Tax revamp puts a December deadline on tuition payments
A small change to a critical IRS form is about to have a big impact on MSU Denver students; here is how you can help.
August 16, 2018
“Don’t delay, pay!” is the new Office of the Bursar mantra. It’s all in response to a new Internal Revenue Service policy that is shaking up the way students across the country claim tuition and qualified educational fees on their tax returns. Metropolitan State University of Denver is preparing to release a campaign spreading the word about this significant change and needs faculty and staff to help amplify the message.
Following a 2010 internal audit, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration concluded that 1.7 million taxpayers had erroneously claimed the American Opportunity Tax Credit, receiving $2.6 billion in tax benefits as many students were reporting tuition charges as actual payments or claiming charges and payments in different tax years.
“Many students were also in collections and never actually paid their charges, so the IRS started auditing the students heavily,” said Natalie DeGraff, Bursar Office specialist. “The 1098-T is (now designed to report) payments specifically to keep the students from reporting payments that they haven’t made.”
Under the new 1098-T design, students must pay all charges within the calendar year they were incurred or lose the ability to claim them. Missed payments could also delay a student’s ability to register for spring-semester classes or put them into collections.
Now, the challenge is communicating this change. In addition to a full-fledged campaign that includes social media, posters, postcards and robocalls, the Office of the Bursar has prepped the MSU Denver Call Center to respond to questions and worked closely with colleagues in the Financial Aid Office.
“Tax information can be very delicate and hard to understand, and as much communication as possible will really help,” said Christina Botello, a specialist in the University’s Cashiering Office. “We want to make sure students are aware that the deadline for face-to-face payments is Dec. 21, before the school closes for winter break. The online payment deadline is Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. to make sure we get all payments in the system before it rolls to 2019.”
The Office of the Bursar also recognizes that more accelerated payments may cause some financial strain for students, and the staff is working to make the payment process easy and transparent. To help students meet the December deadlines, the office developed a new online tuition calculator to give students a specific calculation of their monthly payments and three-month and five-month payment plans.
For DeGraff, Botello and the rest of the Office of the Bursar staff, thoroughly communicating this change is simply good customer service.
“Providing good customer service creates happier students, keeping enrollment up. … We have to have good word of mouth,” DeGraff said.
Changes to the 1098-T Tuition Statement form are outlined in greater detail on the Office of the Bursar website. For more information on 1098-T changes, please contact the Office of the Bursar at 303-615-0070 or firstname.lastname@example.org.