How much does it cost?

This page contains information on the OSPS cost plans and contribution options for members who joined before 1 October 2017.

Choice of cost plans

You can choose between three cost plans; Lower, Standard and Higher. They have different contribution rates and build up benefits at different rates, as per the below table.

Cost Plan

Contribution Rate

to 31 March 2018

Contribution Rate

from 1 April 2018

Accrual Rate
Lower 5.6%  6.6% 1/90
Standard 6.6%  8.0% 1/85
Higher 7.8%  9.6% 1/80

New members can pick their cost plan on Pension Choice Form (APP5) (58kb) (Application to join (APP1) form (62kb) for college members). If you do not choose a plan you will be put in the standard cost plan. Current members can change their cost plan from any 1 April by sending Change of cost plan (APP6) form (8kb) to the Pensions Office before 31 March.

The real cost

If you pay tax and/or NI you will pay less of both if you are in the scheme. Here is an example for an employee on £1,731 gross per month using standard tax and NI rates for 2015/6.

  Standard Cost Plan Not in OSPS
Gross Pay £1,731 £1,731
Pension £114 £0
Tax £146 £169
NI £110 £128
Take home pay £1,361 £1,434

In this case the real cost is £73 per month not the £114 that appears on the payslip. The cost would be less if this member were in Salary Exchange.

You can use the OSPS Calculator (45kb) to check your own pay (applicable up to 31 March 2018).

Salary Exchange

The University and some colleges use Salary Exchange for employee contributions. If you are in Salary Exchange your employer pays your pension contributions and reduces your pay by the same amount. This means that if you take a refund on leaving any contributions taken through Salary Exchange cannot be refunded.

If you are a University employee think you might want a refund upon leaving you should strongly consider signing and returning the Salary Exchange opt out form within three months of joining. You should send this form to the University payroll office.

If you are an employee of a college that operates Salary Exchange you should contact them about their opt out procedure.

Employer contributions

The employers support the scheme by paying significant contributions. The level of employer contributions is decided at the scheme valuation which takes places every three years. As at August 2017 the employer pays 19% in contributions.