News around campus

New tax laws affect educational benefits

On Aug. 20, 1996, the federal tax laws governing educatonal benefits changed. Some of the benefits that the University offers employees and dependents will now be considered as "taxable" income. The changes include the following:

* Benefits paid for graduate courses taken from Jan. 1, 1996, through June 30, 1996, are excluded from taxation up to $5,250. Any amount over $5,250 is taxable.

* Effective July 1, 1996, the benefits paid for graduate courses are taxed as income.

* Benefits paid for undergraduate courses taken through the Tuition Reimbursement program are excluded from taxation up to $5,250 through May 31, 1997.

* Undergraduate courses taken through the Courtesy Scholarship program are excluded from taxation.

The Payroll Department will notify employees of the dollar amount of educational benefits that is added to their taxable wages and included on their W-2 forms. The amount of FICA taxes withheld depends on whether the employee has reached the OASDI wage base. For employees with earnings below the OASDI wage base, 7.65 percent is withheld. For those above the OASDI wage base, 1.45 percent is withheld. The OASDI wage base for 1996 is $62,700, and for 1997 will be $65,400.

The taxability of educational benefits is determined by federal regulations and is subject to change. If you have any questions regarding the educational benefits program, call your designated benefits specialist at 727-7613 (University employees) or 727-2577 (Hospital employees).

Proposals sought for commercialization awards

A conference on the Faculty Research Commercialization Program (FRCP) will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5, from 3-5 p.m. in the Calhoun Conference Room, Health Sciences Library. Faculty involved in research projects that are close to market or have commercial potential are invited to submit proposals to the FRCP for product development funding.

Funded by the state of Georgia and the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), the FRCP awards up to $100,000 per project to propel promising technologies from the conceptual stage to viable prototypes. All academic and research faculty of the six Georgia Research Alliance universities--including Georgia Tech, Georgia State, the University of Georgia, Clark Atlanta University, the Medical College of Georgia and Emory--are eligible to apply.

The award provides the financial support necessary to move research technology from the lab to the market and can be used for equipment, materials, contract consulting or release time. Faculty are encouraged to involve students in these projects whenever possible. Business development support, as provided by Georgia Tech's ATDC, may be available to sponsored projects.

ATDC seeks projects that are beyond the conceptual stage. Only applied research projects directed at a specific commercial product or technology with a potential market opportunity will be considered. The result will be a prototype or near-prototype product that should become the basis for establishing a new company or an opportunity to license the technology.

Chemistry Professor Lanny Liebeskind (Durable Antimicrobial Waterstable Compounds) and Psychiatry Professor Barbara Rothbaum (Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy) have received FRCP grants this year.

To apply for FRCP funding, submit a proposal preview by Jan. 15, 1997, and the proposal by March 24. Copies for the proposal preview outline and the RFP (request for proposal) are available through ATDC's web site at <http://www.>, or by calling Annette Gaddis at (404) 894-3575. Other inquiries about the program may be directed to Mary Leary, FRCP program manager, at (404) 894-3575, or via e-mail to <>.

Music at Emory seeks volunteer ushers

Music at Emory is seeking volunteer ushers to help with concerts, running through May 1997. Participants will receive free tickets to the events, depending on availability.

Nine concerts remain in the season. Scheduled Dec. 6 and 7 is the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, which features the University Chorus and orchestra, marking the official start of the Christmas season in Atlanta since 1924. On Dec. 10 and April 13,

Harmony: Atlanta's International Youth Chorus will perform. On Feb. 4 the new European Strings Chamber Orchestra, one of the leading chamber ensembles in the world, will perform an arrangement of Bach's Goldberg Variations. The Israel Camerata, an orchestra praised for its performances of baroque, classical and modern music, will perform with pianist Claude Frank on Feb. 18. Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, who appears regularly with the world's leading orchestras, will perform Feb. 28. Jazz vocalist Milton Nascimento performs March 25, and the baritone opera house star Thomas Allen will sing selections from Haydn, Schubert, Brahms, Ravel and Copeland on April 25.

Concerts will be held at Glenn Memorial Auditorium. Those interested should contact Tonia Finley, 727-6640. Volunteers are expected to attend all of the concerts or indicate any scheduling conflicts that they have in advance.

Exhibit showcases charm of Southeast

The work of photographer Craig Cochran, whose art explores the natural charm of the Southeast, is on display at the Dobbs Center Art Gallery through Dec. 13 in an exhibit titled Georgia Scenes. Cochran says his favorite subjects are the "plain and seemingly unremarkable details of our world. I strive to reveal the poetry lurking inside these simple subjects." For further information, call 727-2787.

Holiday Mall Dec. 2-6

A Holiday Mall will be set up in the Coca Cola Commons of Dobbs Center from Dec. 2-6. The mall features a wide variety of gifts for the holiday season. The Holiday Mall also will include "Massages by the Minute" to ease the stress of shopping. For more information, call 727-5354.

Return to the December 2, 1996 contents page