Retirement FAQs

401(a) Retirement Plan for Faculty and Staff (Base Plan)

Q. Who is eligible for the Plan?
A. You must be an active employee with two years of creditable service (equal to two calendar years of regular service, or if you are non-regular employee, two calendar years in which you perform at least 1,000 hours of service, beginning with your hire date or anniversary date). Previous university experience may also qualify to reduce the two year waiting period. Please review the 401(a) Prior Employment Verification Form (PDF) or contact us for details.

Q. What type of Plan is a 401(a) Plan?
A. The IRS code 401(a) is a retirement Plan that allows for GW employer contributions. Once you are eligible, GW will make base contributions on your behalf; if you participate in the 403(b) Plan GW will also make matching contributions.

Q. How much money will the university contribute to the Plan on my behalf?
A. Once you are eligible, GW will contribute amount equal to 4% of your eligible annual compensation automatically to the Plan. The university makes this contribution regardless of whether you are participating in the 403(b) Plan. In addition, GW will contribute 150% of the first 4% of your eligible compensation contributed to the 403(b) Plan. The total matching contributions cannot exceed 6% of your eligible annual compensation. Please see the chart below for an illustration:

GW Base 4% If you contribute this amount to the GW 403(b) Plan… …your GW matching contributions will be: Total GW Contributions
4.0% 0% 0% 4.0%
4.0% 1% 1.5% 5.5%
4.0% 2% 3.0% 7.0%
4.0% 3% 4.5% 8.5%
4.0% 4% or more 6.0% 10.0%


Q. Who are the investment providers for the 401(a) Plan?
A. The investment providers are Fidelity Investments & TIAA.

Q. How do I enroll?
A. Approximately two weeks prior to your eligibility date, you will receive a letter via mail from Fidelity announcing your eligibility, as well as instructions on how to direct the contributions to your preferred provider and how to choose your investment elections.

Q. What if I am not sure how to invest my money and need to assistance?
A. You can schedule an appointment with an investment consultant to get personalized help.

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403(b) Supplemental Plan

Q. Who is eligible for the Plan?
A. All regular employees of the University are eligible to enroll.

Q. What type of Plan is a 403(b) Plan?
A. The IRS code 403(b) Plan is a retirement plan that allows employees to make tax-advantaged contributions which are deducted from their pay. The contributions can be deducted on a pre-tax basis, or as post-tax Roth contributions.

Q. How much can I contribute to the Plan on a tax deferred basis?
A. Employees under the age of 50 can contribute up to $18,000 for tax year 2017. Employees who will be 50 or over by the end of the year can contribute an additional $6,000 in catch-up contributions, for a total of $24,000 for tax year 2017. 

Q. Who are the investment providers for the 403(b) Plan?

A. The investment providers are Fidelity & TIAA.

Q. Do I have to select only one provider?
A. No. You may select one provider, or you may choose to split your contributions between the two providers in any proportion you wish. If you choose to make both pre-tax and post-tax Roth contributions, you may select one provider for your pre-tax contributions and the other for your post-tax Roth contributions.

Q. When can I enroll?
A. You can enroll or make changes at any time, and you may make changes as frequently as you wish. Deferral changes will be effective within one or two pay periods; investment election changes will be effective immediately.

Q. How do I enroll?
A. Visit the Retirement Savings Enrollment page to enroll in the Plan, review your contribution rate, investment provider selection or to change your contribution rate and/or investment provider.

Q. What if I am not sure how to invest my money and need assistance?
A. You can schedule an appointment with an investment consultant to get personalized help.

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