Colleges & Universities
Retirement Plan Comparisons
STRS Ohio has prepared a plan comparison chart to give a quick overview of the benefits provided by both STRS Ohio and alternative retirement plans.
Eligible full-time faculty of Ohio public institutions of higher education have 120 days from their hire date to select to enroll in either STRS Ohio or an alternative retirement plan (ARP).
Once an employee elects to contribute to an alternative retirement plan or STRS Ohio, the choice cannot be changed. The election is final, and the election period is closed. Faculty who do not make an election will automatically become members of STRS Ohio.
New STRS Ohio members who do not choose an ARP within the 120-day election period, will have an additional 60 days (a total of 180 days from the first day of paid service) to select one of the three STRS Ohio retirement plans.
If the employee does not select an STRS Ohio plan during this 180-day period, they will automatically join the Defined Benefit Plan and remain in it as long as they are an STRS Ohio member.
If the employee chooses the Defined Contribution or Combined Plan, they will have the option of reselecting an STRS Ohio retirement plan before completing their fifth year of membership. The employee can then choose to remain in the same plan or transfer to one of the other two STRS Ohio plans. At that time, the employee’s STRS Ohio selection will be irrevocable. If the employee doesn’t actively elect to change from the Defined Contribution or Combined Plan, they will remain on the plan they originally selected. If the employee chooses to transfer to the Defined Benefit Plan an account and service credit will be created as if the employee had originally chosen the Defined Benefit Plan.
STRS Ohio Defined Benefit Plan. As its name implies, your retirement income is “defined” by a calculation that uses your age, your years of service and your final average salary. You also have survivor and disability protection while you teach. Access to optional health care coverage* is provided to retirees who meet the necessary qualifications — currently, 15 years of service credit.
STRS Ohio Defined Contribution Plan. In this plan, your retirement income is based on the performance of investment choices you select for the contributions made by you and your employer. You may allocate your contributions among various investment options managed by STRS Ohio. Retirement, survivor and disability benefits are limited to the value of your account. Access to STRS Ohio health care coverage upon retirement is not provided. This plan is comparable to ARPs offered by private vendors.
STRS Ohio Combined Plan. This plan allows you to create a portion of your retirement income through the performance of investment choices you select for your contributions, while contributions from your employer pay for a combination of service retirement, disability and survivor benefits. Access to optional health care coverage* is provided to retirees who meet the necessary qualifications — currently, 15 years of service credit.
Alternative retirement plans are defined contribution plans. Similar to the STRS Ohio Defined Contribution Plan, in an ARP defined contribution plan an employee’s benefit is equal to the account balance at retirement. Since the account balance directly reflects investment performance, there is no guarantee of a monthly benefit.
*Coverage under the STRS Ohio Health Care Program is not guaranteed. STRS Ohio hopes to continue the program indefinitely, but reserves the right to change or discontinue all or part of the program for all or a class of eligible enrollees.
Under the alternative retirement plan, employer contributions to the alternative retirement plan will be decided by the board of trustees of each public university or college. Employees will continue to be required to contribute 11%** of salary.
For employees who elect an alternative retirement plan, the employer is required to remit and report monthly 4.5%** employer contributions to STRS Ohio on compensation paid. This reporting and contribution requirement begins with earnings on the employee’s hire date.
**Member contribution rate will increase 1% per year until reaching 14% on July 1, 2016.
***Subject to change