Under section 3121 (b) (10) of the Internal Revenue Code, IRS has issued the following regulations in regard to the Student FICA exception rule (Procedure 2005-11). Student employees will generally meet the new Safe Harbor rules, allowing exemption from FICA, so as long as the following conditions are met:

  1. Must be employed by a school, college, or University
  2. Cannot be a full time employee
  3. Is not a professional employee
  4. Is not eligible for certain employee benefits (vacation, sick leave, 403(b) participant, etc.)
  5. For undergraduate students → must carry a minimum of 6 units during the Academic Year and 4 units during Summer Session.*
  6. For graduate students → must carry a minimum of 4 units during the Academic Year and 2 units during Summer Session.*

NOTE: If the student's total FTE adds up to 80% or more for the entire month, then the student is ineligible for the FICA exception. If a student has an FTE of less than 80% for even one day during the month, then the student is eligible for the FICA exception. It is imperative that departments review each of the job record percentages for their students. The listed FTE must reflect closely what the student employee will actually be working.

For further clarification please visit the following site:


*Summer Session:


The following are links to additional resources:

Academic Personnel

Graduate Division


Human Resources

Student Employment Guidelines (UC and Non-UC) - January 2024