School Daze

Getting a Ph.D. left Laquita Blockson with dizzying debt. Now, she seeks a financial plan to pay it all off

Deduct professional expenses. Blockson should hire a tax professional who is familiar with academic expenses when tax time comes around next year. According to the Internal Revenue Service, Blockson can deduct unreimbursed employee expenses, provided that 1) they are paid or incurred during the tax year for which she is filing, 2) they are directly related to her work, and 3) they are necessary expenses.

Blockson can deduct research spending, including travel expenses for teaching, lecturing, or writing and publishing on a topic related to her duties as a professor.

n Leverage skills to generate additional income.  Blockson needs to develop additional streams of income. Although she has started her own consulting company, Blockson Management Advising, through which she conducts speaking engagements and facilitates training sessions and workshops, she has been hesitant to promote the business for fear that it would jeopardize her chances to earn tenure, for which she’ll be eligible in two years. But the experts believe it’s in Blockson’s best interest to develop her company as soon as she can—perhaps finding a way to make her research palatable to corporate audiences that might hire her for speeches and workshops. be

To receive an application for the financial fitness contest, send an e-mail to financialfitness@blackenterprise.com.

This story originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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