Current Record Keeper:
- Website: TIAA.org/wustl
- Customer Service:
Washington University provides its Faculty and Staff with a defined contribution (403(b)) Retirement Savings Plan (the Plan) which combines employee contributions, university contributions (for eligible faculty and staff members) and investment earnings to assist in building financial security at retirement.
Watch for email updates from My Retirement Plan to learn about upcoming events.
- Financial Wellness Workshops and Tools
Learn about basic financial concepts you need to reach your goals at every career stage.
- TIAA Webinar Lounge
Register for ongoing virtual events through TIAA.
Eligibility to Participate
All employees* of the university, regardless of the number of hours worked, may enroll at any time throughout the year. You can make contributions on a pre-tax and/or after-tax Roth basis. The WashU Retirement Savings Plan offers a wide range of investment options. By clicking on the TIAA link, you will be directed to the WashU microsite, which offers valuable information to help you enroll, including investment selections, how much you should contribute, and whether to make a pre-tax and/or after-tax Roth contribution. When you enroll in the Plan, be sure to designate a beneficiary for your account.
To enroll or make any changes to your Retirement Savings Plan account, you will need to log in to the TIAA website at TIAA.org/wustl.
*Excludes student workers and nonresident aliens.
All eligible employees may contribute a percentage of their pay to the Plan on a pre-tax and/or after-tax Roth basis, up to the current IRS annual maximum. Pay is your base pay and, for academic employees, pay includes salary from teaching summer school (or similar programs in professional schools), summer research salaries and supplemental salary paid at the School of Medicine. For Staff employees, pay includes commissions. Pay does not include overtime or bonuses. NOTE: If you are a new employee, you will not be able to enroll in the Plan until approximately one week after the later of (a) the date your I-9 documentation has been verified and (b) your first day of employment. You will be notified by TIAA when you are eligible to enroll.
The IRS maximum allowable contribution limit for 2023 is $22,500 for employees under age 50, and $30,000 for employees age 50 and above. The payroll system is set up to stop taking deductions when the limit has been reached. Note: This limit may change each year and applies to all 403(b) and 401(k) plans in which you participate during the calendar year. If you are a new hire enrolling in the Plan, you are encouraged to enter any contributions you have made to your prior employer’s plan during the current year. This will allow WashU to limit your total contributions across all plans to the IRS maximum for the calendar year.
If you are a new or rehired eligible Faculty or Staff employee, including a facilities maintenance or power plant bargaining unit employee, with a hire/rehire date on or after July 1, 2023, you will be automatically enrolled into the Plan on a pre-tax basis at a contribution level of 5% of pay per pay period. You have 30 days to make changes to or opt out of the automatic enrollment feature. Refunds cannot be made on employee contributions.
If you are automatically enrolled, you will also be enrolled in the automatic increase feature, which increases your pre-tax contribution by 1% annually; capped at 15%. You may change or opt out of this feature at any time.
If you are a Postdoctoral appointee, clinical fellow or student employee, you will not be automatically enrolled in the Plan.
You may change your contribution election at any time by logging into your account at TIAA.org/wustl. Your change will go into effect as soon as administratively practicable.
If you are paid on a biweekly basis, changes to your contribution election must be made by midnight on Tuesday the week prior to the paycheck date. For example, for a paycheck on Friday, August 12, any changes must be made by midnight on Tuesday, August 2.
Biweekly contribution change deadlines (PDF)
If you are paid on a monthly basis, changes to your contribution election that are generally made by midnight on the 12th of the month will be reflected on that month’s check. Changes made after the 12th of the month, may not be reflected until the following month.
Monthly contribution change deadlines (PDF)
The Plan does accept rollovers. If you want to rollover your account from your prior employer to the WashU Retirement Savings Plan, contact TIAA at 888-488-3419 for a direct rollover form.
for Faculty and Staff Employees (Excluding Facilities Maintenance and Power Plant Bargaining Unit Employees)
If you are an eligible Faculty or Staff employee, whose date of hire was prior to July 1, 2023, you are eligible for the university contribution as of the earlier of (a) the first full pay period in July 2023 and (b) the first of the month following the date you completed two years of service. To receive the university contribution, you must be contributing at least 5% of your pay to the Plan each pay period. University contributions will not be made retroactively.
If you are an eligible Faculty or Staff employee, whose date of hire is on or after July 1, 2023, you are eligible for the university contribution as of the pay period in which you begin to contribute at least 5% of your pay to the Plan.
University Contribution Details
The university’s contribution is a percentage of your pay up to the current IRS limit amount ($330,000 in 2023). See details below.
For eligible Faculty and Staff employees hired or rehired on or after September 1, 2006:
|Completed Contribution Years of Service||University Contribution|
|10 or more||10%|
For eligible Faculty and Staff employees actively employed on August 31, 2006:
|As of Jan. 1||University Contribution|
|50 and over||11.5%|
You are always 100% vested in your own contributions. If you are a Faculty or Staff employee, excluding a facilities maintenance or power plant bargaining unit employee, whose initial hire date is prior to July 1, 2023, you must complete two years of vesting service in order to be vested in the university contribution. If you are a Faculty or Staff employee, excluding facilities maintenance or power plant bargaining unit employee, whose initial hire date is on or after July 1, 2023, you must complete three years of vesting service in order to be vested in the university contribution. If you are a facilities maintenance or power plant bargaining unit employee, you are automatically vested in the university contribution. Faculty and Staff employees, excluding facilities maintenance or power plant bargaining unit employees, may have full-time service with another accredited university or university-affiliated teaching hospital if accompanied by a university academic appointment recognized for vesting purposes if certain criteria are met. Refer to the Request for Recognition of Service with Prior Employer form (PDF) for more information.
The Plan offers a variety of investment options across asset classes, which are viewable at TIAA.org/wustl. Information is also available in the Review the range of low-cost investment options (PDF). If you are automatically enrolled, the default investment will be the Vanguard Target Retirement Fund closest to the year you will reach age 65. This fund will gradually shift its emphasis from more aggressive to more conservative investments based on the target date. You may change your investment choice election at any time.
TIAA representatives are available for in-person and virtual one-on-one sessions. Counselors can assist with many retirement savings questions during a counseling session.
To schedule an in-person or virtual investment counseling appointment, please visit the TIAA consultation page or contact TIAA at 800-732-8353. If you schedule a virtual session, you will receive a link for your session. From there, you can log in from the device of your choice:
- A smartphone or tablet equipped with a video camera, microphone and speaker. You’ll need Adobe Connect®, a free app you can download from the Apple® or Google Play stores.
- A computer with access to the internet, a microphone and speakers.
Change of Name/Address
Changing your name and/or home address requires two steps, 1) contact TIAA to request the appropriate form, 2) go to Workday to update the university’s records. For step-by-step instructions on updating your name in Workday, visit the Workday Help – Change My Legal Name tutorial. For step-by-step instructions on updating your address in Workday, visit the Workday Help – Change Contact Information tutorial.
Changing your name and/or home address in Workday will update all other vendor records.
Accessing Funds in Your Retirement Account
Signatures are not required by a WashU Plan representative for unmarried participants (provided your marital status is current within Workday). The signature line still appears on the form, but it is not required for the WashU Plan. To request a distribution, contact TIAA at 888-488-3419 for guidance.
In-Service Distributions – Age 59-1/2
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 (for most investment options). Distributions can be requested via online account access or by contacting TIAA directly. A plan representative signature is not required if your marital status is up to date.
Leaving the University
For information on distribution options available after you terminate employment, see Leaving the University before Retirement.
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. To initiate a loan, contact TIAA.
The WashU Retirement Savings Plan allows participants to take a distribution from the Plan in the event of hardship before attainment of age 59½ or severance from employment. A hardship distribution can only be made if the distribution is due to an immediate and heavy financial need and the distribution is not in excess of the amount necessary to satisfy that financial need. Hardship distributions are available from participant and rollover contributions, and may be subject to restrictions based on the investments selected.
Next Steps: If you find you are in need of a hardship distribution, contact TIAA directly.
Required Minimum Distributions – Age 72
Under the IRS Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) rules, participants who are no longer working are required to begin taking a distribution from their Retirement Savings Plan accounts no later than April 1st of the year following the year they turn age 72. Participants who are required to take a required minimum distribution and fail to do so may owe up to 50% of the amount that should have been withdrawn as a tax penalty.
Documents & Resources
- Participant Fee Disclosure (PDF)
- Summary Plan Description (PDF)
- TIAA Financial Tools & Resources
- Managing your retirement account (PDF)
- Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)