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Employment

The higher education student who meets an employment exemption must

  1. work at least 20 hours per week or 80 hours per month and

  2. receive appropriate pay for this work.

For non-self-employment work, the pay may be at any rate, but the hours must average 20 per or 80 per month.  For self-employment, the weekly earnings must equal or exceed 20 hours times the federal minimum wage.

Example 1:

Harriet, age 25, is a full-time nursing student at the University of Oklahoma. She earns $13 per hour and works 19 hours per week. Her gross monthly income is $1,062.10 per month. Harriet reports no other exemptions. Does Harriet’s employment exempt her from being a student of higher education?

No, even though Harriet earns more than she would if she was working 20 hours per week at the federal minimum wage, she does not qualify. The student must work at least 20 hours per week or 80 hours per month. Use the average of the actual hours worked monthly.

Example 2:

Gary, age 26, is working 25 hours per week and attending a two-year program to become a web developer more than half-time. Is he exempt from the higher education student restrictions?

Yes, he is working more than 20 hours per week.

Example 3:

Brian, aged 40, performs self-employed construction work and attends the University of Central Oklahoma. Majoring in accounting, he earns $175 per week for 25 hours of work. Is he exempt from the higher education student restrictions?

Yes, he is exempt. He works more than 20 hours per week and earns $175 weekly. The weekly earnings are more than the federal minimum wage times 20 (20*$7.25=$145.00).

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