State Retirement Benefits
As a condition of employment, eligible employees of the University of South Carolina are required to become members of the South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) or the Police Officers Retirement System (PORS), as applicable, unless the State Optional Retirement Program (State ORP) is elected within 30 days of initial eligibility.
Certain employees may opt out of state retirement by electing non-membership; however, the election must be exercised within 30 days of initial eligibility. If a timely election is not exercised, the employee will be automatically enrolled into the applicable retirement system (SCRS or PORS), which is irrevocable. Generally, employees with an active SCRS account cannot elect State ORP or non-membership.
Active employees who participate in a PEBA-administered retirement plan may take advantage
of PEBA’s voluntary, supplemental retirement savings program – the South Carolina Deferred Compensation Program.
Defined Benefits Plans
Defined Contribution Plan
Voluntary Supplemental Retirement Savings Program
401(k) and 457(b) Plans
All paid employees, except students are eligible for state retirement benefits.
If you are eligible to switch from State ORP to SCRS during retirement open enrollment (Jan 1 – Mar 1), your SCRS membership effective date will be April 1 of that same year.
|Retirement Plan||Member Contribution Rate|
|SCRS and State ORP||9.00% of earnable compensation|
|PORS||9.75% of earnable compensation|
USC Supplemental Retirement Benefits
The 403(b) Program is sponsored by the University of South Carolina and has many providers to meet your individual retirement goals.
To make changes or to stop an existing contribution, please log in to Employee Self Service.
When you log into Employee Self Service use the drop down menu in the top center of the page to navigate to My Workplace, select the Benefits Enrollment Tile, and then select the 403(b) eform.
The 403(b) Program is a tax-sheltered annuity plan sponsored by the University of South Carolina and has many providers to meet your individual retirement goals. To enroll the program you will need to sign up with the university and with the annuity provider:
- Sign up with the university. New participants can start a contribution through Employee Self Service.
When you log into Employee Self Service use the drop down menu in the top center of the page to navigate to My Workplace, select the Benefits Enrollment Tile, and then select the 403(b) eform. Each step of the enrollment process is described on the 403(b) tip sheet [pdf].
- Contact the annuity provider [pdf] directly to complete paperwork to allocate investment funds and designate a beneficiary, etc.
If you do not contact the annuity provider [pdf], your account will not be setup appropriately. Depending on the vendor your contribution may be applied to a designated default account or even returned to USC.
If you have any questions regarding enrollments in a 403(b) plan, please contact your Campus Benefits Office.
The maximum amount of elective deferrals an employee can contribute annually to a 403(b) is generally the lesser of:
- 100% of includible compensation; or
- $22,500 in 2023 ($20,500 in 2022) (subject to annual cost-of-living increases).
However, this general limit is reduced by the amount of elective deferrals an employee makes to:
- 401(k) plans;
- SIMPLE IRA plans;
- Salary Reduction Simplified Employee Pension (SARSEP) plans;
- Other 403(b) plans; and
- Code Section 501(c)(18) plans.
For more information regarding 403(b) limit amounts, visit the IRS website.
If you have any questions regarding enrollments in a 403(b) plan, please contact the Benefits Office at 803-777-6650.
For 403(b) plan distributions/rollovers, loans, or hardship withdrawals, please contact the Payroll Office at 803-777-4227.
Enroll and Make Changes
Employees are only allowed to enroll or make changes to retirement benefits during specific time periods throughout the year. Learn more about the enrollment process and some exceptions that may apply.
Maximize Your Retirement Contributions
If you enroll in both a 401k and 403b, you may contribute to both plans to maximize your retirement savings; however, there are limits on the combined total. For 2023, the combined contribution limit is $22,500 and the catch-up provision if you are 50+ is $7,500. The maximum contribution with the catch-up provision is $30,000.
You may max out the 401k (combined with the 403b if applicable) and 457 plans. The maximum contribution is $22,500 and the age 50+ catch-up is $7,500 for each plan totaling $30,000. Collectively, the maximum contribution with the catch-up provision is $60,000.
If you are interested in a 401k and/or 457(b), visit www.southcarolinadcp.com to learn more about Deferred Compensation and to enroll. You can also call Empower Retirement at 877.457.6263
You may wish to consult with a financial advisor before making any final decisions.
Use the resources listed below to get quick access to more information about your retirement benefits.