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Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) Pension Reform

Universities UK represents higher education employers in discussions over the future of the USS scheme, which is a valued part of the remuneration package in higher education.

On behalf of over 350 USS employers, UUK has been negotiating with the University and College Union (UCU) over changing the scheme since January 2017 given the funding challenges it faces.

On 23 March 2018, Universities UK and UCU announced that they wanted to establish a Joint Expert Panel to review the USS valuation, processes and assumptions and to agree key principles to underpin the future joint approach to the valuation of the USS fund. The establishment of the Joint Expert Panel has received support from USS employers and UCU members.

In May 2018, the terms of reference for the panel and the appointment of its chair, Joanne Segars, were announced. UCU and UUK have each nominated three representatives to be panel members.

On 25 July, USS announced plans to increase contributions from scheme members and employers, as part of the cost sharing process set out in the scheme rules. The proposed changes are subject to consultation, which started on 3 September.

On 13 September, the Joint Expert Panel published its report on USS 2017 valuation, processes and assumptions.

Universities UK has set up a new website to support employers in their communications with staff on the 2017 USS valuation: www.ussemployers.org.uk

Updates on the work of the Joint Expert Panel will be published following panel meetings:

For any queries relating to the valuation – including how the deficit is calculated – please contact USS directly.

Latest information for employees and students  – 25 April 2018


Answers to frequently asked questions by USS scheme members, including information on the recent Acas talks, and the Joint Expert Panel (JEP). ​

Q & A for students - inudstrial action - 13 April 2018

Information for students on the USS pension scheme, and the impact of last term's industrial action.


Further resources​ 

Given recent developments some of the details in the information provided below may not reflect the latest position; please also see press releases​ for the latest developments.​


Universities UK’s work on USS is overseen by the Employers’ Pensions Forum. More information on the Employers’ Pensions Forum can be found on its website.

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Suitability and sustainability: pensions in the higher education sector

3 August 2017
A report to consider a long-term higher education sector position on pension provision, written for the Employers Pensions Forum in collaboration with the Universities and Colleges Employers Association.

Employers Pensions Forum report cover

Employers Pensions Forum: Self-Administered Trusts Strategy Project Report

19 September 2013
A report into the current status of Self-Administered Trusts prepared on behalf of the Employers Pensions Forum.

Pension previons report cover

Pension provision in the higher education sector: initial report

3 June 2008
Written for members of UCEA, Universities UK and GuildHE in the light of increasing concerns about the rising cost of pension provision.

Report cover

Strategic enquiry into the pension arrangements for the higher education sector

17 October 2007
The first published output of the strategic enquiry into the pensions arrangements of the higher education sector.


Universities UK response to government release on financial sustainability of universities

25 May 2019
Universities UK has responded to comments made today (25 May 2019) by Education Secretary Damian Hinds on university finances and challenges currently facing the sector.

UUK, GuildHE and UCEA respond to government announcement on Teachers' Pension Scheme funding

10 April 2019
Joint response from UUK, GuildHE and UCEA to government announcement on Teachers' Pension Scheme funding



USS Pensions Update

18 March 2018
UUK's Chief Executive, Alistair Jarvis, provides an update on USS Pensions.

Pensions – the importance of getting it right

3 October 2017
UUK's Chief Executive, Alistair Jarvis, sets out his analysis of the way in which the Universities Superannuation Scheme needs to react to recent concerns.

Addressing the university pension fund deficit

2 August 2017
Following the news coverage on the USS pensions fund deficit, Professor Koen Lamberts discusses the challenges facing the scheme.

The team