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Retirement Benefits Options

Depending on your, position, hire year, and your enrollment election, you may be enrolled in one of three different programs: Public Employee Retirement System (PERS), Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), or the University of Alaska Optional Retirement Program (ORP). Contact your HR Consultant (796-6473) for information about your current retirement plan.

PERS

All UA staff members have been given the option to enroll into the State of Alaska Public Employee Retirement system (PERS). As of July 1, 2015 new UA employees hired into a staff position are automatically enrolled in either PERS Tier IV, or their previous tier from an outside employer. The PERS information and tier structure resource illustrates the retirement benefits associated with each tier in the program. The following is a retirement contribution summary for PERS Tier IV:

  • Employee contribution is 8% of covered pay
  • Employer contribution is 5% of covered pay
  • 5-year vesting period

TRS

Our academic officers and faculty members are given the option to enroll in the State of Alaska Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). As of July 1, 2015 new UA faculty members and academic officers are still given the option to enroll in TRS Tier III or ORP Tier III. New faculty members previously enrolled in TRS tier I and II from an outside employer can remain in their previous tier during their UA service. The TRS information and tier structure resource illustrates the retirement benefits associated with each in the system. The following is a retirement contribution summary for TRS Tier III:

  • Employee contribution is 8% of covered pay
  • Employer contribution is 7% of covered pay
  • 5-year vesting period

ORP

Between July 1st, 2006 and June 30th, 2015 all eligible employees were given the option to enroll in the University of Alaska Optional Retirement Program (ORP). As of July 1, 2015 only faculty, academic officers, and senior administrators continue to receive the option of ORP enrollment. Employees enrolled in this optional retirement system are able to elect and change contribution account managers throughout their University service. For more information about our ORP/UA Pension plan vendors see the plan resources. The following is a retirement contribution summary for ORP Tier III:

  • Employee contribution is 8% of covered pay
  • Employer contribution is 12% of covered pay
  • 3-year vesting period

Additional Retirement Benefits

The employee contribution rates for PERS, TRS, and ORP are all fixed contribution rates. UA employees are able to increase their overall retirement savings by setting up an additional retirement savings account, like the TDA. The UA pension is an added employee contribution retirement account that majority of our employees have in addition to their retirement system plan. The University of Alaska's 457(b) program is for Executive Officers and Senior Administrators (SA) who have or intend to max out their 403(b) for the year. For more information about these additional retirement benefits contact your local HR office (796-6473).

This is an employer contribution only retirement account, with a maximum wage base of $42,000. The University of Alaska has a fixed contribution rate of 7.65% of the employee’s base pay. An employee with this retirement benefit can determine their pension plan manager and elect investment option within that plan. If an employee were to make no investment decision, the money will be placed in a life cycle, Fidelity Freedom Fund account.

For more information and forms visit our UA Pension Plan site.

All UA employees including students, adjuncts, and other part-time workers are eligible to setup a TDA 403(b) during their employment. This is an optional retirement savings plan that allows University employees to secure a solid financial future. TDA contributions end after the year limit has been met. The employee is expected to submit a new form for the next calendar year. TDA contribution goals are based on the calendar year.

Employee Note

The 403(b) has a 15-year employee catch-up allowance of an additional $3,000 per year for 5 years (or $15,000 total) that some employees may be eligible to contribute. Federal regulations require the 15-year catch-up be used first if they're eligible, then the age 50 catch-up qualification can be applied. This is not applied automatically in the system and not all employees qualify. Please review and complete the TDA 2017 limits and catch-up workbook (above) to determine eligibility for the 15-year catch-up period.

The University of Alaska's 457(b) program is for Executive Officers and Senior Administrators who have or intend to max out their 403(b) for the year. For 2017, the 403(b) maximum is $18,000 for employees under 50, with employees age 50 or older being allowed another $6,000 as a "catch up" for a total of $24,000 (no change from 2016).

To set up this additional retirement deduction, complete the 457(b) Plan Salary Deferral Agreement form.

 
 

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