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Retirement Plans

All UA employees (with the exception of FICA-exempt employees) who are employed at least 20 weeks (.50 FTE) for at least 20 weeks in a fiscal year are required to participate in a retirement program. The retirement plan depends on whether you are Classified Staff, Appointed Personnel, or a Public Safety Officer. In addition, all UA employees have the option to contribute to voluntary supplemental retirement plans in order to increase their retirement savings.

Appointed Personnel

Classified Staff

Benefits & Retirement Effective Dates

Benefits & Retirement Effective Dates

How and When to Enroll

How and When to Enroll

Payroll Calendar

Mandatory Retirement Plan for Classified Staff

All Classified Staff are required to participate in the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS).

Plan Features

ASRS is a defined benefit plan. Key features of the ASRS defined benefit plan are

  • The benefit to be received is clearly defined.
  • The contributions invested are directed by the plan administrator, not individual participants.
  • The benefit is a pension based on a formula of credited years of service, times a multiplier factor, times average monthly salary. The multiplier increases with years of service after 20 credited service years.
  • The benefit is based on the preceding formula, not your actual contributions to the plan.
  • The Contribution rate is determined by actuarial projections, and may fluctuate from year to year.
  • The University of Arizona matches employee contributions.
  • The plan allows employees to purchase previous qualified employment service time.

To Enroll

  1. Visit the ASRS website within 30 days of your date of hire/eligibility date and complete the online enrollment.
    • The code is 69V00040.
  2. After you have completed the online enrollment, ASRS will send an e-mail requesting beneficiary information.

Helpful ASRS Resources

ASRS Home Page
Know Your Benefits Meetings
Know Your Benefits Webinars

Service Purchases
Alternate Contribution Rate

Mandatory Retirement Plans for Appointed Personnel

Appointed Personnel (including faculty, administrators, and academic/service professionals) must participate in either the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS), or the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP).

  • Non-pharmacy clinical assistants, postdoctoral research associates, and nonresident aliens do not participate in a retirement plan. If you are a retirement-eligible federal employee, contact your department regarding your retirement plan options.
  • If you do not elect the ORP, your default plan is the ASRS.
  • To compare the ASRS and ORP plans at a glance, view the Retirement Plans Comparison.

Arizona State Retirement Plan (ASRS)

For a description of the ASRS and information on how to enroll, click here.

Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)

Plan Features

The Arizona Board of Regents Optional Retirement Plan is a defined contribution plan qualified under Internal Revenue Code 401(a). Key features of the plan are

  • Your benefit is determined by the amount that accrues in your account and will depend on how well the investments perform.
  • The employee contribution rate is a fixed 7% of annual salary, and the UA matches this amount.
  • You have individual authority to direct how your monies are invested in and allocated across a variety of funds administered by either Fidelity or TIAA.
  • You may change authorized investment companies once a year (see change form under Helpful Resources).
  • Service purchases are not permitted.
  • The ORP offers a Phased Retirement Program under which participants may reduce their workload and hours over a period of up to three years before retiring fully. For more information, visit the Road Ahead website.

Your contributions will be directed to the approved investment provider that you select. Visit the Fidelity and TIAA websites below to research these approved providers and to obtain up-to-date investment fund information. You are also encouraged to schedule individual on-campus visits with investment company representatives or contact them with questions.

The University does not endorse outside financial advisors. Fidelity Investments and TIAA are the only ABOR-approved investment providers for the ORP Plan. Mailings received from non-approved financial advisors or investment providers are never University generated.

  • Fidelity Investments: Damond Petersen (866) 588-2612
  • To schedule an appointment with Fidelity, call (800) 343-0860 or click here.
  • TIAA: Mark Largent (866) 548-3705 ext. 453249 or Donn Fitch (480) 350-3209
  • To schedule an appointment with TIAA, call (800) 732-8353 or click here

Helpful ORP Resources

ORP Guide
ORP Plan Document
ORP Change of Election Form. You may change authorized investment companies once a year.
Information on ORP short plan year

To Enroll

You must enroll through both the ORP investment provider websites and UAccess Employee. If you do not enroll in ORP, your retirement plan will automatically default to ASRS.

  1. Select an ORP investment provider. Visit that provider's website to open an ORP account.
  2. ​Visit UAccess Employee and select Employee/Manager Self Service. Select Self Service > Benefits > Benefits Enrollment. Select the open event and follow the on-screen instructions. 

Mandatory Retirement Plan for Public Safety Personnel

Public Safety Personnel who are regularly assigned to hazardous duty; are employed for more than 20 hours per week for a period of more than six (6) months; and began employment prior to age 50 are required to make contributions to the State of Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS). The employer makes a matching contribution, and full vesting occurs after 10 years of participation in the program.

Annual Maximum Contribution and Compensation Limits

Section 415(b)(c) of the Internal Revenue Code establishes the maximum allowable compensation and contributions to qualified retirement plans, and authorizes the IRS Commissioner to adjust these limits annually for cost-of-living increases.

ASRS and PSPRS Annual Contribution Limits

When an employee earns the following amount in a fiscal year (July 1–June 30), contributions to ASRS or PSPRS will stop. Contribution limits may change each fiscal year. 

  Compensation Limits
Year Employees hired & enrolled in a mandatory retirement plan on or before June 30, 1996 Employees hired & enrolled in a mandatory retirement plan on or after July 1, 1996
Fiscal Year 2016–17 $395,000 $265,000
Fiscal Year 2017–18 $400,000 $270,000

 

ORP Annual Contribution Limits

When an employee and the University each contribute the following amount in a calendar year (Jan.–Dec.), contributions to the ORP will stop. Contribution limits may change each calendar year. 

  Contribution Limits 
Year Employees hired & enrolled in a mandatory retirement plan on or before June 30, 1996 Employees hired & enrolled in a mandatory retirement plan on or after July 1, 1996

Calendar Year
Jan. 1–Dec. 31, 2016

$26,500 $18,550
Calendar Year
Jan. 1–Dec. 31, 2017
$27,000 $18,900

For more information see: Internal Revenue Code Section 415(b) and (c).

Supplemental Retirement Plans [Voluntary 403(b), Deferred Compensation]

All University of Arizona employees are eligible to participate in the Voluntary 403(b) Plan and the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan. Both plans are designed to help you save more for retirement beyond the required contribution to the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) or the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS).

Both the Voluntary 403(b) Plan and the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan are offered through payroll deduction. When calculating your annual contribution amount, please note that voluntary deductions such as these are deducted from only the first two paychecks of each month (24 paydays per year). Contributions for the Voluntary 403(b) Plan and the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan are deducted from supplemental compensation.  

For a comparison of both plans, view the Supplemental Retirement Plans Comparison.

Voluntary 403(b) Plan

The Voluntary 403(b) Plan allows an employee to invest in mutual funds with Fidelity Investments or in annuities with TIAA. Contributions to the Voluntary 403(b) Plan can be deducted on a pretax or after-tax basis [Roth 403(b)]. For more information on the Roth 403(b) option, click here. You are encouraged to consult a tax advisor to determine which option is best for you.

The University does not endorse outside financial advisors. Fidelity Investments and TIAA are the only ABOR-approved investment providers for the Voluntary 403(b) Plan. Mailings received from non-approved financial advisors or investment providers are never University generated.

  • Fidelity Investments: Damond Petersen (866) 588-2612
  • To schedule an appointment with Fidelity, call (800) 343-0860 or click here.
  • TIAA: Mark Largent (866) 548-3705 ext. 453249 or Donn Fitch (480) 350-3209
  • To schedule an appointment with TIAA, call (800) 732-8353 or click here

Both Fidelity Investments and TIAA offer webinars and e-learning opportunities on a variety of topics to all employees.  For more information, click here.

Helpful Voluntary 403(b) Resources

Voluntary 403(b) frequently asked questions

ABOR Retirement Website: www.netbenefits.com/aus

Voluntary 403(b) Plan Enrollment Guide

Voluntary 403(b) Plan Document

First Amendment to the Voluntary 403(b) Plan Document

Second Amendment to the Voluntary 403(b) Plan Document

To Enroll

To enroll in the Voluntary 403(b) Plan, elect the Roth 403(b), or make changes to the amount you are contributing, visit the NetBenefits website at www.netbenefits.com/aus.

To Request a Distribution, Loan, or Hardship Withdrawal

Contact a representative for your chosen investment provider representative. Active employees may request loans and hardship withdrawals with only Fidelity and TIAA. Two active loans are permitted at one time (one home loan and one general loan).

457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan

The 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan is available through Nationwide and administered by the State of Arizona. This plan allows employees to defer a pretax portion of their earnings into a supplemental retirement account. 

  • For more information on the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan, visit the Nationwide website.
  • To open a 457(b) account or change/stop your contributions, contact Klark Krauter at (800) 796-9753 or (520) 262-0348.  

Maximum Deferral Amount (MDA) Limits for 403(b) and 457 Plans

Calendar/Plan Year

 2016

 2017

Annual Maximum Deferral Amount (MDA)

$18,000

$18,000

Annual Maximum Deferral Amount (MDA) for participants age 50 and older in plan year

$24,000 

$24,000

Special catch-up contribution for employees with more than 15 years of service

Contact your investment company representative

Preparing for Retirement

If you are looking for comprehensive information about planning for, transitioning through, and thriving beyond University retirement, visit the Division of Human Resources' Road Ahead website.

Click here to link to UA retirement forms.