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It’s never too late to ensure that you are saving enough. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your retirement benefits at UNC-Chapel Hill by familiarizing yourself with the information and processes below. Review the UNC System Retirement Planning Guide.

Under the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) Plan:

Service Retirement (Unreduced Benefits)

You may retire with an unreduced service retirement benefit after you:

  • Reach age 65 and complete 5 years of membership service
  • Reach age 60 and complete 25 years of creditable service
  • Complete 30 years of creditable service at any age

Early Retirement (Reduced Benefits)

You may retire early with a reduced retirement benefit after you:

  • Reach age 50 and complete 20 years of creditable service
  • Reach age 60 and complete 5 years of membership service

Under the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) Plan:

Retirement Formula

Your annual benefit = 1.82% of average final compensation X years and months of creditable service

Average final compensation

The average of your salary during your four highest-paid years in a row. If your four highest-paid years in a row include a final payment for unused vacation leave and/or prorated longevity, your average final compensation may be increased by the extra payment(s). Final payments, if any, for unused sick leave or reimbursements for expenses are not includable in your average final compensation.

Creditable service

The total of all service credit that counts toward retirement. It includes membership service for any period during which you contribute to TSERS, provided you have not withdrawn your contributions. It also includes credit for eligible purchased service and eligible unused sick leave that is converted to creditable service at retirement.

ORBIT Retirement Benefit Estimator


Consult the UNC Benefits Office

Contact UNC Benefits to discuss details of your retirement approximately six months to one year prior to your anticipated retirement date.

TSERS Workshop

Enroll in the “Let’s Talk TSERS” Workshop, hosted by UNC Organization & Professional Development. This half-day retirement workshop provides information on when employees are eligible to retire, how to calculate their payment and what other benefits are available in retirement. Consult the Course Catalog for upcoming workshop dates.

Under the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)

You are eligible to withdraw a financial distribution from your ORP plan when you leave the University, provided you have participated in plan contributions for five years or more.

You are eligible for coverage under the retiree group of the State Health Plan if you contributed to TSERS for at least 5 years (excluding credit for unused sick leave or credit transferred from LGERS) while employed as a teacher or state employee. The cost, if any, is determined by two factors: (1) when you began state employment and (2) which health coverage you select.

Under current law, if you were first hired before October 1, 2006, and retire with 5 or more years of TSERS membership service, the state will pay for your individual coverage under the non-contributory plan at retirement (currently 70/30 or Medicare Advantage Base).

If you were first hired on or after October 1, 2006, in order to receive individual coverage at no cost, you must retire with 20 or more years of retirement service credit. If you have 10 but fewer than 20 years of retirement service credit, you will have to pay 50% of the cost for your coverage. If you have 5 but fewer than 10 years, you will have to pay the full cost for your coverage.

In all cases, if you choose coverage for your dependents, you must pay the full cost of dependent coverage.

Your coverage begins on the first day of the month following your effective date of retirement. For example, if your effective date of retirement is January 1, 2019, your coverage in the retiree group plan will begin on February 1, 2019.

Experts suggest you’ll need at least 70% of your pre-retirement income to maintain your current lifestyle when you retire.

Experts say if you retire at age 65, you will need enough money to last 20-30 years.

TSERS/ORP benefit is only one of the sources of income for retirement.

You also need to consider:

  • Social Security
  • Savings- supplemental retirement plans, personal savings, real estate, etc.

Social Security may replace 20%-35% of your pre-retirement income.

UNC-Chapel Hill offers supplemental retirement plans to help plan for a better retirement.

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.

Learn more