Mission & Objectives

Celebrating 25 years

Informing research: From insights to outcomes

TIAA Institute established in 1998 to promote financial security and organizational effectiveness.

“The TIAA Institute has long been a trusted source of knowledge for all of us at TIAA and our clients, and I find myself continually relying on this team for their wealth of data and insights.”
Thasunda Brown Duckett

“The TIAA Institute is a unique organization, operating at the crossroads of academic scholarship and practical insights. For 25 years, we’ve been helping technical and non-technical audiences make informed decisions on topics of strategic importance such as Financial Security, Higher Education and DE&I.”
Surya P. Kolluri
Head, TIAA Institute


  • Grant program created to support academic research and provide access to a network of thought leaders
  • Established the TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security. Paul Samuelson, a former CREF trustee, was the first American to win a Nobel Prize in economics, a distinction held by four other Samuelson Award winners.
  • Began ongoing support for the American Council on Education’s seminal American College President Study


  • Created the TIAA Institute Fellows Program, a community of nationally recognized scholars and academic leaders with deep expertise in financial security and higher education
  • Co-sponsored the NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments, which benchmarks endowment performance, asset allocations, spending policies, and other factors and serves as the primary data source for institutional endowments in the U.S.
  • Higher Education Leadership Conference (HELC) created to engage C-suiters in addressing their top-of-mind issues


  • Established the TIAA Institute Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education to honor Father Hesburgh, past president of the University of Notre Dame, longtime member of the TIAA and CREF Boards of Governors and world-renowned humanitarian
  • Began hosting annual TIAA Institute Fellows Symposia focused on financial security and higher education to highlight new research and promote robust discussions among scholars and business leaders
  • Partnered with the Center for State and Local Government Excellence on a Retirement Confidence Survey for State and Local Government Workforce


  • Partnered with the Global Financial Literacy Center (GFLEC) to create an annual Personal Finance Index that provides a comprehensive barometer of financial literacy among U.S. adults
  • Instituted a behavioral finance research program with the Wharton School’s Pension Research Council to fund studies that examine how principles of behavioral economics influence financial decision-making and retirement well-being
  • Released The Performance of TIAA’s Traditional Retirement Annuity, demonstrating the value of in-plan annuities in connection with the increasingly important concept of guaranteed lifetime income as people live longer


  • Released research with GFLEC that introduced the concept of “Longevity Literacy” assessed among U.S. adults and linked to retirement readiness
  • Commissioned the Voices of Expertise and Experience series to inform strategic planning during the pandemic and Women’s Voices of Expertise and Experience, which examines gender equality
  • Launched the TIAA Institute’s Consulting Practice with research and programming focused on Employee Value Proposition in higher education and healthcare, a resource leaders can use to attract, retain and engage employees
  • Began the first Healthcare Sector Financial Wellness Survey among full-time employees in hospitals and healthcare systems
  • Partnered with College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) on the Higher Education Financial Wellness Survey


Enhance the financial security and organizational effectiveness of TIAA clients and society-at-large through standard-setting research and thought leadership.


  • Build critical knowledge on issues pertaining to financial security and higher education.
  • Assemble leading thinkers with diverse views to explore key topics from multiple angles.
  • Collaborate with premier organizations that can expand the Institute’s reach and impact.
  • Produce communications in various formats for a broad audience.

Who We Serve

Higher Education: Helping leaders achieve outcomes that matter

The TIAA Institute serves as a trusted source of knowledge, helping higher education leaders navigate transformational changes and make informed decisions. We conduct research on academic workforce trends, institutional leadership, financial sustainability and related issues.

Policymakers: Informing public policy

We provide actionable, objective research and insights to inform policymakers and others who influence our nation’s financial security. Institute research has had a direct affect on matters relating to financial literacy and retirement security.

Academic Researchers: Conducting and sponsoring rigorous academic research

With a team of economists and program staff, Fellows and strategic partners, the Institute conducts research and organizes convenings on issues critical to the academic community. 

Foundations & Nonprofits: Increasing impact of foundations and endowments

We support foundations and nonprofits by focusing on their performance and impact.