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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.

FAQs and scenarios have been added regarding the University direct contribution for plan year 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021.

General overview

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.

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.

* Members of the controlled group of the University of Rochester include: Highland Hospital, Highlands at Brighton, Highlands at Pittsford, Highlands Living Center, Visiting Nurse Service (UR Medicine Home Care), Visiting Nurse Signature Care, High Tech Rochester, Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital, Jones Memorial Hospital, St. James Hospital, and F. F. Thompson Health System, Inc.

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.

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 TIAA.org/rochester or via telephone at (800) 410-6497, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m–10 p.m. (ET).

The University Direct Contribution is 6.2% of your eligible compensation, up to the breakpoint, then 10.5% of eligible compensation in excess of the breakpoint up to the IRS limit. For plan year July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021, there is a temporary modification to the retirement contribution formula. Effective April 1, 2021, contributions on eligible compensation will be calculated with the updated contribution formula: Contribution of 6.2% of eligible compensation up to $61,300 then 10.5% of eligible compensation up to $140,000.

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 base salary paid for full payroll periods after you satisfy the eligibility requirement, regardless of your Voluntary 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 (TIAA.org/Rochester) or review your quarterly statement.

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 TIAA.org/rochester 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.

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.

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 2021:

  • For those under age 50: $19,500
  • For those age 50 or older by December 31: $26,000

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 $19,500 and $26,000 limits).

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.

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 TIAA.org/rochester and select “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 TIAA.org/urschedule.

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

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.

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.

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.

Partially reinstated University direct contribution for plan year 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021

As announced, the University is partially reinstating the direct contribution using a modified two-tiered calculation. Learn more about these updates in the FAQs and scenarios below.

The current temporarily modified formula (as of July 1, 2020): University Direct Contribution of 6.2% of eligible compensation up to $100,000.

The revised temporarily modified formula (effective April 1, 2021): University Direct Contribution of 6.2% of eligible compensation up to a breakpoint of $61,300 then 10.5% of eligible compensation in excess of the breakpoint, up to a maximum compensation level of $140,000.

It is a calculation using eligible earnings from July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021 to determine the differential between the two formulas. The difference, if any, will then be contributed as a lump sum retirement contribution to eligible participants.

Calculations for each individual will be based off of eligible earnings from July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021 OR employee’s eligibility date – March 31, 2021, whichever is later.

Examples:

  • Employee became eligible prior to or on July 1, 2020: All eligible earnings from July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021 will be included in calculation
  • Employee became eligible after July 1, 2020: Only earnings from eligibility date – March 31, 2021 would be included in calculation

You must meet all 3 criteria listed below to be eligible for the lump sum contribution.

  1. Have met the 2-year service requirement and are in an eligible position
    • Regular full time and regular part time faculty or staff
    • Time-As-Reported employees must work a minimum of 1,000 hours within the Plan Year
  2. Active employment status on March 31, 2021
  3. $61,300 – $140,000 in eligible earnings between July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021

If your eligible compensation is below $61,300, you will continue to receive the 6.2%
contribution. The lump sum contribution is not applicable as there is no differential in the
contribution formulas below the $61,300 breakpoint.

Employees who have not earned $61,300 between July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021:

If you have not earned $61,300 between July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021, you will continue to receive the 6.2% contribution until you earn above $61,300. Once you earn above
$61,300 in the time period of April 1, 2021 – June 30, 2021, you will receive the 10.5% contribution on your earnings. The lump sum contribution will not be applicable as there is no differential in the contribution formulas below the $61,300 breakpoint.

Employees who earn $61,300 between July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021:

If you earn eligible earnings of $61,300 – $140,000 before or on March 31, 2021, you will receive a lump sum contribution. The lump sum contribution is the difference between 6.2% and 10.5% on earnings from July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021. For pay periods following April 1, 2021, you will receive contributions of 10.5% each pay period through June 30, 2021.

Employees who have not earned $140,000 between July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021:

If you have not earned $140,000 between July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021, you will receive a lump sum contribution of the difference between 6.2% and 10.5% on earnings of $61,300 – $100,000. It then increases to 10.5% on earnings of $100,000 – $140,000.

You will continue to receive contributions of 10.5% each pay period until you reach $140,000 beginning April 1, 2021. Contributions will stop once you reach $140,000 until the new plan year beginning on July 1, 2021.

Employees who have earned $140,000 between July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021:

If you earned over $140,000 between July 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021, you will receive a lump sum contribution. The lump sum contribution is the difference between 6.2% and 10.5% on earnings of $61,300 – $100,000. It then increases to 10.5% on earnings of $100,000 – $140,000. After March 31, 2021, your contributions will be stopped until the new plan year beginning on July 1, 2021 since you have earned over $140,000.

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will still receive the lump sum contribution.

An exact date for the lump sum contribution has not been scheduled but contributions
will take place no later than May 2021.

After you receive your lump sum contribution, it will be available to view in your TIAA account by signing into TIAA.org/rochester or viewing it on your TIAA Quarterly Statement.

Direct contribution scenarios*

*All scenarios are based on the employee satisfying the 2-year service requirement and being eligible for the University Direct Contribution starting July 1, 2020

John will receive the 6.2% contribution on all eligible earnings through June 30, 2021. He will not receive a lump sum contribution as there is no differential in the formula below the $61,300 breakpoint and he has continued to receive a contribution since July 1, 2020.

University Contribution for Plan Year 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021 = $3,100

Mary will continue to receive the 6.2% contribution and will not receive a lump sum contribution. Once she crosses over $61,300 in eligible compensation, she will receive a 10.5% contribution on eligible compensation through June 30, 2021.

University Contribution for Plan Year 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021 = $6,814.10

Jane will receive a lump sum contribution of 4.3% (10.5% – 6.2%) on $13,700 ($75,000 – $61,300) of eligible compensation. Starting April 1, 2021, she will receive 10.5% contribution on eligible compensation through June 30, 2021.

University Contribution for Plan Year 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021 = $6,814.10

Henry will receive a lump sum contribution of 4.3% (10.5% – 6.2%) on $38,700 ($100,000 – $61,300) plus 10.5% on $20,000 ($120,000 – $100,000). Starting April 1, 2021, he will receive 10.5% contribution on eligible compensation until he reaches the $140,000 threshold.

University Contribution for Plan Year 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021 = $12,064.10

Anne will receive a lump sum contribution of 4.3% (10.5% – 6.2%) on $38,700 ($100,000 – $61,300) plus 10.5% on $40,000 ($140,000 – $100,000). Since she met the $140,000 threshold no further contributions will be calculated until the new plan year begins on July 1, 2021.

University Contribution for Plan Year 7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021 = $12,064.10

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