Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)

ORP is a defined contribution plan based on tax-deferred accumulations (taxes are paid later, during retirement). This plan requires employees to make thoughtful decisions about their investment choices.

Read more about the Optional Retirement Plan in the resources at the bottom of this page.

Choosing ORP or VRS

  • University Staff Operational & Administrative and Classified full-time and part-time employees save only in the Virginia Retirement System (VRS)

  • University Staff Managerial & Professional, University Staff Executive, Faculty, Research Associates, and Research Scientists save in either ORP or VRS

Watch this video explaining the ORP and VRS plans

Hoos Well video

Your Choice Matters

  • Your retirement choice affects coverage for disability, accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D), and life insurance. Choose carefully.
  • Your choice of one of the two retirement programs is a permanent decision.
  • New employees have 60 days from the date of hire to pick either ORP or VRS. If an employee does not specifically choose a retirement program, state policy requires the new hire to be enrolled automatically in VRS.

Save Even More

Employees can save additional retirement money through two supplemental plans that get a cash match from UVA: 403(b) and 457 Savings Programs (link in Resources below).


  • Enroll and select a vendor through the UVA Employee Self-Service website, using the Benefits link (beneath the Time Entry link)
  • Then select specific investments at the vendor websites: TIAA or Fidelity
  • If you make no specific fund choice, you will be placed into the default investment plan
  • Complete the VRS-65: Optional Retirement Plan for Higher Education form (link in Resources below)
  • Return your completed form to the UVA Human Resources Service Team

ORP Vesting (Employee Ownership of Retirement Contributions From UVA)

  • New ORP enrollees as of July 1, 2014 must wait two years before they own the UVA contributions made to their retirement plans, known as being vested
  • Some new employees who transfer in, with no break in service from other Virginia higher education institutions, own their UVA retirement contributions without a two-year wait
  • New employees possess their own plan contributions, but they can’t own the UVA retirement contributions until they work for two years
    • There are some exceptions due to death or some cases of involuntary separation not caused by job performance or misconduct, as determined by UVA

ORP Plan 1 (Employees Hired Before July 1, 2010 who have not taken a refund)

  • UVA contributes 10.4%; employees are not required to invest their own money
  • Employees are fully vested from the beginning to receive all money UVA contributes
  • If you were in the Virginia State ORP Plan 1 but did not take a refund, you may remain in the ORP Plan 1 as long as you have documentation of the most recent quarter’s statement or a current online statement proving your account balance

ORP Plan 2 (Employees Hired On or After July 1, 2010)

  • UVA contributes 8.9%
  • Employees must contribute 5%
    • Those hired on or after July 1, 2010 but before July 1, 2014 are fully vested from the beginning to receive all money UVA contributes
    • Those hired on or after July 1, 2014 are fully vested after two years of continuous employment to receive all money UVA contributes

Retirement Annuity

  • An individual may not receive a retirement annuity from the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) or one of the Optional Retirement Plans while UVA is making contributions to a regular retirement program
  • An individual who is receiving a retirement annuity from an account to which any Commonwealth of Virginia agency contributed should contact the HR Service Team


Questions? Contact the HR Service Team at AskHR@virginia.edu or 434.982.0123