Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS)

All regular full-time and part-time exempt or non-exempt staff members are eligible for PERS on the first day of employment and will be enrolled automatically.

Non-academic officers and senior administrators may choose between PERS and ORP within 30 days of hire into an eligible position.

Defined-benefit plans provide eligible employees guaranteed income for life at the time of retirement. The monthly benefit for each participant is calculated based on factors such as the employee’s salary and years of service.

Tier I Employees hired through June 30, 1986
Tier II Employees hired July 1, 1986-June 30, 1996
Tier III Employees hired July 1, 1996-June 30, 2006
 

The PERS Tier Chart is a side by side comparison of all four PERS tiers. 

Regular Staff Employees: 
  • Tiers I - III:
    • 6.75% through biweekly pre-tax payroll deductions
Firefighters and Peace Officers: 
  • 7.5% through biweekly pre-tax payroll deductions 
University of Alaska: 
  • Contributes an additional percentage as determined annually by the PERS program 

Employee contributions are mandatory and cannot be changed. 

PERS contains vesting features that give you the right to your account balance or retirement benefits after a specified period of time.

Tiers I - III members are vested when you have at least five paid-up years of creditable PERS service. 

Once you are vested, you may terminate PERS employment and still receive a monthly retirement benefit when you reach retirement age. You must leave your contributions in the plan to stay vested. 

For more detailed information, please refer to the PERS Handbook - Tiers I - III or visit the Division of Retirement and Benefits website

Defined-contribution plans are account-based plans where the employee and employer contributions are invested into mutual funds or money market funds where they grow tax-deferred until withdrawn.  

Tier IV Employees hired on or after July 1, 2006
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The PERS Tier Chart is a side by side comparison of all four PERS tiers. 

Employees: 
  • All employees contribute a mandatory 8% of your gross eligible compensation that is taken pre-tax through payroll deductions. 
University of Alaska: 
  • The University contributes an additional 5% of your gross eligible compensation to your retirement account. 

Employee contributions are mandatory and cannot be changed. 

Employees are 100% vested in the contributions you make to your retirement account. 

Employees are 100% vested in the contributions the Univeristy makes to your retirement account after a 5 year gradual vesting period: 

  • 2 years of service
    • 25% vested in employer contributions 
  • 3 years of service 
    • 50% vested in employer contributions 
  • 4 years of service
    • 75% vested in employer contributions
  • 5 years of service 
    • 100% vested in employer contributions 
For more detailed information, please refer to the PERS Handbook - Tiers IV or visit the Division of Retirement and Benefits website
Tiers I - III:
Tier IV:

The Voluntary Savings Plan is an account funded solely by the employee's post-tax, voluntary contributions. These are separate and independent of the mandatory contributions that you are required to make to PERS. 

Eligibility: 
  • Active PERS Tier I, II, or III members are eligible to enroll in the Voluntary Savings Plan. 
Enrollment: 
Contributions: 
  • You are eligible to contribute a maximum of 5% of your eligible gross salary to the plan. 

View the Voluntary Savings Plan brochure for more information or contact the Division of Retirement and Benefits directly. 

You are eligible to retire and receive monthly benefits when you are vested and reach retirement age or when you meet the minimum service requirements.

How to apply for retirement:
  1. Contact the Retirement Customer Service Center at the Division to request an estimate of benefits and an application.  
    • It is recommended that you do this at least 120 days in advance of your prospective retirement date 
  2. Meet with a regional counselor to discuss any questions or concerns you might have. 
  3. Send in your application at least 60 days before your employment with the University ends. 
    • Please be advised that the processing of your first benefit check can take up to six weeks. 
Retiree Net Pay Estimator

You may also access this tool from the Division of Retirement that will help you estimate your pension benefit. The Retiree Net Pay Estimator tool provides an estimate of your net monthly benefit, once you retire.

PERS Handbook

More information about retiring from PERS can be found in the PERS Tiers I - III HandbookAll questions or concerns regarding your retirement with PERS should be directed to the Division of Retirement and Benefits

Additional Resources

The University has created a Retirement Checklist and Exit Guide to help employees navigate this transition. 

To avoid additional tax penalties, it is recommended to wait to withdraw your retirement account until you have reached age 59-1/2.

No withdrawals can be made from your account until 60 days after you quit working. Once this waiting period has been observed, you will have different options to choose how you receive your account balance. Contact the Division of Retirement and Benefits prior to your last day worked to discuss these options.

Additional Resources

The University has created a Retirement Checklist and Exit Guide to help employees navigate this transition. 

 Tiers I - III: 
  • If you leave the University prior to becoming eligible to retire from PERS you will want to contact the Division of Retirement and Benefits to determine the status of your account and what your options are. 
Tier IV: 
  • Members in this plan have the following options for their Defined Contribution account: 
    • Leave your retirement account in this plan 
    • Direct your retirement account to another qualified tax-free retirement account such as an IRA 
    • Direct your retirement account to another qualified plan with a new employer 
  • Contact the Division of Retirement and Benefits to discuss the best option for you.  
Additional Resources

The University has created a Retirement Checklist and Exit Guide to help employees navigate this transition.