Public education employees in Texas who are employed in membership-eligible positions are required to participate in TRS and are automatically enrolled in TRS on their first day of eligible employment. However, the Commissioner of Education and some higher education employees in certain positions designated by law may choose to participate in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) instead of TRS.
Eligibility to participate in the ORP is determined by the employing institution. If you are newly employed in or promoted to a position that is eligible for ORP, then your eligibility to elect ORP participation begins on the first day of your employment in the ORP-eligible position. As of February 2011, election to participate in the ORP must be made within 90 days of first becoming eligible to do so. The 90-day election period may not begin before eligibility for TRS membership begins.
If you have questions regarding your eligibility for ORP participation, please contact your employer or the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. This election is a one-time, irrevocable decision between two distinct plans. The ORP is administered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the governing board of each individual institution of higher education.
Additional information may be found in the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board brochure “titled An Overview of TRS and ORP” available on that agency's Web site (www.thecb.state.tx.us).
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