As a new college or university president, chancellor or faculty member engaged in teaching, administration or research, you have a choice in retirement plans. Depending on your membership date, you may be eligible for either a Virginia Retirement System (VRS) defined benefit plan or the Hybrid Retirement Plan. Or, you may elect a VRS Optional Retirement Plan for Higher Education (ORPHE) defined contribution plan.
Your Choice of Two Plans
The retirement plan options available to higher education institution employees are based on your membership date.
|Membership Date||Plan Choices|
|On or after January 1, 2014||Hybrid Retirement Plan||ORPHE Plan 2|
|Between July 1, 2010, and December 31, 2013||VRS Plan 2||ORPHE Plan 2|
|Before July 1, 2010||VRS Plan 1*||ORPHE Plan 1|
*Participants electing VRS with fewer than five years of combined VRS and ORP service by January 1, 2013, will be in VRS Plan 2.
Compare and Select Plans in myVRS
Register for or log into myVRS to compare your retirement plan options. Once logged in, you will see a choice of plans based on your start date. Your choice is effective on your hire or rehire date, so any contributions payable by you will be due retroactively. If you do not select an ORPHE plan within 60 days of your hire or rehire date, you will be covered by the applicable VRS defined benefit or hybrid plan.
In myVRS, you may evaluate features of VRS and ORPHE plans based on answers to key questions, including:
- What are your options if you leave employment but do not retire?
- How much control will you have over your plan?
- What’s your comfort level with investment risk?
Use the plan comparison calculator in myVRS to view your projected retirement income under VRS and ORPHE plans. View the projection in today’s dollars or future dollars, monthly or annually. See how your projected income changes after adjusting certain assumptions, such as your salary or rate of return.
If you elect an ORPHE plan, you will choose one of two investment providers. View Provider Options.
Note: If you are a new faculty member at The College of William and Mary; George Mason University; University of Virginia, including UVA at Wise and Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center; Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech, these institutions have opted out of the VRS-administered optional retirement plan (ORP) and offer an employer-administered ORP plan. Faculty members at these institutions do not have access to the compare and select plan features in myVRS nor the provider options and services indicated on this website.
As an ORPHE participant, you have an opportunity to change providers during the Open Enrollment period that occurs annually each October.
You have a choice of two providers: DCP (record kept by ICMA-RC) and TIAA. If you choose a new provider during open enrollment, this will affect only your new contributions beginning with the first payroll in the following year. Your existing balance will remain with your current provider.
You may request a plan-to-plan transfer if you wish to transfer your existing funds from one provider to another. Plan-to-plan transfers are permitted, subject to any fund-specific trading restrictions or short-term trading redemption fees. Check with your provider regarding any restrictions or fees.
Understanding the Difference: Defined Benefit, Hybrid and Defined Contribution Plans
VRS Plans 1 and 2 are defined benefit plans that provide a monthly benefit during retirement based on your age, total service credit and average final compensation.
The VRS Hybrid Retirement Plan combines a defined benefit (DB) contribution component and a defined contribution (DC) component. The DB component provides the foundation of your future retirement benefit. VRS manages the investments and related risk for this component. The DC component provides tax-deferred savings. You manage the investments and related risk.
ORPHE Plans 1 and 2 are defined contribution plans. Your retirement benefit is based on contributions, the investment choices you make