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.
* Please note Dawson Community College, Flathead Valley Community College and Miles Community College do not participate in the MUS-RP. Contact campus Human Resouces office for options.
- If you are hired into an MUS position covered by the Montana Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) (generall a MUS classified position), 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 PERS to receive more information.
The MUS-RP is a defined contribution plan meaning you control how your contributions are invested. When you enroll in the MUS-RP you select the investment option(s) based on your specific retirment readiness needs. 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.
MUS-RP offers a variety of investment choices from an array of asset classes through its recordkeeper, the Teacher's Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA). Expenses vary from investment to investment. Please be sure to read the prospectus before investing in any investment option to 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 past performances do not guarantee future performance. Please visit the TIAA MUS-RP page for more information about the MUS-RP and your investment options or contact TIAA:
P.O. Box 1259
Charlotte, NC 28201
Monday – Friday, 6AM – 8PM (MT)
Saturday, 7AM – 4PM (MT)
Online: TIAA Support
Montana statute specifies how much you and your employer contribute to the plan. By law, you cannot change the payroll contribution amounts defined in the statute and Board of Regent policy.
Faculty and Professional Staff
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As a member of the MUS-RP, contributions are calculated based on your gross compensation, before any pre-tax deductions. This means your contributions are made on a pre-tax basis and grow tax deferred until you withdraw the funds. 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 invested. Be sure to consult your financial or tax advisor to avoicd rollover penalties.
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
7.044% of gross compensation
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
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As a member of the MUS-RP, contributions are calculated based on your gross compensation, before any pre-tax deductions. This means your contributions are made on a pre-tax basis and grow tax deferred until you withdraw the funds. 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.
Total contributions to the MUS-RP are 16.77%
- 7.9% Employee
- 8.83% Employer
In addition to contributions to the MUS-RP, your employer contributes to the following:
- 0.04% to the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) Education Fund
7.9% of gross compensation
8.87% of compensation
Allocation of employer contributions as determined by §19-21-214, MCA
8.83% - Individual Account
Faculty and Professional Staff*
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 to begin the enrollment process. The MUS encourages you to choose which investment options you would like your funds allocated 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 retirement options through PERS. 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 the 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 campus Human Resources 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.
If you are leaving employment with the MUS, you may have several choices regarding your retirement funds. Please note 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.
The MUS encouraces you to speak with your fiancial advisor regarding options and potential
tax penalties that may apply. TIAA financial consultants are also available to discuss
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 campus Human Resources office to discuss your options.
If you are receiving retirement benefits from any other Montana state plan, contact your campus Human Resources office for terms and restrictions on re-employment.
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 from your PERS plan. You have 30-days to transfer to the MUS-RP. If you do not complete the paperwork to transfer to the MUS-RP, you will remain in your current plan. If you choose to move to the MUS-RP, you cannot roll your PERS-Defined Benefit plan into your new MUS-RP account. In-service rollovers are not permitted. Your PERS account will remain as is, but you will begin contributing to your MUS-RP account going forward. Please contact your campus Human Resources office to discuss your options.
Take advantage of the guidance, education, and tools TIAA offers to help maximize your MUS-RP savings and plan for a successful retirement. TIAA fiancial consultants do not work on commission. Please visit TIAA for more information or use the below links as a reference.
To schedule a one-on-one session with a TIAA representative, please call 1-800-842-2009 or visit TIAA.
If there are any discrepancies between this website and the provisions of the MUS-RP, the Plan Document will prevail.
The MUS 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.
In February 2018, the MUS transitioned its proprietary TIAA investment lineup to an enhanced investment lineup for the MUS-RP, offering a variety of investments. Please see the Transition Guide for more details regarding the changes.
*If you are an active, inactive, or retired member of TRS or 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.