TRS has been serving the needs of Texas public education employees for more than 75 years. In November 1936, voters approved an amendment to the Constitution of Texas creating a statewide teacher retirement system. With the passage of enabling legislation passed in 1937, TRS was officially formed.
More than 38,000 eligible teachers participated during TRS's first year of existence. The original responsibility of the System was to provide service and disability retirement benefits to teachers and administrators of the public school systems of Texas, including institutions of higher education. In 1949, legislation expanded membership eligibility to all employees of public education institutions. In 1985, TRS was assigned responsibility for administering a health insurance program for public school retirees. In 1995, TRS was authorized to offer a health insurance program for active public school employees, as well. In 2001, TRS was given the responsibility of administering a new statewide health care program for eligible public school employees and dependents called TRS-ActiveCare.
Article 16, Section 67, of the Texas Constitution charters the System to provide retirement and related benefits for those employed by the public schools, colleges, and universities supported by the State of Texas.
The System is responsible for investing funds under its stewardship and for delivering benefits to members as authorized by the Texas Legislature. TRS is a defined benefit plan, with retirement benefits determined by a pre-established formula. The trust fund is sustained principally by three sources — contributions by members during their working careers, contributions by the state, and investment revenues.
TRS is the largest public retirement system in Texas in both membership and assets. The agency serves 1,414,607 participants — 1,051,425 are public and higher education members, and 363,182 are retirement recipients. As of August 31, 2014, System net assets totaled $132.8 billion.