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Program Features

NJ ABP and ACTS Program

As part of your employee benefits package, you may be eligible to participate in the New Jersey Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) and/or the Additional Contributions Tax Sheltered (ACTS) Program.

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NJ ABP

The NJ ABP is a 401(a) defined contribution plan for eligible employees of the NJ Higher Education System.

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ACTS Program

The ACTS Program is a voluntary 403(b) defined contribution plan. 

Feature Comparison

Whether you’re eligible for the ABP or ACTS Program, or both, there can be benefits to participating. 

  NJ ABP ACTS Program

Eligibility

Generally, all full-time and adjunct faculty, part-time instructors, officers, visiting professors, and certain professional administrative staff who are required to possess a college degree or its equivalent, must participate in the ABP. “Full-time” has been defined to include anyone receiving 50% or more of annual base salary for a full-time position, and may include anyone on sabbatical or paid leave of absence for a period not to exceed one year.

Note: A retiree from any New Jersey State-administered retirement system is ineligible to participate in the Alternate Benefit Program.

Generally, employees of county colleges, state universities and colleges, the Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Education, and the Office of Student Assistance who normally work 20 hours a week or more are eligible to participate in the ACTS Program.

Depending on your employment status, you may be eligible to contribute to both the ABP and ACTS Program.

Your Contributions

NJ Higher Education System mandates that all ABP eligible employees contribute 5 percent of their base salary to the ABP.

Eligible employees determine how much of your salary you want to contribute, subject to limits imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (“IRC”) and plan limitations.

Catch-up Contributions

None

Additional catch-up contributions under a 403(b) plan may be available for employees who have completed at least 15 years of service with certain eligible employers (e.g., schools). The additional 403(b) lifetime catch-up limit is $15,000, the catch-up amount that can be contributed in any one year may not exceed $3,000, and the catch-up amount for any year further depends on the years of service and the amount of contributions in prior years. Elective contributions generally may not exceed 100 percent of your compensation and there is an overall limit on aggregate contributions (including employer and employee contributions) that can be made to your employer’s plan.

Employer Contributions

If you are eligible to participate in the ABP, your employer is required to make a contribution equal to 8 percent of your base salary, and limited to a maximum salary established under Chapter 31, P.L. 2010.

None

Vesting

Anything you contribute to the ABP — including rollover contributions and any earnings on that money — is always 100% vested.

Your employer’s contributions in the ABP will become vested upon the start of your second year of service, provided you have been employed for 12 months, and have made contributions into the pension plan for 12 months.

Anything you contribute to the ACTS Program — including rollover contributions and any earnings on that money — is always 100% vested.

Loans

Under IRC limitations, generally the maximum allowable outstanding loan balance is the lesser of 50% of your vested plan account balance or $50,000. Please note: these loan limits apply on a combined basis to the highest loan balance in the past year under all retirement plan accounts with the same employer. Your employer’s plan may have additional restrictions. If you have adny questions, please contact your employer.

Under IRC limitations, generally the maximum allowable outstanding loan balance is the lesser of 50% of your vested plan account balance or $50,000. Please note: these loan limits apply on a combined basis to the highest loan balance in the past year under all retirement plan accounts with the same employer. Your employer’s plan may have additional restrictions. If you have any questions, please contact your employer.

Withdrawals

Distributions are generally not permitted prior to age 59½ under your retirement plan except for the following reasons:*

  • Severance from employment
  • Disability
  • Death
  • The amount distributed is a “qualified reservist” distribution

Distributions are reported as ordinary income. Distributions prior to age 59½ may be subject to an additional 10 percent tax penalty. After age 59½, a distribution generally may be taken without penalty tax.

Once you choose to receive a distribution from the ABP after severing employment, you are considered to be in retirement status. You will not be eligible to re-enroll in the ABP even if you subsequently return to employment in a New Jersey public institution covered by the ABP.

Always consult your tax advisor or investment professional about the income tax consequences of any withdrawals.

Ordinary federal income taxes generally apply. State income taxes may also apply.

* As determined and controlled by the provisions in the plan document.

Distributions are generally not permitted prior to age 59½ under your retirement plan except for the following reasons:*

  • Severance from employment
  • Financial hardship (available only for the ACTS Program)
  • Disability
  • Death
  • The amount distributed is a “qualified reservist” distribution

Distributions are reported as ordinary income. Distributions prior to age 59½ may be subject to an additional 10 percent tax penalty. After age 59½, a distribution generally may be taken without penalty tax.

Always consult your tax advisor or investment professional about the income tax consequences of any withdrawals.

Ordinary federal income taxes generally apply. State income taxes may also apply.

* As determined and controlled by the provisions in the plan document.

Account Access

Each quarter, you will receive a personal plan account statement with a detailed summary of all account activity. Click here for telephone and web access information.

Each quarter, you will receive a personal plan account statement with a detailed summary of all account activity. Click here for telephone and web access information.

Enrollment Book

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Any discussion of taxes is for general informational purposes only, does not purport to be complete or cover every situation, and should not be construed as legal, tax or accounting advice. Clients should confer with their qualified legal, tax and accounting advisors as appropriate.