University Benefits

Campus Address
120 USB
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Every faculty or staff member with an appointment expected to last six months or more must participate in a retirement program. Students, house staff, fellows, and adjunct faculty are not eligible to participate in the mandatory retirement plan.

If you are eligible to participate in the mandatory retirement plan, you will receive email communication from University Benefits instructing you to complete your election in Employee Self Service. If you do not receive an email within the first week of employment, your position is not currently eligible to participate. 

Newly hired staff members (or those who have had a 31 day or more break in service and thus considered to be a new hire) who are not currently participating in one of the University retirement plans may choose to participate in either Iowa Public Employees Retirement System  (IPERS) or in the University Funded Retirement Plan (TIAA).

Give serious consideration to choosing a retirement plan because your choice is an irrevocable decision that must be made within 60 days of your hire date (or eligibility date if transferring from an ineligible appointment).

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 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 within 60 days of their hire/eligibility date.

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 the "Saving Extra for Retirement" section.

Other Links

ABOUT OUR SITE: The information presented on our website describes only the highlights of the plans and does not constitute official plan documents. Additional terms and conditions apply. If there are any discrepancies between the information contained herein and the official plan documents, the plan documents will govern.


The staff member may choose either to participate in TIAA or to participate in IPERS. Serious consideration must be given to choosing a retirement plan. It is an irrevocable decision. Once one retirement program is elected over the other, you have waived your right to participate in the other retirement program in the future during your employment with the University of Iowa. If you do not log on to Employee Self Service and make your Retirement Election within 60 days of your hire/eligibility date, you will automatically be enrolled in the IPERS retirement plan.

Retirement plan contributions will begin on the first paycheck. If your retirement plan election is not submitted within Employee Self Service before the first paycheck, IPERS contributions will be automatically deducted. If TIAA is later elected before the end of the 60 day election period, IPERS contributions will be refunded to the employee and employer, and TIAA contributions will begin on the following paycheck.

How to Make Your Retirement Election

After you have done your research and read all of the information, you should be ready to select your retirement plan.

  1. Please log in to Employee Self Service with your HawkID and password
  2. Select the "Benefits & Wellness" link on the left-hand menu
  3. Select the link labeled "Retirement" and then "Retirement Enrollment"
  4. On the next screen, it will show that you are currently enrolled in IPERS. If you would like to change that selection, click the box that is labeled TIAA and submit your choice to the Benefits Office. If you would like to remain in IPERS, you will not have to do anything further.
This is an irrevocable one-time selection and it must be done within 60 days of your hire/eligibility 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.