TN 22 (04-01)

RS 01901.720 Student Services


Section 210(a)(10) of the Social Security Act;
Regulation No.4—Sec. 404.1028; IRS Revenue Procedure 98-16;
Social Security Ruling 78-3; AR 98-5(8)


Beginning 1/1/51, service performed by a student is excepted from employment if performed:

  • for a school, college, or university, (or an auxiliary organization of a school, college, or university), and

  • by a student who is enrolled and regularly attending classes at that school, college, or university.

IMPORTANT: If the school, college, or university is operated by a State or local government, the terms of the 218 coverage agreement between the State and SSA will determine whether student services are excluded. (RS 01505.005)


1. School Not Exempt From Income Tax

Service performed from 1940 through 1950 by students employed by a school, college, or university not exempt from income tax, is excepted from employment if:

  • the service is by a student enrolled and regularly attending class at the school; and

  • pay for the service does not exceed $45 for a calendar quarter exclusive of room, board, and tuition furnished by the school.

NOTE: Before 1940, this service is covered.

2. School Exempt From Income Tax

Service performed before 1951 by a student employed by a nonprofit school exempt from income tax is excepted from employment on the same basis as any other employee of that school. (See RS 01901.540 for nonprofit organizations.)


1. Auxiliary Organization

An auxiliary organization is organized and operated exclusively for the benefit of, or to carry out the purpose of, the school, college, or university, and operated, supervised, or controlled by or in connection with the school, college, or university.

2. Student

Use the following general criteria to determine if the employee is a student:

  1. a. 

    Whether someone is a student depends on his relationship with the employer. If the student's main purpose is pursuing a course of study rather than earning a livelihood, SSA considers this person to be a student and his work is not considered employment.

    Also, the student must carry at least a half-time academic workload.

  2. b. 

    A worker is not considered a student if the individual is:

    • eligible to participate in a retirement plan or annuity established or maintained by the institution, or would be eligible to participate if age and service requirements are met, or;

    • eligible for reduced tuition, or;

    • classified by the institution as a career employee.

      NOTE: Postdoctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, medical residents, and medical interns, are not considered students because the services they perform are not incidental to, and for the purpose of, participating in a course of study.

3. Enrolled and Regularly Attending Classes

The exclusion applies only during periods of regular school attendance, including the regular academic year and summer session. The exclusion does not apply to work done during school breaks of more than five weeks if the student is not attending school. This is true even though the student was enrolled and regularly attending classes in the school during the previous year and expects to return to school the following year. Services performed on holidays, weekends, and between semesters falling within the academic year when classes are not scheduled are excluded.

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RS 01901.720 - Student Services - 10/24/2002
Batch run: 07/03/2014