Required Participation in Plans
University of Idaho employees participate in the following plans, based on eligibility. Employees contribute to PERSI, ORP, Civil Service Retirement System or Federal Employees Retirement System. These contributions are made through payroll deduction on a pre-tax basis. The University of Idaho policy on the retirement plans can be found the Faculty-Staff Handbook, Section 3730.
The Idaho State Board of Education requires participation in the retirement plans as follows:
- Classified Employees are required to participate in PERSI
- Faculty and non-faculty exempt employees are required to participate in ORP
- Faculty and non-faculty exempt employees that elected to remain with PERSI when the ORP was initially rolled out and new employees that are already VESTED with PERSI (either from a previous position with the university or from a prior employer) can choose to continue contributing to PERSI.
Classified staff and temporary hourly employees working 20 hours/week for five or more months are eligible for PERSI benefits. Faculty and Non-Faculty Exempt employees who elected to remain in PERSI when the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) was first rolled out and those that are already vested with PERSI may continue to contribute to PERSI rather than enrolling in the ORP. PERSI enrollment is automatic for all classified employees and is effective beginning their first pay period.
- Employee contributions: 6.71 percent (Effective July 1, 2023)
- University contributions: 11.18 percent (Effective July 1, 2023)
Employees are vested after 5 years (60 months)
New to PERSI?
PERSI regularly offers a 20-minute virtual new member orientation. New employees and anyone who needs a refresher on their PERSI benefits are encouraged to attend. View schedule and register.
The 1990 state legislature established the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) for faculty and non-faculty exempt staff. This is a mandatory retirement program. The ORP is a defined contribution plan and is administered by Teachers’ Insurance Annuity Association (TIAA) and Corebridge Financial (formerly VALIC-AIG).
- Employee contribution: 6.97 percent
- University contribution: 9.255 percent (Effective July 7, 2013)
Employees are immediately vested upon enrollment.
Characteristics of Plans
Both administrators offer diverse investment options for eligible employees. Membership is portable with any other higher education institution offering retirement plans through TIAA or Corebridge Financial. Eligibility requirements and benefits are governed by the ORP plan document that can be found on the Idaho State Board of Education Finance and Administration website.
Disability Protection with the ORP
University of Idaho purchases a retirement deposit protection policy from The Standard Insurance Company that, if approved, continues your retirement deposits in the event of a disability. Your online pay records will reflect the university's contribution for this coverage as ORD.
Corebridge Financial (formerly VALIC-AIG)
To schedule an appointment with a Corebridge Financial Advisor:
To schedule an in-person meeting, call 509-251-2145 or email email@example.com
Supplemental tax sheltered retirement plans are available to benefit-eligible employees. Contributions are not matched by the university, but they are deducted before income taxes and deposited each pay period with the provider or providers chosen by the employee. Changes to contribution amounts can be made at any time by completing and submitting a new salary reduction form.
- Salary Reduction Authorization Form
- Vendor List (Once the employee has enrolled with one of the vendors, he or she needs to complete the Supplemental 'Salary Reduction Authorization Form' and return to Payroll or Benefit Services.)
PERSI Choice plans are defined contribution plans available to PERSI participants that are board-appointed or temporary employees working 20 hour/week for 5+ months. The contribution limit for calendar year 2024 is $23,000, with an additional $7,500 for “catch up contributions” for employees age 50 or over. This limit is shared with 403(b) accounts. For more information and enrollment forms, please visit the PERSI website.
The 403(b) plans are defined contribution plans available to all benefit eligible employees through a select group of vendors (see list above). Once the employee has established a vendor account, he or she needs to submit a completed Supplemental Retirement Salary Reduction Form to Payroll and Benefit Services. The contribution limit for calendar year 2024 is $23,000, with an additional $7,500 for “catch up contributions” for employees age 50 or over. This limit is shared with 401(k) accounts.
The 457(b) is a non-qualified deferred compensation plan that is available to all benefit eligible employees through a select group of vendors (see list above). The contribution limit for calendar year 2024 is $23,000, with an additional $7,500 for “catch up contributions” for employees age 50 or over. This limit is separate from 401(k)/403(b) accounts.
The Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employees Retirement System are defined benefit plans available only to those Cooperative Extension employees who transferred to Idaho from another agency where they were enrolled in a civil service or federal employees retirement plan. Eligibility requirements and benefits are governed by the federal government plan document and applicable federal regulations. Please refer to the government retirement website for further details.
ORP Provider Change
The Idaho State Board of Education Retirement Plan Committee recently completed a multi-year, comprehensive review of the Idaho Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). As a result, in Dec. 2023 the State Board of Education approved a change to the program provider. Fidelity will become the sole provider of administrative services for the ORP effective Dec. 2024, replacing TIAA and Corebridge Financial (formerly VALIC-AIG).
For more information, please refer to the FAQs on the State Board of Education website. This document will continue to be updated during the transition period. If you are an ORP participant, you will also receive updates via email.