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The University makes retirement contributions for most employees in benefit-eligible positions. For most employees, the University contributes an amount equal to 14.2% of pay. Eligible employees are automatically enrolled in the applicable retirement plan. Only employees that are residents of the United States and those holding H-1B Visas are eligible for retirement benefits. Postdoctoral Fellows and Housestaff are not eligible for employer-funded retirement benefits.

These plans are fully funded by the University, employees cannot contribute to these plans. Information about each of the University’s plans is also included in the Retirement Planning Guide.

401(a) Plan:


  • The majority of employees newly hired or transferred into a benefit-eligible position from a non-benefitted position are automatically enrolled in the 401(a) Plan. This summary provides information regarding that plan.
  • Some University Health employees in Dermatology, Ophthalmology, and University of Utah Medical Group departments are enrolled in Plan H retirement benefits. (See below for information regarding this plan.)
  • Employees who previously worked for the University must be reenrolled in the same plan upon rehire.  New hires who were enrolled in a URS plan with another employer and wish to be enrolled during University employment, must complete the Irrevocable Election online before your first paycheck.


Maximum Contribution Amounts

  • The University contributes an amount equal to 14.2% of the employee’s pay up to the IRS maximum.

Effect of Contributions to Other Retirement Plans

  • The University’s contributions do not affect your ability to make contributions to other retirement plans.

Contribution Types

  • University contributions are made on a pre-tax basis.  This means that when you withdraw funds from your account, you will pay taxes on the amount withdrawn.  You also may be required to pay IRS penalties if you make withdrawals prior to retirement age.

Investment Providers

  • Investment providers for this plan are Fidelity Investments and TIAA. Accounts are opened for employees with TIAA.
  • Employees may choose to have 401(a) contributions directed to Fidelity Investments or divided between the two vendors through UBenefits.


  • Loans are available in the 401(a) Plan, although they will not be available through TIAA until March 2023.  You may have up to two loans at one time in this plan.  Contact your Investment Provider for information.

Withdrawals and Distributions

  • Hardship withdrawals are only available in this plan for employees who are age 59 ½ or older and experience a qualifying hardship. Employees with a qualifying hardship should complete the University's Hardship form, as well as the investment provider’s hardship withdrawal forms. Evidence of the hardship must be attached/provided to HR with your forms.
  • Other withdrawals from the 401(a) Plan can be made 32 days or more after you have retired from the University (or your employment with the University has otherwise ended).


  • Most plan assets may be transferred within the same plan between the University’s investment providers (Fidelity Investments and TIAA). Rollovers or transfers to another plan or individual account are only allowed when the employee qualifies for one of the withdrawal/distribution options (see above).


  • Rollovers are not accepted in this plan.  If you have 401(a) Funds from another employer, you can roll them over into the 403(b) Plan.

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