Truman creates early retirement incentives program to cut costs

Truman State University’s Board of Governors instituted an early retirement incentive program for eligible full-time faculty members at its Dec. 2 meeting.

The program is a lump sum cash incentive of $25,000 received upon retirement, which must occur by May 31, 2018. The incentive program is only available to full-time faculty members that are at least 60 years of age and are a Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System or College and University Retirement Plan participant, according to the Board of Governors meeting minutes. Faculty members could not have already given their written intent to retire or have previously retired with the MOSER or CURP program.

The University began accepting applications Jan. 4, and faculty members have until Feb. 16 to enroll in the program. The program is limited to 30 applicants, and if there are more applicants, then applicants will be chosen on a seniority basis, according to the Board of Governors minutes.

Sally Herleth, executive director of human resources, said the University has seen a desire for this type of program in the past, but there is currently not a strong demand with only four applicants. The focus of the early retirement incentive program is largely centered around the budget for the 2018-2019 school year, Herleth said.

“Hopefully, if we have some faculty who take advantage of this incentive, we can have some more flexibility in perhaps filling positions in different areas,” Herleth said. “That’s the focus — the budget doesn’t seem to be good for next year, so we are trying to bring back some resources.”

With state-wide budget cuts, Herleth said there are other schools instituting similar incentive programs to avoid layoffs despite increasingly tighter funding.

Dave Rector, vice president for administration, finance and planning, said the early retirement incentive program is targeted at faculty members who might be close to retirement but need extra motivation. He said he does not expect a large number of faculty members to take advantage of the program, but those who do create more flexibility in the budget.

“The idea is — financially it helps out in the long run of the institution,” Rector said. “ In most cases, we would be able to replace the person at a lower cost or, depending on where the vacancy occurs, may not have to replace them.”