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Retirement Benefits

Overview of STRS and SERS Pension Reform                       

 

Which retirement plan should I choose?

Full-time employees have the choice of a state pension plan (SERS or STRS) or the Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) that you manage like a 401k plan. You have 120 days from your date of hire to select the ARP. Part-time employees are enrolled in SERS. Adjuncts are enrolled in STRS.

 + Pension Plan FAQs

How can I contact State Teachers Retirement System or School Employees Retirement System?

The STRS Ohio Member Services Center provides a quick access to a service representative. Call STRS Ohio toll-free at 1-888-227-7877. For benefit information, you can log into their website at www.strsoh.org.

The School Employees Retirement System can be contacted toll-free at 1-866-280-7377. For benefit information, you can log into their website at www.ohsers.org

What does SERS and STRS stand for and which retirement system am I required to pay into?
SERS – School Employees Retirement System for staff employees
STRS – State Teachers Retirement System for faculty/teaching employees

Do I have to pay into the retirement system?
Yes, you must pay into the retirement system. As a state-supported Ohio public school, CSCC does not pay into Social Security. Students who attend CSCC and work at CSCC at the same time are the only employees that are allowed to waive participation in the retirement system.

How can I contact State Teachers Retirement System or School Employees Retirement System?
The STRS Ohio Member Services Center provides a quick access to a service representative. Call STRS Ohio toll-free at 1-888-227-7877. For benefit information, you can log into their website at www.strsoh.org.

The School Employees Retirement System can be contacted toll-free at
1-866-280-7377. For benefit information, you can log into their website at
www.ohsers.org

How much am I contributing to my SERS or STRS retirement account?
Staff employees paying into SERS contribute 10% of gross earnings. CSCC contributes 14% of gross earnings.

Effective July 1, 2013, faculty employees paying into STRS contribute 11% of gross earnings. CSCC contributes 14% of gross earnings. STRS employee contribution rates will increase by 1% every July 1st until the maximum contribution rate of 14% is reached in 2016. Employer contribution rates paid by CSCC will remain at 14%.

Can I increase or decrease the amount of money I am contributing to the retirement system?

No, you cannot. The contribution rates are state mandated.

What are the eligibility requirements for retirement with SERS?
Members who retire before 8/1/2017 or members with 25 or more years of service on or before 8/1/2017 can retire with a full benefit at any age with 30 years of service or age 65 with five years of service. Members can also retire with a reduced benefit at age 55 with 25 years of service or age 60 with five years of service.

Members who retire on or after 8/1/2017 must be age 67 with 10 years of service or age 57 with 30 years of service to retire with full benefits. Members can also retire with a reduced benefit at age 62 with 10 years of service or age 60 with 25 years of service.

What are the eligibility requirements for retirement with STRS?

Unreduced Benefit for Retirement Between:

Minimum Age and Years of Service

Now–7/1/2015

Any Age and 30 yrs.; or age 65 and 5 yrs.

8/1/2015–7/1/2017

Any Age and 31 yrs.; or age 65 and 5 yrs.

8/1/2017–7/1/2019

Any Age and 32 yrs.; or age 65 and 5 yrs.

8/1/2019–7/1/2021

Any Age and 33 yrs.; or age 65 and 5 yrs.

8/1/2021–7/1/2023

Any Age and 34 yrs.; or age 65 and 5 yrs.

8/1/2023–7/1/2026

Any Age and 35 yrs.; or age 65 and 5 yrs.

8/1/2026

Age 60 and 35 yrs.; or age 65 and 5 yrs.

I have worked in the private sector before, how will my State pension retirement with SERS and STRS impact my Social Security benefit?
The Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset explain how your Social Security benefit will be impacted by your State retirement benefit.

How many days do I have to elect an Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) and what happens to my contributions while I decide on which retirement plan to elect?
You have 120 days from your date of hire to elect an ARP. Your funds will be sent to the respective retirement system based on your position until you decide. If you decide to elect an ARP, your funds will be transferred from the retirement system to the ARP vendor.

If I choose an ARP, how much does the college contribute to my retirement account and how much do I contribute?
If you are a staff employee, you will contribute 10% of your gross earnings. CSCC will contribute 8% of your gross earnings. If you are faculty, effective July 1, 2013, you will contribute 11% of your gross earnings. CSCC will contribute 9.5% of your gross earnings. ARP employee contribution rates for faculty will increase will increase by 1% every July 1st until the maximum contribution rate of 14% is reached in 2016.

How can I request a refund of my SERS or STRS contributions?
After you have terminated employment with CSCC, you will need to contact SERS or STRS directly and ask for a “Withdrawal Application”. You will need to complete the member section of the application, then forward to Human Resources for completion of the Employer Certification section. Human Resources will forward the completed application to the retirement system.

I am already enrolled in the retirement system, because I teach at another institution. Do I have to enroll again?
Yes, you must be enrolled in the retirement system for each employer you are working for.

My service credit is incorrect on my SERS or STRS Annual Statement. How can this be corrected?
Contact CSCC Human Resources Retirement Coordinator and provide the fiscal year and service credit that is in question. After an audit is conducted, the Retirement Coordinator will forward the correct information to the retirement system. You will then need to contact the retirement system for a new Annual Statement.

Since we cannot increase our SERS, STRS or ARP contributions, what other options for retirement savings do we have?
You can enroll in a tax deferred 403B, 457 or after tax Roth 403B.

 + Supplemental Retirement Plan

Plan name: 2013-14 Supplemental Retirement Plans
Description:
You have the opportunity to save for retirement by participating in a 403, 403(b), or 457 plan through Columbus State Community College. Employees (with the exception of Student employees) are eligible to participate in these plans.

Carrier:Plan with Ease

Eligibility: To start your contribution, contact a participating provider and complete a salary reduction agreement and return to Human Resources. The Plan shall be administered by ING Plan with Ease. Please note that in addition to completing and returning a salary reduction agreement, you must also establish an account with the participating investment provider(s) that you have selected on the salary reduction agreement.

Contact: Twila Wiley, Program Coordinator of Retirement Benefits
Phone:     614-287-2422

Plan with Ease Contact 
Phone: 855-464-6928
URL: https://my.planwithease.com/emadmin/landingpage.action

 + Supplemental Retirement Plan FAQs

How do I enroll in a 403B or 457?
You must contact one of the approved vendors to set up an account. The vendor will supply you with a salary reduction form. You will need to turn the completed salary reduction form into the Payroll Department. See list of approved vendors.

How much am I able to contribute to a 403B, or 457 Plan?
The 2013 and 2014 plan maximum is $17,500. If you are age 50 or over, you can contribute an additional $5,500. The plan minimum is $10 or 5% of your paycheck (whichever is greater)

How much does CSCC contribute to my 403B, or 457 plan?
There is no employer match for the types of plans.

When is the deadline to enroll in a 403B, 457 plan?
There is no deadline to enroll.

Can I enroll in more than one plan at a time?
Yes, you can.

 + What are the eligibility requirements for participating in the VCSI program?

  • Full-time, non-temporary employees
  • SERS/STRS eligibility requirements are:
  1. 5 years of service credit at age 60; or
  2. 25 years of service credit at age 55; or
  3. 30 years of service credit at any age
  • Eligibility period is from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014

What is the time frame for expressing interest in the VCSI program and for signing the Letter of Intent?

  • The open window for picking up a VCSI packet and signing the Letter of Intent runs from July 1, 2013 through August 30, 2013.

When do I have to separate employment?

  • If you are eligible to retire at the time the incentive is officially offered on July 1, you must separate employment within six months (no later than December 31).
  • If you are not eligible to retire when the incentive is officially offered on July 1 but will be become eligible by June 30, 2014, you must separate employment within six months from the date of eligibility. For example:  
  1. If you are eligible August 1, 2013, you must separate employment on or before January 31, 2014.
  2. If you are eligible June 15, 2014, you must separate employment on or before December 15, 2014.

Can I extend the date of my separation beyond six months?

  • An extension will only be granted if an employee is identified as a “key employee” and asked by the College to extend his/his separation date beyond six months.
  • For information regarding Phased Retirement, please refer to the Policy and Procedures Manual under Chapter 3-Personnel Services, 3-39 - Phased Retirement.

Explain the 45 day wait period.

  • Once you receive the Participation form and Agreement and General Release form, you will have 45 days from that date to make a decision and return the signed forms. The 45 day timeframe is due to The Older Workers Benefits Protection Act (OWBPA).
  • If the 45th day falls on a weekend or holiday, you must submit your form by the following business day.

After I make a commitment to participate in the VCSI program by signing the Participation form and Agreement and General Release form, is there a timeframe in which I can change my mind and back out of the program?

  • You will have seven (7) days from when you sign the Agreement and General Release form to retract your decision.
  • If the seventh days fall on a weekend or holiday, you will have until the following business day.
  • You must submit a formal written notice to retract your decision.

Is my effective date for separation based on my CSCC anniversary date or my eligibility retirement date?

  • Your effective date for separation is based on the date you are eligible to retire from the retirement system.

Retirement Resources

SERS Overview and Enrollment Forms .pdf (Staff)

SERS Exemption form.pdf

STRS Membership Record.pdf (Faculty)

Alternative Retirement Plan Options.doc (vendors list)

403b and 457 Plans
403 and 457 Contact List
Questions to ask vendors

Detailed provisions of the VCSI program.

VCSI FAQs

 

Twila Wiley
Program Coordinator
Retirement Programs and Flexible Spending
287-2422
twiley4@cscc.edu