All regular full-time employees of the Tennessee Board of Regents and of institutions and technology centers governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents are members of a state-supported retirement system, subject to the eligibility provisions of T.C.A. § 8-35-101 et seq. Regular part-time employees are eligible to become members of a state-supported retirement system, but such membership is not mandatory. Regular academic, executive, administrative, and professional employees of the Board and institutions shall have the option of becoming members of either the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) or the Board of Regents Optional Retirement Program (ORP). ORP-TCRS Decision Guide
Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS)
TCRS is a defined benefit plan. The features of a defined benefit plan are:
- Annuity at retirement is based on a set formula which includes years of service and Average Final Compensation.
- The employer bears the risk of investment loss.
- Contributions are not available for loans or withdrawal until termination of employment.
- Benefit payments are for an employee’s lifetime.
- Retirement Plan Information - Exempt Employee
- Retirement Plan Information - Nonexempt Employee
- Retirement Plan Information - LEGACY Employee
- Retirement Plan Information for the TCAT Employee
- TCRS - Legacy
- TCRS Hybrid
- Retirement Plan Advisor Territory Map
TCRS is designed to provide three types of benefits: retirement benefits, disability benefits, or survivor benefits. For more information, please visit the Tennesee Consolidated Retirement System.
Optional Retirement Program
The ORP is a "defined contribution" retirement plan, which means that the amount of any future benefit will be determined by the member's account balance. Employer contributions are credited to each ORP member's account during service to a Tennessee higher education institution. The employer contributes 10% of gross salary covered by Social Security and 11% of salary in excess of the Social Security wage base.
The purpose of the optional retirement program is to establish a lifetime retirement benefit. The lifetime retirement benefit is accomplished through the use of annuity contracts. Tennessee Code Annotated § 8-35-411 sets the maximum ORP cash withdrawal. The election is available at retirement or separation from service. A cash withdrawal must be accompanied by annuitization of a like amount of the balance.
Annuity providers in the ORP are:
For more information, please visit the Optional Retirement Program.
Deferred Compensation Plans
The TBR also offers several deferred compensation plans to allow employees to save for retirement on a tax-deferred basis. Contributions to these plans are made through regular payroll deductions. Salary set aside through these plans cannot be withdrawn before separation from service except under a few limited circumstances. Participants in these plans are permitted to direct their contributions among a variety of investment options.
Two optional tax-deferred retirement savings plans operated by the State of Tennessee Treasury Department: a 457 plan and a 401(k) plan. To view plan highlights and comparison, please see 401(k) Plan Highlights and 457 Plan Highlights and 401(k) and 457 Plan Comparison. These plans are administered by Empower Retirement. Please visit the Deferred Compensation Program for additional information. You may also access your account through Empower Retirement.
You can make changes to your contribution levels in two ways:
- KeyTalk®: Call (800) 922-7772 to speak to a Client Service Representative between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday. You may also call KeyTalk at (800) 922-7772 to schedule a one-on-one appointment with your local Retirement Plan Counselor.
- Online: Visit Empower or the Deferred Compensation Program to log in to your account. Then choose "Change Paycheck Contributions" from the Transactions menu.
TBR also offers a 403(b) plan for employees. Information on this plan is available in the Office of Human Resources.