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Retirement / Savings

Retirement Benefits

Employees of Ohio public institutions do not contribute to the federal Social Security system, other than contributions to Medicare (employees hired after April 1, 1986).  While employed by the university, your retirement contributions must be directed to one of the state retirement plans (OPERS, STRS) or to the Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP).



meet arp vendors

Meet Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) Representatives

Our ARP vendor representatives will be on campus regularly to meet with you personally. Call them or register online (see flyer) for an appointment.


Saving Tip: Put It Where You Can't Spend It

Find more about how to open a supplemental savings account through work!

2015/2016 Retirement Plan Limits

The IRS indexed dollar limits to qualified retirement plans for 2015/2016 are provided in the table below.

The University of Cincinnati offers two supplemental retirement saving plans – a 403(b) and a 457.  These tax deferred savings plans enable faculty, staff, and student employees to use pre‐tax payroll deductions to invest for retirement with approved annuity and mutual fund providers.

Information on supplemental savings opportunities and a listing of approved providers can be found online at

Description 2015 2016
403(b) Elective Salary Deferral Limit                 $18,000     $18,000  
457(b) Annual Deferral Limit   $18,000    $18,000
Age 50 - Catch Up Limit   $  6,000     $  6,000

Newly Hired Employees

Newly hired, full-time employees of the university have a choice between two retirement systems: the state system or the Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP). The state system is either Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) or State Teachers Retirement System (STRS). The ARP is only available if your appointment is 100% FTE. The decision is irrevocable; once a retirement system is chosen, the employee remains with that system throughout his/her employment with the university.

OPERS and STRS offer a choice of three plans within their system to new members.  Those who have previously contributed to a state retirement system should contact OPERS (1-866-673-7748) or STRS (1-888-277-7877) to verify options. New members will receive information from OPERS/STRS shortly following employment.

View this eLearning presentation to learn more about the faculty retirement plan

State Retirement Plans

Ohio Public Employees Retirement System [OPERS]
  • The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) is the retirement plan system available to staff.
  • Eligible staff and librarians will be enrolled in OPERS unless they choose  the ARP.  Staff and librarians who are not eligible to enroll in the ARP will automatically be enrolled in OPERS.
State Teachers Retirement System [STRS]
  • The State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) is the retirement plan system available to faculty members.
  • Eligible faculty will be enrolled in STRS unless they choose the ARP. Faculty who are not eligible to choose the ARP will automatically be enrolled in STRS.
Alternative Retirement Plan [ARP]


Both the UC employee and the university contribute to each employee’s elected retirement savings plan. 

  • Staff members, including librarians, contribute 10% and the university contributes 14%, minus the mitigating rate, to an ARP (Alternative Retirement Plan) account or to one of the OPERS plans. 
  • Faculty members contribute 13% to an ARP account, or to one of the STRS plans, and UC contributes 14%, minus the mitigating rate.
  • Law enforcement employees contribute 13% and the university contributes 14%, minus the mitigating rate, to an ARP or to the OPERS Traditional Plan.
What is a Mitigating Rate?

When an employee elects the ARP, the OPERS Member-Directed plan, the OPERS Combined Plan or the STRS Defined Contribution plan, a percentage of the 14% employer (UC) contribution is diverted from the employee’s retirement account and paid to the OPERS or STRS retirement systems’ unfunded liability.  For employees eligible for OPERS who elect the ARP or the OPERS Member-Directed or Combined Plans, UC contributes .77% to OPERS unfunded liability and 13.23% to the employee’s  ARP or Member-Directed or Combined OPERS account. 

UC contributes 9.5% to the accounts of employees who elect the STRS Defined Contribution Plan or the ARP and contributes the remaining 4.5% to the STRS unfunded liability account. 

Law Enforcement Officers may elect the Traditional OPERS Plan or if full-time, the ARP.  For those who elect the ARP, UC contributes 17.33% to the participant's ARP provider and 0.77% to the OPERS unfunded liability account (mitigating rate). 

The chart below will help you understand how much UC contributes on your behalf depending upon which retirement system you choose.

2015 Retirement Savings Contributions and Mitigating Rates

Member Directed Plan

OPERS Combined Plan






STRS Defined Contribution






Law Enforcement ARP





Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision and the (WEP) Calculator

You will not contribute to Social Security while employed by UC.  You may have contributed to Social Security prior to working for UC.  In this case, you should be aware of the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision.  Under the Windfall Elimination Provision, your Social Security retirement or disability benefit is figured using a modified formula when you are also entitled to a pension from a job where you did not pay Social Security tax. As a result, you will receive a lower Social Security benefit than if you were not entitled to a pension from this job. For example, if you are age 62 in 2005, the maximum monthly reduction in your Social Security benefit as a result of this provision is $313.50. This amount is updated annually. This provision reduces, but does not totally eliminate, your Social Security benefit. For additional information, please refer to the Social Security publication, “Windfall Elimination Provision.”

The Social Security WEP Benefit Calculator is maintained by the Social Security Administration.  It is designed to allow you to estimate any benefits you may have earned for work covered by Social Security. The university does not sponsor the calculator, nor does it vouch for any calculations you may receive from using it.  Any comments or questions regarding the Social Security WEP Calculator should be addressed to the Social Security Administration at

Supplemental Retirement Accounts (SRA)

The university also offers voluntary supplemental retirement accounts including a 403(b) tax deferred account and 457 deferred compensation accounts.  Employees are encouraged to participate in either or both programs.  Supplemental retirement accounts are subject to IRS deferral limits.

Retirement Planning and Education Tools

Planning to retire?  It is important to note that an employee must FIRST apply for retirement and be approved by his/her university sponsored retirement system. Please refer to Board Rule 30-28-01 for further clarification.

To obtain more information about the benefits available to you as a UC retiree refer to our website.  If you have questions, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.

Human Resources also offers seminars that may be of interest.