Retirement Savings for Current Employees

The Defined Contribution Plan is the retirement savings plan offered to newly hired and current employees through the University. The Retirement Benefit to be received under this plan depends on:

  • The amount of funds contributed by the participant of their monthly base salary
  • The investment returns on the contributed funds
  • Withdrawals and distribution upon termination or resignation from the University

The Defined Contribution Plan is defined under IRS codes 403(b), the IRS rules governing the Individual Contribution, and 401(a), the IRS rules governing the Employer Contribution, both explained in detail below.

Review the Summary Plan Description of these plans:

401(a) and 403(b) Retirement Plan Summary Plan Description

Defined Contribution Plan Eligibility

The following job classes are eligible for the Defined Contribution Plan with a University match:

  • Full-time faculty
  • Full-time librarians
  • Full-time research associates
  • Regular full-time staff (non-union)
  • Part-time faculty in the tenure stream or tenured for no less than 50% effort. 
  • Part-time regular staff (non-union)
  • Union employees as stated in their Collective Bargaining Agreement
     

Summary of the Plan

Basic Contribution

The Basic Contribution refers to an amount, between 3% and 8% that a participant may contribute of their monthly base salary. The Basic Contribution is matched by the University.

Subject to IRS regulations, the Basic Contribution may be processed as:

  • Deferred from federal income taxation;
  • Partially deferred with a portion being on a Roth after-tax basis;
  • Or not deferred with the entire amount being on a Roth basis or after-tax basis. 

Learn more about the Roth 403(b) Option

University Match

During the 3-year delayed vesting period, the University will match the participant's Basic Contribution (between 3% and 8%) dollar for dollar (100%).

Summary of Contributions and University Match During Delayed Vesting Period (as a % of base salary)

Individual Contribution 3.0% 4.0% 5.0% 6.0% 7.0% 8.0%
University Matching Contribution 3.0% 4.0% 5.0% 6.0% 7.0% 8.0%
Total 6.0% 8.0% 10.0% 12.0% 14.0% 16.0%

Vesting Period

The Vesting Period in the Defined Contribution Plan is approximately three years with a 1000 or more hours worked in each calendar year. An individual is credited with 190 hours each month regardless of percent effort. The participant must be contributing to accrue vesting. Most individuals vest in June of their third year of participation. 

After becoming vested, the participant may continue to contribute between 3% and 8% and the University match increases to a dollar and a half for every dollar (150%). Vesting also means that the University’s match put into the 401(a) account will not be forfeited upon termination from the University.

Recently vested, about to become vested, or want to learn more about what vesting means for you? Check out this Retirement Vesting Session recorded presentation.

Summary of Contributions and University Match After Completion of Vesting Period (as a % of base salary)

  Base Plan Accelerated Option
Individual Contribution 3.0% 4.0% 5.0% 6.0% 7.0% 8.0% 8.0%
University Matching Contribution 4.5% 6.0% 7.5% 9.0% 10.5% 12.0% 14.5%
Total 7.5% 10.0% 12.5% 15.0% 17.5% 20.0% 22.5%

Accelerated Option

The Accelerated Option is available to fully vested participants starting at age 52 who are contributing at least 8% of their salary. An employee cannot elect this option at age 65 or older. When an eligible participant joins the Accelerated Option, the University will increase its matching contribution from 12% to 14.5%.

This increase is effective for up to 120 months (10 years) or age 65, whichever comes first.

When the Accelerated Option ends, the participant may continue to make contributions, however the University match stops completely. Participants must actively elect to join the Accelerated Option through the online retirement enrollment system. Please reference the 401(a) plan document for the information related to lowering your contribution after electing the accelerated option, and revocation of this election.

Supplemental Contribution

Participants may have the option of contributing above their Basic Contribution, or more than the 8% level (also subject to IRS regulations). This amount is a Supplemental Contribution. A Supplemental Contribution is employee-only money (not matched by the University) and must be pre-tax or Roth. 

Supplemental Contribution may also be available for individuals who are not eligible for the University Match through the Basic Contribution. See the Universal Available Notice below for more information.

Available Funds

The plan offers funds through several investment companies. Types of funds offered include guaranteed income, equities, real estate, fixed income, money market, and multi-asset funds. A brokerage window is also available, which includes over 7,000 mutual fund options. A list of available funds, fund facts, and prospectus can be found at www.tiaa.org/pitt.

Withdrawals and Distribution from the Defined Contribution Retirement Plan

Each retirement plan has very specific rules for taking withdrawal and distributions from your retirement account. You can take money out of your account upon termination/resignation from the University. You may be required to pay taxes and penalties if you take the money out before age 59.5.

Note: If you terminate/resign prior to being vested in the plan, the University’s matching contributions will be forfeited back to the plan, and only the assets in your 403(b) plan will be available to you.

While you are still employed at the University, you will not be able to take a withdrawal or distribution from your account unless you meet one of the following criteria:

  1. You are at least age 62 and are no longer a Benefits Eligible Employee (this includes completion of the accelerated option)  
  2. You have entered into an official phased retirement agreement
  3. You are at least 59.5, you may take a distribution from your supplemental retirement plan only

What are the pros and cons of moving money from the Pitt plan?

Review this brochure from TIAA to learn about the facts of your money in the Pitt retirement savings plan.

Beneficiary Information

You should periodically review your current beneficiaries, and make changes as appropriate. This can be done by going to your retirement account online through my.pitt.edu. Having a correct beneficiary designation will help ensure that your intentions are protected and your retirement savings are distributed according to your plans.

If you do not designate a beneficiary, your vested interests in the University of Pittsburgh 401(a) and 403(b) Retirement Plans could go to an unintended survivor. Be sure to review the beneficiary rules.

IRS Annual Limits on Contributions

The maximum annual limit on voluntary pre-tax or Roth after-tax contributions made by employees to 403(b) plans is $19,000 or up to 100% of compensation, whichever is less, in 2019.

Employees who will be age 50 or older by the end of a calendar year are eligible to make an additional $6,000 in catch-up contributions to 403(b) plans on a pre-tax or Roth after-tax basis each year.

If an individual participates in any other qualified retirement plan during a calendar year, he or she will need to be aware of two limits. First, the annual limits (as discussed above) apply to all 403(b) and 401(k) pre-tax and Roth after-tax contributions made during any calendar year. New hires and employees with a second job need to take contributions under the other employer's plan into account before making an election under the University's plan. Second, if you own more than 50% of a trade or business (such as a consulting practice) that sponsors a retirement plan (including a Keogh plan), your total contributions under that plan and the 403(b) plan may not exceed the "415 limit" ($56,000 for 2019). To change your contribution to the University’s plan, please see the steps below.

457(b) Plan

The 457(b) plan offers you flexibility to save more for your future. Contributions to this plan are in addition to any 401(a) or 403(b) retirement plan contributions you may already be making in the University Retirement Savings Plan.

Review the Summary Plan Description or learn more about the 457(b) plan.

Steps to Enroll or Make Changes

At any time, you may wish to consider the following actions:

  • Manage Your Contributions: Increase or decrease the amount being withheld from your paycheck. This can be done monthly and as often as you prefer by making the change online through the University Portal. If you select the effective date to be the first available paycheck, please refer to the University payroll schedule for timing details. If you select a future effective date, you are selecting a future date to make a salary deferral agreement and the payroll schedule still applies. For example; if you are a monthly paid employee and you make a salary deferral agreement effective for a future date of September 10, the change will first take effect in your October paycheck.
  • Manage Your Account: Update beneficiaries, view account balances, enroll in ROTH option, change funds of future contributions, transfer monies between investment options, get advice on investing, or register for eDelivery of statements and communication.
  • Enroll in the Accelerated Option: Learn more about the Accelerated Option on this page.

Vendor Contact Information

TIAA is the University's Retirement Plan record keeper. They offer individual financial consulting appointments on the Oakland and Regional Campuses. They also have licensed representatives who are available through their call centers.

TIAA Contact Information
Telephone Counseling: 800-682-9139
To Set Up a Personal Appointment by Telephone: 800-732-8353
To Set Up a Personal Appointment via the Web: www.tiaa.org/schedulenow-PITT
TIAA Web Sites: www.tiaa.org/pitt or www.tiaa.org