Retirement options start on your first day of employment with SFA!
Eligible SFA employees must contribute to one of the following retirement plans:
- Teacher Retirement System - is a defined benefit plan. All TRS-eligible employees at Texas public institutions of higher education are automatically enrolled in TRS on their first day of employment.
- Optional Retirement Program - is a defined contribution plan that is available as an alternative to the TRS system. ORP-eligible employees at Texas public institutions of higher education may elect to participate in the Optional Retirement Program as an alternative to TRS.
Teacher Retirement System
TRS administers a defined benefit retirement plan that is a qualified pension trust under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. The pension trust fund provides service and disability retirement, as well as death and survivor benefits, to eligible Texas public education employees and their beneficiaries. TRS is the largest public retirement system in Texas, serving more than 1.4 million people.
Highlights of TRS
- Employee contributes 8.0% for pay received on or after 9/1/2021
- SFA contributes 7.75% for pay received on or after 9/1/2021
- Full retirement benefits when you are vested in the TRS program (with five years of retirement service credit) and meet the Rule of 80 or age 65
- Disability retirement (if you become disabled before retirement and meet certain criteria)
- Member death benefits for active employees
- Contribute to both TRS and Social Security
- Health insurance during retirement if you meet all the rules and guidelines set by ERS
To be eligible to participate in TRS, an employee must work at least 20 hours per week for at least 4 1/2 continuous months. Students employed in positions that require student status as a condition of employment are not eligible.
Optional Retirement Program
ORP is a defined contribution plan that is similar to a 401(k) plan with employer "matching" contributions. The ORP participant and employing institution make mandatory monthly contributions using percentages of salary that are established by the state legislature and subject to change. Federal contribution limits may apply to certain highly compensated employees. Contributions are invested in a 403(b) account with an ORP vendor that is authorized by the employing institution. ORP participants choose a vendor from the Authorized Vendors for Tax Sheltered Annuities & Optional Retirement Plans, set up an ORP account with the selected vendorE and make decisions on how to manage their funds.
Highlights of ORP
- Employee contributes 6.65% for FY2022 and FY2023 and SFA contributes 6.6% for FY2022 and FY2023.
- Full retirement benefits when employees are vested (with one year and one day of retirement service credit) and meet the Rule of 80 or age 65.
- Employees will contribute to both ORP and Social Security.
- Health insurance during retirement if you meet all the rules and guidelines set by ERS.
To be eligible to participate in ORP, an employee must:
- initially be appointed on a full-time, continuous basis for 4 1/2 months or more
- and be appointed to a position otherwise eligible to participate in ORP. Examples of ORP eligible positions include faculty members whose duties include teaching and/or research as a principal activity; faculty administrators responsible for teaching and research faculty; professional librarians; chief and senior administrative officials; specialized professional positions (such as physicians and attorneys); and athletic coaches and directors.
Eligible SFA employees who would like to further supplement their retirement may also contribute to the TSA 403B tax-sheltered annuity plan and Texa$aver 457 deferred compensation plan with no offset.
Supplemental Retirement Programs
TSA 403B Tax-Sheltered Annuity Plan
- Pre-tax contributions
- Loan provisions
- May withdraw your funds at age 59 1/2, even if still employed
- Enroll any time during the year
- Overview of TRS and ORP (July 2021)
- Supplemental Retirement Annuity Participation Notice (April 11, 2017)
- Authorized Vendors for Tax Sheltered Annuities & Optional Retirement Plans (June 2021)