What happens to the Plan A/Plan C funds in my TIAA or Vanguard 403(b) account if I were to leave the university?

In accordance with IRS regulations and plan provisions, following termination from employment you could:

  1. Leave the funds in the plan where they will continue to be invested as you have elected. You would not be able to add any new contributions, but would be able to manage your investments
  2. Take distribution as a direct rollover to another qualifying employer’s plan or to a qualifying Individual Retirement Account (IRA) without being subject to tax withholding or early withdrawal penalty
  3. Take as a “cash” distribution (paid directly to you) which is subject to immediate 20% tax withholding and an IRS 10% early withdrawal penalty. At the end of that tax year you would receive a 1099-R in order to calculate, report and pay the penalty with your annual tax filing.