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.
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.
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.
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 their 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 researching 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
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:
- Choose your financial provider(s) from the authorized Provider List .
- Complete the appropriate provider application(s) to open an account(s) with that provider(s).
- 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 .
- After meeting with the Benefits Representative, log onto UT Retirement Manager and click on the ORP Enroll/Change page and select your ORP provider.
- Before your first ORP deduction, mail all completed provider applications to the designated address on the applications.
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 the 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 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 who 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.
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.
How to Retire from UTRGV?
UTRGV Retirement Planning
- Email: Benefits@utrgv.edu
- or call us at: Edinburg: (956) 665-2451 or Brownsville (956) 882-8205
Silver Sneakers SilverSneakers is a fitness membership at no extra cost. UT SELECT Health Plan members over the age of 50 who are Retirees (including working Retirees), a covered spouse of a Retiree, or a Surviving Spouse are eligible for SilverSneakers.
Contact the Office of Human Resources
Phone: (E) 956-665-2451
Phone: (B) 956-882-8205