Participation in a retirement plan is a condition of employment for regular full-time employees and optional for regular part-time employees. The State of Tennessee is the administrator for the retirement plan for all State employees, including the University of Tennessee.

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. 

  • 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 part-time nonexempt employees will have the option to participate in a retirement plan. Part-time employees who do not elect to participate will be required to sign a waiver. Those who elect to participate are subject to the same terms and conditions applicable to members whose participation is mandatory.
  • 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 will invest the contributions with the ORP vendor of their choice. 

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.

View a comparison of the TCRS Hybrid and ORP Hybrid Plans

TN Consolidated Retirement System 

The Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) 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 and clicking the Self-Service link. For assistance with Member Self-Service, navigate to 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.

Your account history screen may reflect additional service in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014 for overtime or bonuses; we will be correcting any overstated service credit in the near future. Those employees who have previously refunded their contributions may have difficulty logging into MSS; we are working on a resolution.

ORP members are not TCRS participants and will not be able to register for a TCRS Member Self-Service account

Optional Retirement Plan

All contributions made to the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) 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:

  • ING/VOYA (representative Ed Stewart @ 615-627-5936)
  • TIAA-CREF (representative John Reeder @ 865-766-4025)
  • VALIC (local representative Celeste Friend @ 423-227-0281)


Joint Contributory Retirement System

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).  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.

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.

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.