Created in 1941, SURS exists as a body politic and corporate governed by a board of trustees in accordance with Illinois Law. The SURS Board of Trustees currently consists of six (6) elected and five (5) appointed members, including the chair of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, who also serves as the chair of the SURS Board of Trustees. The SURS Board of Trustees delegates their authority to the executive director and nearly 130 full-time staff in administering the provisions of Articles 1, 15 and 20 of the Illinois Pension Code (40 ILCS 5).
Administrative functions performed by SURS Staff include processing retirement, survivor, disability and death benefits for more than 230,000 members who have current or previous employment with 64 higher education entities in Illinois.
Members of SURS make a one-time, irrevocable election upon certification of initial employment to participate in one of three retirement options: the Traditional Plan, the Portable Plan, or the Self-Managed Plan.
Funding for SURS generally comes from three main sources: employer (state) contributions, employee contributions and investment returns. Pursuant to Illinois law (40 ILCS 5/15-55), the SURS Board of Trustees annually certifies the required state contribution necessary for the System to reach a funded ratio of 90 percent of assets to liabilities by the end of state Fiscal Year 2045, under the projected unit credit actuarial cost method. Additionally, all members of SURS contribute eight percent of pensionable earnings toward their selected retirement option. SURS invests more than $17 billion in assets to generate investment returns for the defined benefit plans (or the Traditional and Portable Plans). (SURS members in the Self-Managed Plan, or the states only employer-matched defined-contribution plan, invest their own account balances and bear the risk associated with their investment decisions.)
Located in Champaign, Illinois SURS offices are roughly 130 miles south of Chicago, 125 miles west of Indianapolis, and 85 miles east of Springfield. Additional information regarding SURS can be obtained at www.surs.org