Georgetown University Retirement Plan (GURP): Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits

Georgetown University Logo Georgetown University Related Image

Georgetown University Retirement Plan (GURP)

This plan is closed to new participants.  Current participants who elected to remain in GURP during the Retirement Choice period continue to earn benefit and interest credits toward their GURP balance.  Staff who elected to begin participating in the Defined Contribution Retirement Plan as of January 2009, will maintain their "frozen GURP balance" (balance as of December 31, 2008) and continue to earn interest credits on that balance.


 

 

Plan Participation

This plan is closed to new participants.  Prior to 2008, staff employees became participants in the Plan on the January 1st of the year in which they complete 12 months of service during which they worked 750 hours and attained at least age 21. Enrollment in the Plan was automatic.

Participants received their first employer contributions as of the December 31st following their date of participation. For example, if an employee was hired full-time into a benefits-eligible position in April of 2002, she became a participant in the plan as of January 1, 2003. She received her first employer contribution as of December 31, 2003 (the last day of the plan year).

How Is My Benefit Calculated?

All Plan participants start out with an initial cash balance benefit of zero. For each calendar year during which a participant works 750 or more hours, the participant will receive a Benefit Credit. The amount of the Benefit Credit is based on age, years of service and annual pay. The Benefit Credit is equal to a percentage of the participant's earnings in that calendar year, based on age and years of service. 

Age Plus Service             Benefit Credit

      0 - 39                                       3.5%
     40 - 49                                      4.0%
     50 - 59                                      4.5% 
     60 - 69                                      6.0%
     70 - 74                                      8.0%
     75 - 79                                      9.0%
     80+                                           10.0%

In addition, each participant receives an annual Interest Credit. This credit varies each year and cannot exceed 10%, nor may it fall below 5%.

What Does It Mean To Be A "Grandfathered" Participant?

If you are a "grandfathered" participant, it means that you are entitled to the greater of:
• The benefit calculated based on the cash balance benefit formula
• The benefit calculated based on the "grandfathered benefit formula"

Who is Eligible as "Grandfathered" Participant?

In order to be a "grandfathered" participant, you must have accumulated at least five years of credited service and vested in your benefit as of December 31, 1995 or December 31, 1997 if represented by SEIU 1199.

What is the "Grandfathered Benefit Forumla"?

The Grandfathered Benefit Formula takes into consideration most highest five consecutive years of compensation, years of service, offset by your estimated social security benefit at age 65.  Please contact the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits to determine if you are eligible for a benefit under this forumla.

How Is the Plan Funded?

The University pays the entire cost of this plan. No employee contributions are required, nor permitted. This Plan does not accept rollover contributions. If you wish to contribute to your retirement savings via payroll deduction, or by rollover, you may do so through the Voluntary Contribution Retirement Plan.

What Does Vesting Mean?

The definition of vesting is the granting to an employee of credits toward a pension even if separated from the job before retirement. Vested means you are due a GURP benefit when you retire or leave Georgetown University. Generally speaking, you are vested in GURP after accumulating three years of vesting service. (The vesting period changed from five to three years on January 1, 2008.) For each calendar year that you complete 750 hours, you are credited with one year of vesting service.  

However, there are other ways in which you may become vested in your GURP benefit. You will become vested when you attain age 65, if you become disabled, or if you die while employed by the University, regardless of how many years of service you have accumulated.

If you leave Georgetown University (for any reason) after becoming vested, you will be entitled to a distribution from the Plan. If you leave Georgetown University (for any reason) prior to being vested, you will forfeit your benefit.

How, and How Often, Do I Receive Updates On My Account Balance?

We provide all active participants with an update of their GURP balance annually, with the exception of those to whom the grandfathered formula applies. We provide this update via EmployeeAccess+. We generally have these updates available to participants no later than the end of June each year. We have published these statements as early as February. The statement reflects the balance as of the beginning of the calendar year in which it is issued.

When can I view my GURP balance?  When is it updated on EmployeeAccess? 

You can view your GURP balance at any time.  However, balances for the current calendar year are generally posted by the end of the first quarter of that year.  You can view your balance by  visiting www.georgetown.edu/access.  The balances reflect the dollars in your account as of January 1.  

What differences might there be between my "posted" balance and my "real time" balance?

Differences may arise in two ways.  First, participants do not begin to accrue benefits until the second calendar year of their employment at Georgetown.

For example, if an employee is hired full-time into a benefits-eligible position in April of 2006, she will become a participant in the plan as of January 1, 2007. She will receive her first employer contribution as of December 31, 2007, and will be reflected in the January 1, 2008 balance. When we update participant records in the beginning of 2007, based on December 2006 account balances, her record will not show an account balance, even though she is a participant at that time.

Secondly, a participant may have accrued an additional year of service by the time that statements are issued. For example, an employee's statement may indicate that he is not vested because he has two years of service as of January 1, 2007. However, if that employee has worked at least 750 hours from January 1st through the date the statements are issued, the employee accrues another year of service and is therefore vested, despite the fact that this vesting status will not be reflected until the following statement is issued.

Please note that these timing differences are inherent to the nature of the Plan and do not indicate that the statements are incorrect.

Can I Receive My Benefit Before I Terminate Employment?

No. This Plan does not permit any in-service distributions. No loans are permitted. No hardship withdrawals are permitted.

Can I "Roll Over" A Distribution from An IRA Or From a Prior Employer's Pension Plan Into This Plan?

No, this plan does not accept rollover contributions. However, you may roll over tax-qualified funds from your previous employer's retirement plan into the Voluntary Plan instead.

How Does Participation In This Plan Affect My Ability To Contribute To An Individual Retirement Account ("IRA")?

The rules regarding an individual's ability to contribute to an IRA, and the tax deductibility of contributions to an IRA, are complex and depend on many factors that are beyond the scope of your employment at Georgetown. Your marital status, total household income, other sources of income (self-employment income from outside consulting is one of many examples) amount of employee contributions made to our plans, and other factors can impact the type of IRA that is appropriate for you. Consequently, the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits cannot provide you with guidance regarding IRA contributions. You should contact your tax or investment advisor for assistance.

What Happens When I Terminate Employment?

When you terminate employment, you will be entitled to receive a distribution from the plan if you are vested. If you are not vested, you will forfeit your benefit. After you terminate your employment, contact us via e-mail at benefitshelp@georgetown.edu to request distribution paperwork. In order to assist us in locating your record, please include as much of the following information as possible: your current, legal name and any other names you may have had as an employee, your social security number, your date of birth, your approximate dates of hire and termination (month and year will suffice), any rehire dates or periods of lapses of employment, your current address, your e-mail addresses (work and home) and telephone number(s) we can use to contact you.

After we receive your request, we will complete your distribution paperwork and mail it to the address you provide. When you receive your distribution paperwork, complete the forms and return them to our office. The forms outline the various payment options available to you. If you wish to defer receipt of your benefit, you need not return the forms.

If you wish to defer receipt, you can contact us at benefitshelp@georgetown.edu at a later date to request payment of your retirement benefit. We will recalculate the value of your benefit, but only once per calendar year.

Please note that the turnaround time for receipt of your retirement benefits is generally four to six weeks after we receive all the necessary paperwork. Please take this into your financial planning considerations.

What Happens When I Retire?

The process for receiving a distribution when you retire (defined as terminating employment on or after the attainment of age 65) is similar to that of receiving a benefit as a terminee. 

It is critical you understand the difference in the definition of retirement for purposes of the GURP plan, and the definition of retirement for purposes of the retirement benefit program. For the purposes of GURP, you are eligible for retirement when you attain age 65. For purposes of receiving other retiree benefits, the definition of retirement is the attainment of age 55 and the completion of 10 years of service.

Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits · Georgetown University
37th & O St NW, Ground Floor, Healy Hall · Washington, DC 20057-1021
tel. (202) 687-2500 · fax. (202) 687-2389 ·
Georgetown University Seal