Plan A

Retirement Plan A is a 403(b) defined contribution plan provided for all faculty (as defined by title in the university Faculty Handbook) and key administrative staff (defined within the plan as staff employees in university compensation program with pay grades 18 and above). For more details, review the complete CWRU Faculty & Key Administrative Employees Retirement Plan (Plan A) plan document or for a summary of the plan see the CWRU Faculty & Key Administrative Employees Retirement Plan (Plan A) Summary Plan Description. The Plan A Summary Annual Report is also available for your review.

Plan Updates

Plan A Summary of Material Modifications

Participants include all faculty (as defined by title in the university Faculty Handbook) and key administrative staff (defined within the plan as staff employees in university compensation program with pay grades 18 and above).

All participants must be age 21 or older and must have at least one year of service with Case Western Reserve University or upon employment with at least one year's work experience in a benefits-eligible position in a college, university or research institution. Certain exclusions apply to waive the Plan A waiting period. Newly appointed visiting faculty and full-time lecturers cannot waive the waiting period—contact Benefits Administration for details.

Through a Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA), you can elect to make your own pretax and/or after-tax Roth contributions through monthly payroll deduction. For 2024, the IRS maximum allowance will be $23,000, with an extra (catch-up) allowance of $7,500 for those 50 years of age and older. These contributions may be started,stopped, or changed up to four (4) times per calendar year by completing a Plan A Salary Reduction Agreement Form. Completed forms should be returned to the HR Service Center, Crawford Hall, room 320 or via email to

The same funds available through TIAA and Vanguard for investment of Plan A Retirement contribution are also available for SRA investments.

Additionally employees who have worked at CWRU for 15 years or more may be eligible for a special exemption, the 15-Year Rule. This is not automatic and is based on both years of service and prior contributions made by the employee to the plan. 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.

Note: Supplemental retirement contributions made to another qualified plan during the calendar year may reduce the amount that you can contribute to the CWRU retirement plan. It is important to take this into account when filling out the Salary Reduction Agreement form. Please contact Benefits Administration with questions.

Case Western Reserve makes a pretax contribution to a qualified investment account with one of two investment carriers, TIAA or Vanguard. Effective July 1 of each year, the university contributes monthly payments.

Case Western Reserve's contribution is equal to 8 percent of salary up to one half of the Social Security taxable wage base (SSTWB) and 12 percent of salary above one half of the SSTWB, up to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) maximum annual salary. For the 2023-2024 fiscal year, one-half of the SSTWB is $80,100. 

Upon becoming a Participant in the Plan, you will always be 100% vested in any salary reduction contributions made to your supplemental retirement account. You also are always 100% vested with respect to the contributions the University makes on your behalf under the Plan.

Your Plan A account balance will be retained and kept invested until you die, attain normal retirement age and experience a severance from employment, or experience a severance from employment for any other reason. For additional information on distributions from the Plan, see the Summary Plan Description or the CWRU Faculty & Key Administrative Employees Retirement Plan (Plan A) document.