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UNC-Chapel Hill offers multiple retirement programs to suit your needs. Read more about the plans and systems offered below. Newly hired/newly eligible employees, hired on or after 9/1/2023, have 30 calendar days to make a retirement choice/election between the two mandatory retirement plans. Failure to select a plan in this time frame will result in an irrevocable default to the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS). Employees hired on or after 9/1/2023 will enroll in their mandatory retirement plans through ConnectCarolina>Self Service>My Benefits>Benefits Enrollment (on left)>UNC System Enrollment Portal.

To help newly hired employees make a mandatory retirement plan decision, an online retirement calculation tool has been developed to compare the two plans for you.

For retirement guidance in any stage of your career, check out our Retirement Planning page.

The Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System is a defined benefit plan. Under this type of plan the benefit you receive at retirement is based on a formula. This formula considers your years and months of creditable service, your age, and your “average final compensation,” which is the average of your salary during your four highest paid consecutive years.

Neither the investment experience of the plan assets nor the amount contributed by you and the University, on your behalf, directly determines the amount of the guaranteed benefit you will receive at retirement. Contributions begin on day one of eligibility and retroactive contributions are deducted in one lump sum. Once enrolled, you may not change your election (irrevocable).

The University of North Carolina Optional Retirement Program is a defined contribution plan. This program is an option or alternative to the North Carolina Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS). Under the ORP, you control your investment choices, distribution methods and retirement goals, whereas the State controls the investments under TSERS. Contributions begin on day one of eligibility and retroactive contributions are deducted in one lump sum. Once enrolled, you may not change your election (irrevocable).

As a reminder for active members nearing retirement, Medicare becomes primary the last month that a retiring active member is covered by his or her agency and the Medicare reduced rate applies. Members should be aware of the Medicare primacy change and the need to elect Medicare Part B to be effective the date of their retirement.

In order for a retiree to be eligible for the Humana Group Medicare Advantage Plan under the Retirement Systems, the retiree must be enrolled in Part A and B and they must have enrolled in their retirement benefit more than sixty days in advance of their coverage effective date.

All University employees are encouraged to supplement their state and federal retirement benefits by participating in one or more of the supplemental retirement savings programs available to them. A significant part of the retirement planning process may include voluntary supplemental retirement plans that offer significant tax advantages.

The University makes such plans available to eligible employees as authorized under Sections 403(b)(1), 403(b)(7), 457(b) and 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code. A supplemental retirement plan allows you to make contributions through payroll deductions to a variety of investment vehicles.

Staff and faculty can enroll in or make changes to UNC 403b and UNC 457 plans in ConnectCarolina. To do so:

  1. Log in to ConnectCarolina
  2. Choose Self Service from the drop-down menu at the top
  3. Choose the My Benefits tile
  4. Choose Benefits Enrollment on the left
  5. Select Supplemental Retirement Plans

For more information, view these documents:

The supplemental programs available are:

State Law Enforcement Officers may participate in the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System or the Optional Retirement Program. Law Enforcement Officers are entitled to additional benefits, including earlier un-reduced retirement benefits, participation in the State 401(k) and additional death benefits.

Learn more about planning for retirement, whether you’re new to UNC-Chapel Hill, in the middle of your career, or ready to retire.