State and Alternative Retirement Options
Kent State offers a variety of retirement plans. Employees at Kent State are required to participate in one of the state retirement systems - Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) or the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS). University employees do not contribute to the federal social security system and all retirement benefits related to their employment come from the state retirement system(s).
Employees who at some time work in employment covered by the federal social security system may have an adjustment in their social security benefits as a result of their coverage under one of the state retirement systems. The Windfall Elimination Provision (PDF) notice from the Social Security Administration Form SSA-1945 contains more information on this adjustment.
- Full-time classified and unclassified employees may elect to participate in either OPERS or an Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP).
- Full-time faculty members may elect to participate in either STRS or an ARP.
- Part-time classified and unclassified employees must participate in OPERS
- Part-time faculty must participate in STRS.
- NOTE: There is no ARP option available for part-time employees.
In addition, all university employees are eligible to participate in the supplemental retirement options: 403(b) and 457 retirement savings programs.
Ohio Public Employee's Retirement System (OPERS)
Employees who participate in OPERS have the option to select the Traditional Plan, the Member-Directed Plan or the Combined Plan. Details regarding the features of these plans are available in the information packet provided to new employees by OPERS and on the OPERS Website.
OPERS requires contributions from employees of 10% and Kent State University may contribute up to 14.0%.
Retirement eligibility under the OPERS Traditional or Combined Plan is any age with 30 years of service or more, age 55 with at least 25 years of service, or age 60 with at least 5 years of service. Disability retirement benefits may be available after at least 5 years of service credit under the Traditional or Combined plans. There are no disability benefits available under the Member Directed plan.
OPERS provides special retirement coverage for certain law enforcement officers (OPERS-LE). The OPERS-LE provision requires a 11.6% employee contribution and an employer contribution of 18.1%.
State Teacher's Retirement System (STRS)
Employees who participate in STRS have the option to select the Defined Benefits Plan, the Defined Contribution Plan or the Combined Plan. Details regarding the features of these plans are available in the information packet provided to new faculty members by STRS and on the STRS Website.
STRS requires an employee contribution of 14% and an employer contribution of 14%. Retirement eligibility under the STRS Defined Benefit or Combined plans is any age with 30 years of service or more, age 55 with at least 25 years of service, or age 60 with at least 5 years of service. Disability retirement benefits may be available after at least 5 years of service credit under the Defined Benefit or Combined plans. There are no disability benefits available under the Defined Contribution plan.
IRS COMPENSATION AND CONTRIBUTION LIMITS
Each year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) establishes two specific limits for elective retirement contributions, the compensation limit and the contribution limit. For the current IRS compensation and contribution limits, please visit the IRS website.
Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP)
The ARP is intended to give the employees more portability and control of retirement investments. However, all retirement benefits will be dependent on the available account balance that has accumulated from investments within the individual ARP account.
Full-time classified employees, unclassified employees and full-time faculty members are eligible to enroll in an Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) instead of the state retirement system that applies to their employment. This election must be made within the first 120 days of employment in a full-time position and the election is irrevocable.
Under the ARP, the employee would establish an account with one of the approved vendors (PDF). Contributions which would normally be made to the state retirement system are deposited into the employee's ARP account instead (less any allocation for unfunded liabilities in the state system, if applicable).
All ARP eligible employees will receive an information packet designed to assist them in making an informed choice.
Contact the Benefits Department at 330-672-3107 for more information.