Retirement benefits are provided to you when you are employed in a qualifying position. As an eligible academic or administrative (unclassified) employee, you will have a choice between two employer-paid retirement programs.

Exceptions:

  • Employees of the University on an Educational Visa (J-1, F-1, etc.) are not eligible to participate in the retirement programs per Oregon Revised Statute 238.015(4) and Oregon Administrative Rule 459.010.0025(1).
  • Employees that are not subject to Oregon taxes (includes those not living or working in Oregon and Foreign Nationals), will only earn retirement credit (years of service) under the OPSRP pension program. At retirement the OPSRP pension calculation for Average Ending Salary will only include salary subject to Oregon taxes (contributions to the IAP account will only be made if salary is subject to Oregon taxes).

The two employer-paid retirement programs for you to choose from are:

  1. Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) pension plan; OR
  2. Oregon Public Universities Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)

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 are based on Oregon Public Universities Retirement Plans' (OPURP) and PERS' understanding of applicable legislation, as amended and as affected by judicial decisions. In addition, PERS regularly adopts administrative rules to implement legislative changes. The descriptions of OPSRP and PERS benefits are therefore subject to modification and/or clarification by new legislation, court decisions, and PERS' administrative rulemaking. 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.

Program Membership Tiers

Membership tier is based on an employee's original eligibility date with an Oregon Public University or an Oregon PERS participating employer and their current membership status.

  • ORP Tier 4 or PERS OPSRP (Tier 3) - hired on or after July 1, 2014
  • ORP Tier 3 or PERS OPSRP (Tier 3) - 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 1 or PERS Tier 1 - hired on or prior to December 31, 1995

New Unclassified Employees

Please review the Roadmap to OSU’s Retirement Benefits: Unclassified Employees for guidance during your first 6 months of employment.

Qualifying Position

Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS)

  • 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.

Oregon Public Universities Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) Tier 4

  • 0.30 FTE/12-month appointment; or
  • 0.40 FTE/9-month (academic) appointment; or
  • Fixed-Term appointments that are more than 9 and less than 12 months and Non-Fixed Term appointments if employee works at least 50 hours/month in each of the first 6 months of the initial waiting period

Retirement Programs Details

You choose between two employer-paid retirement programs after serving the six full month waiting period:

Option #1: Oregon Public Employee's Retirement System (PERS)

This plan has two components:

  1. OPSRP Pension program (Tier 3) OR PERS Pension Program (Tier 1 or Tier 2); and

  2. Individual Account Program (IAP)

The pension program is administered by the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). PERS manages the OPSRP pension program (Tier 3), the PERS pension program (Tier 1 or Tier 2), 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 OPSRP and PERS component of the pension program is a defined benefit plan and is funded by OSU. It is a lifetime pension benefit.

The IAP component of the pension program is a defined contribution plan and is funded by contributions of 6% of your subject salary, which OSU currently pays for you.* The contribution is made on wages/salary subject to Oregon taxes; and the amount of compensation used for this contribution calculation is limited as outlined in the ORP Plan Highlights. This limit is periodically adjusted for cost-of-living increases. 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.

Important: Employees that are not subject to Oregon taxes (includes those not living or working in Oregon and Foreign Nationals), will only earn retirement credit (years of service) under the OPSRP pension program. At retirement the OPSRP pension calculation for Average Ending Salary will only include salary subject to Oregon taxes (contributions to the IAP account will only be made if salary is subject to Oregon taxes).

*Contributions begin after serving a full six month waiting period in a qualifying position. July 1, 2020. For PERS 0.75% of 6% IAP for OPSRP is re-directed to a PERS EPSA account to support employee's future pension. For PERS Tier 1 and 2 a total of 2.5% is re-directed to a PERS EPSA account to support the employee's future pension.

Option #2 Oregon Public Universities Optional Retirement Plan (ORP):

The ORP Tier 4 (employees hired on or after July 1, 2014) has two components:

  1. Employer Contribution of 8% of your salary paid by OSU; and
  2. Employer Match of up to 4% of your salary paid by OSU if you participate in the voluntary retirement savings Tax Deferred Investment (TDI) 403(b) Plan through Fidelity or TIAA

If you are an Oregon PERS member at the time of hire, your ORP tier may be the same as your PERS tier. Contact the Retirement team in the Employee Benefits office at Retirement@oregonstate.edu for tier placement.

The Optional Retirement Program (ORP) is administered by Oregon Public University Retirement Program (OPURP) through a Plan Sponsor (Provider), Fidelity Investments or TIAA. This program is a defined contribution plan and is participant-directed (you select the investments). Your account is credited with earnings/losses based on your investment returns. At retirement, you will work directly with Fidelity or TIAA to withdraw, roll, or take distributions from your account. It is not a lifetime benefit.

Important Note about Contribution Limits: The ORP is a defined contribution plan and is subject to IRS limits on contributions. The current IRS limits can be found in the ORP Plan Highlights. Contributions made to the Tax-Deferred investment (TDI) 403(b) Plan are subject to limits of that plan. When planning your TDI 403(b) Plan contributions, pay careful attention to the limits applicable to the TDI 403(b) Plan. ORP Employer Match contributions will only be paid on a per-pay-period frequency based on TDI 403(b) Plan contributions made during that month. (e.g., you will receive ORP Employer Match contributions only if you make a TDI 403(b) contribution during the month.)

Making Your Retirement Program Election

  • If eligible, you will receive the Retirement Plan Notification to your OSU email account in your fourth month of employment

    • Review information in the notification, including attachments

    • Complete and submit the Retirement Plan Election Form by the deadline listed in the notification

  • Retirement Plan program election must be made by the time you complete six months of service

  • This is a one-time irrevocable decision for all Oregon Public University employment

  • If you do not return the Retirement Plan Election Form by the deadline listed in the notification, your retirement plan will default to PERS/OPSRP IAP program

PERS OPSRP to ORP Transfer

If you are a current Oregon PERS member, this is your one-time irrevocable choice to remain a PERS member at your current tier (for university service) OR to transfer to the Oregon Public Universities Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). Your ORP tier will be Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3, if you are a current PERS member and your membership was established with another PERS employer OR you were employed by OSU in a retirement benefits eligible position prior to July 1, 2014. Any vested OPSRP member who elects to transfer their PERS IAP account to ORP, whether vested or not-vested, will forfeit any rights they may have to an OPSRP pension.*

ORS 243.815(6)

(a) Tiers 1 and 2 – If employee is not vested at the time that they elect to ORP, their account with PERS must be terminated, IAP funds will be transferred to ORP, and the pension is forfeited.

(b) Tiers 1 and 2 - If employee is vested at the time that they elect to ORP, they have a one-time option to choose to transfer IAP funds to the ORP at the time of the switch. If the employee elects to make the transfer, the employee's PERS account is terminated, IAP funds are transferred to ORP, and the pension is forfeited. If the employee does not elect to make the transfer, then the employee becomes an inactive and keeps their pension with PERS along with the IAP.

(c) OPSRP - If employee is not vested at the time that they elect to ORP, their account with PERS must be terminated, IAP funds will be transferred to ORP, and the pension is forfeited.

(d) OPSRP - If employee is vested at the time that they elect to ORP, they have a one-time option to choose to transfer IAP funds to the ORP at the time of the switch. If the employee elects to make the transfer, the employee's OPSRP pension account is terminated, IAP funds are transferred to ORP, and the pension is forfeited. If the employee does not elect to make the transfer, then the employee becomes an inactive and keeps their OPSRP pension with PERS along with the IAP.

Contact PERS

Contact ORP Administrator

*Effective July 1, 2020 (ORS 243.815(6) - An administrative or academic employee who elects to participate in the Optional Retirement Plan, and who is a vested member of the pension program of the Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan as described in ORS 238A.115 on the date that the election becomes effective, shall be considered an inactive member of the pension program by the Public Employees Retirement Board as of the effective date of the election. A member who is subject to the provisions of this paragraph retains all the rights, privileges and options of an inactive member of the pension program, unless the member makes a written request to the Public Employees Retirement Board for a transfer of the amounts credited to the member accounts of the member established under ORS 238A.350 and 238A.353 to the Optional Retirement Plan. The request must be made at the time the member elects to participate in the Optional Retirement Plan. Upon receiving the request, the Public Employees Retirement Board shall transfer the amounts credited to the member accounts of the member established under ORS 238A.350 and 238A.353 directly to the Optional Retirement Plan in the manner provided by subsection (7) of this section, and shall terminate the membership of the employee in the Public Employees Retirement System.

PERS OPSRP to ORP Transfer information is provided for your convenience only. For complete details, please contact PERS and/or the ORP Plan Administrators. Compiled from information provided by the ORP Plan Administrators and PERS. Any errors, if any, are unintentional.

Disclaimer: Information may change as the result of administrative, legislative or judicial decisions.

Retirement Plan Contributions

  • Must be in a qualifying position
  • Contributions begin
    • New to Oregon Public Universities & PERS
      • Contributions will begin after serving the six full month waiting period
    • PERS Employee NEW to Oregon Public Universities
      • PERS contributions will begin immediately and your PERS tier remains the same (Tier 1, 2, or OPSRP)
      • After six months, contributions will be made to the retirement program you choose (PERS/OPSRP or ORP)
    • Current or Returning Unclassified Employee to Oregon Public Universities
      • Contributions will begin immediately to the retirement program you previously selected (if eligible - e.g., did not withdraw from program)
    • University PERS Employee NEW to Unclassified Position
      • PERS contributions will continue
      • After six months, contributions will be made to the retirement program you choose (PERS/OPSRP or ORP)
      • If your PERS membership was established through your University employment and you elect to participate in the ORP program, your ORP tier will be determined by your employment date with the University:
        • Employed on or after July 1, 2014, your ORP tier will be ORP Tier 4
        • Employed prior to July 1, 2014, your OPR tier will be the same as your PERS tier
  • Amount of contributions
    • Oregon Public Employee's Retirement System (PERS)
      • IAP - OSU currently pays the employee's 6% contribution for you*
      • OPSRP (Tier 3) or PERS (Tier 1 or Tier 2) pension program - OSU pays an employer contribution that goes into an employer account to fund the PERS or OPSRP pension benefit for eligible employees
    • Oregon Public Universities Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)
      • Please see the “Contributions” section of the Decision Making Guide for contribution amounts based on Tier.

*Contributions begin after serving a full six month waiting period in a qualifying position. July 1, 2020. For PERS 0.75% of 6% IAP for OPSRP is re-directed to a PERS EPSA account to support employee's future pension. For PERS Tier 1 and 2 a total of 2.5% is re- directed to a PERS EPSA account to support the employee's future pension.

Vesting

Oregon Public Employee's Retirement System (PERS) - Tier 1, Tier 2, OPSRP (Tier 3), IAP

  • IAP
    • 100% vested once membership is established
  • OPSRP pension program (Tier 3)
    • 100% vested after completing five years of qualifying service OR upon reaching “normal” retirement age (age 65 for General Service Employees, age 60 for Police & Fire Employees) while actively employed in a qualifying position
  • PERS pension program (Tier 2)
    • 100% vested after completing five years of qualifying service OR upon reaching “normal” retirement age (age 60 for General Service Employees, age 55 for Police & Fire Employees) while employed in a qualifying position
  • PERS pension program (Tier 1)
    • 100% vested after completing five years of qualifying service OR upon reaching “normal” retirement age (age 58 for General Service Employees, age 55 for Police & Fire Employees) while employed in a qualifying position

Oregon Public Universities Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) - Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, Tier 4

  • Employer Match Account - Tier 4 only
    • 100% vested once membership is established
  • Employer Account - Tiers 1, 2, 3, and 4
    • 100% vested after receiving contributions in five calendar years OR at age 50 while employed
  • Employee Account - Tiers 1, 2, and 3
    • 100% vested once membership is established

      Resources

      Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS)
      PERS is the Plan Administrator for PERS Tier 1, PERS Tier 2, PERS OPSRP (Tier 3), and the IAP

      Oregon Public Universities Retirement Plans (OPURP)
      OPURP is the Plan Administrator for the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)

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