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My Benefits | TIAA


My Benefits


TIAA is a defined contribution University Sponsored Retirement plan. Employees who participate are issued individually owned 403(b) retirement accounts. Benefit amounts at retirement are not guaranteed and the overall benefit amount is tied to the performance of the stock market. Employee’s elect their own investments and take on the risk of the performance of the account. Learn more on the TIAA website.


TIAA Plan Updates


Non-temporary Faculty and Staff

You are eligible to participate in TIAA if you meet the following:

  • Hold a non-temporary appointment and working at least 20 (50%) hours per week and;
  • The appointment is for at least nine (9) months or greater or;
  • Earn an annual salary of $7,800 or more at the university.

New Hires

Have You Reviewed Your Retirement Plan Choices?

Side-by-Side Retirement Plan Comparison

Overview of UNI Retirement Options

J-1 Visa Holders with a Social Security Number

  • May only elect TIAA during the first two calendar years that they are a non-resident alien.
  • Once two calendar years have concluded, visa holders, who are exempt from paying Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes (for Social Security and Medicare) when they are nonresident aliens for tax purposes, will become resident aliens and non-exempt from FICA taxes.
    • At that time visa holders will have 60 days in which they can elect the IPERS (Iowa Public Employees Retirement System) plan.

Benefits Coverage

TIAA Benefits Coverage Effective Date
Life EventCoverage Starts
New HireFirst day of employment.
Qualifying Employment EventEffective the first of the month after the event.
TIAA Benefits Coverage End Date
Life EventCoverage Ends
No Longer EligibleEffective the last day of the month the appointment is no longer eligible.
Separation of EmploymentEffective the last day of the separation month.

Employees Meeting Eligibility Requirements for TIAA & IPERS

Once eligible for a University Sponsored retirement plan you may elect to contribute to either TIAA or IPERS.

This decision is irrevocable and will continue through your active employment at the university. If no decision is made within your enrollment time frame you will automatically be placed in IPERS.

Know Your Current Elections

Contribution percentages will be deducted from paychecks on a pre-tax basis.

Learn about your current benefit elections through e-Business Suite, and using the many features of UNI Employee Self-Service.

View your Benefit Enrollments

TIAA Contribution Rates
Less than five (5) years of serviceYour ShareUNI's ShareTotal
First $4,800 of earnings in a fiscal year3.33%6.66%10.00%
Above $4,800 of earning in a fiscal year5.00%10.00%15.00%
After five (5) years of serviceYour ShareUNI's ShareTotal

TIAA contributions are based on your earnings which include vacation and sick leave payouts. The 2020 annual compensation limit is $285,000. This is the amount that TIAA GRA (Group Retirement Annuity) contributions are calculated on.


Both yours and the university's contributions are 100% vested. This means that you own all contributions to your account, even if you leave the university before retirement.


  • Your funds will automatically be placed into a target-date fund based on your retirement age.
  • You are also able to select your own investment options.
    • Visit TIAA for a list of investments, fees, and tools to help choose your investment mix.
    • Schedule a free in-person consultation with a TIAA representative to assist you with electing your investment mix. TIAA consultants are on campus 6-8 days per month. Review the TIAA website for available dates and times.

Learn More

  • Schedule a personalized investment consultation session for a date after April 3, 2020. You can schedule a campus meeting using the online scheduler or by calling 800-732-8353 (available weekdays from 7 a.m. – 7p.m. CST). As a participant in a TIAA retirement plan, you can receive personalized investment guidance on the plan’s investment options from a TIAA financial consultant. This on-campus service is available as part of your retirement program and is at no additional cost to you.
  • Look for future communications in the monthly UNI Benefits & Well-being newsletter. This newsletter is sent to your UNI email address the first working day of each month.

Accessing Your Online Account

Items needed to register:

  • Plan access code - 101800

If you are a first-time user:

  1. Go to
  2. From the Welcome to Enrollment with TIAA page, click Register with TIAA to create your user ID and password.
  3. Follow the prompts and print out the confirmation page. You are now enrolled.

If you are a returning user:

  1. Enter your TIAA user ID and click Log In.

Leaving Employment Before Retirement (Under Age 55)

  • Leave your funds in your account at TIAA.
  • Roll your funds over to another qualified retirement plan.
  • Take cash withdrawals from your account.
    • Cash withdrawals will be subject to taxation.
    • If you withdraw funds prior to age 59 ½, you may be subject to an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty.
  • For more details, visit the TIAA website, schedule an appointment with a TIAA consultant or meet with your financial professional.

Leaving Employment Due to Retirement (Over Age 55)

  • If you retire after reaching age 55, the additional 10% early withdrawal penalty will not apply.
  • There are numerous withdrawal options to choose from including rollovers, withdrawals and annuities.
  • For more details, visit the TIAA website, schedule an appointment with a TIAA consultant or meet with your financial professional.

Retirees Returning to Work

TIAA Participant

  • If a retiree returns to work at UNI, and previously participated in TIAA, they cannot return in a TIAA eligible position and receive distributions.
  • If the retiree is now participating in IPERS.
    • The retiree cannot hold a non-temporary appointment of half-time or greater, and earn an annual salary of $7,800 or more at the university and receive TIAA distributions.

IPERS Participant

  • If a retiree returns to work,, and previously participated in IPERS at UNI or another state agency, they cannot receive IPERS distributions if they earn an annual salary of $30,000 or more at any state agency.
  • It is necessary to establish a clear separation from IPERS-covered employment after retirement for retirees age 55-70.
    • For more information on retirement restrictions with IPERS members returning to work, please visit the IPERS website.

Independent Contractors

  • An employee may not return to work as an independent contractor during the bona fide retirement period. (The first four months the employee receives an IPERS retirement benefit payment)
  • The employee may not enter into a written or oral agreement to perform services as an independent contractor until at least one benefit payment has been received from IPERS.

TIAA Online Resources to Help You