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Retirement and Benefits

Main Benefits:
Retirement Plans

Insurance Programs
Leave Programs
Educational Benefits
Longevity Pay Plan
Payroll Check Abbreviations
Employee Assistance Program
HIPAA Privacy

Other Benefits:
Optional Benefits
On Campus Benefits
TN State Parks Discount
Business Discounts
Additional Benefits
Family & Medical Leave
Workers' Compensation



The value of employment at ETSU goes far beyond salary.  As a potential employee, you will enjoy a full range of benefits, services and programs.  Total compensation includes annual salary, a generous annual and sick leave program, 13 paid holidays, health and life insurance, retirement, 401(k) and more.  This calculator provides prospective employees with an illustrated breakdown of total compensation.  To see the total estimated value of salary and benefits, simply click the calculator icon above, choose the appropriate job type, fill-in an annual base salary, select a health plan coverage and retirement plan, and click the "Calculate" button.


The Hybrid Plan is a combination of a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan.  The defined benefit plan is funded by the employer providing a 4% contribution above and beyond salary and a 5% pre-tax contribution by the employee.  This 9% is managed by the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS).  There is a five-year vesting period for the amount contributed by the employer.  The defined contribution plan is funded by the employer providing a 5% contribution.  This 5% is managed by the employee under an agreement with Great West Retirement Services. 

The Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) is a defined contribution plan.  The plan is funded by the employer providing a 9% contribution above and beyond salary and a 5% pre-tax contribution by the employee.  This 14% is managed by the employee under an agreement with TIAA-CREF, VALIC, and/or VOYA.  The employee may participate in one, two, or all three and can transfer between companies. The vesting period is immediate for all contribution. 

Both plans have a Defined Contribution component, which is funded by a 2% pre-tax, automatically deferred, contribution made by the employee.  This 2% is managed by the employee under an agreement with Great West Retirement Services.  The employee may elect to contribute more than 2% up to the maximum IRS limit. If the employee elects not to defer the 2%, Great West must be notified within 30 calendar days by the prescribed method from the date of hire.  In addition, the employer will match up to $50 per month into the defined contribution plan on behalf of the employee.  The vesting period is immediate for all contributions into the defined contribution plan. 

In summary, retirement funding is the same for both plans.  The employer contributes 9%, above and beyond salary, into the employee’s account and the employee contributes, pre-tax monies, totaling 7%.  This is a total of 16% being placed into the employees retirement account for the future. 

Non-exempt employees are required to use the Hybrid Plan.  Exempt employees may choose between the Hybrid Plan or the Optional Retirement Plan. 

On-Line Calculators Simplify Retirement Planning:

You can now calculate your future social security benefits, TCRS benefits, and Deferred Compensation benefits for 401(k) and 457 plans in just a few minutes using the calculators on the Internet.

Social Security calculator          TCRS calculator          ORP & Deferred Compensation calculator   

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All employees working a minimum of 30 hours per week are eligible to participate in the State of Tennessee Group Insurance program -- Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO option ( or Cigna PPO Option (  The program provides health, basic term life, and basic special accident insurance for the employee and his/her dependents. Premiums are paid 80 percent by the university and 20 percent by the employee.

Life Insurance
Basic Life Insurance and Special Accident Insurance
We provide, at no cost to every employee, $20,000 of basic term life insurance and $40,000 of basic special accident insurance.  If you are enrolled in health insurance, your coverage increases with your salary up to: $50,000 for term life insurance and $100,000 for AD & D insurance.  Coverage also extends to eligible dependents. Optional special accident insurance coverage is available on an employee paid basis for employees and eligible dependents.

Optional Plans
Dental Insurance, Optional Special Accident, Long Term Care, Optional Term Life, Aflac, vision, and long-term disability. A flexible benefits plan is also provided.

The State of Tennessee and Tennessee Board of Regents websites provide additional information pertaining to their respective benefits offerings.

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Twelve-month faculty and executive/professional/administrative staff earn 2 days annual (vacation) and 1 day of sick leave monthly.  Regular full-time clerical and support personnel earn 1 day of sick leave monthly, and accrue annual leave (1-2 days monthly) based upon years of service.  Nine-month faculty earn sick leave. Participation in a faculty and/or non-faculty sick leave bank is optional.  Additional information on leave programs can be found under Personnel Policies and Procedures :

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The university is committed to the need for the continued professional growth and development of staff and faculty, and considers support for educational expenses of employees an important vehicle for addressing that need. The specific educational programs available to employees include:

  1. Faculty and Administrative/Professional Staff Grant-in-Aid Program
  2. Faculty or Administrative/Professional Staff Tuition or Maintenance Fee Reimbursement Program
  3. Employee Audit Program
  4. Clerical and Support Staff Maintenance Fee Payment Reimbursement Program
  5. Request for State Employee Fee Waiver - PC191
  6. Student Fee Discount for Spouses and Dependent Children of Employees

Forms can be found at the Human Resources Forms webpage.  Detailed descriptions of educational programs and various scholarship programs are available for both employees and dependents (see Personnel Policies and Procedures 13 Educational Benefits).

Concerned about saving to meet the costs of your child's higher education?  Discover how you can save with the TN Stars, the State of Tennessee's 529 program.  For additional information:

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There are 13 official university holidays (see ETSU Holiday Schedule).

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A longevity pay plan is in place to reward state employees for extended full-time service to the state,  subject to yearly positive action by the State Legislature. Upon completion of 36 months of service, regular full-time employees are eligible to receive the current established rate of $100 per year of service, not to exceed $3,000 (see Personnel Policies and Procedures 15 Longevity Pay).

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For more information about other Benefit Programs, call 423-439-6126.  

East Tennessee State University is committed to providing its employees a competitive, cost effective and innovative benefits program.  Benefit plans are reviewed periodically and, accordingly, are subject to change at the discretion of the Tennessee Board of Regents and/or the State of Tennessee. The benefits information defined on the HR website summarizes the main features of the University’s offerings.  If there are any discrepancies between the information provided here and the Plan itself, the actual provisions of the Plan will govern.
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