Benefits

UW Retirement Plan

With the UW Retirement Plan (UWRP), each dollar you contribute is fully matched by the UW, and you get to choose your funds with the help of Fidelity Investments, the nation’s largest investment management firm and provider of workplace retirement plans.

As a 403(b) defined contribution plan, you make tax-deferred contributions that lower your taxes today and allow your investments to grow tax free until retirement. All the money in your account, including matching funds, is immediately vested, which means it’s yours to keep wherever your career takes you.

Eligibility

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you must participate in a retirement plan as a condition of employment. Faculty, professional staff, librarians, and academic staff who are working at least 50 percent of full time in an eligible, salaried appointment of over 6 months’ duration are eligible to participate in UWRP.

UWRP isn’t the only retirement plan option for eligible employees. Instead, you can choose to participate in either the TRS 3 retirement plan (if you’re faculty) or the PERS 3 retirement plan (for all other employment types).

Classified staff generally aren’t eligible for UWRP. One exception is newly hired staff who participated in a plan similar to UWRP at another Washington university or college.

Contact Benefits if you’re unsure about your eligibility for UWRP.

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Enroll

Participating in UWRP is a two-step process: You must first officially designate it as your retirement plan. After that, you must enroll to begin making contributions to your UWRP account.

Step 1:

To designate UWRP as your plan, select it on the Retirement Plan Election Form. Shortly after you’re hired, you’ll get this form in the mail at your home address. New employees have 30 days to complete this form and return it to Benefits.

Step 2:

To start making contributions to your UWRP account, you need to enroll through Fidelity Investments. Once you enroll, both your contributions and UW’s matching contributions will begin.

Because you’re required to participate in a retirement plan, you must enroll within the first two years of becoming eligible. If you don’t, you’ll be automatically enrolled, and your contribution will be deposited into the default retirement fund.

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Contributions

Every dollar you contribute to UWRP is fully matched by UW. This doubles the amount you save for retirement through UWRP.

Your contribution rate is a percentage of your gross salary, as shown in the table below. While you can’t change your contribution rate, it does increase as you get older. You won’t see the matching contribution on your paycheck, but you can find it by accessing your UWRP account online.

Your age Your contribution UW match Total
Under 35 5% 5% 10%
35+ 7.5% 7.5% 15%
50+ (optional) 10% 10% 20%
Salary maximum

UWRP contributions for employees hired on or after July 1, 1996, are calculated on your actual salary up to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) established salary maximum of $265,000 for the July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016 plan year.

If you were hired on or after July 1, 1996, and your salary is above the IRC contribution salary maximum, your contribution is calculated based on the IRC maximum salary amount. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) periodically adjusts the salary maximum on which contribution calculations are based.

Employees hired before July 1, 1996, are not subject to the IRC salary limit for contribution calculation.

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Investment options

What’s your approach to investing for retirement? Whether you’re a hands-on investor or you prefer a simpler target-date fund, with UWRP you’ll find funds that match your investing style and goals. Better yet, you don’t have to be an expert to figure out which option is best for you.

Get started by reviewing the UWRP plan details and investment options then get in-person guidance by meeting with a Fidelity representative.

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IRS contribution limits

A big part of successfully saving for retirement is knowing how your retirement plan affects your taxes. Each year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sets contribution limits for 403(b) retirement plans. While these limits are generous, make sure your retirement contributions don’t exceed them.

If you have both a UWRP account and a UW Voluntary Investment Program (VIP) account, which are both 403(b) plans, you need to make sure the combined total of all contributions to both accounts don’t exceed the IRS limits. Make sure to count the UW matching contributions to your UWRP account when considering the IRS limits.

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Loans

You can’t take out a loan from your UWRP funds or otherwise access your funds while you’re working at UW. You can only access your funds when you’re leaving your job at UW or retiring from UW.

You can, however, take out a loan from your contributions to the UW Voluntary Investment Plan, if you participate in it.

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Leaving UW before retirement

When your employment at UW ends, you keep all the funds in your retirement plan including the matching funds that UW contributed.

You have the option to either keep your funds in your UWRP account or transfer your funds to another eligible retirement plan through a direct rollover. Contact Fidelity Investments if you want to transfer your UWRP funds.

You also have the option to withdraw your funds completely. However, in addition to decreasing your retirement savings, the Internal Revenue Service requires you to pay income tax on that money plus an additional 10 percent early distribution tax.

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Retiring from active UWRP participation

Please see UWRP: Preparing to retire for information about retiring from active UWRP plan participation.

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Fund review committee

The UWRP Fund Review Committee is a standing committee defined in the plan document and authorized by the UW Board of Regents. The Committee has a fiduciary role in regard to UW retirement plans and is charged with operating exclusively in the best interests of the participants. Learn more about the Fund Review Committee responsibilities and membership.

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