Student Employee Definitions

A Student Employee is a part-time employee who is currently enrolled in at least a half-time credit load at Georgia Tech with the primary goal of achieving a degree. A Student Employee is considered a temporary employee and is not eligible for benefits. If an undergraduate student is enrolled for 6 credit hours they will be exempt from FICA. If a graduate student is enrolled for 4 credit hours, they will be exempt from FICA. The student FICA exception will not apply to students who are not enrolled in classes during school breaks of more than 5 weeks (including summer breaks of more than 5 weeks). If a student employee does not meet the enrollment hours requirement, they will automatically be enrolled in the Georgia Defined Contribution Plan (GDCP) for temporary employees and subject to a 7.5% deduction and the 1.45% Medicare portion of FICA. There is no employer matching contribution for GDCP; however, there is a matching 1.45% employer Medicare contribution. It is allowable that Georgia Tech hire enrolled students within the University System of Georgia.

There are three categories in which a student can be classified: Graduate, Undergraduate, and CO-OP. They are explained below.


Graduate student employees can be categorized as:

  • Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs)
  • Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs)
  • Graduate Assistants

GRAs and GTAs are typically hired by the graduate schools to perform assistantships that are related with the student's degree. Graduate Assistants can be hired to perform tasks within your department such as clerical support, web development, etc.

More information regarding appointment of and approvals for hiring GRAs, GTAs and GSAs can be obtained through the Graduate Studies Office and the Office of Academic Affairs.

Undergraduate students are considered Student Assistants. They can perform many jobs within your office such as clerical support, web development, etc.

CO-OP students are those students who are currently in a CO-OP work semester. For more information regarding the CO-OP program, contact the Undergraduate CO-OP and Graduate CO-OP Office. There are special tax withholding rules that apply to CO-OP students (see section on "Tax Withholding on Student Employees").