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Division of Human Resources

Retirement Benefits

Through the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) and other outside vendors, we offer a comprehensive retirement program. 

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 a tax-sheltered annuity plan sponsored by the University of South Carolina and has three providers to meet your individual retirement goals.

Note: The 403(b) program currently has a contribution limit up to 85% of the employee’s wages. The option for manual changes or overrides to this percentage in case of an annual leave payout or any other significant one-time compensation is not available. If you terminated employment from the university in the middle of a pay period, you need to adjust your contribution percentage to ensure the 403(b) deduction is processed.

For information on each 403(b) annuity plan provider, please visit their websites.

Log into the Retirement@Work  portal with your USC username and password to:

  • Enroll in your University of South Carolina 403(b) Plan.
  • Change your voluntary contribution amount at any time.
  • Choose your preferred retirement plan provider(s).
  • View retirement plan balances across plans and investment providers.
  • Access tools and resources for planning.

To enroll you may be required to enter a plan number or code on your selected provider’s site to continue with enrollment.  

  • Corebridge Financial
    An access code is not required.  When prompted, enter “University of South Carolina” as your employer.

  • Fidelity Investments
    An access code is required.  When prompted, enter USC Employer Number 86892.

  • TIAA
    An access code is not required when using the TIAA link on the Retirement@Work confirmation page.

Refer to the Retirement@Work Quick Start Guide to log into the portal.

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
  • $23,000 in 2024 ($22,500 in 2023) (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

Contact the Retirement@Work contact center, managed by TIAA, at 844-567-9090 for assistance with enrolling and managing your accounts on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (ET).

Contact your chosen investment provider(s) to create the right investment portfolio.

Corebridge Financial: 888-569-7055
Fidelity Investments: 800-642-7131
TIAA: 800-842-2252

Contact the Benefits Office at or 803-777-6650 to inquire about enrolling or making changes to a 403(b) plan through the Retirement@Work portal.

Contact the Payroll Office at or 803-777-4227 for 403(b) plan distributions/rollovers, loans, or hardship withdrawals signature requirements.

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 2024, the combined contribution limit is $23,000 and the catch-up provision if you are 50+ is $7,500. The maximum contribution with the catch-up provision is $30,500.

You may max out the 401k (combined with the 403b if applicable) and 457 plans. The maximum contribution is $23,000 and the age 50+ catch-up is $7,500 for each plan totaling $30,500. Collectively, the maximum contribution with the catch-up provision is $61,000.

If you are interested in a 401k and/or 457(b), visit 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.

Helpful Resources

Use the resources listed below to get quick access to more information about your retirement benefits.

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