Go look at your 1098-T forms

Go look at your 1098-T forms

At the turn of the year, I thought about posting something about the best moments of 2016, like working as editor-in-chief, starting my job at the Writing Center and getting engaged. I decided against it, because the people who care about the things going “right” in my life already knew about them.

And as I tried to talk myself into making some New Year’s resolutions, I suddenly found myself very interested in wedding planning. Working on my senior thesis last semester had literally put my planning at a standstill, and it helped to have Jason home over Christmas as a physical reminder that, yeah, this is happening.

Along with the new year and the impending doom of graduation came some generic fresh motivation to stay on track with “adult” things, like paying bills and eating more wholesome — cue brink-of-insanity-Batman-Joker-laughter.

That lasted about a week. I am happy with the progress I made through the first half of the month though, if you count signing up for mobile deposits and meeting with a potential wedding caterer and photographer as progress.

God, when did I get so boring?

And if boring isn’t the right word, maybe 22 is a better adjective. I’m not sure Blink-182 got it right in the song, because I feel like I’ll be a lot more likeable next year, when I’m 23 and not eight states away from the love of my life. Just a thought.

But I suppose that’s all a bit too personal and anecdotal for you, so on to the “important life lesson” part of this piece.

Go look at your 1098-T forms on MyGannon. Thank me later.

This is where I ended up on the internet Monday night instead of my usual perusal of Twitter and Pinterest.

These forms summarize your tuition bill and scholarship funds per year, which is very useful for a senior trying to figure out just how much debt she is bringing with her into the next chapter of her life.

I did some basic iPhone calculator work and estimated my tuition cost for all four years, and seeing that number was not the answer, really, but an idea of what I’m going to be paying back. If that makes any sense.

MyGannon also has some other helpful links, like your financial aid status for the two most recent semesters and a summary of your semester bill.

These are all probably things the admissions and financial aid representatives explained at freshman orientation, where I was too busy twiddling my thumbs to make note of it. Sorry, folks. I was still trying to figure out how to balance my bank account, let alone understand my tuition bill.

Do I regret not looking into this sooner? Not exactly. Do I think all students reading this column should have some understanding of what their education costs? Absolutely.

There’s a reason I dropped out of the health sciences, and while most of that reason resides with my lifelong interest in writing, part of it all goes back to my dislike and disinterest for math and data. I’ve never been able to make much sense of numbers, but when graduation and marriage are on the line, you can find even an English major who cares about those figures.


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