Posted on: May 6, 2021 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Joey Fernandez, Arts & Entertainment Editor

While you’re busy completing final projects and studying for exams, don’t forget about another important deadline: filing your taxes by Monday, May 17.

Many college students battle with the basics of financial literacy, struggling with budgeting or saving money to pay bills. Often, filing taxes can be a struggle.

“There were some unknown questions and troubles I had throughout the process,” said sophomore Jon Arredondo. “Luckily, I had my parents to ask or I would have had no idea how to file.”

Moraine Valley sophomore Faith Petrusevski ran into some of the same issues, and went with a similar solution.

“I didn’t understand some of the questions asked during the filing, because I was never taught how to do any of this before,” Petrusevski said. “If my parents weren’t around to help, I would not have been able to complete them.”

Unfortunately, it turns out the company TurboTax is taking advantage of students and others who may be less well-versed in the process.

According to a story in ProPublica, “If you make less than $34,000 a year, you should have been able to file your taxes for free on TurboTax. That’s because of a deal the industry made with the IRS called Free File.” But ProPublica reports that TurboTax makes it “intentionally difficult” for people to find this option.

“It turns out that if you start the process from TurboTax.com, it’s impossible to find the truly free version.” ProPublica reports. “The company itself admits this.”

But filing taxes is not the only financial literacy skill students struggle with. Also, many full-time students, depending on their situation, rely on financial aid to pay for schooling and use grants for everyday life.

Being young, I do find it difficult to save money because there are so many temptations out there for me to spend money on.”

Sophomore Jon Arredondo

“Being young, I do find it difficult to save money because there are so many temptations out there for me to spend money on,” Arredondo said. “I have bills such as a car note and a phone bill so it makes it even more difficult to break my bad habits.”

Many colleges, including Moraine Valley, provide counseling to help students manage their finances, with support staff holding seminars on financial literacy and providing advice when needed.

Phillip Davis, who works for the TRIO support services for MVCC, is willing to aid students in their day-to-day lives while also being a guide to their path through college. TRIO’s services are “extremely extensive,” Davis says.

“Participants receive tutoring, counseling, remedial instruction, academic advising, personal support, financial literacy training, and intensive case management,” he said.

Davis said many students do not have the time to balance work and school to sustain a comfortable living, and that can cause issues.

“Most college students may be just working part-time and have little to no income,” Davis explained. “Some rely heavily on financial aid to pay tuition and use refund checks for other expenses.”

Petrusevski said she has trouble balancing a busy work schedule while still having to maintain a full-time student status: “Most nights I am up until three in the morning doing homework while I have to go to work at six in the morning.”

While TRIO doesn’t necessarily specialize in helping people file their taxes, Davis said he is always willing to point someone in the right direction for guidance.

Davis gives tips to help students gain financial literacy. 

“Understand where your money goes. Use a planner to keep track of your spending,” Davis said. “Include all your bill due dates, when you’re getting your paycheck and or financial aid, how much your paycheck and or financial aid is going to be. Know the money coming in and money going out, but tie that to dates that you have when things are due.”