Voluntary Retirement Accounts (Available for All Employees)
All SOU employees have the opportunity to voluntarily contribute to retirement savings plans through regular monthly payroll deduction. Employees may contribute to both of the following voluntary plans at any time:
Oregon Savings Growth Program 457 (OSGP)
Oregon Savings Growth Program 457 (OSGP) is available through the State of Oregon. Employees can save on a pre-tax and/or post-tax (Roth) basis with a fixed dollar amount contribution. Investments are managed by the Oregon Investment Council and members pick investment types while enrolling in the plan, which may be modified at any time. Enroll online at GrowYourTomorrow.com. (Elections take effect in the following month's payroll unless made in the last week of the month, which will take effect two months out.)
- Check out PERS educational videos at the PERS Vimeo page.
Tax-Deferred Investment 403(b) (TDI)
Tax-Deferred Investment 403(b) (TDI) is available through the Oregon Public Universities Retirement Plans (OPURP). Employees can save on a pre-tax and/or post-tax (Roth) basis with a rate or percent contribution. TDI participants may choose mutual fund and annuity investment programs through either TIAA-CREF or Fidelity Investments. To enroll, complete the Voluntary Savings Form and return to Human Resources for processing (emailed forms are currently preferred). Contributions may be stopped by submitting a Voluntary Savings Form with zero percent contributions entered. (Elections submitted by the 10th of the month are guaranteed for that month's payroll.)
Check out the most recent TDI Newsletter from OPURP here.
Mandatory Retirement Accounts
Mandatory retirement requires eligibility to be met first, which is determined by working in a qualified position for at least six full months at half-time or greater. Classified employees who qualify are placed in PERS. Unclassified employees who qualify make an election between PERS or the ORP.
**PERS members, starting in 2020 Senate Bill 1049 will take effect. Members should review the SOU PERS Legislative Updates webpage for information about how Senate Bill 1049 will impact members. Do note, starting 7/1/2020, members may start election what target-date fund they wish to invest their IAP funds in.
State Retirement for Classified Employees
Employees in a Classified position that have met eligibility are automatically placed in PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) in the newest tier OPSRP (Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan). The OPSRP tier is a defined benefit, in the form of a pension, plus an Individual Account Program. Pension vesting requires 5 years of service with at least 600 hours worked per year (includes all PERS employment). Pension benefit at retirement is determined by years of service and the highest of three years gross salary. The Individual Account Program (IAP) is vested immediately and available for lump-sum distribution or dispersed payment options. The normal retirement age for PERS/OPSRP is 65 (employees who age over normal retirement age are vested immediately. Employees not living or working in the State of Oregon (not paying Oregon taxes) may not be eligible for contributions, but may accrue service time.
Employees who have already qualified with a prior tier in PERS may be eligible to be enrolled in that tier and may also be eligible for contributions to start upon hire.
Please look to the HR PERS Legislative Updates webpage for information about the IAP redirect, which essentially redirects a portion of the employee's IAP to a fund that will support pension.
State Retirement for Unclassified Employees
Unclassified employees who qualify make an election between PERS or the ORP. If no election is made, unclassified employees default into PERS. Employees who already receive PERS or ORP contributions may qualify for contributions to start upon hire and, if eligible with a prior retirement tier, may be enrolled in that tier (new employee's default into the newest tier). Retirement elections are a one-time irrevocable decision, which means for the remainder of your carrier if working at an Oregon University System institution, all institutions will only participate in the plan you elect or are defaulted into. Employees working in an Unclassified position are allowed a choice between one of the following retirement plans:
- PERS/OPSRP (Public Employees Retirement System in the tier Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan) is a defined benefit, in the form of a pension, plus an Individual Account Program. Pension vesting requires 5 years of service with at least 600 hours worked per year (includes all PERS employment). Pension benefit at retirement is determined by years of service and the highest of three years gross salary. The Individual Account Program (IAP) is vested immediately and available for lump-sum distribution or dispersed payment options. The normal retirement age for PERS/OPSRP is 65 (employees who age over normal retirement age are vested immediately). Employees not living or working in the State of Oregon (not paying Oregon taxes) may not be eligible for contributions, but may accrue service time.
- ORP Tier 4 (Optional Retirement Plan) is a defined contribution alternative to PERS for unclassified employees whose career mobility may take them outside Oregon and to other employers. The ORP is maintained by OPURP (Oregon Public Universities Retirement Programs). ORP participants select mutual funds and annuities through TIAA-CREF or Fidelity. A vested participant’s account is portable to another employer’s plan or may remain invested in the ORP if she/he leaves the State of Oregon employment. Vesting requires contributions in 5 qualifying years (employees who age over 50 are vested immediately). New members are placed in Tier Four, where SOU will match up to 4% into a TDI 403(b) plan (mentioned above under Voluntary Retirement).
- Check out the most recent ORP Newsletter from OPURP here.
On March 27, 2020, the United States Government passed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, which was intended to provide relief for individuals who were experiencing financial difficulty related to the COVID-19 crisis. Section 2202 of the CARES Act provides for special distribution options and rollover rules for retirement plans and IRAs and expands permissible loans from certain retirement plans. More information about the CARES Act as it relates to retirement can be found on the IRS CARES Act webpage and with the resources below.
PERS and OSGP 457
ORP and TDI 403(b)
The Optional Retirement Program (ORP) and the Tax-Deferred Investment (TDI) 403(b) have applied applicable provisions of the CARES Act to the respective programs. Members now have access to Coronavirus Related Distribution (CRD), which will remove the 10% penalty for early withdrawal, allow members to pay back the amount distributed, and allow federal taxes to be paid over three years. Members with plan loans will be allowed to have an increase in the amount and deferment of payment. Details about these changes and the CARES Act can be found in the OPURP Summer 2020 Newsletter on the first page and on the OPURP Fall 2020 Newsletter on page 5.
If looking to retire, our Retiree Checklist can assist. It has items to complete 24 months prior to retirement, 12 months prior to retirement, and 3 months prior to retirement.