Retirement Savings-Human Resources - Carnegie Mellon University

Retirement Savings

Due to the transition to Workday, beginning at 5:00 pm ET on December 1, 2014 you can no longer make changes to your employee retirement contribution percent through HR Connection.

December changes effective January 1, 2015: You must complete a hard copy Salary Reduction Agreement form in December for a percent change to be effective for January. The form must be returned to HR/Benefits no later than Monday, December 22, 2014 at 4:00 pm. Contact us at or call 412-268-2047.

January 2015 and beyond: Log into Workday and make your changes.

  • The university automatically makes contributions through the Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan (FSRP) for eligible employees (see eligibility below).
  • All employees are eligible to make payroll deduction contributions.  A Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA) in the CMU Tax Deferred Annuities (TDA) Plan must be established by completing an SRA Form for the 403(b) [pdf].  You can choose between traditional pre-tax or post-tax Roth contributions.  You must also decide where you want the money you contribute to be invested and complete the appropriate carrier's form.
  • You can elect to direct your university contributions and/or for your employee contributions into the investments offered at either TIAA-CREF and/or Vanguard.
  • Faculty and staff can also roll over funds into the TDA Plan by establishing a Supplemental Retirement Account.
  • NOTE:  Faculty and staff who are considered non-resident aliens may only participate in the CMU 401(k) Plan available through Vanguard. The 401(k) Plan has similar features to the FSRP and TDA.  University contributions are automatic for eligible employees.   To make payroll deduction contributions to the 401(k) Plan, a Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA) must be established by completing an SRA Form for the 401(k) [pdf] and a Vanguard 401(k) Enrollment Form [pdf].
  Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan (FSRP) Supplemental Retirement Account in the Tax Deferred Annuities (TDA) Plan
Who is

Retirement-benefits-eligible employees who work at least 1,000 hours in an employment year (minimum age 21)

See the Plan Description [pdf] (Article 4) for information about eligibility.

All employees (except non-resident aliens).

How to

Complete the TIAA-CREF and/or Vanguard  application(s) to select investment allocations. See Enrolling in Your Carnegie Mellon Retirement Benefits [pdf] for more information.

Complete the Salary Reduction Agreement and appropriate carrier enrollment form(s). See Enrolling in Your Carnegie Mellon Retirement Benefits [pdf] for more information.
No employee contributions are required.
The percent you contribute per pay is your choice and requires the completion of a salary reduction agreement form. 
  • 12-month appointment: Carnegie Mellon contributes 8% of salary.
  • 9-month academic year appointment: Carnegie Mellon contributes 9.78% of academic year salary, paid over nine months.
  • PT employees: Employment year contributions made retroactively once you have worked 1,000 hours in such year, and then continued through the rest of the employment year.

You may choose a percent between .25% and 100% of your pay, via payroll deduction beginning in 2014.*


You may choose investment funds at TIAA-CREF and/or Vanguard. If you do not select funds, your contributions will be invested into an age-appropriate TIAA-CREF LifeCycle fund (based on a retirement age of 65).

You must elect investment funds at either TIAA-CREF and/or Vanguard and whether contributions are pre-tax or Roth (after-tax).

You are vested (own the contributions) if:

  • you have completed at least three years of service with the university;
  • your employment terminates at or after age 65; or
  • your employment terminates due to a permanent and total disability or death.

Service rendered at another college or university that would have met Carnegie Mellon's vesting requirements may reduce the vesting period if you worked at the other university within the past five years. For this service to be recognized for vesting purposes, please submit a Prior Service Credit Request [pdf] to a Retirement Benefits Specialist.

You are always 100% vested in your own contributions.
Taxation at Time of Contributions You are not taxed on university contributions. Contributions into a traditional 403(b) account will reduce taxable income.

Roth 403(b) contributions will be made with pay after taxes have been assessed.
Taxation at Distribution All contributions and their earnings will be taxable at withdrawal.

An additional penalty may be assessed if you   withdraw the funds prior to age 59½.

Traditional, pre-tax contributions and their earnings will be taxable at withdrawal.

Roth 403(b) contributions and their earnings are untaxed in retirement if you participated for at least five years and are at least age 59½.

An additional penalty may be assessed if the participant withdraws funds prior to age 59½.

*Generally, per IRS rules, contributions cannot exceed $52,000 for 2014 (all sources and plans combined). The Plan Administrator may request information regarding other plan contributions to ensure compliance with the limitations under Internal Revenue Code section 415. Regardless of whether an inquiry is made, however, you must inform the Plan Administrator of the existence of the other plan and the contributions or benefits that you accumulate under that plan in a year. If the Plan Administrator is unaware of that other plan, the Plan Administrator cannot apply the combined limits to this plan. It is your sole responsibility to assure compliance with the combined limits by limiting your contributions (see the Contribution Worksheet [pdf] for additional information). If you have questions, please contact the Retirement Benefits Specialist at 412-268-8481.

Faculty and Staff Supplemental Retirement Contributions 2014 General Guidelines:

  • participants elect a percent of pay to contribute
  • a minimum of 0.25% ( ¼ of a percent);
  • a maximum of $17,500 (current IRS limit subject to adjustments by the IRS);
  • up to $5,500 additional contributions permitted for participants who will be age 50 by 12/31/2014.
Carnegie Mellon University reserves the right to amend, modify, suspend, replace or terminate any of its plans, policies or programs, in whole or in part, including any level or form of coverage, by appropriate action of the university (or its delegate), without the consent or concurrence of persons affected.

The information presented is not intended to create, nor is it to be construed to create, a contract between the university (or its affiliates) and any one of the university’s employees, former employees, or other plan participants or beneficiaries.

Please note that a summary of the benefits provided under each plan is contained in the summary plan description for such plan. Full details are provided in the official plan documents, which governs the operation of the respective plan. In the event that the content provided or any oral representations made by any person regarding a plan conflict with or are inconsistent with the provisions of the applicable plan document, the provisions of the applicable plan document will control.