Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)


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Contact Information

Elton Thomas
106 Forest Hill Dr
Starkville, MS 39759
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Marcus Kincaid
Reregistered Representative/Local Servicing Agent
P.O. Box 1241
Louisville, MS 39339


Benefits eligible employees holding specific positions as defined by state law are eligible to participate in the ORP plan. Specific positions eligible for participation are:

  • Teaching and administrative faculty
  • Librarians with academic rank
  • Intercollegiate coaches (with or without academic rank)
  • Administrators with budgetary authority
  • Employees hired on or after July 1, 2001, as an intern or resident in training at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine under a teaching program, as a post doctoral assistant or post doctoral fellow, or as a research scientist without academic rank.

Plan Information

ORP is a defined contribution plan with the availability of funds being portable and transferable.


The employee’s pre-tax contribution is 9% of gross wages. The employers’ contribution of seventeen and four tenths percent (17.40%) of the participant’s earned compensation shall be disbursed as follows:

  1. One percent (1%) of the employer contributions (or the equivalent of 0.174 percent of the participant’s earned compensation) shall be paid to PERS as an administrative fee.
  2. Two and one-half percent (2.5%) of the participant’s earned compensation reduced by the pro-rata share of the 1% administrative fee, or an equivalent of 2.475 percent of the participant’s earned compensation, shall be remitted to PERS for application to the unfunded accrued liability.
  3. Fourteen and nine tenths percent (14.90%) of the participant’s earned compensation reduced by the pro-rata share of the 1% administrative fee, or an equivalent of 14.751 percent of the participant’s earned compensation, shall be remitted to the appropriate company or companies for application to the participant’s contract or account or both.

Vesting Period

Immediately vested upon election of ORP

Retirement Eligibility

Immediate availability of funds upon termination of employment. The employee must meet the same requirements as PERS for University Retirement with options to keep Retiree Health and Life Insurance.

Election Timeline

ORP eligible employees have 30 days from date of hire to make their retirement election between ORP and PERS. Once an ORP election is made, this election is irrevocable as long as an employee holds an ORP eligible position. If no election is made within 30 days from date of hire, an employee will automatically default to PERS unless a previous ORP election was made while the individual was employed with another IHL institution through the State of Mississippi and he or she now holds an ORP eligible position through Mississippi State University. In that situation, the employee must participate in ORP. Individual consultants are available to assist with investment options.

Plan Activation

The three approved providers are listed above. Employees should make their election by following these steps:

  1. Contact the provider(s) to find the plan that best fits your retirement income strategies. You may select multiple providers.
  2. Once you have selected the provider(s) in which you wish to participate, complete the ORP Retirement Plan Election/Vendor Selection (Form 4E) Local form download and return to the HRM Benefits staff.
  3. Complete an application for each provider you select. Contact the provider(s) to obtain an application.