Retirement Plans - Human Resources at Ohio State

Retirement Plans

The Ohio State University supports the efforts of faculty and staff to plan a fulfilling, financially secure retirement. As part of its total rewards package, the university offers an array of retirement options to help you meet your financial goals. Retirement program eligibility is based on your appointment type (faculty, staff or student) and your full-time equivalency (FTE).

Mandatory Retirement Plan Options

Both you and the university contribute to your retirement account. Your contributions are made on a pre-tax basis; federal and state taxes are deferred until benefits are paid. Employees of Ohio public colleges and universities do not participate in the federal Social Security system, other than contributions to Medicare.

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), one of two state-mandated retirement programs,  was established to provide a secure retirement for Ohio’s public employees and their families. Staff, post-doctoral researchers and interns are eligible to participate in an OPERS plan.  Student employees are encouraged to visit the Student Retirement Benefits webpage.

Learn more at opers.org.

OPERS Overview
Feature Traditional Pension Plan Member Directed Plan Combined Plan
Plan Type Defined Benefit

The benefit amount is based on a formula using your age, years of service credit, and final average salary.

Defined Contribution

Account balance consists of contributions made by you and Ohio State, as well as any investment gains or losses you may have on these contributions.

The benefit amount is determined by your account balance and the payment option(s) you choose when you apply to receive benefits.

Defined Benefit (DB) and Defined Contribution (DC) combination

DB portion: The DB benefit amount is based on a formula using your age, years of service credit, and final average salary.

DC portion: Account balance consists of your contributions and your investment gains or losses. The DC benefit is determined by your account balance and the payment option(s) you choose when you apply to receive benefits.

Eligibility All staff
Enrollment
  • If eligible, you have 120 days from, and including, your appointment date to opt out of ARP and select OPERS.
  • If no election is received in 120-day window, you will default to OPERS.
  • You have 180 days from your appointment date to select a plan at OPERS.
  • NOTE: Once made, this decision cannot be changed while actively employed at Ohio State. An employee may have the opportunity to revise their plan choice if their FTE increases to 75% or greater for the first time.
Enrollment Process
Employee Contributions (pre-tax) 10% of your eligible compensation per pay1,2
Employer Contributions 14% of your eligible compensation1,2 14% of your eligible compensation1,2 as shown below:

  • 7.5% goes to your individual OPERS account1
  • 4.0% goes to your OPERS Retiree Medical Account (RMA)1
  • 2.0% goes to the OPERS Traditional Pension Plan to help fund past service liabilities, as required by law1
  • 0.5% Administrative Expense1
14% of your eligible compensation1,2 as shown below:

  • 12.0% goes to the OPERS Traditional Pension Plan to help fund your future OPERS DB retirement benefits1
  • 2.0% goes to the OPERS Traditional Pension Plan to help fund past service liabilities, as required by law1
Retirement Limits (calendar year) Date of Hire prior to 1994: Employee and employer contributions on $430,000 in retirement eligible earnings

Date of Hire 1994+: Employee and employer contributions on $290,000 in retirement eligible earnings

All participants: $58,000 in employee and employer contributions to the account Date of Hire prior to 1994: Employee and employer contributions on $430,000 in retirement eligible earnings

Date of Hire 1994+: Employee and employer contributions on $290,000 in retirement eligible earnings

Vesting Your contributions are vested immediately.

University contributions: Vest for an additional 33% at 5 years and 67% at 10 years based on eligible contributions.

Survivor benefits are vested at 18 months of service.

Disability benefits are vested at 5 years of service.

Your contributions are vested immediately.

University contributions are fully vested after 5 years of contributing service in the plan. You are vested in a percentage of university contributions based on years of service credit:

  • 1 Year: 20%
  • 2 Years: 40%
  • 3 Years: 60%
  • 4 Years: 80%
  • 5 Years: 100%

Retiree medical account has varied vesting based on hire date into OPERS.

Your contributions are vested immediately.

University contributions: Vest for an additional 33% at 5 years and 67% at 10 years based on eligible compensation.

Survivor benefits are vested at 18 months of service.

Disability benefits are vested at 5 years of service.

Investment Management and Options OPERS manages all assets to fund your benefits.

You assume no investment risk and pay no associated management fees.

Contributions are invested with OPERS. You allocate the contributions among a variety of investment options.

You assume all investment risk and pay any associated management fees.

DB portion: OPERS manages all assets to fund your benefits. You assume no investment risk and pay no associated management fees.

DC portion: Contributions are invested with OPERS. You allocate the contributions among a variety of investment options. You assume all investment risk and pay any associated management fees.

Additional Benefits You may be eligible for health care, disability and survivor benefits. Specific eligibility criteria must be met. No additional benefits. You will have access to Retiree Medical Account to be reimbursed for eligible health care expenses and access to vested account balance if disabled. You may be eligible for health care, disability and survivor benefits. Specific eligibility criteria must be met.
Impact on Social Security Benefits Employees of Ohio public colleges and universities do not participate in the federal Social Security system, other than contributions to Medicare. If you are eligible for a Social Security benefit from other employment in addition to your OPERS benefit, there may be a reduction in your Social Security benefit. Learn more about the Windfall Provision.
Access to Funds / Distributions Contact OPERS for more information.
1 Subject to increase or decrease based on applicable law retirement system mandates.
2 Subject to federal limits.

The State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), one of two state-mandated retirement programs, was established to provide a secure retirement for Ohio’s public educators. STRS is available to all faculty members.

Learn more at strsoh.org.

STRS Overview
Feature Defined Benefit Defined Contribution Combined Plan
Plan Type Defined Benefit

The benefit amount is based on a formula using your age, years of service credit, and final average salary.

Defined Contribution

Account balance consists of contributions made by you and Ohio State, as well as any investment gains or losses you may have on these contributions.

The benefit amount is determined by your account balance and the payment option(s) you choose when you apply to receive benefits.

Defined Benefit (DB) and Defined Contribution (DC) combination

DB portion: The DB benefit amount is based on a formula using your age, years of service credit, and final average salary.

DC portion: Account balance consists of your contributions and your investment gains or losses. The DC benefit is determined by your account balance and the payment option(s) you choose when you apply to receive benefits.

Eligibility All faculty
Enrollment
  • If eligible, you have 120 days from, and including, your appointment date to opt out of ARP and select STRS.
  • If no election is received in 120 day window, you will default to STRS.
  • You have 180 days from your appointment date to select a plan at STRS.
  • NOTE: Once made, this decision cannot be changed while actively employed at Ohio State. An employee may have the opportunity to revise their plan choice if their FTE increases to 75% or greater for the first time.
Enrollment Process
Employee Contributions (pre-tax) 14% of your eligible compensation per pay1,2
Employer Contributions 14% of your eligible compensation1,2 14% of your eligible compensation1,2 as shown below:

  • 9.53% goes to your individual STRS account1
  • 4.47% goes to the STRS Defined Benefit Plan to help past service liabilities, as required by law1
14% goes to the STRS Defined Benefit pension plan to help fund your future STRS DB retirement benefits1
Retirement Limits Date of Hire prior to July 1, 1996: Employee and employer contributions on $430,000 in retirement eligible earnings (fiscal year)

Date of Hire July 1, 1996+: Employee and employer contributions on $290,000 in retirement eligible earnings (fiscal year)

All participants: $58,000 in employee and employer contributions to the account (calendar year) Date of Hire prior to July 1, 1996: Employee and employer contributions on $430,000 in retirement eligible earnings (fiscal year)

Date of Hire July 1, 1996+: Employee and employer contributions on $290,000 in retirement eligible earnings (fiscal year)

Vesting Your contributions are vested immediately.

After 1.5 years of service credit, you are vested for survivor benefits.

After 5 years of service credit, you may be vested for an age and service retirement benefit and disability benefits.

Your contributions are vested immediately.

University contributions are vested 20% per year for those hired after 2013.

Your contributions are vested immediately.

After 1.5 years of service credit, you are vested for survivor benefits.

After 5 years of service credit, you may be vested for an age and service retirement benefit and disability benefits.

Investment Management and Options STRS manages all assets to fund your benefits.

You assume no investment risk and pay no associated management fees.

Contributions are invested with STRS. You allocate the contributions among a variety of investment options.

You assume all investment risk and pay any associated management fees.

DB portion: STRS manages all assets to fund your benefits. You assume no investment risk and pay no associated management fees.

DC portion: Contributions are invested with STRS. You allocate the contributions among a variety of investment options. You assume all investment risk and pay any associated management fees.

Additional Benefits You may be eligible for health care, disability and survivor benefits. Specific eligibility criteria must be met. No additional benefits. You may be eligible for health care, disability and survivor benefits. Specific criteria must be met.
Impact on Social Security Benefits Employees of Ohio public colleges and universities do not participate in the federal Social Security system, other than contributions to Medicare. If you are eligible for a Social Security benefit from other employment in addition to your STRS benefit, there may be a reduction in your Social Security benefit. Learn more about the Windfall Provision.
Access to Funds / Distributions Contact STRS for more information.
1 Subject to increase or decrease based on applicable law retirement system mandates.
2 Subject to federal limits.

Full-time faculty and staff (75% or greater FTE) may elect the Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) in lieu of one of the state plans.

ARP Deadlines
ARP Documents
ARP Overview
Feature Details
Plan Type Defined Contribution

Account balance consists of contributions made by you and Ohio State, as well as any investment gains or losses you may have on these contributions.

The benefit amount is determined by your account balance and the payment option(s) you choose when you apply to receive benefits.

Eligibility Eligible employees with appointments of at least 75% FTE
Enrollment You have 120 days from, and including, your eligible appointment date to select between ARP and OPERS/STRS. See the ARP Deadline Calendar. NOTE: Once made, this decision cannot be changed while actively employed at Ohio State. An employee may have the opportunity to revise their plan choice if their FTE increases to 75% or greater for the first time.
Enrollment Process
Employee Contributions (pre-tax) Staff: 10% of your eligible compensation per pay1

Faculty: 14% of your eligible compensation per pay1

Employer Contributions Staff: 14% of your eligible compensation1 as shown below:

  • 11.56% goes to your individual ARP account
  • 2.44% goes to the mitigating rate to OPERS

Faculty: 14% of your eligible compensation1 as shown below:

  • 9.53% goes to your individual ARP account
  • 4.47% goes to the mitigating rate to STRS
Retirement Limits (calendar year) All participants: $58,000 in employee and employer contributions to the account
Vesting Your contributions and university contributions are vested immediately.
Investment Management and Options You choose an approved ARP provider through which you invest and allocate contributions among a variety of investment options.

You assume all investment risk and pay any associated management fees.

Additional Benefits No additional benefits other than vested account balance if disabled.
Impact on Social Security Benefits Employees of Ohio public colleges and universities do not participate in the federal Social Security system, other than contributions to Medicare. If you are eligible for a Social Security benefit from other employment in addition to your ARP benefit, there may be a reduction in your Social Security benefit. Learn more about the Windfall Provision.
Access to Funds / Distributions See Distributions, Loans & Hardships for more information.
1 Subject to increase or decrease based on applicable law retirement system mandates.

Other Retirement Saving Options

Ohio State offers supplemental savings options to help faculty and staff plan for retirement.

In addition to the mandatory retirement plans, Ohio State offers supplemental savings options to help faculty and staff plan for retirement. Most Ohio State employees are eligible to participate in the 403(b) and 457(b) Supplemental Retirement Accounts (SRA). These plans allow you to enhance your retirement savings through pre-tax (state and federal only) contributions to a Tax-Deferred Account (403(b) plan) and Deferred Compensation Program (457(b) plan).

Ohio State does not currently offer Roth retirement plans. The university’s Retirement Oversight Committee is exploring adding these options in 2022. More information will be shared if this becomes available.

SRA Election Calendars
SRA Documents
SRA Overview
Feature 403(b) 457(b)
Plan Type You may enroll at any time. Please note that 457(b) deductions begin the month after your completed election is processed. (see calendar below)
Eligibility All university employees
Enrollment Process Visit Fidelity’s NetBenefits website to enroll or update your 403(b) and/or 457(b) elections (see calendar below). Note: Ohio Deferred Compensation enrollments and payroll contribution changes must be made directly with ODC at ohio457.org.
IRS Contribution Limit $19,500; an additional catch-up contribution of $6,500 if age 50 or older1,2 $19,500; an additional catch-up contribution of $6,500 if age 50 or older1,3
Employer Contributions Not available
Contribution Coordination There is no coordination between 403(b) and 457(b) plans. Employees can contribute the maximum to both.
Investments Amounts are taxable when distributed. Consult a financial planner or tax specialist for answers to questions you may have around taxes.
Taxability There is no coordination between 403(b) and 457(b) plans. Employees can contribute the maximum to both.
Access to Funds / Distributions See Distributions, Loans & Hardships for more information.
Early Withdrawal Penalty Yes None
1 The IRS sets the maximum you are allowed to contribute to each plan. Employees will need to establish their deduction(s) within the IRS limits. Ohio State will also monitor the limits to ensure calendar year contributions are within the IRS limits. Your SRA provider may determine your maximum allowable contribution each calendar year based on your eligible pay.2 If you paid into a 401(k) with a previous employer, the amount is aggregated with your 403(b) plan limits for the tax year. This summary provides a brief description of the university’s 403(b) and 457(b) plans and is subject to the terms and conditions of those plans. In the event of a conflict between this summary and those plans, the applicable plan will govern.

3 If contributing to Ohio Deferred Compensation (ODC), you may be eligible to contribute an additional amount under the IRS Special Catch-up provision. Contact ODC for more information.

Monthly Paid SRA Election Calendar

Online elections may be made through NetBenefits.
PDF Version

Pay Date to take Effect 403(b) First Day to Submit 403(b) Last Day to Submit 457(b) First Day to Submit 457(b) Last Day to Submit
June 30, 2021 May 20, 2021 June 18, 2021 May 1, 2021 May 31, 2021
July 30, 2021 June 19, 2021 July 14, 2021 June 1, 2021 June 30, 2021
August 31, 2021 July 15, 2021 August 23, 2021 July 1, 2021 July 31, 2021
September 30, 2021 August 24, 2021 September 22, 2021 August 1, 2021 August 31, 2021
October 29, 2021 September 23, 2021 October 20, 2021 September 1, 2021 September 30, 2021
November 30, 2021 October 21, 2021 November 17, 2021 October 1, 2021 October 31, 2021
Biweekly Paid SRA Election Calendar

Online elections may be made through NetBenefits.
PDF Version

Pay Date to take Effect 403(b) First Day to Submit 403(b) Last Day to Submit 457(b) First Day to Submit 457(b) Last Day to Submit
June 4, 2021 May 13, 2021 May 26, 2021 May 1, 2021 May 26, 2021
June 18, 2021 May 27, 2021 June 9, 2021 May 27, 2021 May 31, 2021
July 2, 2021 June 10, 2021 June 23, 2021 June 1, 2021 June 23, 2021
July 16, 2021 June 24, 2021 July 7, 2021 June 1, 2021 June 30, 2021
July 30, 2021 July 8, 2021 July 21, 2021 N/A N/A
August 13, 2021 July 22, 2021 August 4, 2021 July 1, 2021 July 31, 2021
August 27, 2021 August 5, 2021 August 18, 2021 N/A N/A
September 10, 2021 August 19, 2021 September 1, 2021 August 1, 2021 August 31, 2021
September 24, 2021 September 2, 2021 September 15, 2021 N/A N/A
October 8, 2021 September 16, 2021 September 29, 2021 September 1, 2021 September 29, 2021
October 22, 2021 September 30, 2021 October 13, 2021 September 30, 2021 September 30, 2021
November 5, 2021 October 14, 2021 October 27, 2021 October 1, 2021 October 27, 2021
November 19, 2021 October 28, 2021 November 10, 2021 October 28, 2021 October 31, 2021
December 3, 2021 November 11, 2021 November 24, 2021 November 1, 2021 November 24, 2021
December 17, 2021 November 25, 2021 December 8, 2021 November 25, 2021 November 30, 2021
December 31, 2021 December 9, 2021 December 27, 2021 N/A N/A

The Ohio State University offers an additional retirement program called the Retirement Continuation Plan (RCP)/415(m) for some employees whose salary exceeds IRS and Ohio retirement system limits under OPERS, STRS, or ARP

Ohio law limits each plan on the amount that can be sent to the mandatory retirement plans per year or the amount of compensation from which retirement contributions can be taken. The RCP/415(m) enables eligible participants to increase retirement savings.

This page provides an overview of the plan. Specific plan details will be mailed to the employee upon eligibility for the plan.

Limits

Your retirement limit is determined by your base retirement plan and/or date of hire. Contributions to your base retirement plan (OPERS, STRS, or ARP) will stop for the remainder of the calendar or fiscal year when the applicable limit has been reached:

Retirement Limits
Retirement Plan Date of Hire 2021 Limit
OPERS (Traditional and Combined Plans) Prior to 1994 $430,000 in retirement eligible earnings
1994 + $290,000 in retirement eligible earnings
STRS-OH (Traditional and Combined Plans) Prior to July 1, 1996 $430,000 in retirement eligible earnings
July 1, 1996 + $290,000 in retirement eligible earnings
ARP and OPERS/STRS Define Contribution Plans All participants $58,000 in employee and employer contributions to the account

The limits noted above apply to the 2021 calendar/fiscal year and are subject to change as determined by the IRS.

How it works

If you elect to make contributions to the RCP/415(m), contributions from your paycheck are made on a pre-tax basis. You may choose a contribution rate of 0%, 4%, 8% or 12%.

This is a one-time irrevocable election that must be made within 60 days of eligibility.

Your contributions will take effect as soon as administratively feasible after the signed RCP/415(m) election form is received and after your contributions to OPERS, STRS or ARP have reached the applicable limit. The RCP/415(m) contribution will continue for the remainder of that calendar/fiscal year and, if eligible, will be in effect for all future years in which you participate in the RCP/415(m) through Ohio State.

The university may contribute to the RCP/415(m) on your behalf. The employer contribution will begin when you may no longer contribute to OPERS, STRS or the ARP and will continue for the remainder of the calendar/fiscal year, at which time base retirement deductions will resume.

Note: It is not necessary for you to make employee contributions to receive the university contribution.

Additional information will be provided upon eligibility for the plan(s).

Retirement Options by Classification

75% FTE or greater

As a faculty member, you are automatically enrolled in STRS upon your hire, rehire or job change. Faculty who hold one or more appointments that, when combined, equal to 75% FTE or greater, also have the choice to elect the ARP within 120 days from, and including, the eligibility date. Faculty may also contribute to supplemental retirement plans.

Less than 75% FTE

As a faculty member, you are automatically enrolled in STRS upon your hire, rehire or job change. Faculty who hold one or more appointments that, when combined, are less than 75% FTE, are not eligible for the ARP but may contribute to supplemental retirement plans.

 

75% FTE or greater

As a staff employee, you are automatically enrolled in OPERS upon your hire, rehire or job change. Staff who hold one or more appointments that, when combined, equal to 75% FTE or greater, also have the choice elect the ARP within 120 days from, and including, the eligibility date. Staff may also contribute to supplemental retirement plans.

Less than 75% FTE

As a staff employee, you are automatically enrolled in OPERS upon your hire, rehire or job change. Staff employees who hold one or more appointments that, when combined, are less than 75% FTE, are not eligible for the ARP but may contribute to supplemental retirement plans.

Staff with Teaching Duties

Ohio State staff who teach a course outside of their regular duties receive a faculty appointment during the teaching period. For that period, staff who normally contribute 10% of their pay to OPERS will pay into STRS at the faculty contribution rate of 14%. Staff who normally contribute 10% of their pay to the ARP will contribute at the faculty rate of 14%. During non-teaching periods, staff retirement contributions go to OPERS or the ARP at the current rate of 10% of salary. Staff who teach as part of their staff job duties do not hold a faculty job and are not impacted by this practice.

Faculty and staff who have been rehired after retiring from The Ohio State University are eligible for the following programs.

Faculty (75% FTE or greater)

As a faculty returning retiree, you are automatically enrolled in STRS and pay into the STRS Money Purchase Plan. You may also have access to the ARP if you were never previously offered enrollment in the ARP prior to your retirement. If you were in the ARP and were rehired less than 365 days from retirement, you will automatically be re-enrolled in the ARP. Returning retirees also have access to supplemental retirement plans.

Faculty (less than 75% FTE)

As a faculty returning retiree, you are automatically enrolled in STRS and pay into the STRS Money Purchase Plan. Returning retirees also have access to supplemental retirement plans.

Staff (75% FTE or greater)

As a staff returning retiree, you are automatically enrolled in OPERS. You may also have access to the ARP if you were never offered enrollment in the ARP prior to your retirement. Returning retirees also have access to supplemental retirement plans.

Staff (less than 75% FTE)

As a staff returning retiree, you are automatically enrolled in OPERS and pay into the OPERS Money Purchase Plan. Returning retirees also have access to supplemental retirement plans.

As a student employee, you are eligible to participate and pay into a state retirement plan – OPERS or STRS – or you may choose to opt out of participating in retirement. You also have access to supplemental retirement plans.

Undergraduate Student Employees

  • OPERS
  • Supplemental Retirement Plans

Graduate Students

  • OPERS
  • STRS
  • Supplemental Retirement Plans