University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

FICA – Graduate Student Rules

Graduate students at the University of Minnesota (including Ph.D. and Advanced Masters candidates) will be exempt from FICA withholding on University wages if they meet the enrollment tests described in IRS revenue procedure 2005-11.

Number of credit hours

  • Graduate student - 3 credit hours - considered by the University of Minnesota to be half-time equivalent for graduate students
  • Ph.D. candidate - 1 credit hour
  • Advanced Masters candidate - 1 credit hour (as long as they have completed their coursework and are working on a thesis or dissertation for credit) Advanced Masters candidates enrolled in the following courses have completed their coursework and are working on a thesis or dissertation: 8777 and 8333.

Job Class

Must be working in student position - “considered to be incident to and for the purpose of pursuing a course of study.”

Semester start date and end dates falling within a pay period

If the academic term begins or ends at any point within a pay period, the entire pay period is eligible for the exemption from FICA.

Breaks of under/over 5 weeks

If the student is registered for the following semester, the student will be eligible for the FICA exemption if the break is less than 5 weeks in duration. If the break is more than five weeks, then it will stand alone for determining the Student FICA exemption (e.g., summer session)

For more information concerning the Student FICA exemption and Revenue Procedure 2005-11, see FICA – IRS Student Guidelines.