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 > Employers
 > Member Benefits
 > Defined Contribution Plans
 > Optional Retirement Plan for Higher Education

Optional Retirement Plan for Higher Education

Qualified employees of Virginia’s public colleges and universities have the option to participate in the VRS Optional Retirement Plan for Higher Education (ORPHE), rather than VRS Plan 1, VRS Plan 2 or the VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan. Under the Optional Retirement Plan, your retirement benefit is based on contributions and the investment gains and losses on those contributions. Generally, this type of plan is more portable than the defined benefit plans.

If you are a new employee eligible to select this plan, please make note of the following information:

  • If your membership date is on or after January 1, 2014, and you are eligible for ORPHE, you must elect ORPHE or the Hybrid Retirement Plan.
  • If you have prior service under VRS Plan 1 or VRS Plan 2, you are not eligible to elect the Hybrid Retirement Plan and will select between VRS Plan 1 or VRS Plan 2 (as applicable) or ORPHE.

Please refer to the applicable version of Choosing Your Retirement Plan, a plan comparison guide to help you select the best plan for you:

ORP Benefits

  • Contributions to the ORP are separate from and do not affect the level of contributions you may make to the Commonwealth of Virginia 457 Deferred Compensation Plan or a 403(b) tax-deferred account.
  • Federal and state income taxes apply only when you withdraw the money from your account.
  • Account balances are immediately vested.

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