Participants in the Optional Retirement Plan for Higher Education (ORPHE) have an opportunity to change providers each year. Open Enrollment occurs annually from October 1 to October 31, effective the first payroll in the following calendar year.

Participants have a choice of two providers: DCP (record kept by ICMA-RC) and TIAA. See Provider Options for information on the plan investments available through each provider.

What are the differences between investment providers?

You can use the ORPHE provider options chart to compare each provider’s services and plan features.

How can I learn more about investment performance and fees?

For more information, refer to Performance & Fees.

May I transfer my existing funds from one provider to another?

Yes. This is called a plan-to-plan transfer. 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.

Is my ORPHE account portable if I move to an employer covered under a different plan?

Yes. As required by Internal Revenue Code regulations, assets are always portable once a participant separates employment and becomes eligible for a distribution.

Assets may be rolled over to a new employer's plan or to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

If a new employer offers the same provider, the plan is administered under the new employer's contract with the provider. The same investment options may not be available.

Additional information is available at ORPHE 2020.

  • Handbook for Participants in ORPHE Plan 1 and ORPHE Plan 2 Learn more about your plan, benefits and investments in the Optional Retirement Plan for Higher Education.

  • Choose the Plan and Provider That’s Right for You As a new college or university president, chancellor or faculty member engaged in teaching, administration or research, you have a choice in retirement planning.

  • State Health Benefits Program Enrollment Form for Retirees, Survivors and LTD Participants (T-20879)

  • VRS Group Life Designation of Beneficiary (VRS-2)

  • VRS Group Life Designation of Beneficiary - Continuation (VRS-2A)

  • Request for Transfer of Funds to ORP (VRS-3ORP)

  • Conversion of Group Life Insurance Enrollment (VRS-35E)

  • Request for Health Insurance Credit (VRS-45)

  • Notice of Return to Covered Employment Optional Retirement Plan Retiree (VRS-7ORP)

  • Termination Certification Form – Optional Retirement Plan for Higher Education (VRS-65D)

  • Optional/Alternative Retirement Plan Health Insurance Credit Employer Certification of Service (VRS-75)

  • VRS Durable Power of Attorney (VRS-901)