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This page is about the 2017 valuation of USS, which is now completed. See the latest news about USS.

For definitions of terms used on these pages, see this glossary.

A brief history of the 2017 valuation

The 2017 valuation projected a significant deficit for the scheme. The two options for funding this deficit were a rise in contributions or changes to benefits. It was initially proposed to reform benefits – by temporarily closing the defined benefit side of the scheme – but after strong opposition from members, this proposal was abandoned. Instead, members and employers agreed to set up a Joint Expert Panel (JEP) composed equally of experts nominated by UCU and UUK, with an independent chair. This panel met over the summer of 2018 to review the valuation assumptions and methodology, with the aim of finding a way to resolve the issues of the 2017 valuation and produce a mutually agreeable outcome.

At the same time as the JEP was meeting, the USS Trustee had a statutory duty to complete the valuation, and it did this by implementing “cost-sharing”, a measure mandated in the scheme rules for situations where members and employers cannot reach agreement. Under the cost-sharing rule, the rise in contributions necessary to fund current benefits is split 65:35 between employers and members. These rises were planned to be phased in in three stages between April 2019 and April 2020.

In September 2018 the USS Trustee agreed to conduct a new valuation – the 2018 valuation. It was hoped that changes in market data and other factors would produce a more favourable picture of the scheme’s funding position than the 2017 valuation; employers and members also hoped that the Trustee would be willing to take on board the recommendations of the JEP on changes to the valuation assumptions and methodology. Read more about the 2018 valuation.

Articles and University statements on the 2017 valuation

27/11/18 Update from the USS Trustee: first phase of cost-sharing increases to go ahead, and new 2018 valuation

15/11/18 University of Cambridge supports recommendations of JEP

22/10/18 Recording of 10 October open meeting available to Cambridge members (Raven login required)

28/09/18 Open meeting for members of USS to discuss JEP report announced: 10 October

13/09/18 Joint Expert Panel report published

29/08/18 USS cost-sharing consultation opens on 3 September

31/07/18 Cost-sharing briefing #2: information about contribution increases under cost-sharing

20/07/18 Recording of 13 July open meeting available to Cambridge members

10/07/18 Open meeting for members of USS announced: 13 July

26/06/18 Cost-sharing briefing #1: update on USS pensions dispute (Joint Expert Panel and cost-sharing)

21/05/18 Recording of 17 May open meeting available to Cambridge members

21/05/18 Chair of Joint Expert Panel announced

09/05/18 Open meeting for members of USS announced: 17 May

09/05/18 University putting deducted pay from industrial action towards student hardship

08/05/18 UCU and UUK withdraw proposal to make USS a purely defined contribution scheme

17/04/18 Vice-Chancellor's statement on the results of the UCU ballot

29/03/18 Vice-Chancellor welcomes latest proposal to resolve USS dispute

27/03/18 Proposal for an expert panel to review the 2017 USS valuation

21/03/18 Audio recording of the open meeting with the Vice-Chancellor in Great St Mary's on Friday 16 March (Raven login required)

20/03/18  The USS member consultation that was originally scheduled to start this week and run for 60 days has been suspended. Further information on this is expected shortly.

17/03/18 An update from the USS trustee: the facts of the 2017 valuation

16/03/18 The future of UK universities: Vice-Chancellor's blog (an edited version of this was published on 16 March in the letters section of The Times)

15/03/18 Open meeting with the Vice-Chancellor scheduled for 14:00, Friday 16 March in Great St Mary's (more details on the event's Facebook page)

14/03/18 Vice-Chancellor calls on negotiators to make key amendments to UUK/UCU proposal

14/03/18 Recording and transcript of pensions open meeting available to Cambridge members

12/03/18 Vice-Chancellor writing to USS to demand full disclosure of valuation methods

12/03/18 Notice of a Discussion on USS in the Lady Mitchell Hall on Tuesday 20 March

07/03/18 Vice-Chancellor to ask Council to accept greater risk

01/03/18 Vice-Chancellor calls for compromise to end industrial action

23/02/18 Vice-Chancellor calls for new talks between UUK and UCU

22/02/18 A message from the Vice-Chancellor on industrial action

16/02/18 USS FAQs for Cambridge members

24/01/18 Proposals for USS benefit reform

31/10/17 USS pension valuation