Take advantage today
ORP-eligible employees at Texas public institutions of higher education may elect to participate in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) as an alternative to TRS.
Limited ORP Election Period
- You have a one-time opportunity during your employment in Texas public higher education to choose between TRS and ORP.
- You’re eligible to elect ORP on your first day of employment in an ORP-eligible position, which is your Initial ORP Eligibility Date.
- You have 90 additional calendar days to make your election, which is your ORP Election Period.
- You will be an active member of TRS unless and until an election of ORP is made by submitting your completed TRS-28 election form (and any other required institutional forms) to your Human Resources Office.
Starting early has its advantages
|ORP Contribution Rates|
|Fiscal Year 2022||Fiscal Year 2023|
|Optional ORP Supplement (max) *||1.9%||1.9%|
|* ORP employers may provide a local ORP supplement up to 1.9% for a maximum employer contribution of 8.5%.|
|Note: For contribution purposes, ORP uses the same definition of compensation as TRS.|
- Vesting refers to a participant’s ownership of employer “matching” contributions. Vesting occurs on the first day of the second year of participation, which is defined as the first day of the 13th month of active participation (i.e., making contributions by payroll deduction). The vesting period is sometimes referred to as “a year and a day.”
- Faculty Members: A year for academic faculty members is generally nine months, so academic faculty members will be credited the three summer months for vesting provided they are participating at the end of the spring semester immediately preceding the summer and resume participation with the same or another Texas public institution of higher education at the beginning of the fall semester immediately following the same summer.
- Participants who terminate ORP-covered employment with all institutions prior to meeting the vesting requirement must forfeit employer contributions made during that period of employment.
Exception: Unvested participants who become employed in a non-benefits-eligible position do not contribute to ORP and are not required to forfeit unvested ORP contributions unless they are subsequently employed in a TRS-only position or have a break in service.
Accessing your money before retirement
Distributions, Loans, Rollovers and Transfers
- Terminated participants choose how and when to take distributions, including complete or periodic withdrawals and for some accounts, lifetime annuities. Early withdrawal penalties may apply.
- ORP funds are available for withdrawal only upon termination of all employment with all Texas public institutions of higher education (unless the participant is at least age 70 ½).
- Eligible distributions can be rolled over to eligible retirement plans such as an IRA.
- Post-retirement cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are not available in an ORP-type plan.
- There are no provisions in ORP to purchase service credit, transfer or roll over non-ORP funds into the plan (including any pre-election TRS contributions) or take out a loan or financial hardship withdrawal.
An array of investment choices
The mutual funds available in your University of Houston Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) will provide you with the flexibility you need to create a suitably diversified portfolio that matches your personal retirement time horizon, investment risk tolerance and investment preferences.
- View the entire list of funds -- and their performance -- available to University of Houston ORP retirement plan participants.
Remember, this plan represents a long-term investment. Investment values of the mutual funds you choose will fluctuate, and there is no assurance that the objective of any fund will be achieved. Mutual fund shares are redeemable at the then-current net asset value, which may be more or less than the original cost. Bear in mind that investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal.
* Policy Form series GFUA-398 — group fixed unallocated annuity issued by The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company.
To view or print a prospectus, access “Prospectuses and Other Important Materials.” The prospectus contains the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other information about the respective investment companies that you should consider carefully before investing. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing or sending money. You can also request a copy by calling 1.800.428.2542.