The only exceptions to STRS Ohio membership and contributions are for student employees employed part-time by the school they are attending, certain visiting faculty and eligible faculty selecting an alternative retirement plan.

Student Employees

STRS Ohio members who are employed as teachers on a part-time basis by a school, college or university in which they are regularly attending classes may apply for exemption from contributions to STRS Ohio.

Application for exemption must be made within 30 days of employment following each period of nonexempt employment. The exemption will remain in effect until employment as a student employee terminates or contributions are made on compensation paid by the same employer, whichever occurs earlier.

Contributions are required during any period of employment during which the teacher is not attending classes — summer sessions, for example. A new exemption form must be filed for any subsequent teaching service as a student employee.

This exemption does not apply to student employees who are not currently members of STRS Ohio. Student employees who have not previously contributed to STRS Ohio are automatically denied membership — no form is required.

Teachers on leave of absence from other teaching positions covered by STRS Ohio are not eligible for exemption from contributions.

Service credit for the exempt service may be purchased as specified in Revised Code and Ohio Administrative Code.

While members are exempt, they are not entitled to a refund of contributions.

All eligible student employees who want to apply for exemption from STRS Ohio contributions should complete an Exemption From Contributions for Student Employees application form within 30 days of employment following each period of nonexempt employment.

After the student employee has completed his or her portion of the form, the employer should fill out the lower section and submit the form to STRS Ohio via secure file upload.

Visiting Faculty Members

An exemption from STRS Ohio membership can be requested for a faculty member employed on a temporary basis provided that:

  1. The appointment will not exceed two years;
  2. The faculty member will terminate employment upon completion of the appointment; and
  3. The faculty member will remain the employee of a school, college or university other than an Ohio public institution.

Requests for exemptions from STRS Ohio membership and contributions must be made jointly to STRS Ohio by the employer and the faculty member and meet the criteria above. Any assignment exceeding two years does not qualify for membership exemption. Failure to comply with these criteria will void the exemption from membership and contributions and these will commence based on the initial date of employment.

If the request for exemption is granted by the State Teachers Retirement Board, it is the employer’s responsibility to monitor the length of employment and promptly notify STRS Ohio if there is a change in the teaching assignment. The exemption is only valid for the teaching assignment period approved by the Retirement Board.

Alternative Retirement Plans

Certain academic and administrative employees employed full time by a public college or university have the option to choose a retirement plan other than STRS Ohio. The chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education has identified alternative retirement plans (ARP) that Ohio public colleges and universities are required to offer.

Eligible employees include all full-time academic and administrative employees hired after the employer adopts an ARP.

Employers are required to report employees electing an ARP and contribute a percentage (known as the mitigating rate) of the electing employee’s compensation to STRS Ohio for each employee electing an ARP. These payments go toward meeting the employer’s proportionate share of STRS Ohio’s unfunded accrued liability.

Reemployed retirees employed full time by a college or university may choose to participate in an ARP. See ARP Reporting.