Current Provider: TIAA

Washington University provides its faculty and staff with a defined contribution (403b) Retirement Savings Plan (the Plan) which combines employee contributions, university contributions (for benefits eligible faculty and staff members after two years of credited service) and investment earnings to assist in building financial security at retirement. 


Retirement Savings Plan Features

  • Advantage of making contributions on a pre-tax or after-tax (Roth) basis, regardless of your salary. Visit TIAA  for more information regarding making Roth contributions into your WashU Retirement Savings Plan.
  • Low investment cost through TIAA
  • Generous university contribution (See Contributions)
  • TIAA  Investments

Eligibility to Participate

Faculty and staff, regardless of the number of hours worked, may enroll at any time throughout the year. The WashU Retirement Savings Plan offers low cost investment options through TIAA. By clicking on the TIAA link, you will be directed to the vendor microsite which offers valuable information to help you make enrollment decisions including investment selections, how much you should contribute, and whether making a Roth contribution may be the right choice for you.

All changes to your contributions should be made at

Employee Contributions

At date of hire, all faculty and staff may contribute a percentage of their base salary to the plan, up to the current IRS annual maximum.

The IRS Maximum allowable contribution limit for 2019 is $19,000 for employees under age 50, and $25,000 for employees age 50 and above. The payroll system is set up to stop taking deductions when the limit has been reached.

Participating in the WashU Plan  (Plan #102320)

New Employees
Hired in a benefits-eligible position

  • will be automatically enrolled into the Retirement Savings Plan at a contribution level of 3% per pay period. 
  • will be notified by TIAA within 48 hours via email to advise of your enrollment in the plan and provide instructions to log into your account at If you do not receive this notification within one week of your date of hire, contact TIAA to inquire about the delay. If you were not assigned a WashU email address, the notification will arrive via US mail; please make sure your department has the correct address on file for you in the HRMS system.
  • will be enrolled in the auto-save feature, which increases the employee contribution by 1 percent annually until you reach 10 percent employee contribution. Employees may change this feature at any time.
  • are encouraged to log into their account, name beneficiaries and designate your investment selection if you wish to change the investment from the default investment which will be the Target Retirement Fund that is most appropriate for your age.
  • may increase your contribution from the uniform auto-enrollment amount to any percentage up to 85% of your pay per payroll period.
  • are encouraged to enter prior employer contribution amounts for the current calendar year if you intend to maximize contributions for the calendar year. This will allow WashU to assist with preventing excess deferrals during the current calendar year.
  • may transfer prior employer accounts to the WashU plan. Contact TIAA directly for a direct rollover form.
  • who currently have an account with TIAA from another institution, a new account affiliated with WashU will be created. You will be able to view all of your TIAA accounts by using your current account access.
  • will have 30 days to make changes or opt out of the auto-enrollment feature should you decide that you are not interested in making contributions at this time. Refunds cannot be made on employee contributions. You may restart or change your contributions at any time at

Rehired in a benefits-eligible position

  • will be automatically enrolled into the Retirement Savings Plan at a contribution level of 3% per pay period. 
  • may be eligible to receive the university contribution if the two-year wait service requirement was fulfilled during your first period of employment at WashU. Please contact a representative listed at the bottom of this page to discuss eligibility for the university contribution.
  • if you did not close your previous TIAA account, contributions will be invested in the same account and invested in the manner currently established. If you wish to change the investment allocation and change your beneficiary, you are encouraged to log into your account to make the desired updates.
  • who previously had a WashU account with Vanguard, your investments have all been moved to TIAA during our sole record keeper transition which occurred June 2016.

WashU Appointees in a Non-Benefits-Eligible Role

  • may enroll into the Retirement Savings Plan to make contributions to the plan at
  • will not be auto-enrolled

Eligibility for the University Contribution

  • contribute the minimum required percentage in order to receive the university contribution (see below.)
  • increase your contribution by logging into your account at
  • if you require assistance, call 888-488-3419.
  • are encouraged to log into the account periodically, even if you are making the minimum required contribution, to verify beneficiaries and view resources available from TIAA. 

    WashU will only provide a contribution to the Plan for the faculty/staff member following two years of eligible service and as long as the faculty/staff member meets the definition of a benefits eligible employee and makes the minimum required contribution.

    A benefits eligible employee is a faculty member with an appointment of 50% or more of the required full-time faculty workload, a regular semester-based teaching faculty member on the Danforth campus with a semester appointment of at least 6.5 credit hours, or a regular staff employee whose standard work schedule is 20 or more hours per week.

    The university’s contribution may begin on the first on the month following two years of eligible service and the completion of the required forms. Payroll deadlines may dictate that contributions are effective with the next feasible payroll period. Employees are required to make a minimum contribution (see chart below) to receive the university’s contribution.


    Current Salary Thresholds through June 30, 2019

    Annual Salary Minimum Required Contribution
    Less than $30,000 $5.00 per month
    $30,000 – $44,999 3%
    $45,000 + 5%

    Effective July 1, 2019

    All salary levels 5%


    University Contribution Details

    The university’s contribution is a percentage of the employee’s base salary up to the current IRS limit amount. See details below.

    For benefits-eligible employees hired or rehired on or after September 1, 2006:

    Continuous Years of Service University Contribution
    2 7%
    10 10%


    For benefits-eligible employees actively employed on August 31, 2006:

    As of Jan. 1 University Contribution
    Under 45 7%
    45-49 8.5%
    50 and over 11.5%

    Retirement Savings Plan Vendor

    TIAA is recognized in the financial industry for their low investment costs and service oriented philosophy. Plan features such as loans, Roth contributions and other services are offered through TIAA.

    You can meet individually with a consultant to discuss the investments you select, how to rollover previous employer accounts to your WashU Plan, and various retirement savings questions you may have.

    Investment Counseling

    TIAA representatives are available for one-on-one sessions held on various WashU campuses each month. Counselors can assist with many retirement savings questions during a counseling session.

    To schedule an investment counseling appointment please contact a TIAA representative at 1-800-732-8353 or by visiting the TIAA consultation page.

    Change of Name/Address

    If you have a name change, please contact TIAA to obtain the appropriate form and instructions to make this change. Your address change made in the HRMS system will be transmitted to TIAA as soon as administratively feasible.

    Accessing the Funds in Your Retirement Account

    Signatures are not required by a WashU Plan Representative for unmarried participants (provided your marital status is current within HRMS). The signature line still appears on the form, but it is no longer required for the WashU Plan.


    Participants of the WashU Retirement Savings Plan are able to take in-service distributions while actively employed at age 59 ½ or older, without a penalty. Distributions can be requested via online account access or by contacting the appropriate vendor Participant Services.  A plan representative signature is not required if your marital status is up to date.

    Leaving the University

    Information regarding all WashU benefits upon separation of service.


    You may be eligible to take a loan against your retirement savings account, should the need arise.  A maximum of two outstanding loans are allowed through the WashU Plan.  Employee contributions, investment selection and previous loan activity are considered when determining the loan availability amount.  Loans are initiated by contacting TIAA.

    Hardship Distributions

    The WashU Retirement Savings Plan allows participants to take a hardship distribution after all Plan loans have been exhausted in an attempt to relieve the hardship. A hardship distribution from a participant’s elective deferrals account can only be made if the distribution is due to an immediate and heavy financial need and the distribution is not in excess of an amount necessary to satisfy that financial need.  Employee contributions, investment selection and previous loan activity are considered when determining the hardship distribution availability amount.   

    Next Steps:   If you find you are in need of a hardship distribution, contact TIAA directly to initiate this process after all Plan loans have been exhausted. SEE “LOANS” ABOVE.


    Certified copy of the QDRO TIAA Should be mailed to: TIAA Attn: QDRO 8500 Andrew Carnegie Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28262 Participant Services: 888-488-3419.

    Rollovers, Asset Transfers and Distributions

    Contact TIAA at 888-488-3419.

    If you are rolling funds INTO the WashU plan, or out of the WashU Plan, contact TIAA for guidance.


    IRS Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) rules. Under these rules, employees are required to begin taking a distribution from their 403(b) accounts and/or 457b accounts once they turn 70 1/2 and are no longer actively working. Employees who are required to take a required minimum distribution, or RMD, and fail to do so may owe up to 50% of the amount you should have withdrawn as a tax penalty. 

    Documents and Forms