Plan C

Retirement Plan C is a 403(b) defined contribution plan provided for all staff (defined within the plan as staff employees in university compensation program with pay grades 17 and below) who were hired on or after July 1, 2015. For more details, review the complete CWRU Employees' Retirement Plan (Plan C) plan document or for a summary of the plan see the CWRU Employees' Retirement Plan (Plan C) Summary Plan Description. The Plan C  Summary Annual Report is also available for your review.

Participants include all staff (defined within the plan as staff employees in university compensation program with pay grades 17 and below) hired on or after July 1, 2015.

All participants must work at least a half-time schedule each week. For most non-exempt employee, half-time is 18.75 hours per week or more. For exempt and certain non-exempt employees, half-time is 20 hours per week or more—contact Benefits Administration for details. Participants cannot be leased employees or independent contractors.

Through a Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA), you can elect to make your own pretax and/or after-tax Roth contributions through monthly payroll deduction. SRA contributions for 2024 are limited by IRS maximum contribution allowance of $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 C Staff Salary Reduction Agreement and Investment Election 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 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.

The university will make matching contributions on behalf of participants who make tax-deferred contributions to the plan. University matching contributions will be fifty percent (50%) of participant tax-deferred contributions of up to the first four percent (4%) of the participant's compensation. Such contributions shall be made concurrent with the participant's contributions. A separate account for university matching contributions shall be established and maintained for each participant.

Staff non-contributory contributions are available to eligible employees after one year of service with the university or upon employment with at least one year of service with another university or related research institution. This non-contributory contribution is equal to six percent of your pay on a monthly basis. Contributions shall be made to the funding method elected by the Participant into a qualified investment account with one of two investment carriers, TIAA or Vanguard.

Participants shall at all times have a fully vested in their supplemental contributions and the university matching contributions credited to and/or held in their account. Non-contributory contributions vest after three years of service.