Employees on an Educational Visa (i.e., J-1, F-1, etc.) are not eligible to participate in the pension programs per Oregon Revised Statute 238.015(4) and Oregon Administrative Rule 459.010.0025(1).

Pension benefits are provided to you when you are employed in a qualifying position.   As an eligible academic or academic administrative employee of the Oregon University System (OUS) you will have a choice between two employer-paid pension programs.

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY – DISCLAIMER

The information on this website and in the ORP Decision Making Guide provides an overview of the OPSRP/PERS and the ORP. The descriptions of OPSRP and PERS benefits in this Guide are based on OUS’ and PERS’ understanding of applicable legislation, as amended and as affected by judicial decisions, as of the date of this guide. In addition, PERS regularly adopts administrative rules to implement legislative changes. The descriptions of OPSRP and PERS benefits in this guide are therefore subject to modification and/or clarification by new legislation, court decisions, and PERS’ administrative rulemaking.

This material is intended to assist in the administration of the plan, and it includes a summary of common ORP Plan provisions. To obtain additional information about the Plan, talk to your campus’ Benefits Officer for specific assistance.

In case of conflict between this website or the guide and the official plan documents of the ORP and Oregon state law regulating OPSRP/PERS, the official plan documents, Oregon state law, and federal regulations will govern.

Qualifying position

Is a position that is expected to complete the six month waiting period and is expected to work at least 600 hours in the calendar year.

Program Membership Tiers

Membership tier is based on an employee’s original eligibility date with OUS or a PERS participating employer and their current membership status.

  • ORP Tier 3 or PERS/OPSRP – hired on or after August 29, 2003
  • ORP Tier 2 or PERS Tier 2 – hired between January 1, 1996 and August 28, 2003
  • ORP Tier 2 or PERS Tier 1 – hired on or prior to December 31, 1995

Choice between two employer-paid pension programs after six months

  • PERS/OPSRP pension program is administered by the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).  PERS manages the OPSRP pension, PERS pension, and the Individual Account Program (IAP) for eligible public employees.  Investment of the program funds are managed under the direction of the Oregon Investment Council for the Oregon State Treasury.  The program has two components:
    • OPSRP pension or PERS pension program.   The OPSRP and PERS component of the pension program is a defined benefit plan and is funded by OSU and provides a lifetime pension benefit. 
    • The IAP component of the pension program is a defined contribution plan and is funded by a 6% employee contribution.  OSU pays the 6% contribution for you.  Your account is credited with earnings/losses annually based on investment returns.  At retirement, the funds can be withdrawn as a lump-sum payment or in installments.  It is not a lifetime benefit.
  • Optional Retirement Program (ORP) is administered by Oregon University System (OUS) through Fidelity Investments or TIAA-CREF. 
    • This program is a defined contribution plan and is participant-directed (you select the investments)
    • Funded by a 6% employee contribution and an employer contribution based on your ORP Tier.   OSU pays the 6% employee contribution for you, as well as the employer contribution. 
    • Your account is credited with earnings/losses annually based on your investment returns.  At retirement, the funds can be withdrawn as a lump-sum payment or in installments.  It is not a lifetime benefit.

Making Your Pension Program Election

  • Pension program election must be made by the time you complete six months of service 
  • This is an irrevocable one-time election and will be in effect at all OUS institutions 
  • You will need to complete and return the election form.  You will receive an email with further instructions during your fourth month of employment. 
  • You will be “defaulted” into the PERS/OSPRP program if you do not return the election form

Pension Contributions

  • Must be in a qualifying position
  • Contributions begin
    • New to OUS & PERS system – contributions will begin after serving the six full month waiting period
    • PERS employee NEW to OUS – PERS contributions will begin immediately and your PERS tier remains the same.  After six months, contributions will be made to the pension program you select (PERS/OPSRP or ORP).
    • Current or returning employee to OUS system – contributions will begin immediately to the pension program you previously selected
  • Amount of contributions
    • PERS/OPSRP Program
      • IAP account - OSU currently pays the employee’s 6% contribution for you
      • OPSRP or PERS program - OSU pays an employer contribution that goes into an employer account to fund the PERS or OPSRP pension benefit for eligible employees
    • ORP Program
      • OSU currently pays the employee’s 6% contribution for you
      • OSU also pays an employer contribution into your account based on your ORP Tier.  For the Tier contribution rates, refer to the ORP Decision Making Guide (link located under Resources).

Vesting

  •  Employee Account (IAP or ORP Employee Account)
    • 100% vested in the Employee Account (IAP or ORP Employee account) once membership is established
  • Employer Account
    • OPSRP or PERS program (Employer account)
      • OPSRP after completing five years of qualifying service or upon reaching “normal” retirement age (age 65) while actively employed in a qualifying position
      • PERS program – after completing five years of qualifying service or upon reaching age 50 while actively employed in a qualifying position
    • ORP program (Employer account)
      • After completing five years of qualifying service or upon reaching age 50

Resources

Defined Benefit Plan =  pension benefit at retirement is based on a predetermined formula (years of service and average ending salary).  This is a lifetime benefit paid in monthly installments.

Defined Contribution = pension benefit at retirement is based on the contributions to the plan plus any investment earnings.  This is not a lifetime benefit.