Member Benefits: Scholarships and Grants

Education Planningcsea_scholarship_diploma

CSEA would like to help you and your family in as many ways as possible in achieving your educational goals. In addition to offering scholarships and grants to help offset some of the costs, below is a list of resources to assist you and your family, including information on completing the GED, Adult Education, professional certification programs, on-line degrees, and various guides to California colleges and universities.

Savings and tax breaks for education

Section 529 Plans
Among the most popular education accounts are the Section 529 college savings plans, which take their name from Section 529 of the U.S. tax code. It allows parents, grandparents other relatives, and friends to open an account and invest in a variety of stock and fixed-income accounts on behalf of a beneficiary. Savings grow tax free, and contributions and any earnings used to pay for qualified higher education expenses are federal and California income tax-free.  Each state has its own plan. For California, check out ScholarShare, California’s 529 College Savings Plan. California state residency is not required. However, investors residing outside of California should consider their own state’s plan first as it may have tax advantages that are only available through that state’s plan.

Overview of education tax benefits
When paying tuition and other related expenses, you be eligible for certain tax benefits associated with education-related expenses.

Tax credits
There are currently two tax credits available to help you offset the costs of higher education by reducing the amount of your income tax: the Hope credit and the lifetime learning credit.

Tax Deductions — lower your taxable income with these breaks:

  • Tuition and Fees Deduction — for a student for whom no education credit is claimed. Qualifying expenses must not have been paid with any other tax-free benefit. A maximum deduction of $4,000 if  taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income does not exceed $80,000  ($160,000 on a joint return).
  • Deduction for work-related education — claim costs of education required to keep your job or to maintain or improve skills needed in your  present work, but not if the education is needed to meet the minimum requirements of your position or is part of a program to qualify you for a new trade or business.
  • Student loan interest deduction — maximum deduction of  $2,500 for interest paid on qualified student loans available if your modified adjusted gross income is less than $75,000 ($150,000 if filed a  joint return).

Employer-paid courses are tax-free 
If you receive educational assistance benefits from your employer under an educational assistance program, you can exclude up to $5,250 of those benefits each year.

CSEA Scholarship Services

CSEA’s Scholarship Program provides CSEA members and their families with a wide range of educational assistance. Since the early 1960’s, CSEA’s Scholarship Program has awarded more than a million dollars to union members and their dependents that want to begin or continue their secondary education.

Member Career Grants
CSEA offers grants to members who are going to school on a part time or full time basis. $1000 grants are awarded to recipients based on financial need, goals and objectives, citizenship, and CSEA activities.

CSEA Member Grants are accepted June 2—October 31. (Applications available June 2)

Dependent Scholarships
$1,000 scholarships are awarded to CSEA member dependents (including spouses) based on academic achievement, character, leadership and extra curricular activities within the community. Financial need may also be taken into consideration on some. There are graduating high school senior, community college and college or vocational school scholarships.

CSEA Dependent Scholarships will be accepted until March 1.

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