State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) - Human Resources at Ohio State

State Teachers Retirement System

The State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) was established to provide a secure retirement for Ohio’s public educators. STRS provides flexibility so you can make choices that are right for you. The Office of Human Resources is pleased to provide this overview so you can make informed decisions. You are encouraged to learn more at strsoh.org.

As a faculty member of The Ohio State University, you have two options for selecting a retirement plan:

If you select the ARP, a Retirement Program Election Form for the ARP must be received by the Office of Human Resources no later than 120 days from, and including, the effective date of your eligible appointment. If a Retirement Program Election Form is not received, you will automatically be placed into STRS.

If you remain in STRS, you have 180 days from the effective date of your eligible appointment to select a plan within STRS.

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. Benefits are exempt from local and municipal taxes within Ohio, except school district income tax. Any investment return on your account is also tax-deferred.

STRS offers three plans:

  • Defined Benefit (DB)
  • Defined Contribution (DC)
  • Combined

To view a side-by-side comparison of the three plan choices within STRS, view the Comparison of Retirement Plan Options for Faculty.

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.

Note: The following information is subject to change at any time. For the most up to date information, visit the STRS website or call STRS at (888) 227‑7877.

Plan Options

In a defined benefit (DB) plan, the benefit is determined by a formula that uses your age, years of service and eligible final average salary1 at the time of your retirement. You and Ohio State make contributions to this plan to fund retirement benefits. The investment of contributions in this plan type are managed by STRS; therefore, you do not bear any investment risk. Your benefits grows as your years of service and final average salary increase.

Vesting
Employee contributions are vested immediately. After 51 years of service credit you may be vested for an age and service benefit and survivor benefits. Additionally, after 101 years of service credit, you may be vested for disability benefits.

How Your Benefit Grows
Your benefit amount grows by adding years of service credit (earned or purchased) and with increases to your eligible compensation.

Access to Funds at Termination/Retirement
You can choose from a number of options:

  • Leave your account on deposit for future benefits
  • Roll your vested account funds into another qualified plan or IRA
  • Receive a lump sum refund of your contributions; you also may be eligible for a portion of the employer contributions plus interest
  • Receive a retirement pension benefit based on the plan formula

Additional Benefits
You may be eligible for health care, disability and survivor benefits. Specific eligibility criteria must be met. Contact STRS for more information.


1 Subject to terms and conditions of the plan and applicable law.

The Defined Contribution plan offered by STRS is a 401(a) account. In a defined contribution (DC) plan, the benefit is determined by the amount of the account balance and the payment option chosen at retirement. In this type of plan, you and Ohio State contribute a percentage of your pay to an individual account, and you decide how to allocate these contributions among a variety of investment options.

The retirement income is driven by several variables:

  • The performance of the investments choices you select
  • The amount of contributions deposited to your account (your contributions and the university’s)
  • The interest rate and payment option you choose at the time of retirement

Under this plan, you make the retirement plan investment decisions. You can choose your investment allocations according to your tolerance for risk and your retirement time horizon (with certain limitations). A participant in this plan is assumes the investment risk and the possible rewards associated with long-term investing.

Vesting
The employee’s contributions are vested immediately. The university’s contributions are vested 20%1 per year for those hired after 2013.

How Your Benefit Grows
Your account consists of contributions made by you and the university, as well as with any investment gains or losses you may have on those contributions.

Access to Funds at Termination/Retirement
You can choose from a number of options:

  • Leave your account on deposit for future benefits
  • Roll the vested portion of your account into another qualified plan or IRA
  • Receive a lump sum refund of your contributions; you also may be eligible for a portion of the employer contributions plus interest
  • Receive single or joint life monthly annuity from the vested portion of your account with continuing survivor protection

Additional Benefits
No additional benefits.


1 Subject to terms and conditions of applicable law.

The STRS Combined Plan includes components of both a Defined Contribution plan and a Defined Benefit Plan. A portion of your benefit is determined by a formula that uses your age, years of service and final average salary, while the other portion of your benefit is determined by contributions to the plan and the investment earnings or losses on that account, similar to the STRS Defined Contribution Plan.

Under the Combined Plan, you and Ohio State contribute to the retirement plan.  Ohio State’s contributions fund the Defined Benefit Plan portion. Your contributions go to an individual account and you decide how to allocate the contributions among a variety of investment choices. A portion of your contributions are used to fund the defined benefit portion.

Vesting
Employee contributions are vested immediately. After 51 years of service credit you may be vested for an age and service benefit and survivor benefits. Additionally, after 101 years of service credit, you may be vested for disability benefits.

How Your Benefit Grows
The Defined Contribution account consists of your contributions, as well as with any investment gains or losses you may have on those contributions. The benefit amount from the Defined Benefit portion grows by adding years of service credit (earned or purchased) and with increases to your eligible compensation.

Access to Funds at Termination/Retirement
For the Defined Contribution portion, choose from a number of options:

  • Leave your account on deposit for future benefits.
  • Roll the vested portion of your account balance into another qualified plan or IRA.
  • Receive a lump sum refund of your contributions; you also may be eligible for a portion of the employer contributions plus interest.
  • Receive single or joint life monthly annuity with continuing survivor protection.

For the defined benefit portion, choose from a number of options:

  • Leave your account on deposit for future benefits.
  • Roll your vested account funds into another qualified plan or IRA.
  • Receive a lump sum refund.
  • Receive a retirement pension benefit based on the plan formula.

Additional Benefits
You may be eligible for health care, disability and survivor benefits. Specific eligibility criteria must be met. Contact STRS for more information.


1 Subject to terms and conditions of applicable law.

STRS Information

As a newly hired faculty member, you are automatically enrolled in STRS. If you are eligible for ARP, you have 120 days from, and including, the effective date of your eligible appointment to elect ARP instead of STRS. If no election is received, you will remain in STRS.

Making your election
In order to elect STRS or ARP, please use the Retirement Program Election Form. The Office of Human Resources MUST receive your completed form by close of business on the 120th day. If the 120th day falls on a weekend or holiday, you must submit the form by close of business on the last business day prior to the 120th day.

Selecting an STRS plan
You have a total of 180 days from your appointment date to select a plan at STRS (Defined Benefit, Defined Contribution or Combined). Please review the Higher Education Faculty section of STRS website, or call STRS at (888) 227-7877 for assistance in selecting your plan.

Who selects the investments for your chosen plan?

  • Defined Benefit: STRS
  • Defined Contribution: Employee selects from STRS investment offerings
  • Combined: Both – STRS manages a portion and Employee manages a portion and selects from STRS investment offering

You, along with The Ohio State University, make contributions to your retirement plan.

Employee and Employer STRS Contribution Rates
STRS Plan Employee Contribution1 Employer Contribution1
Defined Benefit 14% 14%

  • Goes to the STRS Defined Benefit pension plan to help fund your future STRS DB retirement benefits and to help fund past service liabilities
Defined Contribution 14% 14%

  • 9.5% goes to your individual STRS account
  • 4.5% goes to the STRS Defined Benefit Plan to help fund past service liabilities, as required by law
Combined 14% 14%

  • Goes to the STRS Defined Benefit pension plan to help fund your future STRS DB retirement benefits and to help fund past service liabilities
1 Subject to change based on amounts required by law.

Once you have enrolled in STRS, you can use the system’s website for managing your account. For example, you can check your account value, service credit and employment history. You can also designate beneficiaries and estimate your future benefits. Go to strsoh.org, select Login and follow the prompts.

If you have elected to participate in the Defined Benefit Plan, your choice is final and permanent. If you elected to participate in the Defined Contribution or Combined Plan, you will have a one-time opportunity to transfer to another STRS Ohio plan before completing your fifth year of membership. Please contact STRS at (888) 227-7877 for more specific information and for information on how to switch plans.