Please note that this is a very minimum FAQ. For more information regarding payroll taxes, contact the following:


Ph.D. students who are actively working on their dissertation during the spring/summer term, are registered less than half-time, and are working as a GSI, GSRA, GSSA or a temporary appointment are eligible to apply for an exemption from the FICA withholding on wages paid for those appointments. The FICA tax, under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, is currently 7.65% of an employee’s earned income (6.2% for Social Security plus 1.45% for Medicare) and is automatically withheld from the employee’s paycheck.

The student’s faculty advisor will need to certify to the student’s summer plans. A “Request for Exemption from FICA Tax While Working on Ph.D. Dissertation” form is available on the Payroll website.

All graduate students will be exempt from the FICA withholding on wages as a GSI, GSRA, GSSA or a temporary appointment during the Fall and Winter terms in which they are enrolled for 4 or more credit hours (considered to be a half-time or greater enrollment). Two credit hours or more will be used in the Spring and Summer half-terms. For Ann Arbor students, the payroll system will review the students’ enrollment status continually throughout the year. For Flint and Dearborn students, a periodic list from the campus Registrars’ offices will be used to determine student status.

For questions about the FICA exemption, contact the University Payroll Service Center ( or 734-615-2000, option 2).