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College Policy Number/Title:

Retirement Plan Options

Full-and part-time, position control/budgeted employees are provided with membership in a retirement system at the time they commence employment with the college.  At Howard Community College, employees become members of either the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System (MSRPS) or one of the Optional Retirement Programs.  The Optional Retirement Programs are available only to professional employees with baccalaureate degrees or higher; eligibility is determined by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC).  All plans are described in pamphlets available in the office of human resources.  If employees do not elect a plan, they will automatically be placed into MSRPS.  Once you elect NOT to be part of MSRPS, it is an irrevocable step, unless you are later employed by another MSRPS participating agency that does not offer another retirement plan. 

Supplemental Retirement Annuities (SRAs)

Employees may increase their retirement savings by enrolling in supplemental retirement annuities; (SRAs) which are tax deferred annuity plans.  Howard Community College offers  several different plans from which you can choose.  Through a properly executed salary reduction agreement, employees divert part of their compensation before taxes to the purchase of the SRAs. 

Specific information about these plans is available in the office of human resources.

Retirement Definition and Process

Employees initiate the retirement process through the office of human resources.  Employees should try to initiate this process at least six months prior to the planned retirement date if possible in order to avoid any delays in benefits.

Retirement is defined as:

  1. The eligibility to draw retirement benefits under the Maryland State Retirement and Pensions Systems (MSRPS) – eligibility criteria are defined in the MSRPS BENEFIT HANDBOOK; or
  2. The eligibility to draw benefits under the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) after reaching age 59 ½.


  1. Earned Annual Leave 
    Annual leave accumulated will be paid as a lump sum, with appropriate notification, on the second scheduled pay date following the time of separation. 
  2. Sick Leave
    Unused sick leave is not payable upon resignation or other termination of employment; employees have no vested ownership or entitlement to their accrued sick leave.  Sick leave is also not payable upon retirement.  However, for members of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension Systems (MSRPS), unused sick leave may be creditable toward service time for retirement.  In the optional retirement plans, sick leave carries no credit of any kind. 
  3. Personal Leave
    Personal leave accumulations are voided at the time of resignation or retirement. 
  4. Extension of Group Health Benefits
    See the "Extension of Group Health Benefits" procedure 63.07.04 of the "Benefits" policy 63.07 in this manual for information on continuing group health benefits coverage for retirees and family members
  5. Lifetime Membership in Alumni & Friends Association with benefits
  6. Scholarship, for tuition only, to a Howard Community College course of the retiree’s choice during each year.
  7. Wellness classes and use of fitness center.
  8. Invitation to certain college events.

Also see Phased Retirement Procedure 63.04.15 effective 7/1/2002.

Effective Date:  11/14/2008