Student Employee Retirement - Human Resources at Ohio State


As a new graduate or undergraduate student employee, you have 30 days from your date of hire to take action on your retirement benefits.

Student Retirement Options

Employees (including student employees) of Ohio public institutions do not participate in the federal Social Security system, other than to contributions to Medicare. Instead, Ohio State employees contribute to the state’s retirement system, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS). As an Ohio State student employee, you have the option to remain a participant in OPERS or you may be eligible to opt out of contributing to OPERS. For additional information on OPERS, visit

I want to participate in OPERS I want to opt-out of participation in OPERS
Do nothing, and you are automatically enrolled in OPERS. Submit a “Request for Optional Exemption as a Student” form within 30 days of your hire date to the Office of Human Resources. This is an irrevocable decision for the entire period that you are continuously employed.
Retirement contributions of 10% of your gross earnings are deducted from your paycheck. Ohio State also contributes a percentage of your salary. After your form is approved, no additional deductions will be taken from your pay while you are enrolled in the minimum number of credit hours (see section below). You will also not earn any service credit with OPERS.
OPERS will mail you a welcome packet explaining the three plan options under OPERS. If you do not make an election you will automatically enrolled in the Traditional Plan. Ohio State cannot accept late or incomplete exemption forms. Your form must be legible, accurate and contain your original, hand-written signature. View a valid sample form.

You have 30 days from your hire date to submit the Request for Optional Exemption as a Student form to Ohio State’s Office of Human Resources. Forms can be submitted by fax, email or delivered to the Office of Human Resources. Do not submit forms directly to OPERS. Forms submitted directly to OPERS will be denied. Forms must be signed with your original, hand-written, cursive signature and dated no more than 30 days before or after your initial date of hire. Printed and electronic signatures are not accepted.

Step 1: Complete Student Exemption Form

Step 2: Office of Human Resources (1590 North High St.)

Step 3: OPERS State Retirement Approval

DO NOT submit forms directly to OPERS

For the exemption to be in effect, a student must have an approved exemption form and meet the minimum course credit hours listed below:

When you work during a term in which you are not taking classes, or are enrolled but do not meet the credit hour minimum, you automatically contribute to OPERS during that period.

Student Category Credit Hour Minimum
Undergraduate student 6 credit hours
GAA, GRA or GTA students 4 credit hours
Post-candidacy doctoral students 2 credit hours

You must have a 365-day break from student employment with Ohio State in order to change your retirement election. Rehired or transferred student employees without at least a 365 day break in Ohio State service may not change their retirement election.

A Graduate Teaching Associate (GTA) with a previously established State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) account is required to contribute to STRS instead of OPERS, unless he or she submits an exemption form within the first 30 days of the GTA appointment. If you wish to exempt from both STRS and OPERS as a GTA, you must complete the STRS and OPERS student exemption forms:

If you would like to save additional money for your retirement, you may enroll in a Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA).