Membership in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) is optional for students receiving graduate assistantships and who are being paid by payroll. These deductions are remitted to OPERS for the purpose of accumulating service credit toward future retirement benefits.
Graduate assistants may request exemption from OPERS membership by completing an OPERS Request for Optional Exemption. The form must be completed and submitted to Human Resources within 30 days of the first day of covered employment. OPERS exemption requests will be honored for the duration of a graduate assistant’s service but only during the times that they are registered for classes above the minimum number of hours to qualify for exempt status, and those classes are in session.
Upon termination of their position or graduation, graduate assistants who participated in OPERS can either leave their accumulated contributions on deposit to qualify for future retirement benefits, or request a refund of their accumulated contributions, and will be issued by OPERS. Refunds from OPERS are subject to federal and state income tax withholding, and reporting by OPERS is a taxable income on IRS Form 1099R. Questions about retirement funds should be directed to Human Resources and/or OPERS.