: If you’re old school, paper forms still exist and you can download all the forms and publications you want at http://www.irs.gov/Forms-&-Pubs. Don’t forget to also check out Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education.

Fillable Forms: If you still love the forms, but hate the paper, fillable forms might be your happy medium. For fillable forms, the IRS does the math, but you need to understand the tax laws.

Electronic Filing: If you make less than $58,000, you can file for free using software available on FreeFile from the IRS. As the IRS says, “software makes taxes easier.” It’s also faster and you don’t have to pay for printing or stamps.

Here are the top three software programs according to the Internets:

  • Turbo Tax: Useful for 1040EZ, 1040A, and 1040, but need to pay for an upgrade for other schedules and forms.
  • H&R Block Free File: Includes more forms and schedules above the 1040 than Turbo Tax software.
  • TaxAct Free File Edition: Includes FAFSA worksheet and schedules A and C, but not as easy to use as the other two.

Mind you, you might have to pay for an upgrade to do more advanced taxes. So while it's free to e-file your federal taxes, you may have to pay for using the software. You also have to pay to e-file your California taxes with this software, so see the next section to save money.

State (California)

CalFile logoYes, you have to do your state taxes too. So here are the tax links for California.

Paper Forms and Publications: Paper lovers can also download forms and publications for California.

E-Filing: Save money and time by e-filing. It’s free and easy to file online in California using their software. Use CalFile to file your state taxes for free.

Tax Preparation and Information

IRS logoIf you need some free help with preparing your taxes, you might want to consider VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Association), or if you have tax questions, consider using the IRS interactive tax assistant, visiting a tax assistance center in Santa Barbara, or calling the IRS directly.

VITA: If you make less than $58,000, you can get free help with your basic tax preparation from VITA. All preparers are IRS certified. However, their service is very basic. They do no provide assistance for filing past year taxes, completing amended forms, figuring out investment income, determining self-employment wages, filing out-of-state taxes, or doing itemized deductions.

Interactive Tax Assistant: This online assistant offers basic help for common tax questions. The interactive tax assistant will take you through a series of questions and provide you with a tax answer. There is also a tax assistant for education credits and for filing an extension.

Taxpayer Assistance Center: This is not a service for tax preparation. But if you have a tax question or tax issue that you feel is better handled face-to-face, then visit the local office on 1332 Anacapa St. You should also phone ahead for an appointment: 805-564-7555.

IRS Phone Assistance for Individuals: You can call the IRS directly to ask tax related questions. Be prepared for long wait times, especially if you call in April. Phone: 800-829-1040. Hours of Operation: Monday– Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Thursday
Jan152015

Borlaug Graduate Research Grant for Global Food Security

Food Security LogoApplications are now open for the Borlaug Graduate Research Grant for Global Food Security.

The grants supports U.S. students conducting research on topics related to the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative: Feed The Future (FTF). All topics that relate to food security (e.g., agriculture, nutrition, ecological resources, poverty) and are linked to the research strategies of the Feed the Future initiative are admissible.

Students will develop a component of their graduate research in a single, developing country setting by working in-residence at an International Agricultural Research Center (IARC), or a qualifying National Agricultural Research System (NARS) unit.

U.S. Borlaug Fellows Program

Deadline: Monday, Apr. 23.

Eligibility: U.S. graduate students.

Support: Varies. Up to $15,000 for six months, $20,000 for one year, or $40,000 for two years.

More Information: Read the Request for Applications.

Wednesday
Jan142015

Fellowship and Grant Money: What's Taxable?

Disclaimer: Neither the Graduate Post nor this funding peer is qualified to advise you on your taxes. For professional help, we suggest you consult a paid or free volunteer tax preparer.

 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan132015

Finding Funding Workshop on Jan. 20

Find FundingCredit: Funding PeerNeed funding? Want to learn where to find it and what's available on campus? Then sign up now for the Finding Funding Workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

When: Tuesday, Jan. 20, from noon-1 p.m.

Where: Student Resource Building in Room 2154

Who: Presented by Funding Peer, Kyle Crocco

The Finding Funding workshop covers all the graduate funding basics:

  • UCSB resources (fellowships, TAships, and more)
  • External resources (government, foundations, and more)
  • Funding databases (Pivot, Grapes, and more)

Attendees should bring their laptop computers to practice navigating funding databases.

RSVP: Kyle Crocco at kcrocco@graddiv.ucsb.edu

Monday
Jan122015

Upcoming Fulbright-mtvU Award Webinars For Music Research

GuitarCredit: openclipart.comFor those of you with a focus on music and other countries, the Fulbright-mtvU award might be something working checking out.

The Fulbright-mtvU award is a special opportunity for up to four U.S. students to pursue projects around an aspect of international contemporary or popular music as a cultural force for expression. Preference is given to creative projects that are conveyed in a dynamic fashion and are accompanied by a feasible plan.

is a special opportunity for up to four U.S. students to pursue projects around an aspect of international contemporary or popular music as a cultural force for expression. Preference is given to creative projects that are conveyed in a dynamic fashion and are accompanied by a feasible plan. - See more at: http://eca.state.gov/fulbright/fulbright-programs/program-summaries/fulbright-mtvu-fellowship#sthash.ghTbzKFo.dpuf
is a special opportunity for up to four U.S. students to pursue projects around an aspect of international contemporary or popular music as a cultural force for expression. Preference is given to creative projects that are conveyed in a dynamic fashion and are accompanied by a feasible plan. - See more at: http://eca.state.gov/fulbright/fulbright-programs/program-summaries/fulbright-mtvu-fellowship#sthash.ghTbzKFo.dpuf
is a special opportunity for up to four U.S. students to pursue projects around an aspect of international contemporary or popular music as a cultural force for expression. Preference is given to creative projects that are conveyed in a dynamic fashion and are accompanied by a feasible plan. - See more at: http://eca.state.gov/fulbright/fulbright-programs/program-summaries/fulbright-mtvu-fellowship#sthash.ghTbzKFo.dpuprojects center around research on an aspect of international musical culture, and focus on contemporary or popular music as a cultural force for expression or change. Along with the study of music in a specific cultural context, proposals will be considered in other music-related fields, including music and social activism, music in learning, music and the community, and musical performance.

All awards include round-trip transportation to host country, room and board, health benefits, and cost of living pay for your country.

The deadline for the competition is Feb. 27.

There are also two webinars that may be of interest. Click on the links for more information and to register.

Webinar Schedule

General Q&A #1
Thursday, Jan. 15.
2-3 p.m. (EST)
 
Final Steps and Q&A #2
Thursday, Feb. 19.
4-5 p.m. (EST)

For more information, read the award description.