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ORP overview

The University of Northern Colorado Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) is a mandatory retirement plan. The University does not participate in the Social Security system and instead mandatorily covers eligible employees with membership in the ORP as an alternative to Social Security coverage. As a result, the University does not contribute to Social Security for ORP-eligible employees and no Social Security taxes are withheld from their earnings. Eligible employees who are members of the Colorado Public Employee’s Retirement Association (PERA) who have at least one year of PERA service credit may elect to either participate in PERA or the ORP.

Who is eligible?

Academic faculty and administrative professionals are eligible.

Starting early has its advantages

How much is contributed?

You contribute 8% of your gross salary. If you meet eligibility requirements, the University of Northern Colorado contributes an amount equal to 11.5% of your gross salary each pay period.

When are the contributions to my ORP account vested?


How are these contributions invested?

Your contributions are invested in an annuity issued by The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company. You may choose from a variety of funds including our stable value (interest-bearing) Fixed Account Plus and/or our variable options. Your local financial professional will meet with you personally to design an investment program based on your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon, and will conduct a face-to-face annual review of your investments (more often if you desire).

Accessing your money before retirement

When can I take a distribution from my ORP account?

You may take a distribution from your ORP account following the date:

  • you terminate employment,

  • you become disabled, or

  • your death.

A participant on qualified military leave for more than 30 days will be considered to have terminated employment for purposes of taking a distribution from his or her ORP account.

Please note that income taxes are payable upon withdrawal and federal restrictions and a 10% tax penalty may apply to early withdrawals. Be sure to talk with your tax advisor before withdrawing any money from your plan account.

In addition, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires you to take Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) withdrawals from your retirement account(s) annually beginning the year you reach the RMD eligible age. RMD eligible age is:

  • Age 73 if you were born January 1, 1951, or later (The RMD eligible age will increase to age 75 after December 31, 2032)
  • Age 72 if you were born after June 30, 1949, and before January 1, 1951 (For individuals turning age 72 in 2023, no RMD payment is required in 2023)
  • Age 70 ½ if you were born before July 1, 1949.
What forms of distribution are available fom my ORP account?

Subject to the terms of your ORP account invested with Corebridge Retirement Services, you may elect to receive distributions of your ORP account as:

  • a lump sum distribution,

  • installments,

  • partial distributions,

  • annuities, and/or

  • any other form of distribution available for your ORP account invested with Corebridge.

May I take a loan from my plan account?

Yes, loans are available. Tax-free loans make it possible for you to access your account without permanently reducing your account balance. Please note that defaulted loan amounts will be taxed as ordinary income and may be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty if the employee is under age 59½.

I have a retirement plan from a previous employer. May I transfer this account to my Corebridge ORP plan?

Yes, if your previous employer's plan allows transfers.

Important considerations before deciding to move funds either into or out of a Corebridge Retirement Services account
There are many things to consider. For starters, you will want to carefully review and compare your existing account and the new account, including: fees and charges; guarantees and benefits; and, any limitations under either of the accounts. Also, you will want to know whether a surrender of your current account could result in charges. Your financial professional can help you review these and other important considerations. Consult a tax professional before making a decision to move funds either into or out of a Corebridge account.

What happens to my account if I leave the University of Northern Colorado?

You may leave the account invested in the ORP, take a distribution, or roll the account assets to an eligible retirement plan.

What is the Guaranteed Death Benefit?

In the event of your death prior to age 70, your beneficiary(ies) will receive the greater of either the value of your account or the sum of your contributions plus interest at an annual rate of 2%. The Guaranteed Death Benefit also applies to any assets that you transfer to Corebridge from other retirement plans. All guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company.

RO 2767020 (03/2023)