Carnegie Mellon University

Retirement Savings

There are two retirement savings plans available through Carnegie Mellon University:

Carnegie Mellon University Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan for eligible faculty and staff who are U.S. Citizens or U.S. Permanent Residents, to which the university contributes (automatically) and employees may make supplemental contributions

Carnegie Mellon University 401(k) Plan for eligible employees who are non-U.S. Citizens and non-U.S. residents (non-resident aliens) on their hire date, to which the university automatically contributes and employees may make supplemental contributions

Generally, per IRS rules, contributions cannot exceed $55,000 for 2018 (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 general questions, please contact the CMUWorks Service Center at 412-268-4600 or cmu-works@andrew.cmu.edu.

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.

Carnegie Mellon University Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan (FSRP)

  • University contributions: Faculty and Staff who are age 21+ and full-time or, if part-time, work at least 1,000 hours in an employment year (minimum age 21) and have U.S. source income and are paid in U.S. dollars are eligible for university contributions
    • "Local hire" employees in Rwanda, Australia and Qatar are not eligible for university contributions
  • Employee supplemental contributions: All eligible faculty members, staff members and student employees can contribute by payroll deduction

University Contributions

Full-time faculty and staff members are enrolled automatically on the 1st of the month coincident with or following their date of hire. Part-time employees are enrolled once their 1,000 required hours are reached during their employment year.

Carnegie Mellon contributes an amount equal to 8% of your eligible base salary, unless you have a 9-month academic year appointment; then Carnegie Mellon contributes 9.78% of your academic year salary, paid over nine months. You are not taxed on university contributions at the time they are made. All contributions and their earnings will be taxable when you take a distribution. An additional penalty may be assessed if you withdraw funds prior to age 59½.

Vesting

Vesting means that you own the funds that Carnegie Mellon has contributed on your behalf, as well as any earnings from those investments. If you separate from the university before you are vested, you will lose all university contributions and any earnings. Vesting under the CMU Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan requires that you complete three years of service. You must complete 1,000 hours in each of three employment years. Your employment year begins on your date of hire and is not necessarily a calendar year. The Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan document [pdf] outlines how hours are counted for exempt employees.

The three-year vesting period may be reduced or waived if, in the past five years, you performed sufficient services at another college/university and met certain participation requirements. For this service to be recognized for vesting purposes under the Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan or the CMU 401(k), you must complete the Prior Service Credit Request form [pdf] and return it to a Retirement Benefit Specialist at 319 S. Craig Street. The university will then reach out to your former employer to verify the prior years of service.

You also become immediately vested if, while employed at the university, you:

  • become permanently disabled,
  • turn age 65 ("normal retirement age"), or
  • die (in which case your beneficiary will receive a benefit).

Employee Supplemental Contributions

Faculty members, staff members and student employees can elect to make their own contributions by payroll deduction by logging in to Workday.* Employee contributions are effective the first of the month following the date the election is made in Workday, unless a future date is designated. Elections cannot be made retroactively to a prior month or date.

You may:

  • elect to contribute from .25% (¼%) to 100% of your pay.
  • choose between traditional pre-tax and/or Roth (post-tax) contributions. See Understanding Traditional vs Roth Contributions [pdf] for more information.
  • change your contribution percent as often as once a month, effective the 1st of the following month.
  • contribute up to a maximum of $18,500 (the 2018 IRS limit).**
  • contribute an additional $6,000 if you will be age 50 by 12/31/2018.
  • Your contributions will automatically be stopped by payroll if your maximum limit is reached during the calendar year. See the Contribution Worksheet [pdf] for additional information.

Vesting

You are always 100% vested in your own contributions.

*Workday Quick Guides and web-based trainings with full instructions are provided in My Workday Toolkit.

**NOTE: The FSRP is an Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b) plan and has a special catch-up for 15-years of service. This 15-year-of-service catch-up is calculated each year and automatically applied if you qualify. This catch-up provision does not apply to 401(k) plans.

Carnegie Mellon University 401(k) Plan (401(k) Plan)

  • University contributions: Faculty and Staff who are age 21+ and full-time or, if part-time, work at least 1,000 hours in an employment year (minimum age 21)
    • Employees in Rwanda, Australia and Qatar are not eligible for university contributions
  • Employee supplemental contributions: All faculty members, staff members and student employees are eligible to contribute 
    • Employees in Rwanda, Australia and Qatar are not eligible to make employee contributions to the 401(k) Plan if they do not have U.S. source income and they are not paid in U.S. dollars

University Contributions

Full-time faculty and staff members are enrolled automatically on the 1st of the month coincident with or following their date of hire. Part-time employees are enrolled once their 1,000 required hours are reached during their employment year.

Carnegie Mellon contributes an amount equal to 8% of your eligible base salary, unless you have a 9-month academic year appointment; then Carnegie Mellon contributes 9.78% of your academic year salary, paid over nine months. You are not taxed on university contributions at the time they are made. All contributions and their earnings will be taxable when you take a distribution. An additional penalty may be assessed if you withdraw funds prior to age 59½.

Vesting

Vesting means that you own the funds that Carnegie Mellon has contributed on your behalf, as well as any earnings from those investments. If you separate from the university before you are vested, you will lose all university contributions and any earnings. Vesting under the CMU 401(k) Plan requires that you complete three years of service. You must complete 1,000 hours in each of three employment years. Your employment year begins on your date of hire and is not necessarily a calendar year. The 401(k) Summary Plan Description [pdf] outlines how hours are counted for exempt employees.

The three-year vesting period may be reduced or waived if, in the past five years, you performed sufficient services at another college/university and met certain participation requirements. For this service to be recognized for vesting purposes under the Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan or the CMU 401(k), you must complete the Prior Service Credit Request form [pdf] and return it to a Retirement Benefit Specialist at 319 S. Craig Street. The university will then reach out to your former employer to verify the prior years of service.

You also become immediately vested if, while employed at the university, you:

  • become permanently disabled,
  • turn age 65 ("normal retirement age"), or
  • die (in which case your beneficiary will receive a benefit).

Employee Supplemental Contributions

Faculty members, staff members and student employees can elect to make their own contributions by payroll deduction by logging in to Workday.* Employee contributions are effective the first of the month following the date the election is made in Workday, unless a future date is designated. Elections cannot be made retroactively to a prior month or date.

You may:

  • elect to contribute from .25% (¼%) to 100% of your pay.
  • choose between traditional pre-tax and/or Roth (post-tax) contributions. See Understanding Traditional vs Roth Contributions [pdf] for more information.
  • change your contribution percent as often as once a month, effective the 1st of the following month.
  • contribute up to a maximum of $18,500 (the 2018 IRS limit).
  • contribute an additional $6,000 if you will be age 50 by 12/31/2018.
  • Your contributions will automatically be stopped by payroll if your maximum limit is reached during the calendar year. See the Contribution Worksheet [pdf] for additional information.

Vesting

You are always 100% vested in your own contributions.

*Workday Quick Guides and web-based trainings with full instructions are provided in My Workday Toolkit.

  • Eligible faculty and staff are automatically enrolled for university contributions at Vanguard into an age-appropriate Target Date Retirement Fund (based on the year you will reach age 65). See the following important documents:
  • Access to register online at Vanguard is available on the day your first contribution is made. You can make investment fund changes to both future contributions and move current assets online or by phone. You will need the Vanguard plan number to register online: 099015.
  • If you want to make your initial investment election by paper form, you must do so no later than five business days before your first contribution will be made by completing the appropriate vendor’s enrollment form and returning it to a Retirement Benefits Specialist at 319 S. Craig Street, or by Campus Mail to 319SCRG: