Student Employee

Overview:

Each new student employee must be qualified for exemption from FICA. It is the employing department's responsibility to prepare, authorize and submit the Student Employee FICA Checklist along with the PAF and related hiring documents. Student employees are defined by HR Policies 101 and 204 (UM System or MRC):

Guidelines for Use of Student Titles:

Summary

Student titles are not benefit eligible and listed in HR-204 Position Titles. Individuals meeting the following criteria are eligible to work in a student title:

  • The individual must be enrolled at the University of Missouri. Enrollment during summer is not required as long as the student was enrolled during the Winter semester and is pre-enrolled for the Fall semester.
  • The individual's association with the University must primarily relate to the pursuit of an academic program.
  • The individual's employment is not required to be in his/her field of study if an undergraduate but may be required for graduate assistantship appointments. 
    Campuses may develop an expansion of these guidelines to limit number of hours worked, establish number of hours enrolled, requirements to hold graduate appointments, level of compensation, etc.

Student Titles as of September 2001

  • Graduate Assistant 4710
  • Graduate Fellow 4680
  • Graduate Instructor 4685
  • Graduate Library Assistant 4690
  • Graduate Research Assistant 4715
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant 4717
  • Peer Learning Assistant 6669
  • Student Assistant - Clerical 8881
  • Student Assistant - Craft/Trades 8882
  • Student Assistant - Professional 8883
  • Student Assistant - Service 8884
  • Student Assistant - Technical 8885
  • Student Assistant - Farm 8886
  • Student Research Assistant 8875 (Reaffirmed by VP Academic Affairs, Steve Lehmkuhle 9/01)
  • Student Teaching Assistant 8880 (Reaffirmed by VP Academic Affairs, Steve Lehmkuhle 9/01)

Continuing student employees' academic enrollments are verified each semester; reports are distributed listing those who may no longer qualify for FICA exemption. It is the HR/Payroll/other designated office's responsibility to update the employment records for FICA status changes:

PAF turnaround: Effective Date = Date of the FICA exception report,

Action = Data (change), Reason = FIC (FICA change),

FICA Status = S (subject to tax)

The HR/Payroll/other designated office is also responsible for advising the student employee of the change to FICA status. Exemption from FICA can be reinstated upon receipt of enrollment certification from the Registrar's Office, completion and submission of a new Student Employee FICA Checklist, and PAF turnaround showing the FICA status change. No refunds of FICA taxes will be provided.

Purpose:

This form is used to document the specific items which determine that this student employee is either exempt from FICA tax or is subject to FICA tax.

Frequency:

The form should be completed for each student employee who:

* is a new student employee, has never worked for UM

or

* is a continuing student employee whose exemption has expired.

Questions:

1) and 2) For a new employee - one who has never been employed by UM - you may skip these two steps. If you do not have access to the employee's record, you may contact your HR/Payroll office for assistance.

3) Ask the student if s/he is enrolled half time or more to answer this question.

4) Ask the student if s/he is regularly attending classes to answer this question.

5) Ask the student if s/he has other active UM employment. If so, then consult the Student Hours Worked Report to determine the total work hours to date for the employee.

6), 7), 8) and 9) Answer honestly regarding the work requirements for the position in your department.

10) The departmental representative should indicate the appropriate FICA status to verify that the employee is exempt from FICA or is subject to FICA. Both the student employee and departmental representative must sign and date the form. The form must be submitted with the PAF.

Examples:

The following examples are adapted from 26 CFR Part 31, Department of the Treasury, and are provided for illustrative purposes:

Example 1. (i) Employee 1 is employed by the University of Missouri (UM) to provide services as a clerk in UM's administrative offices, and is enrolled and regularly attending classes at UM in pursuit of a B.S. degree in biology. Employee 1 has a course workload during the academic term which constitutes a full-time course workload at UM. Employee 1 is considered a part-time employee by UM during the academic term, and Employee 1's normal work schedule is 20 hours per week, but occasionally due to work demands unforeseen at the start of the academic term Employee 1 works 40 hours or more during a week. Employee 1 is compensated by hourly wages, and receives no other compensation or employment benefits.

(ii) In Example 1, Employee 1 is enrolled and regularly attending classes at UM in pursuit of a course of study. Employee 1 is not a full-time employee based on UM's standards, and Employee 1's normal work schedule does not cause Employee 1 to have the status of a full-time employee, even though Employee 1 may occasionally work 40 hours or more during a week due to unforeseen work demands. Employee 1's part-time employment relative to Employee 1's full-time course workload indicates that the educational aspect of Employee 1's relationship with UM is predominant. Additional facts supporting this conclusion are that Employee 1 is not a professional employee, and Employee 1 does not receive employment benefits. Thus, Employee 1's services are incident to and for the purpose of pursuing a course of study. Accordingly, Employee 1's services are exempt from FICA.

Example 2. (i) Employee 2 is employed in the accounting department of UM, and is enrolled and regularly attending classes at UM in pursuit of an M.B.A. degree. Employee 2 has a course workload which constitutes a half-time course workload at UM. Employee 2 is in a benefits-eligible position (Regular) at UM.

(ii) In Example 2, Employee 2 is enrolled and regularly attending classes at UM in pursuit of a course of study. However, because Employee 2 is in a benefits-eligible position (Regular) at UM, Employee 2's services are not incident to and for the purpose of pursuing a course of study. Accordingly, Employee 2's services are not exempt from FICA.

Example 3. (i) Employee 3 is employed by UM to provide patient care services at the teaching hospital. These services are performed as part of a medical residency program in a medical specialty sponsored by UM. The residency program in which Employee 3 participates is accredited by the Accreditation Counsel for Graduate Medical Education. Upon completion of the program, Employee 3 will receive a certificate of completion, and be eligible to sit for an examination required to be certified by a recognized organization in the medical specialty. Employee 3's normal work schedule, which includes services having an educational, instructional, or training aspect, is 40 hours or more per week.

(ii) In Example 3, Employee 3's normal work schedule calls for Employee 3 to perform services 40 or more hours per week. Employee 3 is therefore a full-time employee, and the fact that some of Employee 3's services have an educational, instructional, or training aspect does not affect that conclusion. Thus, Employee 3's services are not exempt from FICA and there is no need to consider other relevant factors, such as whether Employee 3 is a professional employee or whether Employee 3 is eligible for employment benefits.

Example 4. (i) Employee 4 is employed in the facilities management department of UM. Employee 4 has a B.S. degree in engineering, and is completing the work experience required to sit for an examination to become a professional engineer eligible for licensure under state or local law. Employee 4 is not attending classes at UM.

(ii) In Example 4, Employee 4 is not enrolled and regularly attending classes at UM in pursuit of a course of study. Employee 4's work experience required to sit for the examination is not a course of study for purposes of the Student FICA Exception. Accordingly, Employee 4's services are not exempt from FICA.

Example 5. (i) Employee 5 is a graduate teaching assistant at UM. Employee 5 is enrolled and regularly attending classes at UM in pursuit of a graduate degree. Employee 5 has a course workload which constitutes a full-time course workload at UM. Employee 5's normal work schedule is 20 hours per week, but occasionally due to work demands unforeseen at the start of the academic term Employee 5 works more than 40 hours during a week. Employee 5's duties include grading quizzes and exams pursuant to guidelines set forth by the professor, providing class and laboratory instruction pursuant to a lesson plan developed by the professor, and preparing laboratory equipment for demonstrations. Employee 5 receives a monthly paycheck and qualified tuition reduction benefits within the meaning of section 117(d)(5) with respect to the tuition charged for the credits earned for being a graduate teaching assistant.

(ii) In Example 5, Employee 5 is enrolled and regularly attending classes at UM in pursuit of a course of study. Employee 5's full-time course workload relative to Employee 5's normal work schedule of 20 hours per week indicates that the educational aspect of Employee 5's relationship with UM is predominant. In addition, Employee 5 is not a professional employee because Employee 5's work does not require the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment in its performance. The educational aspect of Employee 5's relationship with UM is predominant. Thus, Employee 5's services are incident to and for the purpose of pursuing a course of study. Accordingly, Employee 5's services are exempt from FICA.

Reviewed 2011-03-15.