Enrolling in Retirement Plans

Enrolling in a retirement plan is a condition of employment for regular faculty and staff, including exempt and nonexempt employees, who work a minimum of 500 hours per year. Contractual contingent category I and II employees, graduate assistants, residents, and postdoctoral fellows are not eligible.

Regular Nonexempt Employees

Nonexempt employees must enroll in the pension plan, which is managed by the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System (MSRPS – the pension plan).

Regular Faculty and Exempt Staff Employees

Faculty and exempt staff employees have a choice between the pension plan and the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP).

  • The pension plan is a defined benefit plan that requires contributions from the employer and the employee, and provides a benefit when the employee is eligible to retire.
  • The ORP is a defined contribution plan in which the employer contributes a percentage of the employee’s base salary into an account where the employee decides how the money is invested. Currently, the University contribution rate is 7.25% of salary. Contributions occur 20 times, for all participants, during the academic year. There are no contributions during the summer.

Faculty and exempt staff employees must select a mandatory retirement plan on the first day on payroll or they will be defaulted into the pension plan.

  • Effective July 1, 2017, retirement elections are irrevocable and must be made upon commencement of employment. There is no longer a one-year window after hire date to elect the ORP.
  • Effective July 1, 2017, employees with prior membership in the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System (MSRPS) must enroll in the MSRPS and are not eligible for the Optional Retirement Plan.

Notary Services

Several retirement forms require a notarized signature in order to be processed. The Benefits Office provides a notary service for this purpose. Notary services are not available for personal transactions.

Notary services provided are in accordance with the Notary Public, Handbook of Maryland, which requires the following procedures be observed in performing a notary act:

  • The person(s) making the acknowledgement must personally appear before the notary public.
  • The person(s) whose name appears on the deed/form must provide satisfactory proof that they are the person(s) whose name appears on the deed/form.

Employees are responsible for getting their retirement forms notarized. They may use the Benefits Office notary service or utilize an outside source.