All eligible employees and faculty are required to participate in a state retirement program. Your options include:
- The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) is available to employees.
- The Optional Retirement Program (ORP) is also available to faculty and executive-level staff.
To be eligible for TRS, staff employees must be regular full-time or part-time (i.e., work a minimum of 20 hours per week for 4.5 months). Faculty employees must work a minimum of 4.5 months or one semester. Full-time status is required to participate in ORP.
For a comparison of TRS and ORP, read this overview.
Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS)
Employees are automatically enrolled in this plan. Retirement annuities are determined by a formula that considers an employee’s age, the average of the highest five annual salaries over his/her state career and the total years of creditable service. In this plan, the state assumes the investment risks and manages the retirement fund.
Employees are vested (have rights to retirement benefits) after five years of service. TRS also provides death and disability benefits to participants. Employees will contribute 7.2 percent in fiscal year 2016 (rate will increase to 7.7 percent in fiscal year 2017) and the state contributes 6.8 percent into the retirement fund each month. Employee contributions are tax-sheltered and deposits earn 2 percent interest.
If employees leave ASU, they can take their contributions and interest earnings. If vested, employees can leave their contributions until retirement age. Normal retirement age is 65 with five years of service or a combination of years of service and age that totals 80.
Early retirement (with reduced benefits) may be taken at age 55 with five years of service. TRS benefit information can be found on the TRS website.
Contribution rates are not guaranteed and are subject to legislative change.
Optional Retirement Program (ORP)
Retirement annuities are determined by the actual dollar amount in the employee’s retirement account. ORP is an individualized plan that allows participants to select investment companies from an approved list and then choose fixed/variable investment products.
Employees are vested (have rights to retirement benefits) after one year and one day of service. ORP does not provide death or disability benefits. Participants contribute 6.65 percent, the State contributes 6.6 percent and ASU contributes .2 percent into these retirement accounts (for those not grandfathered in at the 8.5 percent rate). Employee contributions are tax-sheltered.
ORP is a portable plan that employees can take with them if they leave employment with ASU. To learn more, visit the ORP section of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board website.
These plans are long-term savings programs designed to supplement employees’ retirement income. Full- and part-time staff and faculty are eligible.
Pre-tax dollars are used to invest in annuities, mutual funds, etc., from a list of companies approved by the state. Enrollment is permitted at any time. Employees may also quit a plan, increase or decrease contributions, or change vendors/products at any time.
Employees may elect to participate in these plans:
Deferred Compensation Plan – Texa$aver 457(b)
This is an IRS Section 457(b) program in which you may defer pre-tax dollars, thereby lowering your gross salary for tax purposes. The annual Texa$aver 457 plan contribution limits are $18,000. The annual age 50 catch-up contribution limit is $24,000. The Texa$aver 457 Plan Program also allows you to double your annual contribution limit if you are within 3 years of retirement age to $36,000. Keep in mind you cannot use the Special 457 Catch-up in conjunction with the Age 50 catch-up. To learn more, visit the Texa$aver pages of the ERS website.
Tax-Sheltered Annuity Plan – 403(b)
This is an IRS Section 403(b) plan, which is similar to the Deferred Compensation Plan, but is more portable and more flexible with respect to transferring funds. Faculty and staff may invest up to $18,000 in 2015 or $24,000 for those age 50 and over.