Human Resource Services

Home | Jobs@UNI | My Benefits | Forms | About Us

My Benefits | IPERS Retirement Benefits


A Defined Benefit Retirement Plan


The Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System (IPERS) is a University Sponsored Retirement plan option that offers a defined benefit at retirement. The guaranteed lifetime monthly benefit payment is calculated using a formula based on years of service and highest average salary. Your payment is not tied to the performance of the stock market and IPERS does all the investing and takes on the risk.

If eligible, you have 60 days from the date of hire to elect a University Sponsored retirement plan.

Eligibility Criteria for IPERS

  • Hold a full or part-time appointment for six (6) months or longer.
  • Work 1,040 hours in a calendar year.

Temporary Faculty

Temporary faculty must meet one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Hold a full or part-time appointment for six (6) months or longer;
  • They are appointed for a second consecutive semester at 20 hours (50% time) or more per week.

Temporary Staff

You are eligible to participate in IPERS when you meet one of the following:

  • Appointed more than six (6) months.
  • Wages paid are $1,000 or more in two (2) consecutive quarters at the university.
  • Hours worked in a calendar year are 1,040 or more.

Regents Police Officers Who Provide Security

In addition to meeting the general eligibility requirements, Iowa Regents employees who meet the definition of Regents Police Officers must contribute at the protection occupation and be reported to IPERS under Occupation Code 26 for wages paid on or after July 1, 2016. Protection occupation rates can be found below.

Definition of a Regents Police Officer

A peace officer employed by an institution under the control of the state board of regents whose position requires law enforcement certification pursuant to section §262.13.

262.13 Security Officers At Institutions As Peace Officers
The board may authorize any institution under its control to commission one or more of its employees as special security officers. Special security officers shall have the powers, privileges, and immunities of regular peace officers when acting in the interests of the institution by which they are employed. The board shall provide as rapidly as practicable for the adequate training of such special security officers at the Iowa law enforcement academy or in an equivalent training program, unless they have already received such training.

J-1 Visa Holders with a Social Security Number

  • A J-1 visa holder may only elect TIAA during the first two calendar years that they are considered a non-resident alien.
  • Once two calendar years have concluded, visa holders will have 60 days in which they can elect the IPERS (Iowa Public Employees Retirement System) plan

Employees Meeting Eligibility Requirements for both TIAA & IPERS

Once eligible for both University Sponsored retirement plans you may elect to contribute to either TIAA or IPERS.

This decision is irrevocable and will continue through your active employment at the university. If no decision is made within your enrollment time frame you will automatically be placed in IPERS.

Benefits Coverage

IPERS Benefits Coverage Effective Date
Life Event Coverage Starts
New Hire First day of employment.
Qualifying Employment Event Effective the first of the month after the event.
IPERS Benefits Coverage End Date
Life Event Coverage Starts
No Longer Eligible Effective the last day of the month the appointment is no longer eligible.
Separation of Employment Effective the last day of the separation month.

Plan Information

Overview of UNI Retirement Options

Contributions: Employee & University

Contribution percentages will be deducted from paychecks on a pre-tax basis.

IPERS Contribution Rates - Percentage of Your Pre-tax Pay
Contributions Effective Your Share UNI's Share Total
7/1/18 – 6.29% 9.44% 15.73%
Regents Police Officers IPERS Contribution Rates - Percentage of Your Pre-tax Pay
Contributions Effective Your Share UNI's Share Total
7/1/18 – 6/30/19 6.81% 10.21% 17.02%
7/1/19 – 6/30/20 6.61% 9.91% 16.52%
7/1/20 – 06/30/21 6.41% 9.61% 16.02%
7/1/21 – 6.21% 9.31% 15.52%

IPERS contributions are based on your earnings which include vacation and sick leave (excluded are vacation and sick leave lump sum payouts), as well as overtime wages. Bonuses are excluded.


A vested member is old enough or has enough years of service to receive monthly benefits upon his/her retirement. You are always 100% vested in your contributions to IPERS. Vesting entitles you to a portion of the employer contributions and additional benefits, such as death and disability.

Employees Hired Before July 1, 2012 and Regents Police Officers Who Provide Security

You become a vested member for whichever comes first of the following:

  • After 16 quarters (4 years) of reported wages.
  • When you reach age 55 while still employed at an IPERS-covered employer.

Employees Hired on July 1, 2012 or After

You become a vested member in IPERS when you meet one of the following:

  • 28 quarters (7 years) of reported wages from an IPERS-covered employer.
  • When you reach age 65 while still employed at an IPERS-covered employer.

Learn More

IPERS provides counseling and educational resources for their members. All resources can be found on the IPERS website. IPERS members can call 800-622-3849 Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for questions.

A newsletter is also sent out to update members on the latest information on IPERS. An archive of the newsletters is available for reference.

Accessing Your Online Account

Items needed to access:

  • Member ID number, (if you don't have it call IPERS at 800-622-3849 or look at the top of your last statement)

If you are a first-time user:

  1. Visit
  2. Click on Member log in
  3. Click on Register
  4. Accept the Terms of Service
  5. Enter your Member ID number, last name and date of birth
  6. Click Verify
  7. Create Username and Password
  8. Enter security questions and personal information
  9. Click submit

If you are a first-time user:

  1. You may click on member login and enter your username and password
  2. Be sure to designate beneficiaries after logging in.

Leaving Employment Before Retirement (Under Age 55)

If leaving employment and will no longer be employed with an IPERS eligible employer, you may:

  • Leave your funds in IPERS until you are eligible for retirement benefits, return to work for an IPERS-covered employer or elect another option.
  • Roll your funds over to another qualified retirement plan.
  • Take a refund of your funds.
    • Refunds are cash withdrawals and will be subject to taxation.
    • If you withdraw funds prior to age 59 ½, you may be subject to an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty.
  • In order to receive all employer contributions, you must work at an IPERS-covered employer for 30 years.

For more details, visit IPERS website, contact IPERS counselors via phone at 800-622-3849 or meet with your financial professional.

If leaving employment and you will be employed with an IPERS eligible employer:

  • No action is needed your account will continue until you leave employment with an IPERS-covered employer.

Leaving Employment Due to Retirement (Over Age 55)

If leaving employment and you qualify for retirement contact IPERS (1-800-622-3849) to discuss your benefit estimate, purchasing service and restrictions with working after retirement.

IPERS also offers a free webinar entitled Ready to Retire? An Overview . This webinar will discuss the benefit formula used, how to read your estimate, how to purchase service and restrictions if you are planning on working after retirement. You may attend a live one-hour session or they do offer a pre-recorded version for you to view 24/7. Visit for more information.

Eligibility for Monthly Retirement Benefits

  • A vested IPERS member.
  • Age 55 or older.
  • Eligible for a monthly benefit of at least $50.

Retirement Tax Law

Consult with your tax advisor regarding regulatory changes to retirement plan savings and distributions. Iowa House File 2317 provides tax relief for certain retirement incomes as well as other income tax bracket adjustments. Now is a great time to meet with your financial advisor, or an IPERS or TIAA consultant, to see how the changes may impact your income and savings plans. An online request for tax guidance is also available through the Iowa Department of Revenue.

Returning to Work

IPERS Participant

  • If a retiree who is younger than age 65 and returns to work at an IPERS-covered employer, and previously participated in IPERS at UNI or another state agency, they cannot receive IPERS distributions if they earn an annual salary of $50,000 or more at any state agency.
  • Members who are older than age 65 are not subject to an annual earnings limit when returning to work for an IPERS-covered employer.
  • It is necessary to establish a clear separation from IPERS-covered employment after retirement for retirees age 55-70.
    • A bona fide retirement period is a legally required time of separation from IPERS-covered employment and IPERS-covered employers.
    • For more information on retirement restrictions with IPERS members returning to work, please visit the IPERS Returning to Work web page.

TIAA Participant

  • If a retiree returns to work at UNI, and previously participated in TIAA, they cannot return in a TIAA eligible position and continue to contribute to TIAA while receiving distributions.
  • If the retiree is now participating in IPERS they cannot hold a non-temporary appointment at the university and receive TIAA distributions.

Independent Contractors

  • An employee may not return to work as an independent contractor during the bona fide retirement period. (The first four months the employee receives an IPERS retirement benefit payment)
  • The employee may not enter into a written or oral agreement to perform services as an independent contractor until at least one benefit payment has been received from IPERS.

Benefit Enrollment

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 1Q: What does vested mean?

    1A: A predetermined length of time an employee must satisfy to receive full benefits from the plan. You are always 100% vested in your own contributions.

  2. 2Q: What is the difference between IPERS and TIAA?

    2A: IPERS is a defined benefit plan and TIAA is a defined contribution plan. View this plan comparison for more detailed information.

  3. 3Q: Can I be enrolled in IPERS and TIAA at the same time?

    3A: You can be enrolled in the IPERS group retirement plan and have a TIAA TDA or TIAA Roth TDA.

Jump to Top