University Staff Employee Benefits


Welcome to the University of South Alabama - #WeAreSouth! This guide provides important information about the benefits offered to new employees, including a brief description of each benefit. You may also obtain additional information from the Human Resources website at Benefits and an employee’s right to them are subject to certain laws, University regulations and individual plan documents. Additional information is provided in the individual plan booklets and brochures. The University reserves the right to either change, modify, or terminate these benefits at any time.

New Employee Enrollment
It is important to review and understand these benefits so that you can enroll in the plans for which you are eligible and that meet your needs. The choices you make will be in effect for the remainder of the calendar year
unless you experience a qualifying change in status event.

New employees must enroll in benefit programs within the first 30 days of employment, after a qualifying “change in status”
event or during the Open Enrollment period held annually in November with coverage effective January 1.

Additional benefits information may be obtained from Human Resources at

▼   USA Health & Dental Plans

The University of South Alabama offers two comprehensive plans which include health, dental and pharmacy benefits. Employees may choose to enroll in either of these two plans, as a new employee or during open enrollment, by selecting the one that best fits their needs. The USA CHOICE PLAN and the USA SELECT PLAN is administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. The employee receives a summary of the benefit plans to assist in the decision making process. 

USA CHOICE PLAN: Benefits are received within a network of Blue Cross Blue Shield providers or within the USA Health network of hospitals, physicians, outpatient clinics and other providers affiliated with the University of South Alabama. By using a USA Health provider, the member receives medical care at a lower cost to both the Plan and the member. 

USA SELECT PLAN: This plan is a narrow network design based on USA Health medical providers and providers from the BCBS PPO network. The USA Select benefit design has no deductibles and low cost copays when using a USA Health network provider. Other BCBS PPO providers are covered at 70%. By using a USA Health Provider, this will ensure you are receiving the very best benefit possible. 

Monthly Employee Cost: Single*                  Family*                   
USA Choice Plan $154 $509
USA Select Plan $100 $330
*Includes the non-tobacco wellness incentive of $50    
Monthly University Cost:  Single* Family* 
USA Choice Plan $613 $1,273
USA Select Plan $644 $1,398

Pharmacy Benefits

The USA Choice and USA Select Plans provide prescription drug coverage administered by Prime Therapeutics, Inc. Coverage is included for employees and eligible dependents enrolled in the Plans. 

USA Wellness Program

The University of South Alabama encourages all employees to adopt healthy lifestyle choices. We have implemented a tobacco cessation program intended to help employees stop using tobacco products, which will greatly improve their health.

Employees and their spouses who declare that they do not use tobacco products (and have not for at least six months) will be eligible to receive a $50 per month wellness incentive (one per family). Employees are required to certify on the enrollment application that they do not use tobacco products.

Employees and their covered spouses who use tobacco products are not eligible for the $50 wellness incentive. However, employees and their covered spouses can qualify for the $50 wellness incentive after they stop using tobacco products for at least six months.

The USA Choice and USA Select Plans are committed to helping you achieve your best health. The wellness incentive is available to all employees. If you think you may be unable to meet Sun Life under this Wellness Program, you may qualify for an opportunity to earn the same reward by different means. Contact the USA Human Resources department for additional information.

Premium Conversion

Premiums for the USA Choice and USA Select Plans are automatically deducted before any federal, state or Social Security taxes are withheld. The result is a reduction of taxable income equal to the amount paid for health and dental insurance during the calendar year.

▼   VSP Vision Insurance

VSP Vision Insurance

Phone: 1-800-877-7195

Eligible employees can voluntarily elect to enroll in vision insurance with VSP. VSP vision insurance provides coverage and savings on the cost of an annual eye exam, prescription eyewear and lenses, contact lenses, and other eye-related services. The vision plan is built around the VSP provider network, who have higher benefits at a lower cost to the member. The employee pays the full premium for this benefit.

Monthly premium: $7.18 Employee only coverage
                              $19.82 Family coverage

▼   Flexible Spending Accounts

USA Health & Dental Plan - Health Equity, Inc.
Phone: (866) 346-5800

Eligible employees can take advantage of flexible spending accounts by setting aside pre-tax money through payroll deductions to pay for qualified health care expenses, including deductibles and copays, out-of-pocket dental expenses and qualified dependent child care expenses. Money set aside in these accounts will reduce taxable income, providing participants with more value for the dollar. Each plan provides a VISA® reimbursement account card for use when you incur a qualified medical expense. Participants may also submit expenses through the online participant portal for reimbursement. As other eligible expenses are incurred such as dependent care expenses, claims may be filed for reimbursement. The University pays all administrative expenses for this benefit.

▼   AFLAC - Voluntary Plans

The University of South Alabama offers a variety of supplemental plans through Aflac for you and your family, so you can have extra financial protection to cover unexpected costs.

Accident Insurance

Hospital Indemnity Insurance

Critical Illness Insurance

Group Life Term to 120


For additional information please visit:

▼   Life & Disability Plans

University-Paid Group Term Life Insurance

Company: Sun Life
Phone: (800) 247-6875

The University provides at no cost to benefits-eligible employees a group term life insurance plan from Sun Life. Coverage is provided in accordance with the following schedule:

Annual Base Salary Coverage Amounts *
$12,500 or less $25,000
$12,501 - $15,000 $26,500
$15,501 - $17,500 $28,000
$17,501 - $20,000 $32,000
$20,001 - $22,500 $36,000
$22,501 - $25,000 $38,000
$25,001 - $30,000 $42,000
$30,001 - $35,000 $45,000
$35,001 - $38,500 $48,000
$38,501 and over 125% of salary
  ($100,000 maximum benefit)
*Includes a $5,000 benefit for spouse and eligible children.  

University-Paid Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance

The University provides at no cost to eligible employees an Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) policy from Sun Life in the amount equal to the Basic Term Life Insurance if death was caused by an accident. AD&D also pays a benefit if a serious injury results in dismemberment.

Additional Group Term Life Insurance

Additional term life insurance equal to one, two, or three times the basic coverage is available to the employee at group rates. Employees applying for additional coverage must be medically underwritten. Additional coverage for spouse and dependent children is available and is also subject to underwriting.

Teachers’ Retirement System — Group Life Insurance

Organization: Teachers’ Retirement System of Alabama
Phone: (877) 517-0020

Teachers’ Retirement System provides $15,000 of free term life insurance coverage to full-time active members. Part-time member’s insurance is prorated based on FTE. The death benefit payable varies with age, service credit and circumstances of death.

University Paid — Long Term Disability Insurance

Company: Sun Life
Phone: (800) 247-6875

The University provides at no cost to eligible employees long term disability insurance through Sun Life. After a 90-day period of disability, 60% of the employee’s base monthly salary will be paid for permanent or temporary total disability, up to a maximum benefit of $10,000 a month.

▼   Retirement Plans

The Retirement Systems of Alabama—401(a)

Organization: Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS)
Phone: (877) 517-0020

All eligible employees are required by state law to contribute 6.2% of their gross annual salary to TRS (certain members will be subject to the Annual Compensation Limit). This defined benefit program provides retired employees with a specific benefit payable monthly for the lifetime of the member. In addition to the employee contribution, the University contributes a percentage which is determined by the Alabama Legislature.

TRS members are eligible for retirement benefits at age 62 with 10 years of participating service. Upon service retirement, employees are also eligible to join the state’s Public Education Employee Health Insurance Plan (PEEHIP). Rates for this plan vary based on age at retirement and years of TRS service.

Individuals resigning from employment before vesting in the program, or before qualifying to receive benefits, may request a refund of their contributions and applicable interest.

The University of South Alabama 403(b) Plan

  • Company: TIAA
  • Website:
  • Phone: (800) 842-2776

The University offers 403(b) supplemental retirement plans that allow eligible employees to invest in fixed and variable annuities and mutual funds. There is also a self-directed Brokerage Services Account which gives employees greater flexibility when building and managing their retirement portfolio. Employees may reduce their state and federal taxable income by contributing up to $23,000 ($30,500 if over age 50) annually.

Eligible employees will also have an opportunity to contribute post-tax contributions to the Roth 403(b). Employees may make pre-tax contributions to the 403(b) and post-tax contributions to the Roth 403(b) subject to a combined limit set by Section 402(g) of the IRS Code.

The University of South Alabama 457(b) Plan

Organization: Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA-1)
Phone: (877) 517-0020

Company: TIAA
Phone: (800) 842-2776

457(b) plans allow eligible employees to defer receipt of a portion of their salary until some later date, usually at retirement or termination of employment. Contributions are made on a pre-tax basis and accumulate tax-free until withdrawal.

Eligible employees can also contribute post-tax contributions to the Roth 457(b). Employees may make pre-tax contributions to the 457(b) and post-tax contributions to the Roth 457(b) subject to the combined limit set by Section 402(g) of the IRS Code.

Contributions to 457(b) plans may be made instead of, or in addition to, any 403(b) contributions. Eligible employees may participate in both 403(b) and 457(b) plans in the same year, contributing up to $23,000 ($30,500 if over age 50) annually to each plan.

Social Security

Social Security provides protection in the form of retirement benefits, disability income, survivor income and Medicare insurance. Participation is required. In 2023, the employee and the University contribute 6.2% of the employee’s annual salary up to the maximum taxable earnings base of $160,200. Contributions for Medicare are 1.45% of the employee’s annual salary. The University contributes a matching amount.

▼   Leave and Holidays


With supervisor approval, accrued vacation may be used at any time. Vacation may accrue up to a maximum of two times the annual accrual rate. Once two times the annual rate has been accrued, the employee may continue to accrue non-reimbursable vacation which will be converted and transferred to sick leave if not taken by the last day of the last pay period of the fiscal year in which accrued.

Regular full-time employees accrue vacation at the following rate:

Years of Continuous Service Months of Continuous Service Days Accrued Per Year Maximum Vacation Accrual
0-3 0-36 10 20
4 & 5 37-60 12 24
6 & 7 61-84 13 26
8 & 9 85-108 14 28
10 & 11 109-132 15 30
12 & 13 133-156 16 32
14 & 15 157-180 17 34
16 & 17 181-204 18 36
> than 17 205 20 40

Upon separation of employment, employees are not eligible for payment of unused accrued vacation hours. This includes resignations, terminations, and retirements.

Sick Leave

Sick leave is provided to protect an employee against loss of income when confined at home or in the hospital due to illness or injury, or when an employee must have health related professional services which cannot be obtained outside regular work hours, or when an employee must care for a seriously ill member of the immediate family for not more than three days per occurrence. Sick leave is accrued at the rate of eight hours (one day) per month, for full-time employment with unlimited accumulation.


Following are the nine scheduled holidays observed by the University General Division each year: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Mardi Gras Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day. Additional special holidays may be designated by the President of the University.

▼   Miscellaneous Benefits

Educational Benefit Plan

Employee – Upon completion of 6 months of employment prior to the first day of classes per the University Academic Calendar, regular (.90 FTE or greater) employees may qualify for a tuition credit for up to five credit semester hours, plus the University registration fee. The tuition credit rate is based on the prevailing College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate tuition rate for all course levels. Employees must maintain at least a 2.0 institutional grade-point average for undergraduate course work and a 3.0 institutional grade-point average for graduate course work for continued eligibility.

Spouse/Dependents – Tuition credit is also available to the spouse and unmarried dependent children (under age 25 on the first day of classes) of employees who are eligible for the educational benefit. The tuition credit is 50% of tuition only (no fees) with no hour maximum. The tuition credit rate is based on the prevailing College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate tuition rate for all course levels. The spouse/dependent children must maintain at least a 2.0 institutional grade-point average for undergraduate course work and a 3.0 institutional grade-point average for graduate course work for continued eligibility.

Assist America Emergency Travel Assistance and Identify Theft Protection

Company: Sun Life
Phone: (800) 247-6875

This University paid benefit provides the employee and their eligible dependents with medical, travel, legal and financial assistance services when faced with an emergency while traveling more than 100 miles away from home. Identify theft protection is provided to proactively protect your personal financial information. 

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Phone: (251) 461-1346

The EAP offers confidential counseling and referral services at no cost to the employee.


Live. Learn. Feel. Engage. Join the Movement!
JagFIT@South Health and Wellness Initiative is available to all University employees. With a focus on health, exercise, nutrition, emotional wellness and sustainability, the University is prioritizing a culture change at South Alabama. Visit the JagFIT@South website for information on fun and exciting exercise and wellness challenges along with quality giveaways to employees who join the health and wellness movement and reach specific milestones. Learn more at

▼   Other Benefits
  • Use of University facilities
  • USA Bookstore discount (10%)
  • USA Federal Credit Union
  • Free admission to athletic events (excludes tournaments and football).
  • A discount, up to 20%, on season tickets for all ticketed sports, up to a maximum of 6 tickets per employee.
  • Savi-Public Service student loan forgiveness assistance program.
  • Employee discounts at restaurants, hotels, travel services; event/theater tickets, etc.
  • Discount on many non-credit Continuing Education courses and certificate programs. Call the Center for Continuing Education at 251-460-7200 for additional information.


The University of South Alabama is an EO/AA employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, genetic information, disability, protected veteran status or any other applicable legally protected basis.