Bookstein Institute

2019 President's Letter

President Dianne F. Harrison, CSUN

President Dianne F. Harrison, CSUN

CSUN’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Clinic, known as VITA, continues to grow every year, positively impacting thousands of lives across Los Angeles and beyond. Hundreds of VITA student volunteers receive real-world career training by providing no-cost income tax preparation assistance — including to veterans, people with disabilities and non-English speakers. Our volunteers make a real difference for thousands of individuals and families with low incomes, by making sure those taxpayers receive the refunds and income credits due to them by the federal and state governments.

The VITA Clinic, a service of the CSUN David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, has experienced an amazing expansion, thanks to the leadership of Dr. Rafi Efrat and the generous support of our donors and corporate partners. From 2015-19, VITA has increased the number of completed tax returns per year by more than 2,000%.

This year, VITA expanded beyond its roots in the San Fernando Valley to stretch its service area across every corner of Los Angeles County.

This dramatic increase in VITA’s footprint was accomplished by leveraging the strong collaboration with four other California State University (CSU) campuses based in LA County, as well as six LA-based community colleges. Working with the CSU5 — named for participating CSU campuses Northridge, Los Angeles, Dominguez Hills, Long Beach and Pomona — Dr. Efrat received a $344,250 grant from the California Department of Community Services and Development to expand the program, enabling the VITA to serve more taxpayers than ever before.

VITA aligns perfectly with the CSU5’s goal of leveraging the strengths and resources of our CSU campuses to serve the Los Angeles region, while also giving students the opportunity to learn and support their communities. Since CSUN accounting faculty and students launched the VITA program in 1971, it has inspired similar programs across the country. There are now more than 5,100 clinics helping families in all 50 states.

CSUN VITA gives the hundreds of students who volunteer in local clinics a head start on their professional careers. The vast majority of these students continue to positively impact our community after graduation, staying in Southern California to drive the region’s economy and increase economic prosperity.

I am immensely proud of the work our VITA Clinic has done to harness the skills, talents, knowledge and commitment of students, faculty and Los Angeles community partners. I look forward to watching VITA create successful outcomes for residents and students for years to come.