TIAA-CREF Awards $25,000 to George Mason University for the Most Ideas to “Raise the Rate” of Savings

Competition Aims to Spur a National Dialogue about Saving and Planning to "Become Your Future You”

October 22, 2010

TIAA-CREF will donate $25,000 to George Mason University for submitting the most entries in the company’s “Raise the Rate” competition, at a ceremony today on the university’s campus in Fairfax, Virginia.

The “Raise the Rate” competition seeks innovative ideas for increasing the U.S. personal savings rate to ten percent, nearly double the current national savings rate, while improving Americans’ understanding of their own savings needs and how they must plan to achieve their goals.

A survey released by TIAA-CREF this week shows that Americans understand the importance of saving but don’t know where to begin. The need for professional “how to save” advice could not be stronger. More than one in three Americans (39%) are not saving for retirement at all.

“Congratulations to everyone at George Mason University for their embrace of ideas to raise awareness of the importance of saving and taking control of one’s financial future,” said Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., chief executive of TIAA-CREF. “The ideas generated by George Mason and nearly 170 other colleges and universities that took part in Raise the Rate will help to spur a national dialogue about the need for retirement savings and how each of us can take steps to achieve our financial futures.”

Mr. Ferguson added: “I want to acknowledge the many college and university human resources professionals who responded enthusiastically to the Raise the Rate competition. Their leadership underscores the energy and creative thinking that fill our nation’s campuses, which are places for solving challenges and answering persistent questions that affect all Americans.”

The donation by TIAA-CREF to the George Mason University Foundation endowment comes during National Save for Retirement Week, which aims to increase personal financial literacy and raise public awareness of the retirement-savings vehicles available to all workers.

“On behalf of everyone at George Mason University, thank you to TIAA-CREF for this award and for providing higher education institutions with an outlet for addressing the need for a national dialogue on savings,” said Linda H. Harber, the university’s chief human resources officer. “We are gratified by how Raise the Rate resonated on our campus, and appreciate very much the innovation the competition yielded across the George Mason community.”

George Mason University topped all colleges and universities with 296 entries, followed by Utah State University, with 93 entries, and California Lutheran University, with 83 entries.

In all, TIAA-CREF received submissions from 168 higher educational institutions nationwide.

TIAA-CREF to Award $50,000 for the Most Innovative Idea to Spur Savings

TIAA-CREF will award a $50,000 grand prize next month for the “Raise the Rate” competition entry that receives the most votes from a panel of judges that includes Maria Bartiromo, host of CNBC’s “Closing Bell;” Aaron Patzer, founder of; Dan Ariely, author, Duke University professor and economist and head of the eRationality research group at the MIT Media Lab; and TIAA-CREF CEO Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.

Entrants are also eligible for one of nine $1,000 runner-up awards and a $15,000 “People’s Choice” award for the entry that receives the most votes on Facebook. The contest grand prize winner will also receive a trip for two to next year’s South by Southwest® festival in Austin, Texas, a world-leading forum for tomorrow’s ideas.

In all, TIAA-CREF received more than 1,000 entries by the September 20, 2010 deadline. The “Raise the Rate” competition is open to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States, 18 and older.

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TIAA-CREF ( is a national financial services organization with approximately $430 billion in combined assets under management (as of 9/30/10) and provides retirement services to the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.

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TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC and Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc., members FINRA, distribute securities products.

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