Retirement Options at Ohio University
As a public employer in the State of Ohio, Ohio University and its faculty and staff participate in the State of Ohio's retirement system. In the state retirement system, employees have access (depending on eligibility requirements) to retirement plans offered by the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS), the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS), and the Alternative Retirement plan (ARP). All non-student employees of the university must participate in one of the retirement plans.
Ohio University's retirement program is considered a pick-up-plan; regardless of plan choice the retirement contributions are a tax-deferred contribution deducted automatically each pay period. State employees of Ohio are exempt from contributing to Social Security. Employees hired after March 31, 1986 will make contributions to Medicare. See below for information regarding the Social Security exemption.
Newly Hired Employees
Newly hired faculty and staff are encouraged to attend a new hire orientation session. Detailed information regarding retirement options are distributed and reviewed at new hire orientation sessions. Contact Human Resources at email@example.com for further information regarding new hire orientation.
Newly hired, full-time employees of Ohio University have a choice between two retirement plans; the state system (OPERS or STRS) and the Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP).
New hired employees must elect a retirement plan within 120 days of their hire date. If no election is made, they will default to the applicable state plan (OPERS or STRS).
This decision is irrevocable; once a plan is elected, the employee remains with that system throughout their employment at Ohio University.
OPERS and STRS offer a choice of three plans within their systems to new members. Those who have previously contributed should contact OPERS (1-866-673-7748) or STRS (1-888-227-7877) to verify options.
Retirement Resources for New Employees
- Comparison of Retirement Plan Options for Faculty [PDF]
- Comparison of Retirement Plan Options for Staff [PDF]
Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP)
The ARP is a 401(a) defined contribution plan with a choice of providers offering various investment options. Retirement income is based on the investment performance for the total contributions (employee and employer; subject to contribution limits). Contributions may be allocated among various investment options managed by the providers. Participating employees may change ARP providers throughout their careers.
Faculty are eligible for the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS). All non-faculty staff are eligible for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS).
STRS and OPERS each offer three retirement plans:
Defined Benefit Plan
A traditional pension plan in which your benefit at retirement is predetermined via a mathematical formula that uses your years of service, final average salary (average of highest 5 years of earnings), and your age. You do not make any investment allocation decisions in this plan and do not bear any investment risk.
Defined Contribution Plan
A 401-type plan in which your retirement benefit, or account value, is based on investment returns realized over the life of the plan. In this type of plan, you make investment allocation decisions regarding your contributions and university contributions, in consultation with STRS.
A hybrid plan in which your retirement benefit is partially determined by the investment returns in a defined contribution account, and partially by a pension style formula using your years of service and final average salary.
For further details regarding plans and options, contact the Human Resources - Benefits Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Retirement Plans and Employee and University Contributions
Faculty Plans - Employee and University Contributions
Contributions to retirement plans are governed by State of Ohio law and are subject to change. The university and faculty members are required to make contributions to retirement plans as noted below. Contributions are applied to "earnable salary" including base annual salary and additional teaching and research pay. The chart below reflects contributions:
|Contributions||Alternative Retirement Plan||STRS Plans|
|Defined Benefit||Defined Contribution||Combined|
|University Mitigating Rate Contribution to STRS||4.47%||0%||4.47%||0%|
* The Mitigating Rate applies to university contributions to the ARP plan and STRS defined contribution plan. The Mitigating Rate reflects university contributions that are directed to STRS instead of the ARP or STRS defined contribution plan in order to offset the negative impact to STRS funding liabilities created by the existence of the ARP and STRS defined contribution plan. This means that the university contributes less to the ARP and STRS defined contribution plan than it does to the STRS defined benefit pension plans.
Staff Plans - Employee and University Contributions
Contributions to retirement plans are governed by State of Ohio law and are subject to change. The university and staff members are required to make contributions to retirement plans as noted below. Contributions are applied to "earnable salary" including base annual wages and certain additional pay such as overtime pay. The chart below reflects contributions:
|Contributions||Alternative Retirement Plan||OPERS Plans|
|Defined Benefit||Defined Contribution||Combined|
|Total Contribution to Plan||21.56%||24%||22.5%||22.5%|
|University Mitigating Rate Contribution to OPERS||2.44%||0%||1.5%||1.5%|
* The Mitigating Rate applies to university contributions to the ARP plan and OPERS defined contribution plan. The Mitigating Rate reflects university contributions that are directed to OPERS instead of the ARP or OPERS defined contribution plan in order to offset the negative impact to OPERS' funding liabilities created by the existence of the ARP and OPERS defined contribution plan. This means that the university contributes less to the ARP and OPERS defined contribution plan than it does to the OPERS defined benefit pension plans.
Retirement Contribution Limits
The Internal Revenue Service places limits on the amount of contributions and compensation on which contributions may be remitted for employees. These limits vary depending on the type of plan an employee participates in and are based on compensation limits under 401(a)(17) and contribution limits under 415(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Supplemental Retirement Accounts
Ohio University also offers voluntary supplemental retirement accounts including 403(b) tax deferred annuities and 457 deferred compensation accounts. Employees are encouraged to participate in either/or both programs. Supplemental retirement accounts are subject to IRS deferral limits. Learn more about investing on your own.
State and Local Government
Work for a state or local government agency, including a school system, college or university, may or may not be covered by Social Security. To learn more visit the Social Security Retirement Benefits Planner site.
Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) Calculator
The Social Security WEP Benefit Calculator is maintained by the Social Security Administration.- It is designed to allow you to estimate any benefits you may have earned for work covered by Social Security.- LASERS does not sponsor the calculator, nor does it vouch for any calculations you may receive from using it. Any comments or questions- regarding the Social Security WEP Calculator should be addressed to the Social Security Administration at CalculatorMaster@ssa.gov.
Learn more about the Windfall Elimination Provision.
Government Pension Offset (GPO)
If you receive a pension from a federal, state or local government based on work where you did not pay Social Security taxes, your Social Security spouse's or widow's or widower's benefits may be reduced. To learn more visit the Social Security Retirement Benefits Planner site.