The university will review your job classification and appointment to determine your eligibility for a mandatory retirement plan.  There are two plans: the 401(a) Plan and the PERA Defined Benefit Plan. In most cases, employees will only be eligible for one plan.

CU’s 401(a) Retirement Plan

Participation is mandatory for eligible faculty and university staff.  If you meet this criteria, you will be enrolled automatically on the first of the month following your hire date. Contributions will be made via automatic payroll deduction at the end of each month.

PERA (Public Employees' Retirement Association) 

PERA participation is mandatory for Classified Staff.  You will be automatically enrolled on your hire date, and contributions will be made via automatic payroll deduction from each monthly paycheck.


PERA Choice: An important decision for new hires

Some employees have a choice between the two plans.  If your job classification is faculty or university staff, and you have an account with PERA upon hire, you will receive a PERA choice letter. You must make a one-time irrevocable choice to participate in either CU’s 401(a) Retirement plan or the PERA plan. You have 30 days from your hire date to make this election. If you do not take action, you will automatically be placed in the PERA plan, effective from date of hire. Once your enrollment is processed, contributions to your retirement plan will be made the same month you choose a plan unless it was received after the payroll cutoff date.  Any necessary adjustments to your contributions will be made on the next available pay period.

Voluntary Savings Plans

CU offers three voluntary retirement savings plans to supplement your other retirement savings.

  • The CU 403(b) Plan is open to most faculty, officers, university staff and classified staff.
  • PERA offers two non-voluntary plans—the 457 Plan and the 401(k) Plan—in which most CU employees can enroll, even if they are not PERA participants.

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