Montana University System Retirement Plan

As a Montana University System (MUS) employee, you may have a choice regarding your retirement plan based on the classification of your employment.

If you are hired as faculty and certain professional staff*, you are eligible to participate in the Montana University System Retirement Plan (MUS-RP).  Please review the information below regarding the plan. 

If you are hired into an MUS position covered by the Montana Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), you have 12 months to choose which retirement option is right for you.  The MUS-RP and both PERS plans may** be available to choose from, so please review your options carefully.  Information about the MUS-RP can be found below.  Please visit the PERS page to receive more information.

MUS-RP

The MUS-RP is a defined contribution plan which means you control how your contributions are invested.  When you enroll in the MUS-RP, you select the investment option(s) provided by the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) that your contributions will be invested in.  You as the investor assume the risk, but are also entitled to all of the investment returns.  The MUS-RP does not specify a benefit in retirement; instead it specifies how much is contributed to your retirement account.  Your retirement account will grow over time depending on:

  • How much is contributed to the account;
  • How long the money remains invested; and,
  • The rate of return earned over that period of time.

Through TIAA-CREF, the MUS offers you a variety of investment choices from an array of asset classes.  Expenses vary from investment to investment.  Please be sure to read the prospectus before investing in any investment option as you should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully.  The prospectus provides details about the investment and the investment’s objectives including past results.  Please note that the past performances do not guarantee future performance.  Please visit the MUS TIAA-CREF page for more information about the MUS-RP and your investment options or contact TIAA-CREF:

TIAA-CREF
P.O. Box 1259
Charlotte, NC  28201

Phone: 
Monday – Friday, 6AM – 8PM (MT)
Saturday, 7AM – 4PM (MT)
1-800-842-2252

Online:  TIAA-CREF Support


Employee and Employer Contribution

Montana statute specifies how much you and your employer contribute to the plan.  By law, you cannot make additional payroll contributions more than the amount defined in the statute and Board of Regent policy.

Faculty and Professional Staff

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
As a member of the MUS-RP, contributions are calculated based on your gross compensation, before any pretax deductions.  This means your contributions are made on a pre-tax basis and grow tax deferred until you withdraw the funds.  At that time, you pay taxes on the amount you withdraw.

Total contributions to the MUS-RP is 13%

  • 7.044% Employee
  • 5.956% Employer

In addition to contributions to the MUS-RP, your employer contributes to the following:

  • 4.72% to the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) Unfunded-Liability Mandate

Employee contribution

7.044% of gross compensation

Employer contribution

5.956% of compensation

Allocation of employer  contributions as determined by §19-21-203, 19-20-621, MCA and Board of Regent Policy 803.2

5.956% - Individual Account                                                        
4.72% - TRS Unfunded Liability Mandate
10.676%   Total


All of your contributions and earnings are immediately 100% vested.  This means you have a right to those funds when you leave the MUS.

Classified Staff

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
As a member of the MUS-RP, contributions are calculated based on your gross compensation, before any pretax deductions.  This means your contributions are made on a pre-tax basis and grow tax deferred until you withdraw the funds.  At that time, you pay taxes on the amount you withdraw.

Total contributions to the MUS-RP are 12.39%

  • 7.9% Employee
  • 4.49% Employer

In addition to contributions to the MUS-RP, your employer contributes to the following:

  • 2.37% to the Plan Choice Rate (PCR)
  • 0.04% to the Education Fund
  • 0.27% to the DCRP-PCR Additional Fund
  • 1.00% to the Temporary Additional Contributions to the DBRP and Disability Funds

Employee contribution

7.9% of gross compensation

Employer contribution

4.49% of compensation

Allocation of employer  contributions as determined by §19-21-214, MCA

4.49% - Individual account                                                       
2.64% - PERS Plan Choice Rate                                          
0.04% - PERS Educational Fund                                                  
1.00% - Temporary Additional Contributions
8.17%   Total


All of your contributions and earnings are immediately 100% vested.  This means you have a right to those funds when you leave the MUS.  Funds that you may have transferred or rolled over to your MUS-RP account, as well as any earnings, are also immediately vested.  Be sure to consult your financial or tax advisor to avoid rollover penalties.

 

How to Enroll

If you are hired as faculty and certain professional staff, and are not an active or inactive member of either TRS or PERS*, you will be automatically enrolled in the MUS-RP.  Your benefits office will be able to provide you with the enrollment and investment paperwork or visit TIAA-CREF to begin the enrollment process.   We encourage you choose which investment options you would like your fund to allocate into to ensure you are choosing options that best fit your personal retirement needs.  If you do not specify an allocation, you will automatically be placed in the appropriate multi-asset Lifecycle fund based on your estimated retirement date.

If your position is a PERS covered position, and you are not an active or inactive member of PERS**, you must make a one-time, irrevocable decision about enrollment in a retirement plan within 12 months of your hire date.   Your options not only include the MUS-RP, but also the PERS retirement options.  Please review all of your options carefully.  To enroll in either the MUS-RP or one of the PERS options, you must complete the PERS Plan choice election form and send it to the Montana Public Employees’ Retirement Administration (MPERA).  Do not file the Plan Choice Election form with your campus payroll personnel.  Once you make an election, MPERA will coordinate with MUS.  Once you have filed your paperwork with MPERA, if you elect the MUS-RP, you will need to choose your investment options.  Please contact your human resource office for the enrollment and investment paperwork.  If you do not make a decision within the 12 month enrollment period, you will default into the PERS Defined Benefit Retirement Plan.

Please allow yourself time before the enrollment deadline to obtain the necessary literature and complete your enrollment application. 

Please visit:  MUS-RP website or call 1-800-842-2273 for more information on the MUS-RP.

 

Access Funds Upon Ending Employment (Before Retirement)

If you are leaving employment with the MUS, you may have several choices regarding your retirement funds.  Please note that in-service distributions from the MUS-RP are not permitted.

  • Leave Your Money on Account
    Generally, you may leave your assets in the MUS-RP to continue to grow tax deferred, although you will not be allowed to continue to make contributions once you have separated employment.
  • Direct Rollover into Another Eligible Plan
    You can choose to roll your funds into another eligible plan.  Be sure to confirm that the new plan will accept your rollover and discuss with your new plan the potential tax penalties and/or fees that may apply.
  • Take a Distribution
    If you take a distribution from your account, and are not retired, federal law requires the MUS to hold 20% of the distribution for federal income tax purposes.  State tax withholding may also apply.

    Once you take a distribution, you have the option of rolling it over into an IRA or a qualified employer’s plan.  Amounts not rolled over within the 60 day time frame will be taxed to you as ordinary income tax in the year received.

    If you are under 59 ½ years old, you may also have to pay a 10% additional income tax for early distributions.  Please contact a tax professional before making a final decision.


If you choose a direct rollover or distribution, you will need to have severed employment for at least 30 days and have been paid out all of your compensatory, annual and sick leave.    Please contact your human resource office to discuss your options.

If you are receiving retirement benefits from any other Montana state plan, contact your human resource office for terms and restrictions on re-employment.

What happens if I change jobs within the MUS system?

While working at the MUS, if you change positions and your position is no longer a PERS classified position, or your position is reclassified, you may have the option to join the MUS-RP either from the MUS-RP classified plan or your PERS plan. You have 30 days to transfer to the MUS-RP faculty/professional plan.  If you do not complete the paperwork to transfer to the professional plan, you will remain in your current plan. If you choose to move to the MUS-RP faculty/professional plan, you cannot roll your MUS-RP classified plan account or your PERS-Defined Benefit plan into your new MUS-RP account. In-service rollovers are not permitted. Your MUS-RP classified or PERS account will remain as is, but you will begin contributing to your MUS-RP faculty/professional staff account going forward. Please contact your human resource office to discuss your options.

 

Manage Your Retirement

Take advantage of the guidance, education, and tools that TIAA-CREF offers to help you maximize your MUS-RP savings and plan for a successful retirement.  Please visit the TIAA-CREF website for more information or use the below links as a reference.

To schedule a one-on one session with a TIAA-CREF representative, please call 1-800-842-2009 to schedule an appointment or visit TIAA-CREF Online

 


Disclaimer:
If there are any discrepancies between this website and the provisions of the MUS-RP, the Plan Document will prevail.
The MUS, MPERA nor the Boards provide professional financial or tax-related services.  We encourage you to compare all of your retirement options based on your personal situation and consult with a financial planner and/or tax advisor as needed.

*If you are an active, inactive or retired member of TRS or the PERS you may have a choice to remain in your current retirement system or become a member of the MUS-RP.   Written election to move to the MUS-RP must be done within 30 days of becoming eligible to participate.  Please contact either TRS or PERS to discuss your options before you make any decision.  We recommend you review the MUS-RP and the TRS or PERS information so you understand all options available to you.  Further Information and training is available through the TRS and PERS website.

**If you are in an academic or a professional administrative personnel position and are an active, inactive or retired member of the TRS or PERS you may have a choice of remaining in your current retirement system or becoming a member of the MUS-RP.   If you are eligible, written election to move to the MUS-RP must be done within 30 days of becoming eligible to participate or you will remain in your current retirement plan.  Please contact either TRS or PERS to discuss your options before you make any decisions.   
   

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