Central Michigan University 403(b) Basic Retirement Plan

These are important details regarding this plan.


Eligible employees must maintain a status of half-time (50%) or more in a benefit-eligible group.

Employees hired after January 1, 1996 automatically qualify for the University 403(b) Basic Retirement Plan if they have not previously participated in MPSERS at one of the following seven institutions: Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Lake Superior State University, Michigan Technological University, Northern Michigan University, or Western Michigan University.

Hourly and part-time salaried employees
eligible for MPSERS are not eligible for the University 403(b) Basic Retirement Plan .

Full-time salaried employees eligible for MPSERS must make a one-time, irrevocable choice in regard to their retirement plan within 90 days of eligibility.


As a newly hired employee, you will be pre-enrolled in the 403(b) basic retirement plan with TIAA-CREF. The university contribution commences with the date of hire. The university contribution will be remitted to TIAA-CREF and invested in an age appropriate Lifecycle Fund. No employee contribution is required.

At any time you may change the investment fund option with TIAA-CREF, or you can elect to invest part or all of the university contribution with Fidelity Investments. You are strongly encouraged to discuss your retirement options with a TIAA-CREF and/or Fidelity Investments counselor; they are on campus every month. For additional information, contact your benefits office.

Current employees who are enrolled in their 403(b) university Basic Retirement Plan and want to change vendors can do so at anytime.

For details on the university's contribution to the 403(b) Basic Retirement Plan, please refer to the Retirement section in the appropriate employee group handbook or contract.


This plan is totally funded by university contributions. There are no contributions or matching contributions by the employee.


Participants are vested immediately and retain ownership of investments even after termination of employment.


Your employer offers you a variety of investment choices from an array of asset classes. You can see a list of the investment choices under this plan on the Investment Choices page.


Expenses vary from investment to investment. To learn about expenses associated with an investment, see a list of the investment choices under this plan on the Investment Choices page, and read the Fact Sheet or the prospectus for that investment.


When it's time to decide how to take income from your Central Michigan University 403(b) Optional Retirement Plan, you have a variety of options*:

  • 59½ in Service

    You generally can withdraw funds from your account while still employed once you have reached age 59½. The amount you can withdraw is subject to your plan's rules. Contact TIAA-CREF for details.
  • Disability

    As permitted by your plan, you can withdraw elective deferrals and earnings from your retirement plan while employed by your institution but not working due to a disability. To qualify you must be totally and permanently disabled, and the deferrals and earnings must have been credited to your plan on or after January 1, 1989. Disability withdrawals are not subject to the 10% IRS penalty on withdrawals prior to age 59½.
  • Fixed Period

    You can choose to receive income for a set period of two to 30 years, depending on the terms of our contract and your plan's rules (and not to exceed your life expectancy). Payments stop at the end of the period, during which you will have received all your principal and earnings. Contact TIAA-CREF for details.
  • Interest Only

    You can receive the current interest earned on your TIAA Traditional Account in monthly payments. Your principal remains intact while you receive the interest. (Note: These payments are generally available to individuals between ages 55 and 70½ when minimum distributions are required.)
  • Lump Sum

    You can withdraw all or part of your account in a single cash payment, depending on your plan rules and the terms of your contracts. (Your right to a lump-sum distribution from your TIAA Traditional Account may be restricted to taking 10 annual payments under those terms). Contact TIAA-CREF for details.
  • Minimum Distribution Option

    Generally, you must begin taking minimum withdrawals from your account by April 1 following the year in which you turn age 70½ or retire, whichever is later. This can help you defer the minimum required distribution while keeping you in compliance with federal regulations.
  • Rollover

    If you have had an IRS-defined "triggering event," and your plan allows withdrawals, you can roll over your accumulations to another retirement plan that will accept them or to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Direct rollovers — from one account to another — are non-taxable and not reported as income to the federal government. Your plan's rules specify when you are eligible for a distribution. Contact TIAA-CREF for details.
  • Retirement Transition Benefit

    If your contract allows, you can withdraw, in cash, up to 10% of your accumulation at the beginning of a conversion to lifetime annuity income. The amount you withdraw will reduce your lifetime annuity income accordingly.
  • Single-Sum Death Benefit

    A set amount your beneficiary(ies) will receive from your retirement account if you die before taking income.
  • Small-Sum Distribution

    If your plan doesn't otherwise allow cash distributions, upon separation from service you can withdraw your entire retirement savings if your TIAA Traditional Account value does not exceed $2,000 and your overall account balance is below a limit set by your employer's plan (typically $4,000).

    If your plan does allow cash distributions, upon separation you may be able to withdraw your TIAA Traditional accumulation if the value does not exceed $2,000. Contact TIAA-CREF for details.
  • Systematic Withdrawals

    If your plan allows, you can choose to receive regular income payments (minimum $100) on a semimonthly, monthly, quarterly, semiannual or annual basis. You can increase, decrease or suspend the payments at any time. (Note: These withdrawals are not available from TIAA Traditional Account balances.)
  • TPA to Cash

    If your plan allows, you can withdraw your TIAA Traditional Account accumulation through a Transfer Payout Annuity (TPA) in 10 approximately equal annual payments. A lump-sum payment, subject to a surrender fee, may be available depending on your plan rules and the terms of your contract. Contact TIAA-CREF for details.

* The availability of certain distributions may depend on the type of contract underlying your plan. Also, if you're married, your right to choose an option may be subject to your spouses right to survivor benefits. Contact TIAA-CREF for details.

Your Central Michigan University 403(b) Optional Retirement Plan is designed to provide you with income throughout your retirement. Leaving money in your account may allow the funds to grow on a tax-deferred basis.

The Central Michigan University 403(b) Optional Retirement Plan allows you to receive a cash withdrawal. This may be restricted by the terms of your TIAA-CREF contracts. Taxes and penalties may apply.


Retirement plan contributions are usually made with before-tax dollars, so federal income taxes are deferred until you begin taking withdrawals later on.

No taxes are due on pretax contributions and earnings made until the money is withdrawn, but because these plans are intended primarily for retirement, you can generally withdraw funds only after termination of employment or age 59½ (subject to plan rules). If you withdraw funds before age 59½, they may be subject to an additional 10% early-withdrawal penalty.

In limited instances when you are making contributions to your retirement plan with after-tax dollars, you will not have to pay income tax on your principal. However, when monies are withdrawn, taxes may be applicable to any earnings and interest accrued.

For additional information and guidance, contact your tax advisor.


This plan does not offer a loan feature.

1 The availability of certain distributions may depend on the type of contract underlying your plan. Also, if you're married, your right to choose an option may be subject to your spouse's right to survivor benefits. Talk to your benefits office for details.