Faculty Handbook

Retirement Plans

VII. FACULTY AND ACADEMIC STAFF BENEFIT AND RETIREMENT PROGRAMS (Cont.)

All faculty/academic staff members appointed in a benefits eligible position at 50 percent time or more for a period of nine months or more are eligible to make contributions to the 403(b) Base Retirement Program as well as the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan. Most faculty/academic staff members, whether in a benefits eligible position or not, are eligible to make contributions to the 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Program. Please see the 403(b) Retirement Plan Policy or 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan Policy for more detail. 


403(b) BASE RETIREMENT PROGRAM

Eligibility
Participation in the 403(b) Base Retirement Program, with the University contribution, is initially voluntary and required for faculty/academic staff when certain service and age requirements are met. More information is available at 403(b) Base Retirement Program. The general rules follow:

Faculty appointed 50 percent time or more for nine months or more with the rank of assistant professor, associate professor, professor or senior research associate may elect immediate participation, with University contribution, or may defer participation until completing 24 FTE service months and attaining age 35, at which time participation is mandatory for faculty/academic staff. 

A specialist with a probationary or continuing appointment of 50 percent time or more may elect immediate participation, with University contribution. A specialist who does not have a probationary or continuing appointment will become eligible for the University contribution 24 FTE service months from the date of initial appointment. Participation for all specialist appointments may be deferred until completing 24 FTE service months and attaining age 35. 

Faculty/academic staff appointed 50 percent time or more for nine months or more as instructors, lecturers, or assistant instructors become eligible for the University contribution 24 FTE service months from the date of initial appointment to an eligible status. (See below for change in eligibility for research associates). Participation is required for instructors, lecturers and assistant instructors upon completion of 24 FTE service months and attainment of age 35. Instructor/residents and instructor/interns are never required to participate. 

Effective October 1, 2006, faculty/academic staff appointed 50 percent time or more for nine months or more as a research associate become eligible for the University contribution 36 FTE service months from the date of initial appointment to an eligible status. Participation is required for research associates upon completion of 36 FTE service months and attainment of age 35.

Once required participation commences for faculty/academic staff appointed for nine months or more, the faculty/academic staff member must continue contributing to the 403(b) Base Retirement Program while employed at the University.

Faculty/academic staff members appointed 50 percent time or more for nine months or more previously enrolled in a contributory retirement program before appointment at MSU or are age 55 or older upon appointment, may elect immediate participation regardless of rank, with the University contribution. 

Faculty/academic staff may complete the enrollment process in the 403(b) Base Retirement Program online through the EBS Portal.

Coverage
The 403(b) Base Retirement Program provides retirement income based upon the total amount accumulated from the employee's contribution, the University's contribution, and any earnings on those amounts over the period of the working years.

A faculty/academic staff member may commence to draw his/her accumulation under a variety of payment options after leaving the University; however, to be considered a retiree from the University, faculty/academic staff must meet the minimum University retirement requirements.

The 403(b) Base Retirement Program is fully vested indicating that both the faculty/academic staff member's and the University's contributions are placed directly in the faculty/academic staff member's account each month. In the event the faculty/academic staff member leaves the University, ownership of the total accumulation is retained by the faculty/academic staff member. The faculty/academic staff member may elect to receive an immediate retirement income or may defer the receipt of his/her retirement income until a later date.

Cost
The 403(b) Base Retirement Program is financed by a reduction of 5% from the faculty/academic staff member's base salary and a matching University contribution of 10%. 


403(b) SUPPLEMENTAL RETIREMENT PROGRAM AND 457(B) DEFERRED COMPENSATION PLAN

Faculty/academic staff members appointed at 50% time or more for a period of at least nine (9) months may make additional tax-deferred contributions to the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan subject to IRS limitations. More detail is available at 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan.

Most faculty/academic staff members are eligible to make additional tax-deferred contributions to the 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Program subject to IRS limitations. More detail is available at 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Program

Participation in the 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Program and/or 457 (b) Deferred Compensation Plan is never required, and no matching contribution is made by MSU.


OTHER RETIREMENT INFORMATION
  1. To be considered a retiree from Michigan State University (see the Retiring from the University Policy for more detail), a faculty/academic staff member must meet one of the following minimum University retirement requirements:
    • Be at least 62 years of age and have completed 15 years of service; or
    • Have completed 25 years of service at any age.
  2. Access to retiree health coverage (see the Retiree Benefits Policy for more detail) is based on the faculty/academic staff member's Retirement Calculation Date, which is often the employment date but may be later: 

    Faculty and academic staff with a Retirement Calculation Date prior to July 1, 2005 and meeting the minimum University retirement requirements will remain eligible to maintain health and dental coverage and receive a University contribution toward the premiums based on the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) service months at retirement. 

    For faculty and academic staff with a Retirement Calculation Date on or after July 1, 2005 and before July 1, 2010, the University will contribute to the lowest cost health plan's single rate for which the employee/retiree is eligible. (The contribution is based on the full-time equivalent (FTE) service months at the time of retirement). At retirement, the employee must designate whether the employee receives the University contribution or whether the contribution is to be split 50/50 between the employee and his/her spouse or other eligible individual. This designation is irrevocable regardless of circumstance, including returning to work or death. The designation of the 50/50 contribution is also non-transferable to future spouses or other eligible individuals. 

    Faculty and academic staff with a Retirement Calculation Date on or after July 1, 2010 are not eligible for a University contribution to health care benefits. Retiree health coverage is available through the university at cost. 

    Retirees (their spouse or Other Eligible Individual) age 65 and over are required to enroll for Medicare Parts A & B at which time MSU's health plan coverage is adjusted to a Medicare supplement policy. Medicare Part B requires a monthly premium that is not reimbursed by MSU. Individuals may contact their local Social Security office for information on the monthly premium cost for Medicare Part B.
  3. Faculty/academic staff meeting the minimum University retirement requirements may continue participation in the employee-paid life program after retirement until age 70.
  4. Faculty/academic staff meeting the minimum University retirement requirements and who are appointed less than 90% time may be eligible to continue receiving the full University contribution toward the health and dental plans based on their FTE service months; Basic Employer Life, and may continue participation in the Course Fee Courtesy program. If you are vested for retirement, please contact MSU Human Resources (517)353-4434.
  5. Faculty/academic staff members participating in the employee-paid life plan at the time of retirement and who were enrolled prior to July 1, 1976 will receive a $2,000 life benefit fully paid by the University.

Footnote:

For benefit purposes only, half-time is defined as 50.0-64.9 percent time; three-quarter time is defined as 65.0-89.9 percent time; full-time is 90.0-100.0 percent time.


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