Teachers' Retirement System (TRS)
Eligibility and Participation
The UW is not a public school as defined in state statute, and therefore initial Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) eligibility cannot generally be established at UW. However, the TRS retirement plans are available in certain limited circumstances including:
- If you are a UW faculty or staff who is concurrently employed at the UW and you are in a TRS-eligible, certificated K-12 position in the public schools, then you must participate in the appropriate TRS plan provided that your UW appointment meets the minimum eligibility requirements;
- If you are a UW faculty member who established eligibility for the UW Retirement Plan (UWRP) on or after July 1, 2011, then you must make an election between the UWRP and TRS 3 during your first 30 days of eligibility;
- If you are an existing TRS Plan 1 member, you may continue contributing to TRS Plan 1 provided that you make that election during your first 30 days of eligibility. Note: TRS 1 was closed to new members after September 30, 1977.
TRS Plan 3
You are a TRS Plan 3 ("TRS 3") member if:
- You came to UW with an existing TRS 3 account and are employed in a faculty appointment as defined in the UW Faculty Code.
(Note: If you had an existing TRS 3 account and came to UW in a non-faculty appointment, you must choose between UW Retirement Plan (UWRP) and PERS 3. Retirement plan portability rules are the same for both TRS3 and PERS 3. See Compare UWRP to PERS 3.)
- You are a faculty member as defined in the UW Faculty code and elected TRS 3 instead of UWRP when you first became eligible for the UWRP on or after July 1, 2011.
All UW employees participate in their applicable retirement plan from the point they establish eligibility. Retirement plan participation is a condition of employment.
TRS Plan 2
TRS Plan 2 covers individuals holding positions as certificated teachers in the K-12 public school system. It is not normally available at the UW. Contact the Benefits Office if you believe you may be eligible for TRS 2.
TRS Plan 1
TRS Plan 1 ("TRS 1") is closed to new participants. You are eligible to participate in TRS 1 as a UW faculty or staff if:
- You had prior or continuing TRS 1 membership with established TRS 1 enrollment before October 1, 1977, and
- You work a minimum of 70 hours per month in any five months of a 12-month period.
Criterion Applicable to All TRS Plans
Changing positions at the UW
If you enroll in a TRS plan during your UW employment, you will have done so by signing an Irrevocable Election, since TRS is not otherwise available at UW. As such, no future retirement plan changes will be available to you at the UW. Email the UW Benefits Office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
When Transferring from Another Washington State Higher Education Institution
If you were participating in a Washington state public Higher Education Retirement Plan with another higher education institution (CWU, EWU, SBCTC, TESC, WSU, WWU), you may be eligible to participate in the University of Washington Retirement Plan (UWRP) instead of the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS). To be eligible for an exception to participate in the UWRP you must have:
- participated in a previous Washington State higher educational institution’s defined-contribution plan for at least two full years, AND
- contributed immediately prior to coming to the UW (within 90 days), AND
- be eligible for UWRP immediately upon hire at UW; AND
- all of the funds must still be in the account at one of the current UWRP record keepers (Fidelity or TIAA-CREF) without withdrawals of any kind.
If you believe you meet this exception criterion, email email@example.com to determine your retirement plan choices.
Disclaimer: If there are any discrepancies between this document and the provisions of the UWRP Plan Document or TRS statutes, the Plan Document or statue will prevail.