Withholding FICA and Medicare Taxes

FICA refers to a federal payroll tax that is used to fund Social Security and Medicare. The current tax is 7.65% of your gross earnings. 

Two variables determine whether FICA and Medicare taxes have to be withheld from your paychecks:
  • Number of credits for which you are enrolled
  • Whether you are working more than 30 hours/week (or 60 hours per pay period)

Fall and Spring Semesters

WSU Regulation 4-1 (PDF), Student Employment, stipulates that during fall and spring semesters:
  • Students may not work more than 30 hours/week, counting all hours worked for all positions
  • Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 undergraduate credits
  • Graduate students must be enrolled in at least 3 graduate credits in order to be eligible to work on campus

Because these conditions are in place, student employees are exempt from paying FICA and Medicare taxes during the academic year.   


For the summer, two things change that affect FICA withholding:
  • Students are allowed to work more than 30 hours per week
  • Students do not have to be enrolled in the summer to be employed in the summer (please see Eligibility & Finding a Job for specific requirements for summer employment)
You will have FICA and Medicare taxes withheld if:
  • You are not enrolled in at least 3 credits in the summer  
  • You are enrolled for at least 3 credits in the summer, but you are working more than 60 hours per pay period (30 hours/week)

If you meet either of these requirements, you will have to work with your supervisor to fill out a Student Employee FICA Withholding Form (PDF).