Michigan Tech Praises Legislators for Capping Universities' Retirement Liability

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

A decades-long process came to a close last Thursday when Governor Snyder signed Senate Bill 343, a bill to cap the exposure of seven universities to liabilities of a state retirement plan

The retirement plan, known as the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS), was instituted in the 1940's. Michigan Technological University and six other universities exited MPSERS for the majority of employees in 1996 but continued to pay for both employees and retirees already in the plan.

Since then, university payments to MPSERS were increasing, at the same time state appropriations to universities were being cut. For a few years, the state offered temporary relief for MPSERS payments. This legislation now provides relief similar to that of the 900 k-12 and community colleges in the program and provides consistency in budgeting to the year 2036, when the MPSERS payments are scheduled to end.

Mroz Thanks Senator Schultmaker

“Special thanks goes to the legislature and in particular Senator Tonya Schuitmaker,” said Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz. “This is a particularly complicated issue, and Senator Schuitmaker did not shy away, nor was she afraid to dig into the issue first-hand to ensure that the taxpayers of Michigan and students at these seven universities were all treated fairly.”

Ellen Horsch, vice president for administration at Tech, added: “I want to thank the Michigan Office of Retirement Services for working so diligently with Michigan Tech and the other six universities. It’s good to know we have reasonable and fair-minded people working with us on such issues.”

Vice President for Government Relations Dale Tahtinen praised the cooperative efforts of the seven universities. “This is another shining example of how our state’s universities work together to find a solution acceptable not only to the state, but to the universities that are working to control cost and provide access to as many students as possible."

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.

Last Modified 10:44 p.m. December, 11 2018