Financial Aid Office Spotlight – Feb. 2015

FAFSA Renewal

Now is the time to think about filing the FAFSA for your students returning to Whitworth.  The priority deadline for returning students is May 1st  which should give you enough time to complete your taxes first. We highly recommend using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to load your tax information directly into the FAFSA. Please keep in mind this option is available approximately 2 weeks after you filed electronically, or up to 12 weeks if you filed by paper. Speaking of taxes…

Tax Benefits of Higher Education

The 1098s have all been mailed from our Student Accounting Services office unless your student consented to receive an electronic version. In that case, your student can access theirs by logging on to the Pirate Port. The 1098s are located under the Student Account Information tab. Luckily, there are many tax benefits for higher education.  For information regarding how tax credits, deductions and savings plans can help with the expenses for higher education, please visit the IRS website. Federal tax laws require students to report income from financial aid when certain conditions are met (scholarships and grants received for the calendar year are more than the amount of tuition and fees paid).  We have designed this Reporting 2014 Scholarships and Grants Worksheet to assist in determining what financial aid should be reported on the student’s federal income tax return and 2015-16 FAFSA.  Please feel free to review other helpful information under our webpage for parents.

Returning Student Financial Aid Awards

Our office is currently working on sending out new freshman financial aid awards and will begin sending out the returning student awards during the end of April/beginning of May.  Please remind your students to check their Whitworth email for our notification that their award is ready to be viewed on their Whitnet account.  They should also be checking Pirate Port frequently for important announcements from our office as well as from other departments.

Thank you for supporting your student – we know they appreciate YOU!

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Family Weekend 2015 – please save the date!

Whitworth Family Weekend 2015Please save Oct. 16-18 to join your student on campus and celebrate Family Weekend. Get a glimpse of life on campus, hear from faculty and staff, enjoy Pirate athletics and the arts, and explore Spokane with your Whitworthian.

Please note that this year the weekend will be just for families and will not include Homecoming activities for alumni. However, we may move back to a combined weekend in the future, based on the positive feedback we’ve received.

We recommend that you make your hotel reservations early. Be sure to ask for the Whitworth rate that many local hotels offer. Click here to find local accommodations.

Registration and detailed information will be available in early summer. We hope you’ll join us!

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Financial Aid Office and Student Accounting Services Highlights – January 2015

A few important highlights for you as we begin the New Year!

  • LoopWhitworth University has a number of scholarships funded by individual, corporation, or foundation donors to be awarded each year.  The RETURNING STUDENT APPLICATION for these scholarships is now live for the 2015-16 academic year! Encourage your student to complete this on-line application. The scholarships have varying criteria and award amounts vary, but are typically in the $1,000-$2,000 range.  – The deadline is midnight on January 31, 2015.
  • The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is now available for the 2015-16 year.  Our priority deadline is May 1 for returning students who are seeking financial aid is; for new freshman and students who wish to apply for summer work-study, the deadline is March 1. If you need help in completing the FAFSA, Whitworth University is hosting a College Goal Washington event on January 22nd in the Library (Rm. 223) from 5-8 p.m.  Bring whatever 2014 tax information you have available at that time.  You may also use your 2013 tax form for reference if you do not have your 2014 tax information yet. If you plan on utilizing the 12-month payment plan next year, we encourage you to file the FAFSA early so that your student’s financial aid award can be finalized before that first payment under that plan is due.
  • Please remember, investments (on the FAFSA) also include qualified education benefits or education savings accounts (e.g. Coverdell savings accounts, 529 college savings plans and the refund value of the 529 prepaid tuition plans). For a student who must report parental information (Dependent student), the accounts are reported as parental investments in question 91 of the FAFSA and include all accounts owned by the student and all accounts owned by the parents for any member of the household.  If these investments are owned by someone other than you or your student and were used to pay toward your student’s charges in 2014, those payments should be reported as money paid on your student’s behalf in question 45j of the 2015-16 FAFSA.
  • The 2014 1098T tuition tax form will be available electronically at the end of this month!  It’s easy to obtain…students just need to go to the Student Account information section of Pirate Port (or Whitnet) and click on 1098 Electronic Consent. By electing to receive the form electronically, it will be available earlier and can be viewed and printed any time. This form is used to support your request for educational tax credits on your tax return. Please consult your tax advisor or go to irs.gov for more information on available educational tax credits. To assist your student in determining what financial aid should be reported on their federal income tax return and the 2015-16 FAFSA, just use this handy worksheet.
  • Confirmation Billing Forms for spring semester are due FRIDAY, January 9, 2015. Please contact Student Account Services if you have any question on this.

We appreciate your assistance with getting the word out to your students about these important reminders.  Happy New Year!

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Shelter-in-place drill at Whitworth on Nov. 6

On Nov. 6, Whitworth will be conducting a shelter-in-place drill on its main campus at approximately 1:55 p.m. During this time, you may receive emergency notifications on your cell phone and/or e-mail alerting you that a drill is taking place. You will only receive this notification if your student has included you’re in their emergency contact information. Students can update information at any time by accessing their information on the Whitworth website:

http://www.whitworth.edu/GeneralInformation/EmergencyResponse/Index.htm

If you do see this, do not be alarmed. It is only a drill. It will conclude at approximately 2:05 p.m.

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Tips for supporting your Whitworthian in November

As we welcome November, here are some things that might surface in the next few weeks, as well as a few tips for helping your student navigate the upcoming weeks at Whitworth:

  • TreesWith the “fall back” time change, days in Spokane are shorter and the decrease in sunshine can affect the students; less time in the fresh air as everyone migrates indoors
  • Students may experience colds/viruses; remind your young adult to get a flu shot on campus or schedule one during a visit home; encourage sleep
  • Being indoors more, roommate issues may crop up; if this happens, encourage your student to seek RA support
  • Some students experience “The Turkey Drop”—breaking up with a girlfriend between fall break and Thanksgiving, either back at home or on campus
  • The stress of grades; wonderment about exams may surface
  • Anxiety about a first trip home (freshmen) since they left home; similar anxiety for parents about how to handle curfew for students who haven’t had a curfew per se; discuss how excited you are about their arrival home for the holidays via Skype, FaceTime or phone; though the rules of home still exist (or have been modified) express how you look forward to family dinners and sharing traditions such as Christmas tree cutting, watching favorite movies, sporting events, etc.
  • If your student is not coming home due to distance, finances, etc., plan a time or two where you can connect via phone or other technology; encourage your student to go home with a friend if asked
  • If your student has a roommate who cannot go home, consider inviting the roommate to join your family for Thanksgiving
  • Be a cheerleader—encourage your student to forge ahead even when tired, fatigued or frustrated; remember that what seems like a huge challenge one day may become a minor problem after a conversation with you and a good night of sleep
  • Consider sending a care package to help students “survive” the rigors of finals—the Finals Week Survival Kits care are a great option or send a special one from home that might include an inexpensive string of Christmas lights for a dorm room
  • Delay a couple of favorite traditions for when your student arrives home for Christmas; save their favorite ornaments for them to put on the tree; plan a movie night with the family’s favorite holiday DVD; etc.

Every family is unique, but without a doubt, this is a new season of life for every member of your family!  Take a deep breath, listen for what you and your family members need, and give plenty grace.

A special thanks to Patti Domas, mom of Erik, ’16, for this thoughtful and timely piece.  Patti and her husband Arne reside in Woodinville, Wash., and they both faithfully serve on the Parent and Family Council.

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