Voluntary 403(b) plan

The Arizona University System (AUS) Voluntary 403(b) plan is a tax-advantaged supplemental retirement savings plan allowed under the Internal Revenue Code. This plan does not include an employer match. Employees can enroll in the voluntary 403(b) plan through the NetBenefits website. The site is administered by Fidelity but is used for enrollment and contribution changes with both providers, TIAA and Fidelity.

Participants may defer a flat amount on a before-tax and Roth after-tax basis through payroll deduction. 

  • Before-tax contributions are withheld before federal and state income taxes are calculated, which reduces your taxable income. You pay income taxes only when funds are distributed. 
  • After-tax ROTH contributions are withheld after federal and state income taxes are calculated. Income taxes are not paid when funds are distributed, if qualified. 
  • Contributions may be made to both the before-tax and the Roth after-tax options at the same time.


  • Contributions can be increased, decreased, stopped or resumed at any time. 
  • Minimum contribution is $5 per pay period; you can contribute up to as much as your take-home pay allows after taxes and deductions.
    • If you elect an amount that exceeds your take-home pay, no deduction will occur.
  • You may be eligible to make additional 403(b) contributions if you meet one of these provisions:
    • Under the Age 50 Catch-Up Provision, you will automatically be enrolled to contribute the allowed additional amount if you are at least age 50 during the calendar year. For the age 50 limits, refer to the IRS contribution limit table.
    • Under the 403(b) Plan Lifetime Catch-Up Provision (15-year rule), you may be eligible to contribute an additional $3,000 per calendar year, up to a maximum of $15,000, if you have at least 15 years of service and under-contributed to the Plan in prior years. To determine if you are eligible, contact your 403(b) provider – Fidelity or TIAA. 

Refer to IRS contribution limit table for details.

Your contributions will automatically stop during the calendar year from one of the following items:

  • Reach the basic annual contribution limit if you are under age 50.
  • Reach the automatic age 50 contribution limit if you are age 50 or older.
  • If eligible and enrolled, you reach the 15-year rule contribution limit.

If you reach the contribution limit during the year, your contributions will automatically resume on the first pay date of the following calendar year, at the same contribution amount that was in effect when the maximum was reached, unless you change it.

If you are enrolled in more than one voluntary 403(b) plan, your combined contributions cannot exceed the annual limit. If you work for multiple employers, it is your responsibility to ensure that our voluntary 403(b) plan contributions do not exceed the IRS annual contribution limits. These limitations are cumulative across all of your 401(k) and 403(b) plans.

Review the 403(b) contribution deadlines and pay dates to determine when your changes will appear on your paychecks.


You are 100% vested in all contributions to the plan. Contact Fidelity at 800-642-7131 or TIAA at 800-732-8353 to schedule a one-on-one consultation about your retirement. 

Loans and hardship withdrawals

While actively employed in the Arizona university system, you may be eligible to borrow funds from your account or withdraw funds due to a hardship. Contact your investment provider for more information or to initiate one of these requests.

Rollovers and withdrawals

If you have an existing 403(b) or 401(k) account from a prior employer, the funds may be eligible to roll over into your ASU-sponsored 403(b) account. Transfers between before-tax and after-tax accounts are not permitted at this time.

While actively employed in the Arizona university system, you may be eligible to withdraw funds for one of the following reasons:

  • Age 59 ½ or older.
  • Hardship withdrawal
  • In-service exchange—transfer funds within the plan between TIAA and Fidelity.
  • Permissive service credit transfer—purchase service in the Arizona State Retirement System or another defined benefit plan.
  • You are or become totally disabled.

When you leave employment with all Arizona university system institutions, you may withdraw or rollover all or a portion of your AUS Voluntary 403(b) account balance. Contact your investment provider for forms and instructions.

For employer rollover and withdrawal authorizations, fax your form to 480-993-0008 and allow at least two to three business days for verification of eligibility, completion of authorization and return or submission of the authorized form.

Fees and expenses

All investments have management expenses associated with the operation of the fund. Basis points are used to calculate the costs for a financial instrument. A basis point is a unit equal to 1/100 of one percent. For example, .01 percent cost equals one basis point. In addition, if you invest in mutual funds through the self-directed brokerage window, you may have load charges or 12b-1 fees to pay sales commissions and promotional costs. Annuities may have withdrawal or surrender fees. Approved investment providers may also charge a fee for hardship withdrawals or loans.
Be sure to ask your provider about all costs associated with each investment and transaction.

Investment options

The (AUS) Voluntary 403(b) plan offers an option of four tiers intended for participants with different levels of investment experience and dependent on your level of involvement in managing your investment mix. The investment options available include conservative, moderately conservative, and aggressive funds and are the same for both the before-tax and after-tax options. If you do not specify your investments at the time of enrollment, your Investment selections can be changed at any time.

Tier 1 Target retirement date funds
Tier 2 Passively managed investment options
Tier 3 Actively managed investment options TIAA annuities: Fixed or variable
Tier 4 Self-directed brokerage window option

To learn more or receive assistance with choosing investments for your portfolio, contact your investment provider directly.
Fidelity,  800-343-0860
TIAA,  800-842-2252


403(b) contribution deadlines
Enrollment guide
Loan policy 
Plan document
Plan information video
Tools and resources

Book traversal links for Voluntary 403(b) plan