UTPA ranks as one of best universities offering post-retirement benefits to employees
Contact: Melissa Vasquez 956/381-2741
Posted: 07/17/2008
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The University of Texas-Pan American ranked among the best higher education institutions in the country in offering post-retirement benefits to employees according to The Chronicle of Higher Education's inaugural survey of "2008 Great Colleges to Work For."

UTPA was one of five universities rated in the category for medium-sized work forces (500-2,499 employees). Other schools making the post-retirements benefits rankings included Alabama A&M University, California State University at Chico, Rowan University, and University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The survey recognized the universities for their best practices and policies in 27 categories. Among the rated categories were facilities and security, job satisfaction, work-life balance, vacation or paid time off, and teaching environment.

Linda M. Helgeson, UTPA associate director of Human Resources, said UTPA is able to provide these benefits to retirees thanks to The University of Texas System Office of Employee Benefits (OEB), which is responsible for designing, implementing, and administering high quality, cost-effective benefit programs for employees, retirees, and their dependents, who participate in the benefit plans through the UT System's 16 institutions.

UTPA currently provides medical insurance to retirees at no cost. In addition, dental, vision, and life insurance is offered to retirees at a minimal cost Helgeson said.

Employees eligible for the full retirement benefits include those who started working at UTPA prior to or on Aug. 31, 2003, are 55 years of age, and have three years of service with the UT System. Employees who began their employment on or after Sept. 1, 2003, are 55 years of age, and have 10 years of service with the UT System are also eligible.

UTPA currently employs a total of 832 faculty members and 1,373 staff members. A total of 1,731 UTPA employees, 1,546 dependents, and 371 retirees are currently on employee benefits. Overall, 1,891 UTPA employees are eligible for the post-retirement benefits. In addition, more than 200 graduate students are eligible for employee benefits during a semester, however they are not eligible for the retirement benefits.

The "2008 Great Colleges to Work For" survey was based on the responses of more than 15,000 administrators, faculty and staff members at 89 higher education institutions - 39 public universities and 50 private colleges. Modern Think LLC, a human-resources-consulting firm known for conducting many "Best Places to Work" surveys for various groups, administered the survey online in March and April 2008. The Chronicle and Modern Think collaborated with a panel of higher-education experts to design the questionnaires.

To learn more about the employee benefits offered at UTPA, contact the Office of Human Resources at (956) 381-2551 or visit