New Higher Ed Faculty Have 60 Days to Select a Retirement Plan

August 2023
campus buildings at Christopher Newport University

Incoming faculty members eligible to elect coverage under the Optional Retirement Plan for Higher Education (ORPHE) must choose their retirement plan within 60 days of their start date, per the Code of Virginia.

If they do not choose a plan within their election window, they will be covered by the Hybrid Retirement Plan or the applicable VRS defined benefit plan.

Once employers enroll employees as new hires in myVRS Navigator, VRS will send a letter instructing them to log into or create an account in myVRS to compare options and then choose a plan. Their retirement plan choice is irrevocable.

Employees Can Compare and Review Plans in myVRS

Once in myVRS, faculty members will see a choice of plans based on their start date. On the Compare Plans screen, employees can evaluate features of VRS and ORPHE plans.

The plan comparison calculator provides projected retirement income under VRS and ORPHE plans. They can adjust certain assumptions, such as salary or rate of return, to see how their projected income might change.

Those who elect the ORPHE plan then have a choice of two providers:

  • DCP (record kept by MissionSquare Retirement with investment choices selected by VRS across a range of asset classes, risk levels and investment strategies).
  • TIAA.

Encourage ORPHE participants to compare provider options, including fees and expenses, before making their choice.

Employers Acknowledge Plan Elections in myVRS Navigator

Employers will receive daily secure notifications of employee elections. If you are not using the state's centralized payroll system for reporting contributions, you are encouraged to acknowledge each employee's election in myVRS Navigator, where you can then access a report of employee elections. Prompt acknowledgments help ensure contributions begin promptly in step with payroll deductions.

The Employers section on the ORPHE website includes instructions for acknowledging participants’ elections.

The following resources will guide you through the ORP-election process: