(a) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, a person who has elected ORP participation must become a member of TRS if the person later becomes an employee of any Texas public educational institution other than a faculty member of an institution of higher education. The following persons are generally required to become TRS members under this subsection: (1) ORP participants who become employed in a public school in a position eligible for TRS membership; and (2) ORP participants with less than one year's participation in ORP who become employed in a nonfaculty position in an institution of higher education. (b) A person who has elected ORP participation but who is later required to become a member of TRS under subsection (a) of this section is ineligible for further active ORP participation even if that person again becomes employed as a faculty member in a Texas public institution of higher education. (c) Subsection (a) of this section does not apply when: (1) an ORP participant is simultaneously employed both as a faculty member of a Texas public institution of higher education and in a position in a Texas public educational institution otherwise eligible only for TRS membership; (2) a person, after a valid ORP election, becomes employed in an institution of higher education in a nonfaculty position if the person: (A) participated in ORP for one year as a faculty member of a Texas public institution of higher education; and (B) had no intervening employment that required TRS membership; or (3) a person, after a valid ORP election, becomes employed in a state agency that is not a TRS-covered employer and later becomes employed in an institution of higher education. (d) A person, including a person described in subsection (c) of this section, will not be eligible for TRS membership or credit for any employment that occurred while the person was an ORP participant, even if the person later returns to TRS membership as required by subsection (a) of this section. A person described in subsection (c)(1) of this section is not eligible for state ORP retirement contributions for simultaneous employment in institutions covered by TRS that are not institutions of higher education. (e) A person who elects ORP participation chooses ORP in lieu of TRS membership and benefits. Upon election of ORP, a member of TRS loses all benefit rights in TRS other than a right to the return of annual contributions, even if the member has five or more years of creditable service under TRS. However, a member who returns to TRS membership under the provisions of law is entitled to any TRS benefits which may accrue thereafter in addition to any ORP benefits to which he may have become entitled. ORP participants returning to TRS membership may establish service credit, under applicable rules governing reinstatement of accounts, for all years of service in public educational institutions except for those years when the person participated in ORP. (f) A person who fails to elect ORP participation during the statutory election eligibility period may not subsequently elect participation. (g) In this section: (1) employee means a person whose employment in one or more Texas institutions of public education is, disregarding any ORP election, sufficient to qualify for TRS membership coverage; (2) faculty member means a person, including a professional librarian, who is employed by an institution of higher education on a full-time basis (at least one-half time) as a member of the faculty or staff and whose duties include teaching, research, administration, or the performance of professional services, but does not mean a person employed in a position in the institution's classified personnel system or a person employed in a similar type position if the institution does not have a classified personnel system; (3) nonfaculty position means employment in a Texas institution of higher education that does not qualify the employee as a faculty member as defined in this subsection and includes a position that would otherwise be considered faculty but for the fact that it is less than one-half time and therefore is not eligible for membership; (4) ORP participant means a person who has elected ORP pursuant to law, without regard to whether the person is currently employed and making deposits to ORP, and who has not been required to return to TRS membership; (5) participation in ORP for one year or one year's participation in ORP means active ORP participation for a sufficient period to give the person vested ORP benefits; (6) active ORP participation means participation in ORP by having required ORP deductions and contributions made; (7) public school means an educational institution covered by TRS membership other than an institution of higher education; (8) institution of higher education means an institution of higher education as defined in the Texas Education Code, §61.003 whose faculty members are eligible to elect ORP.
Source Note: The provisions of this §25.172 adopted to be effective September 26, 1976, 4 TexReg 3306; amended to be effective October 20, 1986, 11 TexReg 4215; amended to be effective October 4, 1989, 14 TexReg 4920; amended to be effective April 1, 2011, 36 TexReg 1838