Student Employee Benefits - Human Resources at Ohio State

Student Employee Benefits

Working at Ohio State as a student employee can provide meaningful, relevant opportunities to apply what you are learning academically into a work setting. You can develop new skills, learn workplace culture and build your professional network. As a student employee, you are also eligible for various benefits.

Retirement
Ohio State and its employees contribute to state retirement systems rather than Social Security. The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) and State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) were established to provide a secure retirement for Ohio’s public employees. As a student employee, you can participate in the state retirement system or you can choose to opt out if you meet the exemption criteria. You have 30 days from your start date if you decide to opt out. See the Student Employee Retirement Choices handbook for more information.

Health
Graduate associates (GA) are eligible to participate in Ohio State’s Student Health Insurance and the OSU Faculty and Staff Health Plan. Graduate associates have 31 days from their start date if they wish to elect the Faculty and Staff Health Plan.

See the categories below for specific information and important deadlines regarding retirement and health benefits options.

Student Options

Retirement
When you are employed in a student classification and meet the criteria, you have a choice about your retirement. You can participate in OPERS, making contributions each pay period and earning service credits. Or you can opt out of participation in retirement, in which case no retirement will be deducted from your pay, and you will not earn OPERS service credits. This is an irrevocable decision for the entire period that you are continuously employed and working as an eligible student employee at Ohio State. If you do not opt out within 30 days of your start date, you will automatically be enrolled in OPERS.

You also have the opportunity to enhance your retirement savings with a Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA). Even contributing small amounts each pay period can add up to significant savings for retirement.

What you need to do:

Retirement
When you are employed in a student classification and meet the criteria, you have a choice about your retirement. You can participate in a state retirement system, making contributions each pay period and earning service credits. Or you can opt out of participation in retirement, in which case no retirement will be deducted from your pay and you will not earn retirement service credits. This is an irrevocable decision for the entire period that you are continuously employed and working as an eligible student employee at Ohio State. If you do not opt out within 30 days of your start date, you will automatically be enrolled in a state retirement system.

  • If you are a graduate teaching associate (GTA), choose to participate in retirement and have a previously established open account with the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), you are required to contribute to STRS rather than OPERS while in this appointment. Please submit the GTA – STRS Retirement Election Form to the Office of Human Resources.
  • All other GAs who choose to participate in retirement will contribute to OPERS.

You also have the opportunity to enhance your retirement savings with a Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA). Even contributing small amounts each pay period can add up to significant savings for retirement.

Health Plan Coverage
As a GA, you have several options for health coverage:

  • Student health insurance
    • International students are required to be enrolled in student health insurance. Ask the Student Health Insurance office about possible exceptions.
  • The Ohio State University Faculty and Staff Health Plan
  • A source outside of the university

What you need to do:

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