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Student FICA Exemption

What is FICA?

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax is a tax imposed by the federal government to fund Social Security and Medicare - federal programs that provide benefits for retirees, the disabled, and children of deceased workers. It is also known as Old Age Survivor Insurance (OASI).

How do I qualify for the exemption?

The qualifications for the exemption are strictly defined and the exemption is mandatory.

  1. Students must be enrolled at least half-time and working at the same institution.

  2. It is the student's last semester and the student is enrolled in the number of credit hours needed to graduate but less than half time. The student must provide written verification to Payroll Services for the exemption to be available if enrolled less than half time the final term.

  3. Post-docs are not eligible for the exemption.

  4. Employee cannot be eligible for retirement benefits.

Enrollment RequirementsUndergraduateGraduate
Fall and Spring sessions 6 hours 5 hours
Summer 5 week session 3 hours 3 hours
Summer 11 week session 5 hours 5 hours
Intersession 2 hours 2 hours

Exemption Period

The exemption period covers any pay period that falls wholly or partially within the academic term.

What else should I know?

Enrollment hours and exemption status is determined on census date for each term. If the census date falls after a payroll period in which you are enrolled in classes and working at UT Arlington, you will receive a refund of the FICA tax that has been deducted from your paycheck. The University Academic Calendar provides you with each term's census date.

Your date of birth and social security number on your employment record and student record must match in order to be identified for the exemption.

Most common scenarios for not getting the exemption (undergraduate)

  1. Enrolled fewer than 6 hours for the fall or spring terms.

  2. Enrolled fewer than 3 hours for a 5 week term.

  3. Enrolled in 3 hours for first summer 5 week session and 3 hours for 11 week summer session. Total enrollment is 6 hours during the first summer session but drops to 3 when the first summer session ends. Exempt only for June and July.

  4. Student record date of birth does not match employee record date of birth.

  5. Student record Social Security number does not match employee record Social Security number.