Case Western Reserve University offers the opportunity for you to plan for your long-term security through retirement programs designed according to the university's overall compensation philosophy. As a part of the comprehensive compensation package, the university will automatically contribute to a retirement fund for eligible participants. Additionally all eligible employees have the opportunity to make their own contributions to a supplemental retirement account.

View the Retirement Checklist

Plan Information

Choose the appropriate plan below to review information pertaining to your retirement plan.

  • Plan A - Faculty, Executive and Senior Staff (salary grades 18 and above)
  • Plan B - Staff (salary grades 17 and under) with a hire date prior to July 1, 2015
  • Plan C - Staff (salary grades 17 and under) with a hire date on or after July 1, 2015 

Plan Updates:

Carrier Information

Choose an investment firm to enroll online, view investment options available, and set beneficiaries. 

Frequently Asked Questions

You can direct initial questions to the benefits office of Human Resources at call 216.368.6964 or e-mail

You also can meet directly with representatives of TIAA and/or Vanguard. View the schedule of on-campus availability.

Executive and senior staff are those in positions with salary grades 18 and higher. Staff in Plan B or C are in salary grades below 18.

Those who worked at the university previously and have returned will be enrolled in the new Plan C.

Those employees now in Plan B who are laid off or whose positions are eliminated under a reorganization may remain in Plan B if they return to a university position within 12 months.

Supplemental Retirement Account contributions are entirely voluntary 403(b)(7) contributions, which allow you to contribute either to a tax-deferred retirement plan and/or to an after-tax Roth retirement plan. Supplemental retirement contributions are limited by IRS maximum contribution allowance of $23,000 for 2024.

The interest and dividends you earn on your retirement contribution and the university contributions made on your behalf will grow tax-deferred until your retirement. Since all your earnings are reinvested without taxation, your savings will compound faster. You choose the mix of investments and the growth of your account will depend upon the type of funds you choose.

You will need Salary Reduction Agreement form. Benefit forms can be obtained online as well as in the Benefits Office of Human Resources, Crawford Hall, room 320. In addition, you will need to complete the online enrollment for the investment firm.

Newly hired employees are eligible beginning with their first full month of employment. As a benefits-eligible employee, you may begin participation at any time during the calendar year.

All vested funds remain in your account. You may chose to roll them over to an individual retirement account (IRA), another qualified plan, or cash out the account any time after termination (cash withdrawals may incur penalties). Your supplemental contributions are always 100% vested immediately.

Each investment company, TIAA and Vanguard, offer you the choice of investing in stock mutual funds, bond mutual funds, short-term reserve funds (money market accounts), and balanced mutual funds (made up of stocks, bonds, and short-term reserves). In addition, you have annuity funds available from TIAA. Each investment has a different level of risk and a different opportunity to earn money.

Some investments are riskier than others. The more risk you are willing to take, the better the chance for higher returns on your investment.

Schedule an appointment today to have your financial questions answered by an expert consultant.

Date and Location:

See upcoming counseling information

By appointment only: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Internal Revenue Service has strict guidelines regarding the amount you are allowed to contribute. Contributions for 2024 are limited by the IRS maximum contribution allowance of $23,000 with an extra catch-up allowance of $7,500 for those 50 years of age and older. 

Employees who are age 50 or over in 2024 can add $7,500 to the 403(b) contribution limit.

Employees who have worked at CWRU for 15 years or more may be eligible for a special exemption. This is not automatic. Employees should have their Maximum Exclusion Allowance calculated to see if they are eligible.

If an employee is eligible, they may be able to contribute up to $3,000 additional in a single year. If an employee remains eligible for the 15-Year Rule, they can continue to contribute beyond the standard 403(b) limit each year up to a point where a total of $15,000 extra has been deferred. At that point the employee must return to the standard 403(b) limit. An employee who is age 50 or over can use the Age 50 Catch-up along with the 15-Year Rule.

If you participate in other tax-deferred retirement plans, your combined elective deferral generally cannot exceed the IRS 415 limit. In addition, if you participate in other tax-deferred defined contribution retirement plans, the combined deferral generally cannot exceed your IRC 402(g) limit.

The university’s system tracks your annual contributions to the university’s retirement plans and will stop your employee contributions when they reach the IRS limits for the year. These limits apply to the participant's combined total elective employee contributions across all applicable retirement plans at all employers in the tax year.

If you have excess deferrals from the previous year, you have until the due date of your tax return to have those contributions ("excess deferrals") distributed to avoid adverse tax consequences. Requests for excess deferrals to be distributed from the university's plans must have been submitted by March 1st in order for our carriers to make the required corrections.

Please consult your tax advisor for further information if you are participating in other tax-deferred retirement plans.