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Retirement Plan

All non-student employees may participate in Lesley's 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan (administered by the TIAA) from their date of hire. Non-student employees working less than 17.5 hours/week may also participate, but are ineligible for matching contributions.

Participants determine how much to deduct from each pay period for their retirement account, whether these deductions are made on a pre-tax or after-tax basis, and which funds to invest in. See below for more.

  • Enrollment

    To participate, eligible employees must enroll on their Workday account to indicate how much they want deducted from their salary each pay period. Eligible employees scheduled to work less than 17.5 hours per week and wish to participate must also complete this form.

    Once completed, we'll process the enrollment and set-up the appropriate deductions. The TIAA will be notified to establish an account for you and that any money you or Lesley contributes be allocated to the investment fund(s) you select.

  • Investment Choices

    The plan offers many investment choices through TIAA, including annuities, money market funds, real estate funds, and equities. Each category carries different degrees of investment risk.

    Immediately Vested

    Contributions can be allocated to a number of investment funds and are immediately vested. You may designate which investment funds and may change this allocation at any time. If you make no designation, the funds will be deposited into the TIAA Life Cycle fund.

    Changing or Stopping Elections

    You can increase or decrease your contributions to your retirement account, or waive participation at any time during the calendar year by completing a new Salary Deferral Agreement (Dynamic Form). Past contributions will remain intact and to your retirement account will remain active. Changes must be submitted before the tenth of the month for the change to take effect during that month.

    Further Information

    As a Plan participant, you may change your investment choices via the Lesley University Retirement Benefits page on the TIAA website, or by contacting a TIAA financial advisor anytime during the year. Call the TIAA Counseling Center at 800.842.2252 to speak to a financial advisor.

  • Pre-Tax vs. After-Tax Contributions

    Employees can contribute to the plan on a pre-tax or after-tax basis.

    Contributing on a pre-tax basis lowers your current state and federal income taxes. You'll then pay taxes on your investments when you withdraw money from your account upon retirement. The taxes you pay when receiving reitrement income might be less than what you would otherwise pay now; however, changes in tax law could have an impact on those future taxes.

    Participants may also make after-tax deposits by directing their payroll deductions to a Roth 403(b) account, under which taxes are paid as deductions are taken from your pay. These deductions may be invested in the same funds as those invested with pre-tax dollars. However, if you meet certain requirements, when you withdraw your funds in retirement, your deposits and investment earnings may not be taxed.

    You may want to consult a financial advisor or accountant before deciding which sort of contribution best suits your needs.

  • Employer Matching Contribution

    To receive a matching contribution, you must contribute at least 3% of your pay. Matching contributions are based on the participant's contribution percentage and years of service.

    Years of Service

    Employee Contribution

    Employer Discretionary
    Matching Contribution*

    Less than 5 3% up to 4.99% 5.00%
    5 but less than 10 3% up to 4.99% 5.50%
    10 or more 3% up to 4.99% 6.00%
    Years of Service Employee Contribution Employer Discretionary
    Matching Contribution*
    Less than 5 5% or more 7.00%
    5 but less than 10 5% or more 7.50%
    10 or more 5% or more 8.00%

    Note:  Lesley University is legally entitled to change or suspend its matching contribution at any time, at its discretion.



  • Salary Deferral Limits

    Salary deferral limits are set by the IRS and may be adjusted annually. As of 2023, participants can defer up to $22,500 a year for their retirement account, as per your completed Salary Deferral Agreement (Dynamic Form).

  • Age 50+ Catch-Up Contributions

    Eligible employees age 50 or older can make tax-deferred "catch-up" contributions up to an additional $7,500 annually beyond the salary deferral limit, for a potential total deferral of $30,000.

  • 15-Year Rule

    Certain employees with 15 or more years of service (including service at the Art Institute of Boston) may contribute up to an additional $3,000 per year on a pre-tax basis, up to a career maximum of $15,000 in extra contributions. 

    Eligibility also depends on prior contributions and salary. Highly compensated employees who've made their maximum contributions over many years may be limited in the how much extra they can contribute under this rule. To determine if you are eligible, TIAA must run a tax deferred annuity calculation.

    Employees can contact TIAA directly to request the 15-Year calculation or contact Human Resources at hr@lesley.edu for assistance. 

    Note: This amount is in addition to the Age 50+ catch-up contribution.

  • Unused Accrued Vacation Contributions

    Participants who terminate their employment with Lesley University and are entitled to a cash-out of unused accrued bona fide vacation leave may choose to contribute all or a portion to their retirement plan as a salary deferral, subject to IRS guidelines. This percentage can be different from the percentage you deferred from regular compensation.

    A deferral from a vacation leave cash-out can be initiated by completing a Salary Deferral Agreement and contacting Human Resources prior to the deadline for processing your final paycheck.

    Total salary deferrals may not exceed the applicable legal limits allowed under IRS guidelines.

  • Changing or Stopping Elections

    You are allowed to increase or decrease your contributions to your retirement account during the calendar year by completing a new Salary Deferral Agreement (Dynamic Form). You may waive your participation in the Plan at any time.

    If you want to make a change, submit your new Salary Deferral Agreement to Human Resources before the tenth of the month for the change to take effect during that month. Past contributions to your retirement account will remain intact and will continue to be active.

  • Changing Your Beneficiary

    You can designate or change your Plan beneficiary anytime online at the Lesley University Retirement Benefits page on the TIAA website, or by phoning TIAA at 800.842.2252.

  • Plan Documents

    The information on this website is intended as a general descriptionof the Lesley University Retirement Plan, which became effective on January 1, 2012, and has subsequently been amended.

    The Summary Plan Description (SPD) (PDF), Summary of Material Modifications (SMM) (PDF) and other Plan documents provide details of the Plan and its governance. The SPD, SMM and Plan documents are also available for review in the Human Resources office where you can also request a free copy of the SPD and SMM.

    In case of any discrepancies between the information provided here and the Plan documents, the Plan documents govern.