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A History of Retirement Systems at UC

The University of Cincinnati's unique history has contributed to a number of active retirement plans for its employees.  Full-time faculty members were the first employees eligible to participate in a retirement plan on an after-tax basis. The Teachers' Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA) was made available to full-time faculty members on February 1, 1922.

The City of Cincinnati Retirement System was founded on August 1, 1931.  All full-time employees, except full-time faculty members and certain administrative personnel, hired on or after this date were required to participate in the City of Cincinnati Retirement System on an after tax basis.  Full-time faculty members and certain administrative personnel were required to choose participation in either TIAA or the City of Cincinnati Retirement System. Part-time employees were not eligible to participate in a retirement plan.

On January 1, 1952, full-time faculty members and certain administrative personnel who participated in TIAA were offered the option to contribute part (up to 25%) of their retirement to the College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF) on an after-tax basis. On January 1, 1961, full-time employees on the University payroll contributing to a retirement plan were offered the option to contribute monies on a before-tax basis. On January 1, 1962, full-time faculty members and certain administrative personnel participating in the City of Cincinnati Retirement System could transfer all contributions plus interest to the TIAA-CREF plan. This was made available because participants in the TIAA-CREF plan were required to contribute to Social Security (FICA) effective January 1, 1962.

On September 1, 1974, new employees eligible to participate in TIAA-CREF could defer contributions for a maximum of three (3) years. However, contributions to Social Security were still mandatory.  On January 1, 1975, all employees participating in a retirement plan were offered Supplemental Retirement Annuities (SRAs) whereby voluntary contributions, in additional to the required contributions, could be made on a before-tax basis to TIAA-CREF.

July 1, 1977 marked the date the University of Cincinnati became part of the State of Ohio Public System. Employees were provided a one-time option to transfer to the appropriate state retirement system, the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) or the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), depending on their job title. TIAA-CREF participants stopped contributing to Social Security with the transition to state.

TIAA-CREF participants who transferred to a state retirement system were not permitted to transfer their TIAA-CREF contributions to the state plan.  However, City of Cincinnati Retirement System participants transferred their city contributions plus interest to the applicable state plan.

All full-time employees hired on or after July 1, 1977 were required to participate in either PERS or STRS. Part-time employees working more than twenty (20) hours per week were also required to participate in PERS.  Faculty members who taught more than five (5) credit hours per quarter were required to participate in STRS. 

On January 1, 1986 two mutual fund families, Fidelity and Vanguard, were made available as retirement alternatives for TIAA-CREF participants.

On July 1, 1991, Ohio State Law changed requiring every employee to contribute to a state retirement system. The only exception as of July 1, 1992 are student employees who work and attend classes at the University and sign a Request for Optional Exception as a student within thirty days of their employment. If a student does not attend classes in a given quarter, they must contribute to PERS for that quarter.

In 1998 an Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) was offered to new full-time faculty and exempt staff and those with less than five year' state service.  In 2005 the ARP was extended to the non-exempt staff and students.  The ARP is a defined contribution plan--income only based on return of investment.

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