If you're eligible* to participate in the mandatory retirement plans CU sponsors, the university will review your job classification and job description to determine in which plan you'll be placed. Those two plans are:

In most cases, employees will only be eligible for one plan or another. However, if an employee is eligible to participate in both plans, he/she must make a one-time, irrevocable choice between the two.

Which retirement plan will you have?

*Note: The following information is intended for CU employees who are eligible to participate in a retirement plan. Check your eligibility, based on your employment type.


Faculty, Officers and University Staff

Do you have an existing PERA account from a previous job?


If your job description requires that you participate in a retirement plan, you must choose between PERA and CU's 401(a) Plan.

Upon being hired, CU will send you a "PERA Choice" election form in the mail, to the address we have on record (editable within the employee portal). You must use this form to make your one-time choice, and complete and return it to Employee Services within 30 days of your date of hire. CU also will send an email to your CU email address about your choice, the mailing of the form and the upcoming deadline.

If you do not elect one of the plans by the deadline, you will be enrolled into PERA, which is the default plan. Once you have been enrolled in either plan, your choice is irrevocable for your CU career.


If you hold a job that is eligible for CU's 401(a) Plan, you will be enrolled in that plan.


Classified Staff

Classified staff employees must participate in the PERA Plan and will not be issued a choice.

Other Savings Options

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

These plans help supplement other retirement savings on a pre-tax basis through a salary-reduction agreement with CU. Learn more about these savings vehicles.