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Optional Retirement Program (ORP) > Retirement Programs > Current Employees > HR Home

Optional Retirement Program (ORP)

ORP is a defined contribution plan governed by Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b). Annuity at the time of retirement is based on the performance of investment funds. The employee is vested and gains the employer contribution after one year and one day of ORP participation. Federal tax law prohibits 403(b) plans from providing disability benefits.

Eligibility is strictly determined by the job you perform and is not based on years of service or salary level. To be eligible to participate in ORP, an employee must: (1) initially be appointed on a full-time basis for four and one-half months or more; and (2) be appointed to a position otherwise eligible to participate in ORP.

Here are a few examples of ORP eligible positions:

Job positions eligible for ORP is referenced in a few locations to include; the applicant job postings, offer of employment notification, and departmental HRMS processing for internal promotions or reclassification.  Employees are welcome to contact their HR Benefits Specialist to determine whether they are eligible for ORP.   

The Human Resources Benefits Office will send notification of ORP eligibility to employees upon initial eligibility.  Employees will have a 90 day enrollment window to elect ORP. The decision to enroll in ORP is a once in a lifetime, irrevocable decision.  Employees who fail to meet all ORP enrollment steps prior to the deadline will continue participation with TRS. 

Important Note:  ORP participants that transition to a non-ORP eligible job title without meeting the vesting guidelines, will be placed in the TRS program indefinitely. There will not be an opportunity to return to ORP participation for the duration of any Texas Public Higher Education employment. 

Contribution Rates

ORP contributions are pre-tax and made through payroll deduction. Contribution rates are set by the Texas Legislature. The participant and employer contributions are listed below:

Program Employee Employer
ORP 6.65% 8.5%


To enroll in ORP, all steps must be completed before the 90 day enrollment deadline: