FICA IRS Student Guidelines and Rules

FICA IRS Student Guidelines and Rules

The University follows IRS rules in determining a student's exemption from FICA withholding. FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) refers to taxes for Social Security (OASDI) and Medicare. When eligible, OASDI is withheld at 6.2% and Medicare at 1.45%, for a total tax of 7.65%.

To be exempt from FICA taxes, the criteria below must be met:

Student Status
  • To be considered a student, an employee must be enrolled as Baylor University and regularly attending classes in pursuit of a course of study. In addition, the employee's services must be "incidental to and for the purpose of pursuing a course of study," meaning the relationship between the employer and the employee must be primarily educational.
  • Scheduled work hours are 29 hours or less per week.
Number of Credit Hours

Student Employees will be exempt from FICA taxes if they meet the minimum criteria for a half-time student. “Full-time student” status is defined by the Office of the Registrar.

  • For Graduate Students to be exempt from FICA, they must be registered at Baylor University for at least 5 hours per semester, or be registered for 5V99, 6V99 or other Thesis or Dissertation Courses equivalent to full time status.
  • For Undergraduate Students to be exempt from FICA, they must be registered at Baylor University for at least 6 hours per semester.
  • If a student is paid during a break in enrollment of 5 weeks or more, FICA tax withholding is required. 

Example:

Ashley is classified as a graduate assistant and was enrolled in 9 credit hours in the spring semester, which ended on May 8. She is enrolled in the upcoming summer two term, which begins on July 5. If Ashley continues to work throughout May and June, FICA withholding will be required in these months due to the eight-week break in enrollment (May 8 – July 5).