University 403(b) Plan

See upcoming changes to the 403(b) Plan.

The University 403(b) Plan is an optional investment plan available to all employees receiving compensation from the University. Participants may choose to invest pre-tax and/or Roth (after-tax) money with Fidelity Investments and/or TIAA. Participating in the 403(b) Plan can help supplement retirement planning, and will not reduce any other University benefits.

See the 403(b) Universal Availability Notice.


You are eligible to participate in the 403(b) Plan if you are receiving compensation from the University, and are able to contribute at least $200 annually. You do not need to be eligible for State insurance or other benefits to participate.

Participation can be started or stopped at any time, subject to payroll schedules.

Contribution Limits

If you contributed, in any calendar/tax year, to a retirement plan through another employer, it is your responsibility to monitor your total contributions to all plans to ensure that you do not contribute over the IRS maximum allowed each year.

The minimum amount that you may contribute to the 403(b) Plan is $200 per year. The maximum amount you may contribute is determined by the IRS:

  • For calendar year 2021, the maximum is $19,500.

If you are 50 or more years old at the end of the calendar year, you may also be eligible for an additional “catch-up” contribution of up to $6,500.

If you need help determining your maximum contribution limit, contact University Payroll & Benefits.

There is no employer contribution in this plan.

Plan Summary

See the 403(b) Universal Availability Notice or 403(b) Plan Document for full details.

Participation in the 403(b) Plan is voluntary, and does not reduce any of your other University benefits based on salary – such as SURS retirement, long-term disability, life insurance, or survivor benefits. You may start or stop contributing at any time, and you are always fully vested in your contributions.

Investment Companies & Fund Options

You may choose to invest with TIAA and/or Fidelity Investments. Each investment company offers a wide range of available funds, frequent on-campus one-on-one counseling sessions, and additional educational resources for saving and investing.

You can learn more about the available funds on the TIAA website or the Fidelity websites. Or, attend a one-on-one counseling session with advisors from either company.

Plan Fees

General record keeping and investment services fees are built into each investment. The University works with TIAA and Fidelity to keep fees as low as possible. Each investment offered within the plan charges a fee for managing the investment and for associated services. These fees are paid indirectly through the investment’s “expense ratio”. The specific expense ratio for each investment option is available online at Fidelity and TIAA.

403(b) Income in Retirement

Retirement withdrawals from pre-tax contributions and earnings are subject to federal income tax. The State of Illinois does not tax retirement income from the 403(b) Plan if taken in accordance with plan provisions, at full retirement age, as a legal resident of Illinois.

Retirement withdrawals from Roth (after-tax) contributions and earnings are not subject to federal or state income taxes as long as they are part of a qualified distribution. A qualified distribution is generally one that is made five years after the year of the first Roth contribution and the participant attained age 59½, has a severance from employment, dies, or becomes disabled.

Withdrawals taken prior to retirement or not meeting the criteria for a qualified distribution may be subject to additional taxes or penalties. Questions about taxation of retirement income should be discussed with a tax professional.

Loan & Hardship Withdrawals

If you participate in the 403(b) Plan, you may be eligible to take a loan from your plan account, which you pay back over time. Loans are subject to both federal tax code and investment company rules and regulations. See the Loan Process Flow for more information.

In certain IRS-defined circumstances, you may also be eligible for a hardship withdrawal. See the Hardship Process Flow for more information.


Deductions & Contributions

For questions about the 403(b) Plan in general, or about payroll deductions and contributions, contact University Payroll & Benefits.

Funds & Accounts

For questions about funds or your account, contact the appropriate vendor directly:



Information provided on this site is general in nature about matters of interest to University of Illinois System employees. This information is not legal, financial, or tax advice. You should consult with a legal, financial, or tax professional for assistance with your individual circumstances.