How much does OSPS cost?

Members who joined after 1 October 2017 should refer to the Investment Builder pages.

When considering the cost of the scheme you should remember that pension contributions are tax deductible. This means that if you pay tax, the government is paying part of your contribution for you.

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You can choose between three cost plans; Lower, Standard and Higher. They have different contribution rates and build up benefits at different rates, as per the below table (rates from 1 April 2024).

  Contribution Rate Accrual Rate
Higher 7.8% 1/80
Standard 6.6% 1/85
Lower 5.6% 1/90


Current members can change their cost plan from any 1 April by sending Change of cost plan form APP6 (pdf) to the Pensions Office before 31 March. You can see how the changes in cost plan rates will affect your pay using the OSPS Cost Plan Modeller (xlsx).

If you pay tax and/or NI you will pay less of both if you are in the scheme. Here is an example for an employee on £2,000 gross per month using standard tax rates for 2019/20.


  Standard Cost Plan
Gross Pay £2,000
Pension £160
Tax relief £32
Cost from take home pay £128


In this case the real cost is £128 per month not the £160 that appears on the payslip. The cost would be less if this member were in Salary Exchange due to NI Savings.

The University and some colleges use Salary Exchange for employee contributions. If you are in Salary Exchange your employer pays your pension contributions and reduces your pay by the same amount. This means that if you take a refund on leaving any contributions taken through Salary Exchange cannot be refunded.

If you are a University employee think you might want a refund upon leaving you should strongly consider signing and returning the Salary Exchange opt out form within three months of joining. You should send this form to the University payroll office.

If you are an employee of a college that operates Salary Exchange you should contact them about their opt out procedure.

The employers support the scheme by paying significant contributions. The level of employer contributions is decided at the scheme valuation which takes places every three years. As at October 2023 the employers pay 16.5% in contributions.

The Trust Deed and Rules of OSPS take precedence over anything said on this page.

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Useful links

Contact Us

 : Pensions Office
       University of Oxford
       23-38 Hythe Bridge Street
       Oxford OX1 2ET

 : OSPS -
 : (01865) 616020 or 616144