Suffolk University has established the Standard Retirement Plan (SRP) and the Voluntary Tax Deferred Annuity Plan (VTDA) to help you save for retirement. The plans are 403(b) tax deferred annuity plans. All plan contributions are made to the plans before any federal or state income taxes are deducted. You may select the investments for your contributions and for the University contribution on your behalf, from a diverse selection of funds. All contributions are fully and immediately vested.

The following Q & A provides basic information about the SRP and the VTDA. The Summary Plan Description and the VTDA Plan Document explain in more detail your rights and benefits under both plans. The Summary Annual Report is also a useful reference in examining your options. The information provided may change at any time without notice.

Retirement Plan Q & A

  • Who is eligible to participate in the plans?

    You are eligible to participate in the SRP if you are an eligible1 class of employees, have completed one year of service, and have attained a minimum age of 26. (One year of service requires that you complete at least 1,000 hours of service in a 12-month period.)

    The first 12-month period for measuring the 1,000 hours of service is your date of employment to the next anniversary of that date. If you do not complete 1,000 hours of service in the first 12-month period starting with your date of employment, you must complete 1,000 in the next or a succeeding 12-month period starting with the anniversary of your date of employment. For example, if an employee who is hired on 7/1/2002 does not complete 1,000 hours of service from 7/1/2002 to 6/30/2003, he or she must complete 1,000 hours of service in the period from 7/1/2003 to 6/30/2004, and so on, to satisfy the one year of service requirement.

    If you were employed at another institution of higher education immediately before your employment with Suffolk, this service may count toward the one year of service requirement. To waive the one year of employment requirement, you will need to complete a Verification of Immediate Eligibility form.

    University employees who work in positions not contingent on student status are eligible to participate in the VTDA immediately upon hire.

    1Eligible classes of employees are titled faculty and employees who work in positions not contingent on student status.

  • How do I enroll in the plans?

    Human Resources will notify you before you are eligible for the SRP. You will receive Plan literature and an invitation to an information session. If you wish to enroll in the VTDA, you can contact Human Resources to get the information session schedule.

    You enroll by completing an enrollment application and Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA). If you are unable to attend an enrollment session, you may enroll online with either Fidelity or TIAA-CREF.

    Directions are available at the following links:

    Fidelity

    TIAA-CREF

    Please remember, you must also complete and return the Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA) to Human Resources before your contributions will begin.

  • What is the maximum I may contribute to the Plan?

    Each pay period your contribution to the SRP is 5% of your gross compensation.

    You may supplement your contributions by contributing an additional amount to the Voluntary Tax Deferred Annuity Plan (VTDA). The IRS maximum for your combined contributions to the Voluntary Tax Deferred Annuity Plan (VTDA) and the Salary Retirement Plan (SRP) is $17,500 for 2014. If you are age 50 (or will be age 50 by the end of the calendar year), you may contribute an additional $5500, catch-up contribution, for 2014.

  • How much does the University contribute to the Plan?

    Each pay period the University contributes 9% of your gross compensation to the SRP on your behalf.

  • What are my investment choices?

    Your choices for venders are Fidelity and TIAA-CREF. You fund choices are organized into three tiers:

    Tier One*

    • Investment type: Lifecycle/Target Date Funds
    • Participant type: Participant wants a greater level of professional guidance when investing
    • Fund Sponsor choice: Fidelity, TIAA-CREF
    • Contributions: Your SRP (5%) & VTDA, Suffolk’s SRP (9%)
    * This Tier will be monitored on a regular basis by investment advisors.

    Tier Two*

    • Investment type: Core Funds/Variable Annuities (TIAA-CREF only)
    • Participant type: Participant wants a greater level of control over account management
    • Fund Sponsor choice: Fidelity, TIAA-CREF
    • Contributions: Your SRP (5%) & VTDA, Suffolk’s SRP (9%)
    * This Tier will be monitored on a regular basis by investment advisors.

    Tier Three**

    • Investment type: Brokerage Account
    • Participant type: Participant is investment savvy and wants total control over account management
    • Fund Sponsor choice: Fidelity
    • Contributions: Your SRP (5%) & VTDA
    ** This Tier will not be monitored by investment advisors. This choice will allow for investments outside of Tiers 1 & 2.
  • May I take a loan from the Plan?

    Within certain legal limits you may borrow from your own contributions and the investment earnings on your contributions. Loans must be repaid within a 5-year period, or within 10 years if made for home purchase.

    Consultants from TIAA-CREF or Fidelity can help you calculate the maximum loan available to you. To reach the TIAA-CREF Counseling Center, call 800-842-2776 from 8am-11:00pm on weekdays and 9am-6pm on weekends. To reach the Fidelity Retirement Services Center, call 800-343-0860 from 8am-12am on weekdays.

    TIAA-CREF loans are available from the Retirement Annuity (RA) and Group Supplemental Retirement Annuity (GSRA) contract, but not from the Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) contract. SRA assets may be transferred to the GSRA contract to take a loan. Assets may also have to be transferred within certain TIAA-CREF investment funds to take a loan.

    Loan applications require a final sign-off from the Plan Administrator in Human Resources.

  • When may I withdraw funds from the Plan while I am still employed?*

    The purpose of a 403(b) retirement program is to save for retirement. The IRS recognizes this by giving tax advantages to employees, however, there are limited situations in which you are permitted to withdraw contributions before retirement. Permitted withdrawals include:

    a) You may take a withdrawal of your own contributions for financial hardship, but may not take a withdrawal of University contributions or any investment earnings. The IRS defines hardship as: expenses incurred or necessary for medical care by you, your spouse or dependents; purchase (excluding mortgage payments) of a principal home; payment of tuition for the next 12 months of post-secondary education for you, your spouse, children or dependents; payments to prevent eviction or foreclosure from a principal residence; funeral or burial expenses for your deceased parent, spouse, children or dependents; and payment to repair damage to your principal residence that would qualify for casualty loss deduction.

    Before you are eligible for a hardship withdrawal, you must take a loan (as described in the above section) and then if additional funds are needed for the hardship situation, you may take a hardship withdrawal.

    Loan applications require a final sign-off from the Plan Administrator in Human Resources.

    If you take a withdrawal for financial hardship, all plan contributions, (your contributions and the university contributions), must be suspended for six months commencing with the pay period after the withdrawal is approved.

    b) After you reach age 59 ½, you may withdraw all or a portion of your contributions, University contributions and investment earnings in your account.

    c) You may withdraw, at any time, contributions that you have rolled over from a former employer’s plan to the Suffolk plan.

    Withdrawals will be taxed to you in the year received, and there may be an additional 10% excise tax if you are under age 59 ½.

    *There are also withdrawal restrictions that apply to certain TIAA-CREF investment products (see question titled, "What are the restrictions on withdrawals and distributions that apply to certain funds?").

  • How do I withdraw funds from the Plan when I terminate or retire?*

    When you terminate or retire, you may take your distribution immediately in a cash withdrawal, periodic payments or an annuity. Your distribution will be taxed to you in the year received, and there may be an additional 10% excise tax, if you are under the age 59 ½.

    You may also choose to leave your funds in the Plan, roll over your funds to an IRA or to your new employer’s retirement plan (if that plan permits rollovers).

    *There are also withdrawal restrictions that apply to certain TIAA-CREF investment products (see question title, "What are the restrictions on withdrawals and distributions that apply to certain funds").

  • What are the restrictions on withdrawals and distributions that apply to certain funds?

    There are restrictions on some of the investment funds that may apply to your withdrawal or distribution from the Plan:

    • Amounts withdrawn from TIAA Real Estate Account, all CREF accounts, and Fidelity funds may be made in a lump sum.
    • Amounts withdrawn from the Retirement Annuity contract under the TIAA Traditional Annuity will be paid out over a 10-year period, with 10% of the amount withdrawn payable immediately (there is no similar restriction for the SRA and GSRA contracts with investments in the TIAA Traditional Annuity.)
  • Where can I go for additional information about the retirement plan?

    You can contact the Fund Sponsors to obtain detailed information about the investments offered in the Plan, as well as general investment information and tools to use in selecting your investments.

    TIAA-CREF 800-842-2776
    Website: http://www.tiaa-cref.org/suffolk

    Fidelity Investments 800-343-0860
    Website: http://www.fidelity.com/atwork