Retirement Plan
We are introducing a new, user-friendly investment structure which includes a wide range of mutual funds, annuities and brokerage options from well-known investment providers.

These are important details regarding this plan.


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, 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 temporary 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 or the University treats you as an independent contractor (regardless of your actual status).


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.

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 base salary* during the Plan Year (July 1 – June 30) according to the following formula: 6.2% of base salary up to the breakpoint of $52,881** plus 10.5% of base salary in excess of $52,881 up to the IRS limit ($265,000***).

*Base salary means, in the case of nonexempt staff and PAS staff in salary grades 50-55, gross wages (as defined below), and in the case of faculty and PAS staff in salary grades 56 and above, annual base pay rate plus summer compensation. In addition, for faculty under the School of Medicine and Dentistry Faculty Compensation Plan, overage paid as extra compensation is included.

Base Salary 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 the total remuneration in Box 1 Form W-2 that is paid to a Participant for personal services actually rendered, plus the Participant's pre-tax elective deferral under the University's 403(b) and cafeteria plans, but excluding wellness incentives, tuition assistance, taxable relocation assistance, sign-on bonuses, severance benefits, and forms of extra remuneration not related to actual service.

**This breakpoint amount applies to the Plan Year commencing July 1, 2015 and will be indexed annually for subsequent Plan Years based on national changes in average wages.

***The IRS limit will be indexed in $5,000 increments.


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. Refer to the CONTRIBUTIONS section above for additional information.


"Vesting" refers to employees' right, usually earned over time, to receive retirement benefits regardless of whether or not they remain with the employer. Your Voluntary Contribution and the University's Direct Contribution to the Retirement Program will always be 100% vested immediately.


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.


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)5
  • Systematic Cash Withdrawals
  • Minimum Distribution Option
Tier 3 : TIAA Traditional Annuity (GSRA/SRA2 only); CREF Stock Account; CREF Money Market Account; TIAA-CREF Frozen Funds3

  • Single Lump Sum Payment(s)5
  • Systematic Cash Withdrawals
  • Fixed Period Annuities (for periods of 2 to 30 years for a GRA1, RA and SRA2; 5 to 30 years for a GSRA)
  • Lifetime Income4
    • 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 (GRA1/RA only)

  • Lifetime Income4
    • 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 GRA1; not available from a RA)
  • Transfer Payout Annuity (TPA)± - Receive income in 10 substantially equal annual installments.
  • 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 55-70 1/2.
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.

1GRA replaced Retirement Annuity (RA) option effective July 6, 2004. Existing RA contracts maintained accumulations that were in place on July 5, 2004.
2Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) contracts were established prior to July 1, 1992.
3TIAA-CREF Frozen 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.
4For 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.
5Single lump sum payment is available from a GRA 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.

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 70½ 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-CREF 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.


Any earnings on the contributions you make to the Retirement Program grow tax deferred. The taxable income you’ll pay upon withdrawing funds depends on the type of contributions you make to the plan.

If you make pretax contributions, withdrawals are fully taxable as ordinary income. If you make Roth after-tax contributions, the contributions are generally tax free when you begin to withdraw from the plan. However, in order to receive the Roth earnings tax free, your withdrawal must be made at least five years after making your first Roth after-tax contribution and you are at least age 59½ (or die or become disabled). The payment of Roth after-tax accumulations will be on a pro-rata basis, including both contributions and earnings as required by the Internal Revenue Code.

For either type of contribution, withdrawals before age 59½ are generally subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty on the taxable portion of the amount received.

The tax information contained herein is not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. It was written to support the promotion of the products and services addressed herein. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.


The University of Rochester Retirement Program allows you to take a loan against the pretax accumulation in your TIAA-CREF Group Supplemental Retirement Annuity (GSRA).

Please note that Roth after-tax accumulations are not available for a loan. Subject to the rules of your funding vehicle, retirement accumulations arising from your pretax Voluntary Contributions that are in contracts other than a GSRA can be transferred to a TIAA-CREF GSRA for the purpose of taking a loan. Loans cannot be taken from the University's Direct Contributions.

Loans are available from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $50,000, 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-CREF accumulation. Call a TIAA-CREF Consultant for more detailed information on loans at 800 410-6497.