VRS Logo Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Counseling Center
1111 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
8:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Map & Directions
graphic: contact us Contact Us

Administrative Offices
1200 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219

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

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 VRS Optional Retirement Plan for Higher Education (ORPHE), rather than VRS Plan 1, VRS Plan 2 or the VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan.

Employees in the following positions may participate in ORPHE:
  • Presidents of participating public institutions of higher education
  • Chancellors and presidents of the Virginia Community College System
  • Full-time and part-time permanent, salaried teaching, research and administrative faculty members of participating public institutions (adjunct faculty are not eligible for ORPHE)

Under ORPHE, 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 a defined benefit plan.

Contributions to ORPHE 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.

Plan Info

ORPHE Plan 1
You are covered under the provisions of Plan 1 if your membership date is before July 1, 2010. You may be an active or deferred participant. You are a deferred participant if you are not currently working in your position and either retained a balance in your ORPHE or have VRS creditable service resulting from a period of employment prior to July 1, 2010.

Choosing Your Retirement Plan: ORPHE/Plan 1

ORPHE Plan 2
You are covered under the provisions of Plan 2 if your membership date is between July 1, 2010, and December 31, 2013. If you were previously employed in a position covered under VRS or an ORP authorized or administered by VRS before July 1, 2010, and withdrew your funds, you will be rehired under the current applicable plan if you return to covered employment with no ORP account balance and no creditable service in VRS.

Choosing Your Retirement Plan: ORPHE/Plan 2

ORPHE Plan 2 or Hybrid Retirement Plan
If your membership date is on or after January 1, 2014, and you are eligible for ORPHE, you must elect ORPHE Plan 2 or the Hybrid Retirement Plan.

Choosing Your Retirement Plan: ORPHE/Hybrid


Competitively priced investments have been selected for ORPHE that allow participants to choose from a range of diversified and distinct investment alternatives sufficient to create a portfolio with varied risk and return characteristics.

Learn more about investments by contacting the following providers

Fidelity Investments
Contact Center & IVR
(Interactive Voice Response)

1-800-842-2776 Contact Center
1-800-842-2252 IVR

Back to top
View VRS Expenses Valid XHTML 1.0! Level A conformance icon, W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
Translate (Disclaimer)