In 1967, TRS established the Texas Optional Retirement Program (ORP) as an alternate retirement plan for public higher education institutions’ full time
faculty, librarians, and certain professional administrators. All Texas public higher
education institutions, except some Community College Districts, cover their employees
under Social Security through a Section 218 Agreement.
The ORP is a 403 (b) defined contribution plan under the Internal Revenue Code.. Benefits received from the ORP are a function of the contribution rate, total salary
earned during a participant’s career in Texas public higher education, and the rate
of return on investment. Tax-deferred contributions, made by both the employer and
the employee, fund the ORP. Employees direct the allocation of the contributions among
each employer’s authorized list of insurance companies, financial institutions, and/or
investment companies that offer tax-deferred annuities or custodial accounts.
The Texas ORP is not an "optional savings plan." Optional savings plans are separate
from the employer’s mandatory retirement plan and comprised solely of optional contributions.