Plan Features

About the Alternative Retirement Plan

New faculty and certain professional employees of New Mexico public universities and community colleges have the option of participating in either the Alternative Retirement Plan (“ARP”), a defined contribution plan, or becoming a member of the ERB Defined Benefit Plan (“DBP”) as the retirement plan of their choice. New faculty and professional employees who elect to participate in the ARP must make this selection within the first 90 days of their employment. If the employee does not make this selection within the first ninety days of employment, the employee shall become a member of the DBP, and cannot thereafter elect to become a participant in the ARP.

Each participant in the ARP has an individual account with an ARP service provider (carrier). The current ARP carriers are TIAA and Fidelity. New employees who wish to participate in the ARP must select either TIAA or Fidelity as their service provider. IMPORTANT: For participants in the ARP, benefits are based solely on contributions made to the participant’s account, and any investment income, expenses, gains and losses in the account. ARP participants direct their own investments from a menu of investment choices pre-selected by the ERB.  

Receiving a Distribution from this Plan

Upon bona fide termination of employment, ARP participants may choose one of the following options:


Upon retirement, ARP participants have three options:

  • a monthly annuity based on the retiree’s estimated life span,
  • payments received over a fixed term of years, or
  • a lump-sum payout.


An ARP participant may obtain a refund or rollover of their account, provided they have first terminated employment with ARP employers. ARP participants should contact their carrier for information regarding refund or rollover requirements. Unless the account is directly rolled over to an eligible retirement plan, distributions are subject to federal and state income tax withholding and may be subject to federal tax penalties if under age 59½. ERB cannot provide advice on the tax consequences of distributions.

Contribution Rates

Contribution rates for ARP participants are the same as those for DBP members. Please refer to ERB’s website at for current employee and employer contribution rates. Of the employer contribution rate, the amount of 3.25% is remitted directly to the ERB fund to cover the actuarial impact on the DBP attributable to employees participating in the ARP rather than the DBP.

Switching Vendors

ARP participants may switch carriers once per plan year.

Switching from the ARP to the Defined Benefit Plan

ARP participants who have made contributions to the ARP for seven years have a one-time option of switching to the ERB DBP. ARP participants who wish to take advantage of this opportunity must do so within 120 days of becoming eligible. Eligibility begins on the first day of the month after the date on which the participant has made seven years of contributions to the ARP. The seven-year mark is the only opportunity the ARP participant will have to switch to the DBP. If the ARP participant decides to make this change, he or she cannot switch back to the ARP. If the ARP participant opts to move to the DBP, the money in his or her ARP account will remain there. The ARP account does not terminate and the money cannot be transferred to the DBP. After switching to the DBP, the new member must contribute for five years to vest in the plan and be eligible for retirement benefits. The ARP participant cannot purchase service credit for the time in which he or she was enrolled in the ARP. However, the seven years of participation in the ARP will count toward eligibility requirements to retire under the DBP. In addition, neither the participant’s salary nor the service credit during the time the participant was enrolled in the ARP can be used to calculate his or her retirement benefit under the DBP. If the ARP participant elects to switch to the DBP, his or her retirement benefit will be determined by a formula based on service credit and salary earned under the DBP. Before deciding whether to switch to the DBP, you may want to compare the DBP and the ARP plans.

ARP and Working After Retirement

ERB requirements governing working after retirement for an ERB employer (i.e., the Return to Work (RTW) Program, the Return to Work .25 FTE or Less provision, and the Return to Work Less than $15,000 Per Year provision) apply to all persons who retire under either the DBP or the ARP. ARP retirees are required to comply with the ERB program requirements for working after retirement. This includes the requirement under the RTW Program that a retired participant make non-refundable contributions to the Educational Retirement Fund as would be required by Section 22-11-21 NMSA 1978 as if the retired participant were a non-retired employee.


Questions regarding investment lineup, portfolio selection and fees for the ARP should be directed to the appropriate carrier:
TIAA: 800-842-2252
Fidelity: 800-835-5097


Managing the retirement assets of New Mexico Educators since 1957.

Contact Information

Santa Fe
(Main Office)

Member Services Contact Form

Physical Address
701 Camino de los Marquez
Santa Fe, NM 87505

Mailing Address
PO Box 26129
Santa Fe, NM 87502

1(866) 691-2345

Main Office
(505) 827-8030

(505) 827-1855

Albuquerque Office
Email or call ahead for an appointment.

Member Services Contact Form

Physical Address
8500 Menaul Blvd. NE, Suite B-450
Albuquerque, NM 87112

(505) 888-1560

(505) 830-2976

NMERB Publications