University Retirement Plans

In addition to Federal Social Security, every staff member (except students, House Staff, fellows and adjunct faculty) with an appointment expected to last six months or more must participate in a retirement program. Newly hired staff members (or those who have had a greater than 30 day 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).

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 (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.

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 on to Employee Self Service with your HawkID and password
  2. On the personal tab, locate the Benefits section and select the Retirement Enrollment link.
  3. 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 a 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 PDF iconIPERS 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

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.

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
Monday-Friday 8am-5pm

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 (TIAA).  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 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 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 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 fund, 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, you can remove up to 100% of your CREF funds.  Monies in your TIAA Traditional fund 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 the TIAA Traditional fund 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 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 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  notice of terminations on a monthly basis.