Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS)

  • What is TRS?

    TRS is a defined benefit retirement plan governed by Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a). Benefits eligible employees that are working at least 20 hours per week for 4 1/2 continuous months or more are eligible. Students employed in positions that require student status as a condition of employment are not eligible.

  • Enrollment TRS

    All eligible employees of UTRGV are automatically enrolled in TRS on their first day of employment. Employee and employer contributions go into a large trust fund that is managed by knowledgeable professionals.

  • Vesting TRS

    You are vested after five years of service with a right to a retirement benefit. There are also disability and death and survivor benefits available to TRS members. Retirement benefits are based on legislatively determined formulas.

  • Contributions TRS


    Fiscal Year


    Employee Contributions


    Employer Contributions


    September 1, 2016 – August 31, 2017



    September 1, 2015 – August 31, 2016



    TRS website for additional resources and information.

Optional Retirement Program (ORP)

  • What is Optional Retirement Program (ORP)?

    ORP is a defined contribution plan governed by Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b).

    Eligible employees are notified of their ORP eligibility at the time of your initial employment.

    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, continuous basis for 4 1/2 months or more; and (2) be appointed to a position otherwise eligible to participate in ORP.

    Employees who are eligible to participate in a Retirement Program who are not eligible to participate in ORP must participate in the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS).

    Here are a few examples of ORP eligible positions:

    • Faculty members whose duties include teaching and/or research as a principal activity
    • Faculty administrators responsible for teaching and research faculty
    • Professional librarians
    • Chief and senior administrative officials
    • Specialized professional positions (such as physicians, engineers, and attorneys)
    • Athletic coaches and directors
    • Counselors treated in the same manner as faculty
  • Enrollment ORP

    You have 90 days from the date you first become eligible for the ORP to make your enrollment decision. If you are reclassified and/or assume a new job and become ORP-eligible for the first time after your initial employment date, the 90-day election period begins on the day your reclassification becomes effective.

    The decision to enroll in ORP is a once in a lifetime, irrevocable decision.

    To enroll in ORP, follow these steps:

    1. Choose your financial provider(s) from the authorized provider list.
    2. Complete the appropriate provider application(s) to open an account(s) with that      provider(s).
    3. Complete TRS Form 28 (Notice to Elect to Participate in      Optional Retirement Program) with a UTRGV Benefits Representative at any of our UTRGV HR Benefits office.
    4. After meeting with the Benefits Representative, log onto UT Retirement Manager and click      on the ORP Enroll/Change page and select your ORP provider.
    5. Before your first ORP deduction, mail all completed provider applications to the designated      address on the applications.
  • Declining Enrollment

    If you wish to decline enrollment into the ORP, you must complete and submit the ORP Acknowledgement Form prior to your enrollment deadline and send it to UTRGV Benefits office.

    Do not complete all of the other enrollment steps listed above.

    You will remain in the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) for the duration of your career in Texas Public Higher Education.

  • Vesting ORP

    Vesting refers to a participant’s ownership of employer “matching” contributions. Vesting occurs on the first day of the second year of participation, which is defined as the first day of the 13th month of active participation (i.e., making contributions by payroll deduction). The vesting period is sometimes referred to as “a year and a day of ORP participation.

    Active (contributing) participants are not permitted to withdraw any ORP contributions or net earnings (unless they are at least age 70 -1/2), including contributions from prior periods of employment.

    Annuity at the time of retirement is based on the performance of investment funds.

    ORP participants are responsible for monitoring their selected companies and investments.

    Federal tax law prohibits 403(b) plans from providing disability benefits. 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.

  • Contributions ORP

    ORP contributions are made through payroll deduction.
    Contributions and any net earnings are not subject to federal income tax until the funds are withdrawn or paid as a retirement annuity.

    Contribution rates are set by the Texas Legislature and are as follows:


    Retirement Program      


            Employee Contributions     


                    Employer Contributions       





    Optional Retirement Program (ORP) for additional resources and information.

Overview of TRS & ORP

Available Resources: