Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)
The University of Alaska provides the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) to faculty, along with non-academic officers and senior administrators. The ORP is a defined contribution (DC) plan. UA is the plan administrator for the ORP. All benefit-eligible employees are required to participate in a retirement account. For information on the Public Employee's Retirement System (PERS) or the Teacher's Retirement System (TRS), please view their respective webpages.
Faculty who are in a benefit-eligible position will choose between the Teacher's Retirement
System (TRS) and the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) within 30 days of hire into an
eligible position as long as you have never had the option to select ORP in a previous
position with the university.
If you are a non-academic officer or senior administrator, you may choose between the Public Employee's Retirement System (PERS) and ORP within 30 days of hire into an eligible position as long as you have never had the option to select ORP in a previous position with the university.
Please review the options below to get an idea of what your retirement options may be. Your official retirement selections will be sent to you after you attend a Benefits Overview with the a member of the UA Benefits team. For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Work Status||Retirement Plan|
|I am faculty and I have never worked for the University of Alaska or any State of Alaska employer before.||I will choose between TRS and ORP within my first 30 days.|
|I am a non-academic officer or senior administrator and I have never worked for the University of Alaska or any State of Alaska employer before.||I will choose between PERS and ORP within my first 30 days.|
|I am faculty and I have worked for the University of Alaska before in a faculty benefit-eligible position.||My retirement plan will be the plan I previously selected (either ORP or TRS with or without UA Pension Plan).|
|I am a non-academic officer or senior administrator and I have worked for the University of Alaska before in an ORP-eligible position.||
My retirement plan will be the plan I previously selected (either ORP or TRS/PERS with or without UA Pension Plan).
|I am faculty and I have worked for the University of Alaska before in a staff benefit-eligible position.||
If I previously selected ORP with my staff position, I will be placed back in ORP.
If I have never had the option to select ORP with my previous position, I will be given the option now between ORP and TRS.
|I am faculty and I have worked for a State of Alaska employer before (either faculty or staff) but this is my first faculty position with the University of Alaska.||
My retirement plan will be my previous TRS plan if I was a faculty member.
If I was previously staff with another State of Alaska employer, I will choose between TRS and ORP within my first 30 days.
New benefit-eligible faculty or non-academic officers and senior administrators will be provided with their retirement election paperwork within their first 30 days of hire. Participation in a retirement plan is mandatory for all benefit-eligible positions.
Your retirement election is irrevocable. This means that your retirement selection cannot be changed as long as you are in a benefit-eligible position with the university - even if you separate from the university and return after a break in service.
If you are transferring positions within UA (from temporary or staff to faculty or non-academic officer or senior administrator) you may be given additional retirement choices depending on your initial retirement election. Your official retirement selections will be sent to you after you attend a Benefits Overview with the a member of the UA Benefits team. For questions, please email email@example.com.
If you have a choice between more than one retirement plan, you must make the election within 30 days of hire. If no election is made you will automatically default into PERS or TRS depending on the nature of your position.
You may change fund sponsors at any time using the Fund Sponsor Enrollment/Change form. Once submitted, the change will affect where new contributions are deposited and will not automatically transfer account balances. You may keep the accounts separate or consolidate accounts. To combine funds, you will need to contact the previous fund sponsor and request a rollover form to transfer the balance from the previous fund sponsor to the new fund sponsor.
You may only change your fund sponsor. You may not change your retirement plan from the ORP to either PERS or TRS once you have selected the ORP.
|Fidelity Contact Information||Lincoln Financial Contact Information||TIAA Contact Information||VALIC Contact Information|
Fidelity Investments UA website
Lincoln Financial Group website
Local Anchorage number: 907-561-3187
Local Fairbanks number: 907-452-6393
Local Anchorage number: 907-279-8302
Local Fairbanks number: 907-458-0101
There are three ORP Tiers depending on your hire date into an ORP-eligible position.
|ORP Tier||Dates of Eligibility|
|ORP Tier I||This tier consists of employees hired into ORP through June 30, 2005.|
|ORP Tier II||This tier consists of employees hired into the ORP from July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006.|
|ORP Tier III||This tier consists of employees hired into the ORP on or after July 1, 2006.|
Employee contributions are mandatory when participating in ORP. These percentages are fixed and cannot be changed. Employee contributions include:
|ORP Tier||Employee Contribution|
|ORP Tier I||8.65% employee contributions|
|ORP Tier II||8.65% employee contributions|
|ORP Tier III||8% employee contributions|
The University of Alaska contributes the following percentages depending on your ORP Tier:
|ORP Tier||Employee Contribution|
|ORP Tier I||14% employee contributions|
|ORP Tier II||12% employee contributions|
|ORP Tier III||12% employee contributions|
You are 100% vested in the employee contributions you make to your retirement account. Employer contributions follow the vesting schedule shown below.
|ORP Tier||Years of Service||Employer Vesting Percent|
|ORP Tier I||NA||Employees in ORP Tier I are automatically vested in all employer contributions|
|ORP Tier II||NA||Employees in ORP Tier II are automatically vested in all employer contributions|
|ORP Tier III||Less than 3 years of service||0% vested in employer contributions|
|ORP Tier III||3+ years of service||100% vested in employer contributions|
As you are preparing for retirement, please review our offboarding webpage which provides detailed information on separating from the university. The following applies to all ORP Tiers.
Per IRS guidelines, withdraws from an ORP Defined Contribution (ORP DC) plan can begin with the member is age 59.5. Withdraws prior to age 59.5 may face additional tax penalties for early withdraw.
Withdraws can only be made from a ORP DC account after you have fully separated from service for 45 days.
There are two instances where in-service distributions are allowed:
- An ORP member over 60 years of age in a non-participating position (i.e. is in a position not eligible for retirement) may withdraw from their ORP.
- An ORP member over 70.5 years of age in any position may withdraw from their ORP.
No other in-service distributions are allowed.
Discuss your financial assets and retirement plan with a financial planner. Financial planners can help you map out and prepare for your retirement from a ORP DC plan.
The UA Benefits team is not able to provide financial planning advice.
- The ORP DC plan has a few different options available for retirement withdraws. Please contact your financial planner prior to your ORP retirement to discuss your options.
- To initiate your desired retirement, contact your fund sponsor directly for the paperwork required for the action you are wishing to take.
- Complete and submit the fund sponsor's paperwork to UA benefits via fax at 907-450-8201 or via secured email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember - these documents have sensitive personal information included. Be sure to send all documents password protected or securely via fax to ensure your personally identifiable information is protected.
- UA Benefits will complete the employer portion of the fund sponsors form and return it to the fund sponsor directly.
If you are separating from the university but are not retiring, there are a few different considerations for your ORP accounts. The university also has an offboarding webpage which provides detailed information on separating from the university.
- You may take no action and leave all funds in your ORP account.
- You may rollover your vested funds into another qualified tax-free retirement account such as an IRA, or you can rollover your vested funds into a new employer's eligible retirement account.
- You must be separated for 45 days before any action can be taken on your account(s).