Missouri State University
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Bears Business Brief: Save with college tuition program

By Kerri Tassin, J.D., CPA

Kerri Tassin
Kerri Tassin

As a university instructor who teaches taxation courses, I’m frequently asked, “What is a 529 savings plan?” Perhaps the individual making the inquiry heard reference to this plan on television, heard it mentioned in conversation, or saw something regarding this plan on the internet. A 529 savings plan is a tax favored savings plan for college expenses, and may be known by other names as well. For those who wish to plan for the future, a 529 savings plan can serve as a resource down the road to pay for such things as tuition, equipment, books, and room and board.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment in degree granting educational institutions increased from 2001 to 2011 by 32 percent. Total enrollment during those years grew from 15.9 million to 21 million students. The Center explained in its report that the increase could be attributable to both population growth and increased rates of enrollment. Whatever the cause of the growth, it appears that a significant portion of the American population needs to seriously consider how to meet the costs of a college education. A 529 savings plan may be one way to prepare for the future.

A “529 plan” derives its name from the Internal Revenue Code section which makes provision for the plan. According to IRC §529, a 529 savings plan must be established and maintained by a State, or the State’s agency or instrumentality, and the purpose of the savings plan must be to meet qualified education expenses of a designated beneficiary. Missouri established a 529 college savings plan which it calls its “MOST” 529 college savings plan, and it is overseen by the state treasurer.

Persons may contribute to an account set up for a designated beneficiary. The person who sets up the account acts as the account owner, and may designate a particular beneficiary or even change the beneficiary after one has been previously designated. The account owner controls the account; the beneficiary does not. A student or future student usually fills the role of the designated beneficiary.

The tax benefit of a 529 savings plan generally increases with time. While the account owner may not deduct amounts contributed to the 529 savings account for federal tax purposes, earnings on the contributions to the account generally grow tax free. Consequently, the earlier the account is created, the longer those tax free earnings will have to accumulate. Contributed amounts may also qualify for a state income tax deduction.

The earnings in the 529 savings plan generally remain nontaxable upon withdrawal as long as the funds are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses. Qualified higher education expenses may include amounts paid for tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required for enrollment or attendance at the beneficiary’s eligible educational institution. Qualified education expenses may also include a reasonable amount paid for room and board. Students generally must be enrolled at least half-time for the academic period. Amounts withdrawn for other purposes may become taxable and subject to penalties. Timing of withdrawals may be important when taxpayers qualify for other tax benefits such as education credits and exclusion from income of scholarships and other educational assistance payments.

The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute tax advice. Please consult with your own tax advisor regarding your personal tax situation.

This article appeared in the June 15, 2014 issue of the Springfield News-Leader.  It is available online here.

Kerri Tassin, J.D., CPA, is director of the master of accountancy program in the School of Accountancy at Missouri State University. Tassin also is the director of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and the director of the Low Income Tax Clinic at MSU. Email: kerritassin@missouristate.edu.

 

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Family and Consumer Sciences representatives win two awards at national conference

 

Margaret Herring, a senior Family and Consumer Sciences Education major and Family and Consumer Sciences Education Coordinator, Debra Price at the National Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
Margaret Herring, a senior Family and Consumer Sciences Education major and Family and Consumer Sciences Education Coordinator, Debra Price at the National Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Margaret Herring, a senior Family and Consumer Sciences Education major, attended the National Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) conference and received first place in the Advocacy event. The competition was held during the 2014 national conference in San Antonio, Texas July 5-11. Margaret presented her research and experiences in an area she is passionate about—advocating for teaching life skills and nutrition information to middle and high school students.

FCCLA is a career and technical student organization for students enrolled in Family and Consumer Sciences courses at the middle school, high school, and post-secondary levels. Missouri State University is the first university in Missouri to develop a post-secondary program in Family and Consumer Sciences.

During the conference, Missouri State faculty member and Family and Consumer Sciences education coordinator, Debra Price, was presented with the 2014 National FCCLA STAR Events Volunteer Award. Students Taking Action with Recognition (STAR) events allow students to integrate content knowledge, community service, and career preparation by developing presentations for more than 20 different events. Price has volunteered at various levels to make the competitive events successful by assisting with competition organization, encouraging participation, and evaluating student presentations.

“Being involved with FCCLA as an advisor at both the secondary and post-secondary levels has allowed me to introduce students to a variety of career possibilities, participate in community service projects, and gain leadership skills to set them from their peers. My involvement has been a significant part of my professional growth to prepare future FCS teachers,” states Price.

In addition, Price currently serves as President of the Missouri Educators of Family and Consumer Sciences.

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Fitting in at work

Dr. Wes Scroggins researches different ways to approach hiring

Most standard applications and interviews consist of questions relating to ability. These questions are all relevant and necessary, but what if employers’ primary focus should be, instead, on other characteristics of the employee? Dr. Scroggins, associate professor of management, is exploring this interesting topic.

To read more about this interesting research, visit the Missouri State Mind’s Eye website.

 

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Reminder-Registration Still Open for Fall 2014 COB Career Fair

Thinking about the Fall 2014 COB Career Fair? If you’re an employer, alumni or student, you absolutely should attend. Here are a few reasons why:

Employers:

  • COB Career Fair—for employers looking to recruit students from more than 20 degree options, including logistics and supply chain, computer information systems, fashion, finance, insurance, marketing, management, technology and construction management and many more.

September 30, University Plaza Convention Center

10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Register today for the COB Career Fair at www.Business.MissouriState.Edu/CareerFair

Here are some reasons why employers should consider our Career Fair:

  • Missouri State has the largest public College of Business in the Midwest, with more than 5,100 students eager to meet you.
  • On-campus interview space is available the day after the event.
  • We are a short drive from many major metropolitan cities, including St. Louis, Kansas City and Tulsa.
  • Employers who participated in previous years encountered prepared and professional students. One said: “Usually I spend most of my time answering e-mail and hoping time will pass quickly. This time I have not opened my laptop once. The students are awesome!”

Alumni:

  • Employed?  Encourage your employer to recruit at the COB Career Fair and/or School of Accountancy Career Fair today. www.Business.MissouriState.Edu/CareerFair
  • Looking for a full-time position?  Attend either fair and get connected with employers.
  • Alumni Job Seekers need to contact Vickie Hicks at vickiehicks@missouristate.edu to learn more about pre-fair requirements.

Students:

  • The COB Career Fair is open to all declared business majors junior and above, business minors, and computer science and economics majors.
  • Are you looking for a summer 2015 internship or full-time employment?  Then mark September 10 and/or 30 on your calendar today!
  • Get ready for the event by attending a COB Prepare for the Fair Workshop in the fall. You will receive more information on workshops via email.

Questions? Contact Vickie Hicks, Corporate Relations Specialist, vickiehicks@missouristate.edu or 417-836-6305.

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Faculty and Staff Spotlight

Faculty Spotlights
Faculty Spotlights

Two faculty members were selected to receive the Daisy Portenier Loucks Research Fellowship for 2014-2015:

  • S. Brahnam, professor in the Computer Information Systems department
  • Ed Chang, professor in the Finance and General Business department

This fellowship is awarded annually to one or more COB faculty members who are among the top producers of discipline-based research in the College.

Melissa Burnett, professor in the Marketing department, received the COB STAR Professorship 2014-2015. The COB STAR Professorship is awarded on a three-year term to a faculty member who demonstrates the following characteristics in his or her professional life at MSU in the College of Business:

  • Succeeds or helps our students succeed in a prominent or prestigious way
  • Teaches students real-world applications that prepare them for success their careers
  • Advances the culture of professionalism and integrity in the College
  • Raises the national profile of the College and University

Ron Dattero, professor in the Computer Information Systems department, served as a panelist in the session “Designing Deeper Learning Through Faculty Peer-Review” at Missouri State University’s 29th Showcase on Teaching and Learning on August 13, 2014.

 Les Heitger, professor in the School of Accountancy,currently serves as the Chair of the Higher Education Initiative Committee within the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). His term as Chair began in June 2014 and will run for two years.

He has also been elected Vice President-Academics (President Elect) of the Forensic and Investigative Accounting (FIA) section of the American Accounting Association (AAA). He will become President at the 2015 AAA National Convention in Chicago in August of 2015 and will serve a two year term.

Chris Hines, assistant professor in the School of Accountancy, presented a paper entitled “Risk Management Committee Formation: Symbolic Commitments to Risk Management or Substantive Monitoring of Risk Outcomes?” at two conferences. The first presentation was at the American Accounting Association Public Interest Section Meeting in San Diego, CA on March 29, 2014 and the second was at the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy Conference at the University of Maryland on May 29, 2014.

Richard Johnson, professor in the Computer Information Systems department, had an article titled “Java Database Connectivity Using SQLite: A Tutorial,” published in the August 2014 issue of the International Journal of Information, Business and Management.

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