403(b) and 457 Savings Programs

You have access to voluntary programs that allow you to save money for retirement. The 403(b) and 457 savings programs allow you to

  • in 2018, save up to $18,500 annually for retirement
    • if you are 50 or older, you may save an additional $6,000 ($24,500 in 2018 total)
    • if you have at least 15 years of service, you may also be eligible for an additional $3,000 catch-up contribution per year to a 403(b) plan, not to exceed $15,000 in a lifetime; contact HR directly to determine eligibility
  • save in both plans and contribute the maximum to both

403(b) Plan

  • Pre-tax and Roth after-tax deferrals
  • Vendors are Fidelity and/or TIAA
  • Changes to your vendor and/or contribution amount will always take effect the next pay period
  • Change your contribution amount through the payroll self-service website (UVA will not make retroactive changes to excess contributions or deductions)

Enroll in 403(b)

  • Enroll through KnowledgeLink employee self-service using these step-by-step instructions
  • Work with your vendor, TIAA and/or Fidelity, to make investment elections and other decisions
  • If you make no specific fund choice, you will be placed into the default program

Commonwealth 457 Plan

  • Pre-tax and Roth after-tax deferrals
  • Vendor is ICMA-RC, a retirement service for public sector employers and employees
  • One-time deferral option available, paper submission only
  • Change your 457 contribution amount via ICMA-RC online account or by phone (UVA will not make retroactive changes to excess contributions or deductions)

Enroll in 457

  • Enroll online through ICMA-RC and create a user ID and password
  • Make investment decisions online at ICMA-RC Plan’s Investment Elections
  • Call ICMA-RC to enroll and to discuss investment choices on the Plan Information Line (UVA will not make retroactive changes to excess contributions or deductions)

Pre-tax 403(b) vs. After-tax Roth 403(b)


  • The traditional 403(b) is pre-tax, meaning you invest your money before you pay taxes on your gross income
  • When you withdraw the money during retirement, you will pay taxes at the rate in place at that time


  • Roth contributions are after-tax (pay taxes on your money, then invest what remains)
  • When you withdraw money at retirement, your cash is not taxed; you’ve paid your tax already
  • You are not taxed later on all of the investment earnings your Roth account has made for you, beyond the contributions you made on which you paid tax up-front (there may be exceptions)
  • The annual limits on contributions are the same, regardless of whether the contributions are pre-tax or after-tax; for instance, you can make all of your future 403(b) contributions—with Fidelity and/or TIAA—Roth contributions (after-tax)

Choose TIAA, Fidelity, and ICMA-RC

TIAA: 800.842.2252

Fidelity: 800.343.0860

ICMA-RC: 877.327.5261

403(b) and 457 Plan Resources