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Retirement FAQs

Find answers to frequently asked questions related to retirement plans offered to eligible employees through the University of Rochester’s Total Rewards package. Visit the Retirement Plans page for more information.

General overview

Who is eligible for the University Contribution?

Regular full-time or regular part-time faculty or staff member, after two years of service*.

TAR staff are eligible if they satisfy the two-year service requirement* and if they work a minimum of 1,000 hours in the Plan Year (July 1-June 30).

*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.

How do I waive the two-year service requirement to receive the University Contribution?

Service completed at any higher educational institution, teaching hospital, not-for-profit research foundation, or not-for-profit support organization for higher educational institutions, as well as service at a member of the controlled group of the University, will count towards the two-year service requirement.

To receive credit for service at another eligible institution, you may complete the retirement service credit waiver in HRMS (Main Menu>Self Service>Benefits>Retirement Service Credit). Please remember to submit your service credit waiver within 90 days of your hire date so that we may process contributions retroactively.

* As of August 1, 2023, members of the controlled group of the University of Rochester include: Highland Hospital, Highlands at Pittsford, Highlands at Brighton, Highlands Living Center, Inc, UR Medicine Home Care (previously Visiting Nurse Service, Visiting Nurse Signature Care), Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital, Jones Memorial Hospital, F. F. Thompson Health System, Inc., St. James Hospital, and Finger Lakes Health.

Who is eligible to make Voluntary Contributions?

All employees are eligible to make Voluntary Contributions; except you are not allowed to participate if you are a student whose employment is incidental to your education at the University. Detailed eligibility information can be found on the Eligibility and Enrollment page.

In addition, eligible employees will be automatically enrolled (explained below) to make Voluntary Contributions.

What is Automatic Enrollment?

Newly hired or rehired, regular full-time and regular part-time faculty and staff members will automatically be enrolled to make Voluntary Contributions. Automatic contributions will be made from your pre-tax eligible compensation each pay period at 3%. Effective July 1, 2020, your salary deferral election will increase 1% annually on the anniversary of your hire date to a maximum of 15%. You may elect to change or cease contributions at any time.

How do I change my Voluntary Contribution, and when can I make this change?

You may elect to make Voluntary Contributions as soon as you are hired, and you may increase, decrease or begin making Voluntary Contributions any time during the year. Complete your election online at or via telephone at (800) 410-6497, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m–10 p.m. (ET).

What is the University’s Direct Contribution to the Retirement Program?

Effective July 1, 2024: 6.2% of eligible compensation, up to the breakpoint ($65,000), then 10.5% of eligible compensation in excess of the breakpoint, up to the IRS limit ($345,000).

Do I need to make Voluntary Contributions to receive the University Direct Contribution?

No, the University of Rochester Retirement Program is not a matching plan. For the Plan Year during which you satisfy the eligibility requirements, Direct Contributions will be made for eligible compensation paid for full payroll periods after you satisfy the eligibility requirement, regardless of your Voluntary Contributions.

How do I view my University Direct Contributions?

The University Direct Contribution is deposited directly into your TIAA account, and does not appear on your paycheck. To review your contributions, log into your TIAA account online ( or review your quarterly statement.

After completing two years of service, what do I need to do to begin receiving the University Contribution?

You are not required to take action to begin receiving University Direct Contributions; however, you can complete your enrollment, elect your investment allocations, and designate your beneficiaries online at or by phone at (800) 410-6497.

You will receive your first contribution on earnings from the first full pay period in which you are eligible. If you become eligible in the middle of a pay period, you will receive your first contribution with the next pay period’s earnings.

What options do I have for my Voluntary Contributions?

You can contribute in one of the two ways listed below or a combination of both:

  • Pre-Tax 403(b) – Tax-deferred Voluntary Contributions are deducted from your gross wages before amounts are taken out for income taxes and deductions. This reduces your taxable income by the amount of your Voluntary Contributions, which means you pay less in income taxes.
  • Roth After-Tax 403(b) – With the Roth after-tax option, your contribution is taken out of your paycheck after your income is taxed, which does not lower your current taxes. Find detailed information on the Roth contribution option here.
What is the maximum that I can contribute from my salary to the Retirement Program?

Your combined pre-tax and Roth after-tax Voluntary Contributions to the Retirement Program may be made in any amount up to the limits imposed by the Internal Revenue Code.

Maximum annual Voluntary Contribution limits for Calendar Year 2024:

  • For those under age 50: $23,000
  • For those age 50 or older by December 31: $30,500

Note: Any employee contributions made to another employer’s plan in the current calendar year count in applying the employee contribution limits (i.e., the $23,000 and $30,500 limits).

Can I roll over assets from another retirement account into the University’s Retirement Plan?

You may be able to ‘roll’ a distribution from another unrelated employer’s plan and certain IRAs to the Retirement Program, provided that the distributing plan or IRA was qualified and the following requirements are met:

  • The distribution was not a required minimum distribution because of your age 70 ½ (if you were born before July 1, 1949) or 72 (if you were born after June 30, 1949)
  • The distribution was not part of a series of substantially equal periodic payments paid over 10 or more years, your lifetime, or the lifetimes of you and your beneficiary;
  • The rollover does not include your own after-tax (Roth) contributions;
  • The rollover was not a hardship distribution.
  • Rollover contributions will be subject to the same withdrawal rules that apply to your Voluntary Contributions.

If you have any questions about rollover contributions or would like to initiate a rollover into the Retirement Program, contact the record keeper, TIAA, at (800) 410-6497.

What options do I have for investing my Voluntary and/or University Contributions?

You may choose from wide range of mutual funds and annuity options from well-known financial providers. View the Investment Menu for more information. Additional information on these funds, including performance, can be found at and select “Investment Options.”

Who can I talk to about my investment options?

TIAA can help you to understand, enroll, and manage your participation in the University of Rochester Retirement Program at no additional cost. Call (800) 410-6497 or visit

When can I withdraw my retirement accumulations?

Summary of When You May Withdraw Accumulations

University’s Contribution
  • Upon severance from employment from the University and members of its controlled group
  • If you are a retiree and have returned to work, after age 59 ½
  • After age 70 ½ for any reason
Voluntary Contributions
  • Upon severance from employment from the University and members of its controlled group
  • After age 59 ½ for any reason
  • Prior to age 59 ½ if you:
    • Become disabled
    • Qualify for a hardship withdrawal
    • Qualify for a birth/adoption withdrawal

The IRS prohibits the termination of employment by an individual with the intent to be rehired in order to access funds in the Retirement Program of the University or members of its controlled group.

What options do I have with my retirement accounts when I sever from employment from the University and members of its controlled group?

When you sever from employment from the University and members of its controlled group, you have four options with your accounts:

  • Continue to maintain your accounts with the University’s record keeper, TIAA.
  • Withdraw your accumulations. You will be required to pay ordinary income taxes, as well as a 10% penalty if you withdraw before the age of 59½ in most instances.
  • Rollover your accumulations to an IRA*.
  • Rollover your accumulations to another employer retirement plan, if the plan accepts the rollover.

Note: If you are currently employed by, or become employed by a member of the controlled group, you may not withdraw or rollover your University of Rochester Retirement Program accumulation.

* You cannot rollover Roth 403(b) accumulations to an IRA that does not qualify as a Roth IRA.

The IRS prohibits the termination of employment by an individual with the intent to be rehired in order to access funds in the Retirement Program of the University or members of its controlled group.

What is the difference between the 403(b) and the 457(b) plans?

The 403(b) Retirement Program allows eligible employees the opportunity to save for retirement on a tax-advantaged basis and provides a direct contribution toward retirement savings. Detailed eligibility information can be found here.

The Deferred Compensation 457(b) Plan allows eligible participants to accumulate tax-deferred savings for retirement or other financial needs beyond the limits of the University of Rochester 403(b) Retirement Program. Detailed eligibility information can be found here.

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