The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is the principal pension scheme provided by UK higher education institutions.


Membership of USS is generally open to employees in grades 6 and above, if they:

  • are not already in receipt of a pension from USS
  • are aged under 75 upon entry

Joining the scheme

Eligible staff are automatically enrolled upon appointment.

If you are a new employee at the University, detailed information about being enrolled in USS is included in your offer of employment letter.

If you have previously opted-out, the University will automatically re-enrol you back into USS every three years. If you want to re-join before then you can do so, just let the Pensions Team know.

If you are already a member of USS

If you have previously contributed to USS at another higher education institution, your USS membership will automatically be linked with what you build up when you join the University of York. You do not need to take any action for this to happen.


As a member you will build up:

  • a pension of 1/75 of your salary for each year of pensionable service up to a salary threshold.
  • a cash lump sum of 3/75 of your salary for each year of pensionable service, up to a salary threshold.
  • a money purchase pot in the USS investment builder for some of the contributions paid over the salary threshold

The salary threshold for 2024/2025 is £70,296. If you earn over this amount, you’ll automatically start paying into the Investment Builder, the defined contribution (DC) part of USS. The benefits you build in the Retirement Income Builder, the defined benefit (DB) part of USS, are based on your salary up to this threshold.

Watch a short video for an overview of USS or take a look at USS' FAQs.

Benefits in USS changed from April 2024. Find out more about the changes.

Contribution rates

The member and employer contribution rates to USS are shown below.

  Member Employer
Standard contributions 6.10% 14.50%
Enhanced opt-out 2.50% 0.00%
Contributions in respect of earnings above the Voluntary Salary Cap 2.50% 0.00%

For contributions made on salary above the salary threshold, 6.10% of member contributions and 13.90% of employer contributions will be paid into your money purchase pot in the USS investment builder. The remaining 0.60% of employer contributions will be used towards the Retirement Income Builder section of the scheme.


New to USS? You can use this modeller to estimate how much you'll pay after tax relief.

Existing members who want a more in-depth breakdown of what they'll pay, including the impact of salary sacrifice can do this in My USS.