Carnegie Mellon University

Retirement Savings Benefits FAQs

Retirement Savings Basics for Faculty, Staff and Student Workers

If you are a non-resident alien or not a permanent resident of the United States, then you are enrolled in the 401(k) plan.

There are many eligibility requirements for each plan type. Please visit the Retirement Savings page on the Human Resources website for more information.

Please contact the HR Service Center to request the change.

Your funds are automatically deposited into a Target Date Fund at TIAA based on your age.

  • You can log in to TIAA's website or call TIAA at 800-842-2776.
  • You can also view the list of available fund options on the Investment Options page of the Human Resources website.

Please reference Understanding Traditional vs. Roth Contributions [pdf] for more information. The HR Service Center cannot give specific tax or investment advice. If you have questions regarding which investment you should choose, you may want to schedule a counseling session with a TIAA representative. You can also view Roth account information on the IRS website.

For retirement savings guidance, please set up a one-on-one meeting with TIAA as soon as possible. You can also view the Retirement page of the Human Resources website for more information on preparing for retirement from the university.

Contact TIAA to set up a one-on-one meeting with a representative or call the HR Service Center to request a distribution form.

Please visit the Retirement Education page of the Human Resources website to set up a one-on-one meeting or phone consultation with a representative.

Retirement Savings Contributions for Faculty, Staff and Student Workers

Refer to the Retirement Elections System Guide [pdf] for instructions on changing your employee contribution.

The earliest is the first of month coinciding with or following the date the election is made in Workday. Employees can indicate a future date of the first of the next month (i.e., if you change your rate from 5% to 10% on March 5, the change will be effective April 1).

You can elect to contribute up to 100% of your pay. To calculate the percentage contribution rate, divide $X.XX (the amount per month) by your base monthly pay.

  • Example 1: I want $100 per month out of my monthly pay of $5,000. $100/$5000 = .02 or 2%
  • Example 2: I want $50 per biweekly pay of $1,000. $50/$1000 = .05 or 5%

This depends on when you are making the change (first of year, mid-year, etc.). Divide the maximum contribution amount by the number of months until the end of the year. Divide that number by your monthly gross pay to get your contribution percentage. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the HR Service Center.

Qualified employer plans are required to follow the plan rules for eligibility. If you have prior service from another university you may have credit towards vesting. If so, please complete the Prior Service Credit Request Form [pdf] and return the form to the HR Service Center.

Health/welfare benefits and parking come out first, then employee contributions to retirement. If there is not enough in a pay period to cover all of your elected contributions, then only what is available is deducted for retirement.

Yes, but only if you are eligible for the Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan. If you are eligible for the 401(k) Plan, you will be enrolled going forward with a contribution end date of the last day of the current year.

Retirement Savings Vesting, Rollovers and Withdrawals for Faculty and Staff Only

Employee contributions are always 100% vested. University contributions (contributions made on your behalf by CMU) are subject to a three-years-of-service vesting requirement. If you have any questions regarding the vesting requirement, please contact the HR Service Center.

No. The Office of Human Resources retirement team calculates vesting dates.

Yes. Please be sure to note that you were previously employed by CMU or contact the HR Service Center to have that information updated.

Yes. Please complete the Prior Service Credit Request Form [pdf] and return the form to the HR Service Center.

Please refer to the Investment Options page of the Human Resources website for basic instructions on how to complete the rollover. You can then contact the HR Service Center to begin the process.

If you wish to roll over your money from a CMU plan to another plan, or take any form of distribution (in-service or termination), contact TIAA to request the necessary paperwork.** If you still have questions after reviewing the Rollovers and Distributions section of the Human Resources website, please contact the HR Service Center.

**If TIAA states that they do not have a termination (separation) date yet, inform them that you have been separated and you can receive the distribution paperwork without TIAA having a termination (separation) date on file. Once you complete the paperwork you must send it to TIAA directly. TIAA will get approval for the distribution and vesting if needed.