IRS Announces 2015 Plan Contribution and Benefit Limits

On October 23, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2015. See the chart below for further details.

2014

2015

RETIREMENT PLANS
Annual Compensation Limits For Retirement Program Purposes 260,000 265,000
Elective Deferrals 403(b) – (for under age 50) 17,500 18,000
Catch-up Contributions For 403(b) Plan Participants age 50 and over 5,500 6,000
457 (b) Elective Deferrals 17,500 18,000
457(b) Catch Up Contribution (Subject To Age And Other Restrictions) 17,500 18,000
Defined Contribution Limits On Maximum Combined Employee/Employer Contributions To Defined Contributions Plans 52,000 53,000
OTHER
Social Security Taxable Wage Base 117,000 118,500
Medicare Wage Base No Limit No Limit

All figures in US dollars.

Sources: www.tiaa-cref.orgwww.irs.gov

Follow @franklindaniel_ on Twitter for up to date information on retirement benefits.

 

Key Survey Scheduled Downtime on Nov 22 for Upgrade to version 8.6

KeySurvey LogoThe following information is important only for individuals having a Key Survey account used to create, distribute, and work with surveys and response data.

WorldAPP (our Key Survey host) is excited to announce that your Key Survey / Form.com account will be upgraded to the new software version 8.6. on  Saturday, November 22nd, 2014, between the hours of:

EST:   1 AM and 10 AM / GMT:    6 AM and 3 PM

Loaded with variety of new features, this latest software update introduces many of the advanced task management and workflow capabilities that you, our customers, have asked us for.

Please note that your account may be unavailable during the system upgrade. Your respondents attempting to access surveys, forms or reports will receive a friendly notification of the system maintenance in progress. Once the maintenance has been completed, the application and all survey/form/report links will be accessible.

To learn more about version 8.6 software release ahead of time, visit the Fall ’14 Release Promo page.

If you have any questions about this update please feel free to contact support@worldapp.com.

Sub Sandwich? No, Try a Subpage or Sidebar Instead! (Updated Drupal/Work Session Schedule)

Sub SandwichDo you need to learn how to edit your department’s website?  Would you like to know how to add sub pages, pictures and sidebars?  Our intro class will give you what you need to get started.  We’ll cover the basics of Drupal so you’ll be able to add links, pictures, and a host of other cool things to your site right away.

For you more advanced users who may be tackling needs beyond the basics (such as converting your forms), join us for a work session or two.  We’ll help you get the job done and you’ll leave with the “know how.”

Visit go/techworkshops/ to view the updated tech workshop schedule and sign up for the classes that fit your needs.

Carol A. Moore Scholarship–applications now being accepted!

Vermont Women in Higher Education annually awards a $1,000 scholarship to a woman working in higher education, either faculty or staff, who is successful in her campus role. The scholarship must be used to engage in professional development or academic pursuits in order to further her career. Candidates must also demonstrate a commitment to supporting women’s leadership on campus. For further questions, please contact Shannon Bohler-Small at bohler@middlebury.edu or extension 2961.

Application deadine is November 30, 2014.

For the form and more information please go to www.vwhe.org/index.php/scholarship .

 

New Mac OS 10.10 (“Yosemite”) Released

Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10.x), released on 16 October 2014 and is available as an upgrade for faculty and staff who are currently running Mavericks (10.9.x).  If your machine is running Mavericks (10.9.x) or Mountain Lion (10.8.x) the upgrade will appear automatically in Software Updates under the Apple Menu.  If your machine is running Snow Leopard (10.6.x) or Lion (10.7.x), you will need to contact the Technology HelpDesk to discuss upgrade options.

As with all operating system upgrades, there are potential issues of compatibility with applications and services and we are currently neither promoting nor discouraging the upgrade.  New computers provided for faculty and staff will continue to have 10.9.5 (Mavericks) installed for now; public labs are not scheduled to be updated to Yosemite at this time.  Knowing that there will be “early adopters” who opt to upgrade right away, we have created a site to share known issues and areas of concern.  Visit go/yosemite/ to view — or add to — this work-in-progress.

Yosemite has several improvements, including better support of multiple monitors, handoff capabilities between Yosemite and iOS8 devices, and enhanced iCloud Drive capabilities.  See Apple’s complete list of what’s new in Yosemite or take a personal tour using lynda.com’s new, hour-long course, Mac OS X Yosemite New Features.

Key Survey Mobile App Update Now Available

KeySurvey LogoThe following information is pertinent only for individuals having a Key Survey account used to create, distribute, and work with surveys and response data.

Message text (excerpt) from WorldAPP’s Customer Care team, dated 10/21/14:

New updates for Form.com Mobile v4.0 and Key Survey Mobile v4.0 are now available for download.

What’s New: This latest software update provides enhanced ability to capture data from your mobile device while offline and offers improved data synchronization technology with a faster automatic data upload frequency rate when online – now, every 5 minutes.

Before downloading the update, please be informed that:

• Legacy versions of the Form.com Mobile and Key Survey Mobile apps will continue to operate, however, we highly recommend installing the latest update to receive the best possible performance.
• We advise performing a final synchronization request to ensure all data is uploaded to the server. Failure to do this could result in data loss.
• If you are still working from the WorldAPP Offline branded mobile app, it is recommended that you install the new mobile app (Form.com Mobile for Form.com accounts, Key Survey Mobile for Key Survey accounts), as WorldAPP Offline will no longer be supported. Follow these 4 simple steps for a smooth transition to the new app.

As always, WorldAPP’s support staff can assist with questions you may have.

 

 

HR Update: This Week’s Employment Snapshot

There are currently 16 faculty positions, 46 external job postings (regular, on-call and temporary), and 1 internal job posting on the Middlebury College employment opportunities web sites.

Employment Quick Links:

Faculty Employment Opportunities: http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/administration/prospective_faculty/employment

Staff Employment Opportunities: go/staff-jobs (on campus),http://go.middlebury.edu/staff-jobs (off campus)

Please note – to view only internal staff postings, please use the internal posting search filter that was highlighted in this MiddPoints article.

On-call/Temporary Staff Employment Opportunities: go/staff-jobs-sh (on campus),http://go.middlebury.edu/staff-jobs-sh (off campus)

The Week’s Headlines

Here are the week’s headlines from the News Room:

Faculty Stories: Roberto Lint Sagarena, American Studies

Quoted: Rana Abdelhamid ’15 on Impact of Bill Maher’s Comments on Islam

Middlebury College Theatre Presents 1920s Jewish Comedy “Mendel, Inc.”

Incoming Student Makes Time’s List of Most Influential Teens of 2014

Homecoming ’14 Oct. 17-18

Quoted: Barbara Hofer on Technology and the Study Abroad Experience

View past stories by visiting the News Room page.

The Role of Grading

Please join us on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 in the CTLR (LIB 225), at 12:15 PM.

To many faculty, grading is a necessary burden that accompanies the more invigorating dimensions of teaching.  Grading’s secure place in the academy, however, often forestalls sustained discussion of its purpose and operation.  This Academic Roundtable, which will be facilitated by Don Wyatt of the History Department and Jane Chaplin of the Classics Department, will explore the following questions:  How does grading best promote student learning?  What are strategies for discussing grades with disgruntled or disappointed students? Can grades be used for both process and product in the same course?  Should we be concerned about grade inflation?  And is there an art to grading?

Lunch will be served.  Please RSVP to dbernier@middlebury.edu by Friday, Oct. 24, 2014.

The Academic Roundtable is co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching, Learning, & Research and the Library.

What’s New with Flexible Spending Accounts

Keeping more in your pocket…..

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are more compelling than ever now that the government has modified its “use-it or lose-it” rule.  You can now rollover up to $500 of unused Health Care FSA funds at the end of the plan year, to be used the following plan year.

Health Care FSAs have always been a great way for you to budget for out-of-pocket health care expenses.  Contributions to the Health Care FSA are deducted from your paycheck on a pre-tax basis – reducing your taxable income and increasing your spendable income by an average of 30% of your annual contribution.  The government has modified its use-it or lose-it rule to allow up to $500 of unused Health Care FSA funds to rollover for use in the following plan year.  Now, you can maximize your tax savings by maximizing your Health Care FSA contributions up to the $2,500 annual limit.

The benefits of the new FSA rule:

  • Rollover up to $500 of unused Health Care FSA funds to the following plan year
  • The rollover amount does not affect the following year’s maximum contribution amount.  You can still contribute up to the maximum allowance of $2,500
  • Maximize your tax savings by increasing your contribution
  • The new rule does not affect the March 15th deadline to submit claims
  • Your entire annual election is still available at the beginning of the plan year

The risk of forfeiting funds has been greatly reduced.  The stress of choosing the “right” election amount has been reduced.  Increasing your contribution amount will automatically increase your tax savings.  Enroll during Open Enrollment (Nov 1st-14th) to enjoy the benefits of the new Health Care FSA rollover provision for 2015.

FSA Rollover Q&A