University of Rochester

Rochester 403(b) Program

Plan information

University of Rochester offers this plan as part of workplace benefits. Now is a great time to understand what is offered - think about taking advantage of any opportunities to save and invest for the future.

Learn what plans allow eligible employees to do.

Employee Voluntary Contributions: The Program allows all employees of the University of Rochester to make Voluntary Contributions. To make Voluntary Contributions, you must first enter into an agreement with the University to reduce your salary by the amount of your contributions and decide whether to make pre-tax contributions towards your retirement and/or make RothOpens in a new window contributions that can grow tax-free.

Auto-Enrollment and Auto-Escalation: Newly hired or rehired, regular full-time and regular part-time faculty and staff* members will automatically be enrolled to make Voluntary Contributions. Automatic contributions will be made from your pre-tax eligible compensation each pay period at 3%. Effective July 1, 2020 your salary deferral election will increase 1% annually on the anniversary of your hire date to a maximum of 15%. You may elect to change or cease contributions at any time. 

University's Direct Contribution: Voluntary Contributions are not required for you to receive the University's Direct Contribution. Once you have met your eligibility requirements, the University makes a Direct Contribution to the Retirement Program on your behalf each Plan Year that you are scheduled to complete or actually complete 1,000 or more hours of service.

The University's Direct Contribution is related to your eligible compensation** during the Plan Year (July 1 - June 30). The University will provide a 6.2% contribution up to a breakpoint of $63,100, then 10.5% contribution in excess of the breakpoint, up to the IRS compensation limit of $305,000.

*Employees will not be automatically enrolled in Voluntary Contributions if they are departmental fellows, interns, residents, fellows, postdoctoral fellows, postdoctoral research associates, postdoctoral teaching fellows, EDC associates non-GFT clinical faculty, visiting faculty, adjunct/per session faculty, part-time assistant coaches, in-house agency nurses, in-house operating room technicians, leased employees, students whose employment is incidental to their education at the University or the University treats them as independent contractors (regardless of their actual status).

** Eligible compensation means gross wages, defined below. Eligible compensation shall not include any amount in excess of the limit imposed by Code Section 401(a)(17) as of the start of each Plan Year.

Gross wages means total remuneration reported in Box 1 of Form W-2 that is paid to an Eligible Employee for personal services actually rendered, plus the Eligible Employee's pretax elective deferrals under the University’s Code Section 125, 403(b) and 457(b) plans, but excluding wellness incentives, tuition assistance, taxable relocation assistance, sign-on bonuses, long-term disability benefits, severance benefits and forms of extra remuneration not related to actual services.

The University of Rochester Retirement Program is not a matching plan. The Retirement Program does not require employee contributions in order to receive the University Direct Contribution.
Employee Voluntary Contributions: As an employee of the University of Rochester, you may elect to make Voluntary Contributions as soon as you are hired, except that you are not allowed to participate if you are a student whose employment is incidental to your education at the University.

University's Direct Contribution: If you are a regular full-time or regular part-time faculty or staff member, the University will make a Direct Contribution on your behalf after two years of service. TAR staff are eligible if they satisfy the two-year service requirement described above. Additionally, TAR staff must work a minimum of 1,000 hours per Plan Year to receive the University's Direct Contribution.

For eligibility purposes, a year of service means a 12-month period starting with the date you commence employment and any anniversary date thereof during which you complete 1,000 or more hours of service. Service completed at any higher educational institution, teaching hospital or not-for-profit research foundation, not-for-profit support organization for higher educational institutions, as well as service at a member of the controlled group of the University, will count toward the two-year service requirement.

You are not eligible to receive the University's Direct Contribution if you are a Time-as-Reported employee, departmental fellow, intern, resident, fellow, postdoctoral fellow, postdoctoral research associate, postdoctoral teaching fellow, EDC associate, non-GFT clinical faculty, visiting faculty, adjunct/per session faculty, part-time assistant coach, in-house agency nurse, in-house operating room technician, leased employee, student whose employment is incidental to your education at the University.

Contributions to this account will be 100% vested immediately.


The University of Rochester Retirement Program allows you to take a loan against the pretax accumulation in your TIAA Retirement Choice Plus (RCP) account.


Subject to the rules of your funding vehicle, retirement accumulations arising from your pretax Voluntary Contributions that are in other accounts can be transferred to your University of Rochester Retirement Program account for the purpose of taking a loan. Please note that Roth after-tax accumulations and the University's Direct Contributions are not available for a loan. However, Roth after-tax accumulations and the University's Direct Contribution are included in the calculations to determine the amount available for a loan.

Loans are available from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of the lesser of 50% of the (vested) balance or $50,000 (less your highest outstanding loan amount in the past 12 months), including amounts loaned from retirement accounts through members of the controlled group of the University.
The amount you can borrow depends on the amount currently in your TIAA accumulation. Call a TIAA Consultant for more detailed information on loans at 800-410-6497.


You have a variety of options when it’s time to take income from this plan:

Tier 1 and 2: Target Date Fund Series and Core Funds

  • Single Lump Sum Payment(s)1
  • Systematic Cash Withdrawals
  • Minimum Distribution Option
Tier 3: TIAA Traditional Annuity (RCP/GSRA/SRAonly); TIAA Restrictedand Inactive Funds4
  • Single Lump Sum Payment(s)1
  • Systematic Cash Withdrawals
  • Fixed Period Annuities (for periods of 2 to 30 years for a GRA5, RA and SRA2; 5 to 30 years for a GSRA; not available for RCP)
  • Lifetime Income6
    • One-Life Annuity
    • Two-Life Annuity
    • One-Life Annuity or Two-Life Annuity with a Guaranteed Period
  • Minimum Distribution Option
Tier 3: TIAA Traditional Annuity (GRA5/RA/RC only)
  • Lifetime Income6
    • One-Life Annuity
    • Two-Life Annuity
    • One-Life Annuity or Two-Life Annuity with a Guaranteed Period
  • Fixed Period Annuities (for periods of 2 to 30 years for a GRA5; not available from a RA or RC)
  • Transfer Payout Annuity (TPA)± - Receive income in 10 substantially equal annual installments for GRA and RA; 84 monthly installments (seven years) for RC.
  • Interest-Only - This option provides monthly payments of the total current interest earned on your TIAA Traditional balance. Your principal remains intact while you receive the payments. Interest-Only payments are generally available only to individuals between ages 55 and 71 and must begin at least one year prior to reaching age 72.
Tier 4: TIAA-CREF Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts (SDBA)
  • You cannot receive a distribution or a withdrawal directly from the SDBA. To receive distributions or withdrawals from the funds in your SDBA, you first must transfer the amount back to another investment option in Tiers 1-3 available through the retirement plan. To initiate a transfer out of the SDBA to another account or fund available through the retirement plan, call 800-410-6497 (online transfers are not available). The transfer back to the plan from the SDBA takes 48 to 72 hours. 
1Single lump sum payment is available from a GRA and RC only within 120 days after severance from employment from the University and members of its controlled group, subject to a 2.5% surrender charge. If your TIAA Traditional balance is less than $5,000, you may be able to transfer or withdraw the entire amount in a lump sum.
2Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) contracts were established prior to July 1, 1992.
3TIAA-CREF Restricted Funds are investment options that are closed to contributions and transfers in as of June 15, 2012 and consist of the following seven funds: CREF Bond Market Account, CREF Equity Index Account, CREF Global Equities Account, CREF Growth Account, CREF Inflation-Linked Bond Account, CREF Social Choice Account, and TIAA Real Estate Account.
4TIAA-CREF Inactive Funds are investment options that are not available in the RCP accounts. No contributions and/or transfers allowed except participants can transfer amounts between CREF Stock Account, CREF Money Market, and TIAA Traditional Annuity under RA, GRA, SRA, and GSRA contracts to extent provided under the contracts. The TIAA-CREF inactive funds include the following three funds: CREF Money Market Account, CREF Stock Account, TIAA Traditional Annuity under RA, GRA, SRA and GSRA accounts.
5GRA replaced Retirement Annuity (RA) option effective July 6, 2004. Existing RA contracts maintained accumulations that were in place on July 5, 2004.
6For those who elect a lifetime annuity, the Retirement Transition Benefit option provides for a single cash payment of up to 10% of the accumulation amount being annuitized as income with the first periodic annuity payment.

Note: One-Life Annuity options guarantee to pay a lifetime income that you cannot outlive regardless of how long you live. Two-Life Annuity options pay you and your annuity partner (usually your spouse) a lifetime income. The annuity options with a guaranteed period pay you (and your annuity partner if you elected a Two-Life Annuity option) a lifetime income, but provide payments to a beneficiary if you (and your annuity partner, if applicable) die within the period you selected.

Minimum Distribution - Federal law requires that a participant in a tax-favored retirement program like the University of Rochester’s start receiving benefits or making withdrawals by April 1 following the year they reach age 72 or sever from employment from the University and members of its controlled group, whichever comes later. If the “minimum distribution” requirement is not met, the participant is subject to a non-deductible tax penalty equal to 50% of the amount that should have been distributed. Minimum distribution options through TIAA will pay participants who are subject to this requirement the minimum amount of income the IRS requires each year from accounts held by them without converting their accumulations into a lifetime annuity.

Understanding investment fees

Your financial well-being is TIAA's top priority and we are committed to helping you make informed decisions. Fees should be just one factor in your decision-making process since the lowest cost option may not be the best one for you.

Cost of plan services

Fees and expenses have always been part of a retirement savings plan-some fees are associated with the administration of the plan and may be covered by your employer, while others are paid by you based on the specific investments and services you choose. The following three categories of services are provided to your plan:

1. General record keeping and other plan services

Over the course of a year you pay for services like record keeping.

Many services are necessary for the day-to-day operation of your employer's retirement plan. General administrative services include recordkeeping, legal, accounting, consulting, investment advisory and other plan administration services. Some of these expenses are fixed and other expenses may vary from year to year. These costs are allocated to each participant in a uniform way.

An annual TIAA Plan Servicing Fee of $36 is assessed if you maintain a Retirement Choice and/or Retirement Choice Plus account. This fee will be deducted proportionally from each investment in your account Quarterly and identified as "TIAA Plan Servicing Fee" on your statements.

In some cases, an investment provider may pay a portion of an investment's expense ratio to TIAA, the recordkeeper, to help offset the cost of plan administration. This practice is called "revenue sharing". If you have investments that revenue share, you'll receive a credit based on your average daily balance. This will be identified as "TIAA Plan Servicing Credit" on your statements.

If you do not maintain a Retirement Choice and/or Retirement Choice Plus account and therefore no TIAA Plan Servicing Fee was assessed, your investment revenue share credit will be reduced by the amount of the fee inorder to cover plan administrative services expenses. For more information on fees and investments, refer to "Mutual Funds and In-Plan Annuities" via in a new window.

2. Specific investment services
You pay only for what you use.
Each investment offered within the plan charges a fee for managing the investment and for associated services. But you pay only for the investments you actually use and in proportion to the amount of your investment. These fees are not deducted directly from your account; they are paid indirectly through the investment's "expense ratio". The specific expense ratio for each plan designated investment option is listed in your Quarterly Investment UpdateOpens in a new window.

3. Personalized services

You can opt for extra features, like loan services.

Personalized services provide access to a number of plan features and investments that you pay for, only if you use them. The personalized services used most often are:

Retirement Plan Loans
$75.00 per loan initiated for general purpose
$125.00 per loan initiated for a residential loan

Brokerage account

To learn more about the brokerage service including fees call 800-927-3059 or Get the BasicsOpens in a new window.

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO)
No additional charge
Sales charges, purchase, withdrawal and redemption fees for certain investments
Certain charges may apply. For additional information, see Quarterly Investment UpdateOpens in a new window.

In addition, for more information on fees and investments, refer to "Mutual Funds and In-Plan Annuities" via in a new window which is a good source for additional plan and investment-related information.

More information about retirement plan fees and expenses is available at

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