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403(b) Plan

Enroll in, Make Changes to, OR Terminate my 403(b) Plan

Section 403(b) of the Federal tax code regulates the University of Illinois Supplemental 403(b) Retirement Plan. A 403(b) retirement plan is similar to a 401(k) plan. Both plans allow participants to set aside additional money for retirement. However, the biggest difference between the two plans is that a 401(k) plan covers private-sector workers, and a 403(b) plan is designed for employees of public schools and certain tax-exempt organizations. The University of Illinois 403(b) plan offers investment choices with TIAA and Fidelity Investments and includes a traditional (pre-tax) and a Roth (post-tax) option. View the 403(b) Universal Availability Notice.

403(b) Plan in Brief

As a participant in the University of Illinois 403(b) Plan, you have the option of contributing pre-tax and/or post-tax funds to the 403(b) plan. Both options offer you the following:

  • Participation in this plan is strictly voluntary and does not reduce any of your University benefits based on full salary such as retirement, life insurance, disability or survivor benefits.
  • Allows you the opportunity to accumulate additional retirement funds, as a supplement to your State Universities Retirement System (SURS) pension.
  • Provides you the option to either contribute a percent of your salary or a flat dollar amount, determined by you, which is deducted from your paycheck. The amount of income that can be contributed is subject to IRS limitations. (This is a combined limit of both traditional (pre-tax) and Roth (post-tax) contributions.)
  • You may begin participating in the 403(b) plan at any time.
  • A 403(b) account is an individual account with no vesting schedule - you decide how much to contribute and how to invest your contributions.
  • This plan now allows non-spouse beneficiary rollovers, which means that non-spouse beneficiaries may avoid immediate distribution of the benefit and the associated taxation and withholding by rolling over the account balance into his or her own IRA. Please see Nonspouse Beneficiary that is in the Tax-Free Rollovers section of this IRS web page for more information.


To be eligible to participate in the University of Illinois Supplemental 403(b) Retirement Plan, you must currently receive compensation from the University. Contributions to your 403(b) account will be deducted from your pay while the plan is effective. All University employees who receive a W-2 from the University may participate, as long as they are able to contribute the $200 minimum annual contribution amount. Note: You do not need to be eligible for insurance benefits in order to participate in the 403(b).

Why Participate in the 403(b) Plan?

Many retirement experts suggest that a retirement income level of at least 70% of your final salary is a good target for people starting to save for retirement. Many people who retire at age 65 could live 20 or more years in retirement. Proper planning for those years is essential to ensuring that you have the income you need. Depending on your personal goals, SURS alone may not meet your retirement objectives.

Traditional (Pre-Tax) vs. Roth (Post-Tax)

Please visit the Traditional (pre-tax) and Roth (post-tax) pages for further information on each option. You may choose to contribute on a pre-tax basis to the traditional 403(b), on a post-tax basis to the Roth 403(b), or a combination of the two. You may wish to consult with a tax or financial advisor to determine the best option for your individual situation.

Investment Vendor Choices

You may choose to invest with TIAA or Fidelity Investments. See the 403(b) Investment Vendor Visits page for details on meeting with a representative from one of the companies. You may also review their websites using the links below.

Fidelity Investments - Fidelity offers a wide range of mutual funds. Review the 403(b) Plan Enrollment Guide for instructions on enrolling in a 403(b) online with Fidelity.

TIAA - TIAA offers fixed and variable annuities, as well as mutual funds. Review the 403(b) Plan Enrollment Guide for instructions on enrolling in a 403(b) online with TIAA.

More Information

Enroll in, Make Changes to, OR Terminate my 403(b) Plan - access the Salary Reduction and/or Redirection Agreement (SRA) online to enroll in or make changes to your 403(b) plan.
Contributions (Minimum & Maximum), Catch-up Provisions, and Plan Limits
Fidelity Fund List Including Returns and Expense Ratio
TIAA Fund List Including Returns and Expense Ratio
U of I 403(b) Plan Document (restated eff. 3/1/2018)
Loan Process Flow
Hardship Process Flow
Withdrawing Funds Early or Taking a Loan from a Retirement Account
Investment Vendor Visits, Counseling, and Seminars
403(b) and 457(b) Comparison Chart
Supplemental Retirement Plans Overview
State Taxation of Retirement Income
Six Strategies for Volatile Markets - Fidelity publication
Creating a Plan to Support Your Lifestyle in Retirement - Fidelity publication
Living Well in Retirement - TIAA publication
Facts about Borrowing from your Retirement Savings Plan - Fidelity publication


Contact University Payroll and Benefits or one of the investment companies directly with questions or for help enrolling in the 403(b) plan.

University Payroll and Benefits
Urbana: 217-265-6363
Chicago: 312-996-7200
Springfield: 217-206-7144

Investment Companies
TIAA: 800-842-2776
Fidelity Investments: 800-343-0860

This information is provided with the understanding that it is a source of information and does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice. If legal advice or other professional assistance is required, the services of a professional advisor should be sought.

Maintained by University Human Resources | Contact Information | Last Update: 15-May-2018 | ID: 134