State Teachers Retirement System (STRS)
Full and part-time faculty are enrolled in the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) upon hire. Each pay period, employees contribute 14% of their wages into their STRS account and Southern State contributes another 14%. Newly hired full-time employees may choose an Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) within 120 days of their first day of paid service. This election is irrevocable and applies to all employment with the current employer.
In addition to a defined benefit plan, STRS offers defined contribution retirement plan options for eligible faculty who elect participation in STRS. The options include:
- 1. STRS Ohio Defined Benefit Plan — As its name implies, your retirement income is "defined" in advance so that you know what you will receive when you retire. Your income is determined by a calculation that uses your age, your years of service and your final average salary. You also have survivor and disability protection while you teach. Access to optional health care coverage is provided to retirees who meet the necessary qualifications (currently 15 years of service credit).
- 2. STRS Ohio Defined Contribution Plan — In this plan, your retirement income is based on the performance of investment choices you select for the contributions made by you and your employer. You may allocate your contributions among various investment options managed by STRS Ohio. Retirement, survivor and disability benefits are limited to the value of your account. Access to STRS Ohio optional health care coverage upon retirement is not provided.
- 3. STRS Ohio Combined Plan — This plan allows you to create a portion of your retirement income through the performance of investment choices you select for your contributions while contributions from your employer pay for a combination of service retirement, disability and survivor benefits. Access to optional health care coverage is provided to retirees who meet the necessary qualifications (currently 15 years of service credit).
Detailed information about your options is available on the STRS Ohio site.
Note: New members who choose the STRS Defined Contribution Plan or the Combined Plan will have another opportunity to reselect a permanent plan during their fifth year of membership. This "switch" option may be particularly beneficial to you if you are unsure about the amount of time you will teach in Ohio. If you choose an ARP now, your decision will be final unless you change employers.
For faculty who elect to participate in STRS, the deadline to select from among the three plan options listed above is 180 days from the first day of paid service. For complete information regarding STRS, go to strsoh.org.