Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) FAQs
What is the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)? Accordion Closed
The ORP is a 401(a) defined contribution (DC) plan. With this plan, your income at retirement is based on the investment options you elect including any losses and gains from the investments.
Who can enroll in the ORP? Accordion Closed
Only faculty, appointed staff, or service professionals have the choice to choose between the ASRS or ORP for their primary retirement plan election.
- Visit the benefit eligibility chart.
What is the difference between the ORP and ASRS? Accordion Closed
Both the ASRS and ORP are 401(a) primary retirement plans. ASRS is a defined benefit (DB) plan and the ORP is a defined contribution (DC) plan.
Can I rollover funds from my previous retirement plan to the ORP? Accordion Closed
Yes, qualified plans such as 401(k), 401(a) or 403(b) call be rolled over into the ORP. You will not have access to those funds while you are employed with the Arizona University System.
Contact your investment provider for the documents needed for a rollover request. Visit the Vendor Contact webpage which includes the provider’s website address and customer service phone number.
Who are the investment providers for the ORP plan? Accordion Closed
TIAA and Fidelity are the current investment providers of the Arizona University System.
- Visit the Vendor Contact webpage which includes the provider’s website address and customer service phone number.
I selected to invest with TIAA, can I to change to Fidelity? Accordion Closed
You can change your investment provider for future contributions once a year. If you want to move the funds into your NAU account, you can request an in-plan transfer.
Where can I find information on my investment options? Accordion Closed
Both TIAA and Fidelity have representatives who can meet with you to help you choose investments for your retirement portfolio. In addition, the provider’s website offers online planning tools to help you manage and track your portfolio on your own. To schedule a consultation, contact Fidelity Investments or TIAA directly.
Contributions and Vesting
How much can I contribute to the ORP? Accordion Closed
The ORP requires that employees contribute 7% and NAU contribute 7%.
Can I change the amount I contribute to the ORP? Accordion Closed
No, the plan only allows you to contribute 7%. You cannot change your contribution percentage. If you would like to save more for retirement you can contribute to one of the supplemental retirement plans.
What is vesting? Accordion Closed
Vesting refers to the requirement of service before “owning” all funds in your account.
When am I vested in my contributions? Accordion Closed
You are always 100% vested in your contributions.
When am I vested in NAU’s contributions? Accordion Closed
To be fully vested in the university’s contributions you must have:
(1) 5 years of participation;
(2) attained your Normal Retirement Date; or
(3) had your employment ended by death.
Immediate vesting may be available if you have an active retirement account (funds on deposit) through another institution of higher education. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens with the employer contributions until I am vested? Accordion Closed
Until you are vested, NAU contributions are held in trust.
Once vested, your employer contributions (plus interest, calculated at the rate of interest earned by the university’s general fund) are deposited in your ORP account as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days following the vesting date.
Afterwards your employer contributions are credited to your account each payday, along with your employee contributions
What happens to the employer contributions If I leave the university before I am vested? Accordion Closed
If you leave NAU before you meet vesting qualifications, you relinquish the employer contributions.
Loans and Distributions
Can I take a loan from my ORP account? Accordion Closed
No, the ORP does not offer loans
Can I access my account while still employed? Accordion Closed
No there is no access to your account except during Phased Retirement.
What is Phased Retirement? Accordion Closed
- The Arizona Board of Regents Phased Retirement Program enables eligible Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) participants to reduce their workload and hours, remain employed for up to three years, and concurrently take distributions from their ORP retirement account(s).
Who is eligible for phased retirement? Accordion Closed
To participate in the phased retirement period, you must:
- be at least 62 years old
- be fully vested in the ORP
- enter into a written Phased Retirement Agreement with the University
The agreement must be finalized, approved, and accepted by the University and submitted to Human Resources before the beginning of the employee’s next contract period.
What happens to my ORP account if I leave the university? Accordion Closed
If you participate in a primary or supplemental retirement plan and are leaving the university but not retiring, you may be eligible to:
- request a refund or distributions of your employee contributions, vested employer contributions if any, and interest earned on these amounts;
- roll over your retirement funds to an IRA or other qualified retirement plan; or
- leave your contributions on deposit for a future benefit.
Contact your retirement plan or investment manager to review your options or to request a refund or distribution.
Visit the Vendor Contact webpage which includes the provider’s website address and customer service phone number.
How long do I need to wait after I leave university to request a distribution of my account? Accordion Closed
You can request a distribution after you have received your final pay and made your final contribution to the plan. Remember if you leave NAU before you meet vesting qualifications, you relinquish the employer contributions.
Still have questions??
Review additional FAQs on other Benefit plans or contact the Benefits Team at email@example.com or call (928) 523-2223.