Posted: 2/17/22

TAMIU AIRES, VITA Encourage Students to Gain Financial Literacy Skills as Volunteer Tax Preparers


Andrea Beattie

Recently, Texas A&M International University’s Academic and Industry Readiness in Engineering and Science (TAMIU AIRES) program teamed up with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Laredo program to encourage students to become IRS-certified tax preparers. 

During the VITA Basic Tax Law workshop, students learned more about how taxes work. To apply the knowledge acquired at the workshop, VITA asked participants to volunteer for at least 30 hours during tax season. 

Their efforts span from February through April 2022, with volunteers assisting community members by preparing their tax forms. The service is offered free of charge. 

Andrea Beattie, TAMIU AIRES program manager, and past VITA volunteer, noted the impact of VITA and why these initiatives are vital to both the community and individuals interested in learning more about financial literacy.   

“The VITA program challenges you to apply what you have learned in a real-world setting with real people who need your help. You walk out of that experience feeling more confident that you will better understand how taxes work. One of the key goals of TAMIU AIRES is to prepare students with the financial literacy skills they will need to transition into the workforce, and we believe that taxes are part of that mission,” said Beattie. 

Currently, the VITA program offers tax preparation assistance at the University. Individuals in need of help can visit the Western Hemispheric Trade Center, room 125 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 5:30 – 8 p.m. Prior to their visit, individuals should make an appointment by visiting https://vitalaredo.org/. Individuals should review the website to see the necessary documentation required for their appointment.

The VITA program is an IRS-sponsored program that offers free tax return preparation and general tax help to families and individuals. The program is designed for families and individuals with incomes of $66,000 or less.

The University has served as a VITA site since 2011. Additional locations are also located throughout Laredo. For a full location list and times, visit https://www.facebook.com/VITA.laredo.tx/.

Developed through a U.S. Department of Education Title V grant at the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS), TAMIU AIRES provides academic support services and career readiness opportunities for upper-level STEM students. Ultimately, the initiative assists students in completing their degree and successfully transitioning into the workplace. 

Additionally, the career readiness component includes opportunities for students to develop their financial literacy through workshops and certifications. University students interested in skill-building can attend the upcoming Spring Deep Dive series and Summer Workshops covering topics in Financial Literacy and Career Readiness in 2022.

TAMIU AIRES is led by Dr. Claudia San Miguel, COAS dean and project director, and Dr. Marcus Antonius Ynalvez, COAS associate dean and co-project director. 

For more information on AIRES and program participation and events, contact Beattie at aires@tamiu.edu, call 956.326.2655 or visit offices in the Academic Innovation Center, room 313.