University Retirement Plans

In addition to Federal Social Security, every staff member (except students and House Staff) with employment of more than six months must participate in a retirement program. Staff members with a regular appointment of 50% or more may choose to participate in either IOWA PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM (IPERS) or in the University Funded Retirement Plan (TIAA/CREF).

Staff with appointments of six months or more and staff with regular appointments less than 20 hours per week or with an annual salary less than $7,800 are required to participate in the IPERS program. Under both plans, Federal and state income taxes on both the University and the staff member contributions are deferred until the benefits are received.

Serious consideration must be given to choosing a retirement plan because your choice of a retirement plan is an irrevocable decision that must be made within 60 days of your hire date. The IPERS plan is a Defined Benefit plan and retirement income is determined by a formula based on your years of service and salary earned. The TIAA-CREF plan is a Defined Contribution plan and retirement income depends upon your individual retirement investment returns. IPERS is the default retirement program at the University of Iowa; employees are automatically enrolled in IPERS unless they elect TIAA-CREF within 60 days of their hire date. The choice of the retirement program is an irrevocable decision. 

You must complete the Retirement Election Form (pdf) within 60 days of your hire date.

Members of professional groups where part-time income from UI is not the majority of their income can use IPERS Exemption Claim Form (pdf) to request exemption from IPERS.

Voluntary Retirement Savings Program

No matter which retirement plan you select, arrangements can also be made for additional before-tax and after-tax contributions (over and above required contributions), within IRS guidelines, to a Voluntary Retirement Savings Program (VRSP).

An individual is allowed to freely change or terminate VRSP contributions during the calendar year.  There is additional information regarding VRSPs available under "Saving Extra for Retirement" section.

Other Links

Benefits Office

Campus address
120 USB
U.S. mailing address
The University of Iowa
University Benefits Office
120 University Services Bldg.
Iowa City, IA 52242-1911

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligible faculty and staff members participate in either the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) or the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF).  Serious consideration must be given to choosing a retirement plan because it is an irrevocable decision.

Visit the University Retirement Plans website for a comparison of these two plans.

Yes. You can rollover retirement funds between 401(k), 403(a), 403(b), and IRAs.  You may want to seek advice from a financial advisor before making a rollover.

The TIAA-CREF office in Coralville offers services available to you in relation to retirement savings and personal financial planning.  You may request release time from work to schedule a visit to the TIAA-CREF Office in Coralville during normal business hours.  You will be limited to one appointment per calendar year without using vacation, for a maximum of two hours.

When you terminate employment with The University of Iowa you will have access to your retirement funds.  Contact TIAA-CREF at (800) 842-2776 or IPERS at (800) 622-3849 for withdrawal paperwork or refer to their websites.

If you have less than $10,000 total in your account, of which no more than $2000 is in the TIAA Traditional account, you can remove all the money, including the University's contribution, by completing a Repurchase Form.  A TIAA Transfer Payout Annuity cannot be in effect.

If you have over $10,000 in TIAA-CREF, you can remove up to 100% of your CREF funds.  Monies in your TIAA account are restricted to no greater than a 10% cash option, providing you take the remaining 90% in a lifetime annuity.  You do have an option to move your money out of TIAA into CREF, but to do so requires a nine-year transition period.

You may take the above monies in cash or you may roll them over into an IRA. If you take the monies in cash, you will be responsible for paying federal and state income tax. Retirees taking distributions from their TIAA-CREF accounts are not subject to the 10% IRS penalty generally applied to distributions prior to age 59 ½.  If, however, you roll the funds into an IRA and then withdraw them from the IRA prior to age 59 ½, the penalty will be assessed.

Contact the TIAA-CREF customer service at (800) 842-2776 for withdrawal paperwork.

The University must provide a written verification of the termination date before a withdrawal can be processed.  The University will send TIAA-CREF  notice of terminations on a monthly basis.