Retirement Plan Participation

It is the policy of the University System of Georgia to provide for the retirement of all regular, benefits eligible employees either through the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS) or the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). All exempt benefits eligible employees are required to participate in either TRS or ORP. Employees must make an irrevocable election to participate in one of these plans within 60 calendar days of employment. If no election is made, employees will automatically default to enrollment in TRS. All other non-exempt benefit employees must participate in the TRS.

To view a brief description of TRS vs. ORP see the ORP and TRS Comparison Chart.

Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS)

TRS is a Defined Benefit Plan. In this type of plan, your retirement benefit is "defined" based on a predetermined designated formula. You are required to make a mandatory pre-tax contribution to the plan and your employer contributes a matching contribution on your behalf. Your Retirement Benefit is calculated based upon 2% times your length of service and your average monthly salary derived from your highest consecutive 24 months of earnings. You do not make investment decisions nor do you assume the risks associated with investment decisions. You become 100% vested after 10 years of creditable service. If you leave employment with the USG prior to becoming vested, you have the option of leaving your contributions with TRS (accrues interest for 4 years), rollover your contributions to another qualified plan or IRA or request a lump-sum distribution (tax penalties may apply). For more information, visit TRS at

To enroll in TRS, please complete and print the TRS/ORP Retirement Election form and submit to your HR department.

New Employees will receive a welcome letter from TRS with instructions to visit the TRS Website and create a user account. Once the user account is established, the employee may designate beneficiaries, update personal information and check account balances.