All regular, full-time employees must participate in one of the state of Tennessee’s retirement plans.
Regular, part-time employees may join a retirement plan. Those who elect to participate are subject to the same terms and conditions as members with mandatory participation.
Changes to the retirement plans administered by the state of Tennessee and offered to UT employees took effect on July 1, 2014. For existing employees (hired before July 1, 2014), retirement plans you're already enrolled in and associated benefits will not change.
For employees who begin employment on or after July 1, 2014 the following will apply.
- All new employees participating in a retirement plan will be automatically enrolled in a 401k plan at a 2 percent contribution of their base pay and be eligible for a match from UT for up to $50/month. Employees may change the contribution rate or opt out all together.
- Regular full-time nonexempt employees will be required to participate in the TN Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) Hybrid Plan. The Hybrid Plan is a combination pension and 401k-style plan that will require new employees to contribute a percentage of their base pay with the university contributing a percentage of their base pay.
- Regular full-time faculty and exempt staff will have the choice to participate in either the TN Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) Hybrid Plan or the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). Both plans will require the employee to contribute a percentage of their base pay with the university contributing a percentage of their base pay. Employees who participate in the ORP plan will invest the contributions with the vendor of their choice. Comparison of the TCRS Hybrid and ORP Hybrid Plans
TN Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS)
The Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System is the retirement plan that covers employees of the State of Tennessee, public colleges and universities, and public elementary and secondary schools. TCRS retirement benefits are computed under a formula which uses the average of the member's highest five consecutive years of salary (while a member of TCRS) and the years of service credited in TCRS. Employees participating in TCRS are vested after 5 years of service.
TCRS Member Self-Service is now available! This new, online functionality will allow you to update your TCRS contact information, view your entire TCRS account history, retrieve your member annual statement, and maintain your TCRS beneficiary information by visiting http://tcrs.tn.gov and clicking the Self-Service link. For assistance with Member Self-Service, navigate to http://tcrs.tn.gov and access the Member Self-Service User Guide or demonstration video available under the Concord tab. You may also call 800-770-8277, option 8.
ORP members are not TCRS participants and will not be able to register for a TCRS
Member Self-Service account.
How do I estimate my retirement benefits with TCRS?
TCRS participants may obtain an estimate of their benefit using the TCRS Retirement Calculator. To use the calculator, you should have an idea of how much creditable service, plus any unused sick leave (160 hours of sick leave = 1 month of creditable service), you'll have at retirement. Remember, this is only an estimate of your retirement benefit. If you're nearing retirement, you may use the TCRS Retirement Checklist as a guide for things to consider.
Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)
All contributions made to the Optional Retirement Plan are 100% vested from the date of contribution. ORP retirement benefits are based on the member's account balance and the member's age at the time benefits begin. You may choose from one or more of the three investment companies:
- VOYA (representative Ed Stewart @ 615-627-5936)
- TIAA-CREF (representative Andrew Hall @ 866-842-2336)
- VALIC (local representative Celeste Friend @ 423-227-0281)
Enrollment and/or Managing your Account online
Joint Contributory Retirement System (JCRS)
If you were a member of TIAA-CREF (the only retirement plan available) on June 30, 1977, you are a member of the Joint Contributory Retirement System. JCRS has been closed since July 1, 1977. JCRS provides a benefit from the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) company with the possibility of a state component.
What happens to my benefits when employment with UTC ends?
UT policies mandate what happens to your longevity pay, annual and sick leave, and employment with the state after retirement. Read MORE in the summary of UT policies associated with retirement.
In addition to monetary and health insurance benefits associated with the State of Tennessee Retirement System, UTC retirees enjoy benefits (access to several benefits requires UTC Retiree's identification card obtained through Office of Human Resources). These benefits include Educational Assistance (fee waiver); Fee Discount for spouses and dependents; free membership to the ARC; UTC Retirees' Association; free general parking; library borrowing privileges; University email access; check cashing; Fine Arts Center events discount; discounts to Tennessee State Parks; discount on dining services; listing in UTC online directory.