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Virginia Retirement System

About the Virginia Retirement System

All employees enrolled in the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) will contribute five percent of their salary into their Virginia Retirement System account. Employees are vested after five years of service. Vesting is the minimum period of service needed to qualify for service retirement. Retirement income is based on the number of years of service in the retirement system, age at retirement, and the highest average of (three years for Plan 1 / five years for Plan 2 / five years for Hybrid Plan) salary.

Plan Comparison Guide (PDF | 262KB) (provides a quick look at some of the similarities and differences among Plan 1, Plan 2, and the Hybrid Retirement Plan)


Regular and Restricted Full-time and Part-time Faculty

Faculty may participate in the Virginia Retirement System or in an Optional Retirement Plan

Classified and University Staff

Regular and restricted full-time and part-time salaried staff are covered by the Virginia Retirement System.

For more information please visit the Virginia Retirement System website.

Plan 1

Employees hired prior to  July 1, 2010 are covered by Plan 1. Employees who are rehired in a Virginia Retirement System covered position and maintain a balance in their Virginia Retirement System are also considered Plan 1.

Plan 2

Employees whose hire date is July 1, 2010 or later are covered by Plan 2. Employees who were previously employed in a Virginia Retirement System covered position and withdrew their retirement funds are rehired under Plan 2 if they return to covered employment with no service credit in Virginia Retirement System.

Hybrid Retirement Plan

All staff (and faculty who choose VRS) hired on, or after, January 1, 2014 are covered by the Hybrid Plan.

The Hybrid Retirement Plan combines the features of a defined benefit plan, which pays a monthly retirement benefit based on age, total service credit and average final compensation, and a defined contribution plan, which provides a retirement benefit based on contributions to the plan and the investment performance of those contributions.   

Separating Employees

Employees who separate from Virginia Tech may choose to:

  • Leave the account with Virginia Retirement System. If the employee is vested or there is a possibility they will return to state service, they may wish to leave the account with Virginia Retirement system for a retirement benefits.
  • Rollover to other qualified plan. A rollover is the transfer of all or part of the contributions and interest to another eligible plan or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) that allows the employee to postpone paying taxes on the account until it is paid to them.
  • Request a refund. The terminating employee may request that the account be paid directly to them. Employees do not have to be vested to make this request. If a refund is requested, taxes in the amount of 20 percent federal and 4 percent state will be withheld from the refund. For employees under the age of 59 1/2 years, the IRS may impose an additional 10 percent federal tax penalty on the distribution. The refund process takes 90-120 days after termination.

For more information about the Virginia Retirement System call 1-888-827-3847.

Purchase of Prior Service

It is possible to purchase additional service for Virginia Retirement System credit. Examples would be refunded service, working for a Virginia Retirement System agency but in a non-covered position, military service, or working for another college or university but not eligible for retirement benefits. Plan 1 members must purchase their service within three years from their hire date to purchase the time at 5 percent of their salary. Plan 2 members must purchase their service within 1 year from their hire date to purchase the time at 9.4 percent of their salary.Employees who do not meet these conditions, the cost of the purchase will then be determined based on the actuarial equivalent cost. Refunded Virginia Retirement Service can be purchased at any time at 5 percent of the members salary (for both Plan 1 and Plan 2). Additional information and forms can be accessed online.

Investment Options

Employees are offered several choices of investment options to supplement their retirement plans. Employees may participate in either a 403(b) tax shelter plan, the 457(b) deferred compensation plan, or both.

The state also provides cash match benefits to assist eligible employees in preparing for retirement.

Social Security

For information regarding Social Security benefits visit the Social Security Administration website.

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