403(b) and 457 Savings Programs

The University of Virginia offers supplemental retirement programs that allow employees to defer income and invest for the future. The 403(b) plans are available through TIAA and Fidelity Investments and the Commonwealth Deferred Compensation 457(b) plan is offered through ICMA-RC.

**The 2016 IRS maximum contribution is $18,000. If you are 50 years or older you may defer $24,000. Employees may participate in both the 403(b) and Commonwealth 457(b) and can contribute the maximum to both.

If you participate in the Virginia Retirement System, the Optional Retirement Plan or the Medical Center Retirement Plan, you will receive an employer-paid match to employee contributions for tax-deferred savings programs.

Cash Match Plan Summary
Effective September 30, 2012Hired prior to September 30, 2002Hired on or after September 30, 2002
Employee Contribution$80 per month4% of salary
Employer Maximum Cash Match$40 per month2% of salary

Plan Features:


  • Pre-tax and Roth after-tax deferrals

  • Vendors are Fidelity and/or TIAA

  • Changes can be made next available pay period

  • One time deferral option available

Commonwealth 457 Plan

  • Pre-tax and Roth after-tax deferrals

  • Vendor is ICMA-RC

  • Elections/changes must be done by the 15th of the month prior to the change

  • One time deferral option available paper submission only

How to Enroll in a 403(b) with Fidelity or TIAA

  1. Enroll in the 403(b) (formerly known as Tax Deferred Savings Plan) using Knowledge Link You can chose your deferral amount and elect either Fidelity or TIAA as your vendor.

  2. Once enrolled, you will want to work with the vendor, TIAA or Fidelity, to make your investment elections.

How to Enroll in the Commonwealth 457 Plan with ICMA-RC

  1. Enroll online through ICMA-RC and create a Initial User ID and Password; Or by phone, 1-VRS-DC-PLAN1 (1-877-327-5261), available weekdays 8:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

  2. Once enrolled, you will work with ICMA-RC to make your investment elections. Call the Plan Information Line at 1-877-327-5261 or see ICMA-RC Plan’s Investment Elections for more information.

How to Change your Deferral Amount to your 403(b) or 457 Plan

  • 403(b) (formerly known as Tax Deferred Savings Plan) - can be changed any time in accordance with payroll using Knowledge Link

  • ICMA-RC - can be changed quarterly online through ICMA-RC; Or by phone, 1-VRS-DC-PLAN1 (1-877-327-5261)

Difference between 403 (b) and 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 differ from traditional “pre-tax” 403(b) contributions in that Roth contributions are “after-tax.” This means you invest money in the Roth out of your net income, after you have already paid taxes out of your paycheck, unlike the other retirement options we offer. You don’t get a tax savings on your contributions currently, but when you are eligible to take distributions from your Roth account (presumably when you are retired) the money is not taxable, including all of the accumulated earnings on the Roth contributions (some qualifications apply. See details for further information).

You have the option to designate all or a portion of your future 403(b) contributions, with Fidelity and/or TIAA, as Roth contributions, or designate a new contribution amount separate from your existing retirement portfolio. The 2015 annual limits on contributions are the same, regardless of whether the contributions are on a pre-tax or a post-tax basis: a maximum of $18,000 or $24,000 for someone age 50 and over. However, the impact on your taxes and on your paycheck will differ depending on whether you contribute to retirement pre-tax or post-tax.

403(b) and 457 Plan Resources

Customer Service Schedule an Appointment Fund Performance
TIAA 1.800.842.2252 Meet a Representative 403(b) 401(a)
Fidelity 1.800.343.0860 Meet a Representative 403(b) 401(a)
ICMA-RC 1.877.327.5261 Meet a Representative 457