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University of Arkansas Retirement Plans

University Retirement Plans:

To provide retirement benefits for employees, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers participation in one of the following retirement plans: the University of Arkansas Retirement Plan (The Plan) or the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System (APERS) The selection of one of these two plans is a permanent choice.

Employees selecting the UA Retirement Plan will have the option of making personal contributions to the plan. Employees selecting APERS for the first time must contribute 5%.

Retirement Plans for Employees with Federal Benefits:

Until 2003, certain non-classified employees who joined the UA Cooperative Extension Service enjoyed a special federal appointment status through the United States Department of Agriculture called “Schedule A appointment”. This special status allowed them to participate in federal benefit plans. Although federal Schedule A appointments ended in 2003, UA Extension employees formerly on federal Schedule A appointment maintained their University appointment status and were allowed to retain certain federal benefits and retirement plans (CSRS, CSRS Offset, and FERS).

The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) is a defined benefit, contributory retirement system.  Employees share in funding the annuities to which they become entitled. Cooperative Extension matches the employee's CSRS contributions. CSRS is a closed plan that does not accept new participants.

Certain Extension employees participate in the CSRS Offset Plan. Under the CSRS Offset Plan, the employee receives full CSRS benefits until eligible for Social Security benefits. At that time, the employee’s CSRS benefit is offset by the Social Security benefit. CSRS Offset is also a closed retirement plan.

The Federal Employee’s Retirement System (FERS) is a retirement plan that provides benefits from three different sources: aBasic Benefit Plan, Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The employee pays a share of the Basic Benefit and Social Security parts of FERS each pay period through payroll deduction. Cooperative Extension also pays its share.