FICA Policies

Minnesota State University, Mankato students who are employed by the University and who are enrolled at least half-time (6 credits each semester), are not subject to social security tax (FICA) withholding on the wages earned at the University. Services performed by a student for any other employer do not qualify for this exception.

Determination of Enrollment Status

The determination of enrollment status will be verified each payroll period.

FICA Exception Does Not Apply

The student FICA exception does not apply to services performed by an individual who is:

  • not enrolled in classes during school breaks
  • or 
  • more than five weeks (including summer breaks of more than five weeks).

School Breaks of 5 Weeks or Less

The exception applies to employment which continues during normal school breaks of 5 weeks or less during which 

  • the student is not enrolled provided that the student qualified for the student FICA exception on the last day of classes preceding the break 
  • and 
  • is eligible to enroll in classes for the first academic period following the break.

In the Last Semester of His/Her Degree Program

For FICA purposes a student is deemed to be

  • a half-time undergraduate or half-time graduate student if the student is in the last semester of his/her degree program
  • and
  • is enrolled in the number of credit hours needed to complete the requirements for the degree even if enrolled in less than 6 credits. 

Supervisors of student employees working under this provision, must notify the Student Payroll Office to obtain the FICA exemption.

International Students

An international student (non-resident alien) with an F-1, J-1 or M-1 visa is exempt from FICA withholding. This does NOT mean the student is exempt from Federal and State tax withholding.


Student Employee and Graduate Assistant Supervisors

In addition to the above statement, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) further clarified its FICA/Medicare withholding requirements for student employees. Guidance received from the Office of the Chancellor Tax Services unit stipulates that students with a normal work schedule of more than 30 hours per week are now subject to FICA/Medicare Tax. Generally, this change should not affect us during the fall or spring semesters because we are already limiting the maximum number of hours per week to 20 hours per week for undergraduate student employees and 14 hours per week for graduate student employees. Additionally, this change will not affect us during the winter break because breaks of five weeks or less are not considered part of a normal work schedule. However, this change will affect us during for the summer semester because we allow undergraduate students to work more than 30 hours per week during this period.

Student Not Enrolled in Coursework

If a student is not enrolled in coursework (for example, during summer break), FICA tax is already required to be collected; therefore, hours worked would not alter the FICA/Medicare tax exemption determination.

Credit Level Exceptions

During the summer sessions, and the interim between summer and fall semester, undergraduate students that are enrolled for less than three credits and graduate students enrolled for less than two credits, will have FICA/Medicare withheld.

Hours Exceptions

If a student is working more than 60 hours in a pay period they are also subject to FICA/Medicare withholding.

We will contact supervisors of student employees that have been working 60 or more hours per pay period over the last three pay periods to determine whether or not these students' normal work schedule will continue to be 30 or more hours per week.