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Coppin State University requires all regular employees to enroll in one of the retirement programs offered through the State of Maryland at the time employment.

All regular non-exempt employees must enroll in the defined benefit plan offered by the Maryland State Pension System (MSPS) at the time of employment.

All regular faculty and exempt employees can elect to enroll in either the Maryland State Pension System or an Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). ORP carriers currently include TIAA/CREF and Fidelity. All regular faculty and exempt employees are encouraged to review the booklet Choosing a Retirement Program and the ORP Program Performance Report before selecting a retirement plan.

The pension plan offered by the Maryland State Retirement System is a defined benefit program. A defined benefit pension uses a mathematical formula at the time of retirement to determine your monthly pension amount. This formula takes into consideration such factors as the length of time you are employed, your age at the time of retirement and the average of the three highest years of salary.

In order to be eligible for a pension under a defined benefit plan, an employee must work full-time for the employer a specific number of years. This process is called vesting. You are vested (entitled to a pension benefit) in the Maryland State Retirement System after 10 years of service.

The employee contribution is 7% and the state's contribution is based on an actuarial formula. The plan provides early retirement, disability and death benefits, as applicable. Other plan features include the conversion of unused sick leave to additional creditable service at the time of retirement, full subsidized health insurance benefits (including spouse/dependent children for those employees who have completed 16 years of service, and an annual cost of living adjustment during retirement.

The Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) is a defined contribution plan. Under this type of pension, the employer deposits a defined percentage of your salary into the investment program designated by the employee, on an annual basis. This money accumulates, with interest, until the time of retirement. At the time of retirement, depending on investment methods, the employee may either receive a lump sum or monthly payments.

The State contributes a defined percentage of the employee's salary (currently 7.25 percent) each year to the employee's ORP account. These contributions are spread over 20 pay periods. There are no employee contributions to these plans. Early retirement, disability and death benefits are based upon the employee's ORP account balance, though a federal penalty tax may apply. Employees are always fully vested in their total account balance. Employees who retire with 16 years of service are entitled to fully subsidized health insurance benefits (25 years are required for this benefit to include spouse/dependent child).