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Purchasing Service Credit

You may be eligible to purchase service credit for past employment or an approved leave of absence during which you did not make retirement contributions to CalSTRS. For example, you may be able to purchase service credit for part-time or substitute service in the California public school system before you became a CalSTRS Defined Benefit member.

Permissive Service Credit

You may purchase service credit for retirement purposes for specific service performed in the past, if the service was not previously credited. Examples of permissive service include:

  • Creditable service before becoming a CalSTRS Defined Benefit member.
  • Employer-approved sabbatical leave.
  • Certain active military leave before 1994.
  • University of California or California State University teaching service not credited or purchasable under another retirement system.
  • Employer-approved maternity or paternity leave.
  • Out-of-state or foreign school education services performed in a public education position.
  • Employer-approved leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

You may purchase a portion, rather than all, of the permissive service you have available. However, you cannot purchase service credit if you have received, or are eligible to receive, credit for the service in another public retirement system. You must complete payment for the service credit before the effective date of your retirement.

Estimating the Cost of Permissive Service Credit

The cost of permissive service credit depends on your age and your highest annual earnable compensation during the last three years. The rates below are effective January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014.

Age CalSTRS 2% at 60 Benefit Structure CalSTRS 2% at 62 Benefit Structure
Below 28 15.8% 13.7%
28 16.1% 13.9%
29 16.2% 14.0%
30 16.4% 14.0%
31 16.5% 14.1%
32 16.7% 14.4%
33 16.8% 14.6%
34 17.2% 14.9%
35 17.2% 14.9%
36 17.6% 15.2%
37 17.6% 15.2%
38 17.8% 15.5%
39 18.1% 15.8%
40 18.6% 16.2%
41 19.0% 16.6%
42 19.4% 16.9%
43 19.8% 17.3%
44 20.1% 17.5%
45 20.5% 17.9%
46 20.7% 18.1%
47 21.2% 18.5%
48 21.8% 19.1%
49 22.3% 19.4%
50 22.8% 19.9%
51 23.4% 20.4%
52 24.0% 20.9%
53 24.7% 21.5%
54 25.5% 22.2%
55 25.9% 22.6%
56 26.7% 23.2%
57 27.3% 23.8%
58 28.1% 24.5%
59 28.9% 25.2%
60 29.6% 25.8%
61 30.4% 26.6%
62 30.8% 27.0%
63 30.9% 28.0%
64 30.3% 29.2%
65 29.6% 29.6%
66 29.0% 29.0%
67 28.1% 28.1%
68 27.5% 27.5%
69 26.7% 26.7%
70 25.8% 25.8%
71 25.3% 25.3%
72 24.2% 24.2%
73 and above 22.1% 22.1%

 To calculate your cost:

  1. Multiply the amount of service credit (years) you want to purchase by the contribution rate for your age group.
  2. Multiply the result by your highest earnable compensation during the last three years.

*Rates may be adjusted each July 1. The new rates are available in spring by contacting CalSTRS.

You may also estimate the cost to purchase permissive service credit by using our calculators.

Nonqualified Service Credit

Prior to January 1, 2013, members with at least five years of service credit were able to purchase up to five years of nonqualified service credit, also known as “air time.” Nonqualified service is not connected to any prior employment.

Nonqualified service credit cannot be used to qualify for the career factor; however, nonqualified service credit can be used to qualify for the 30-year service credit requirement for retirement between ages 50 and 55 for those who were CalSTRS members prior to 2013.

After January 1, 2013, members may no longer purchase nonqualified service credit.

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