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Enrollment Information for Graduate Students

Graduate Student (with .50 FTE GA assistantship)

Fall/Spring semesters

  • Full time enrollment is 5 hours.
  • Note: Independent Study, courses taught off campus (military base) and courses through Advanced Programs (OU North America & Europe) and/or the Center for Independent and Distance Learning (whether online or in-person) may not be eligible hours for total credit hours to be exempted from FICA.

Summer semester

Final semester enrollment  

Graduate assistants, especially those who have a .50 or greater FTE assistantship, may be eligible to enroll in fewer than five hours of coursework during their final semester and still be considered full time for the purpose of maintaining eligibility for a tuition waiver and FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) tax exemption. The Graduate College instituted this policy to help students avoid paying fees for coursework beyond the hours needed for completion of the degree.

Graduate assistants who are eligible for reduced enrollment in their final semester may be considered eligible for a one-semester exemption from the FICA tax if they declare their final semester with the Graduate College by completing the online Graduate Assistant Final Semester Declaration formThis form may be completed one time only.

  1. Potential Summer graduates must complete the online form no later than May 22 to receive the FICA tax exemption on their summer paychecks.
  2. Potential Fall graduates must complete the online form no later than July 24 to receive the FICA tax exemption on their August paycheck, or by August 25 to receive the FICA tax exemption on their September paycheck, and students must also be enrolled by August 5th.
  3. Potential Spring graduates must complete the online form no later than December 31 to receive the FICA tax exemption on their January paycheck, and be enrolled by January 5th.

For details, see Additional Employment Information / Graduate Assistants – Norman Campus.

Should a student declare their final semester with the Graduate College but not graduate in that semester, the student will no longer be eligible to retain full-time student status with reduced enrollment.

International students must also obtain separate approval for a reduced course load from International Student Services.

The Graduate College will report to the Office of Financial Aid any students who have self-identified the current semester as their final semester. Students should contact the Office of Financial Aid for enrollment requirements with regard to financial aid eligibility and student loan deferment information.

Graduate Student (with financial aid other than a graduate assistantship)

Fall/Spring semesters

  • Full time enrollment is 9 hours; part time is 5 hours.

Summer semester

  •  Full time enrollment is 6 hours; part time is 3 hours.

Final semester

  • Minimum enrollment for the final semester of a student's current degree is 2 hours.
  • When a student enrolls in fewer than 5 hours, but does not graduate in that semester, the student must enroll in at least 5 hours during their next semester of enrollment (if the next semester is Fall or Spring) or in at least 3 hours (if the next semester is Summer) for the purpose of meeting Financial Aid requirements
  • International students must obtain approval for a reduced course load from International Student Services.

The Office of Financial Aid will monitor the enrollment requirement for the purpose of financial aid eligibility and loans.