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string was at Baruch, everything else was in a community center somewhere,” explained Smith. The VITA program through Baruch was one of the largest in the nation, surpassing the national average of seven volunteers per site at least 20 times. Even other CUNY schools do not have the same presence in VITA as Baruch once had. Hunter College’s VITA program only operates one site, which is located on their campus. “Other VITA locations (such as Pace University) were initially swamped by our clients when they found out that we were suspended,” said Teng. The suspension not only was a great loss to the community using the services, but also to the student body at Baruch, “since VITA was a way to get your feet wet in the tax field without having an internship or taking the class,” Teng explained. Students have not forgotten about the program either. “There have been several incidences where I was stopped in the hallway by interested students regarding the program,” said Teng. But now students might finally have the chance to be part of Baruch VITA again. On Tuesday, March 31, Student Life hosted an interest meeting for students, letting them know the program would be returning in the fall. Teng gave a small speech during the meeting and will help with developing and advising the leadership for Baruch VITA. Training the students will be imperative to ensure that a breach does not occur again. The IRS is taking away the Baruch training component, which consisted of a more “hands on” approach with real life scenarios, according to Smith. Baruch VITA will now only be using the IRS training and testing for the certification process of student volunteers. Student Life also plans on keeping a closer eye on the program. “We happen to be the go-between between the IRS and the students anyway, so we’ll just be a little more involved. They have a faculty advisor who will also be more involved,” said Smith."]
Baruch brings back long awaited VITA program
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