Faculty Retirement Plans

New faculty members have the option of selecting between the University of Alaska's Optional Retirement Program and the State of Alaska's Teachers' Retirement System (TRS). New faculty must choose between ORP and TRS within 30 days of being notified they are eligible. This is an irrevocable decision. Employees who do not make a choice will automatically be enrolled in TRS.


Teachers' Retirement System (TRS)

The university and the employee contribute a percentage of the employee's pay to this state-sponsored retirement plan. The percentage depends on date of hire. Modifications to the plan over the years have resulted in three different "tiers, with benefits based on date of hire. The first two tiers are a defined-benefit plan and TRS Tier III is an account-based or defined-contribution plan.


Tax-Deferred Annuities (TDAs)

Faculty members may contribute to tax-deferred annuities to supplement retirement income or defer taxable income. Participation is optional and subject to IRS limits on contributions.


UA Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)

The Optional Retirement Plan is a defined-contribution plan created by the university in 1990. The university and the employee contribute a percentage of the employee's pay to this account. The percentage depends on date of hire. Employees select their own investments with one of the following vendors: Fidelity Investments, Lincoln Financial Group, AIG VALIC or TIAA-CREF. The different levels of benefits are:

  • ORP Tier 1: (Employees hired before July 1, 2005)
  • ORP Tier 2: (Employees hired July 1, 2005-June 30, 2006)
  • ORP Tier 3: (Employees hired on or after July 1, 2006)

University of Alaska Pension Plan

The University of Alaska contributes an amount equal to 7.65% of an employee's first $42,000 of salary in a calendar year to the UA Pension Plan. The funds can be invested with Fidelity Investments, Lincoln National, TIAA-CREF or VALIC. Employees hired on or after July 1, 2006 become 100 percent vested after three years of service. Eligibility for the UA Pension Plan is tied to the selection of the Optional Retirement Plan for employees hired on or after that date.


Click here for more information about Retirement Plans.

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