Human Resources

ORP - A Defined Contribution Plan

With a Defined Contribution Plan, retirement benefits are based on the accumulation (your contributions, the university contributions, and the interest and dividends earned) and your age at the time you begin the benefit. Since you select the investment vehicle(s) for the contributions, you assume the investment risk for your retirement plan.

The annual retirement benefit for the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) is based on:

  • Your final accumulation in the plan (contributions, investment and dividend earnings)
  • Your age at the time you begin the benefit
  • The method of payment you elect at the time of retirement.

The University contributes an amount set by the North Carolina General Assembly each year that funds:

  • Your retirement account with the ORP carrier
  • Retirees' Health Care
  • N.C. Disability Income Plan

Your contribution is 6%. The IRS sets a maximum compensation limit each year so that once your salary exceeds that amount, you no longer continue contributing 6% for the remaining months in the calendar year. However, you do continue receiving those months of retirement credit even though you are not making a contribution.

Options for Investment

  • AIG VALIC
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Lincoln Financial Group
  • TIAA-CREF

You may elect to allocate both your contributions and the University's contributions to one carrier or you may allocate your contributions to one carrier and the University's to another. You can reallocate these contributions and/or switch carriers at any time.

Direct links to each carrier's dedicated ORP microsite are in the column to your right. You will find investment options information as well as helpful financial tools at these sites.

If you have questions about a specific carrier's investment options or services, please contact the ORP carrier directly.

Options for Termination

Less than 5 Years of Service (Not Vested):

Since you are 100% vested in your contributions and earnings, you can either:

Withdraw your accumulated contributions and earnings as a lump sum or roll them over to an IRA or other qualified plan, or

Leave your contributions in the plan.

You will become 100% vested in the University's contributions and earnings if:

Your new employer is a higher education institution that sponsors a substantially similar or "like" retirement plan;

The "like" retirement plan at your new employer is underwritten by one of the four UNC ORP carriers: AIG VALIC, Fidelity, Lincoln, or TIAA-CREF; and

You begin participation in that successor plan as your "core retirement plan" within 12 months following your termination from the University.

Otherwise, the University's contributions and earnings are returned to the University by the ORP carrier.

More than 5 Years of Service (Vested):

You can keep your contributions, the University contributions and all interest and earnings in the plan and retain your right to the state retiree health insurance. Retiree health insurance is a benefit that is available once you begin receiving monthly retirement income from your ORP carrier.

You can withdraw your contributions, the University contributions and all interest and earnings as a lump sum or directly roll them over to an IRA or another qualified plan, as permitted by the ORP carrier. By withdrawing your funds, you forfeit your rights to retiree health insurance.

Survivor Benefits

In the event of your death, your total account value from both employee and employer contributions is 100% vested and available to your designated beneficiary. Your beneficiary can elect any distribution of retirement assets authorized under the ORP carrier provisions.

Designating a Beneficiary

You designate your beneficiary when you complete your ORP enrollment application with the applicable ORP vendor: AIG VALIC, Fidelity, Lincoln, or TIAA-CREF. You may obtain the application directly from the vendor or from the benefits manager, Human Resources, Winston-Salem State University, 601 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive Winston-Salem, NC 27110.

Winston-Salem State University

601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Winston-Salem, NC 27110

Phone: (336) 750-2000



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