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403(b) Defined Contribution Retirement Plan

At Drexel University, we’re committed to offering a retirement program that helps you plan for and build long-term financial security.

The Drexel University Defined Contribution Retirement Plan is a defined contribution 403(b) plan. Explore the information below to learn more.


The following eligibility rules are effective Dec. 8, 2021

Employee Contributions

You are eligible to make pretax and/or Roth contributions to the Plan if you are an employee of the University or Drexel University Online, LLC. You are not eligible to participate if you are:

  • A student performing services as described in section 3121(b)(10) of the Code,
  • A leased employee as defined in sections 414(n) or (o) of the Code; or
  • An independent contractor (even if you are later reclassified as an employee).


University Contributions

All employees who are eligible to make employee contributions to the Plan are eligible for University contributions, except for employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that does not specifically provide for their eligibility for University contributions. In order to receive University contributions, you must contribute at least one percent to the Plan on a pretax or Roth basis.

The criteria for if and when you receive an allocation of University contributions depends on your employment classification.

Full-time and Part-time: If you are classified by the University as a full-time or part-time employee, University contributions will be calculated and allocated to you on a payroll period basis. There are no annual allocation requirements for this group.

Adjunct, temporary, casual, per diem or co-op: If you are classified by the University as a temporary, casual, per diem or co-op employee or an adjunct, University contributions will not be calculated or allocated to you on a payroll period basis. Instead, you will receive University contributions after the close of the plan year (the calendar year) if certain annual allocation requirements are met. You must have completed at least 1,000 hours of service during the plan year, you must contribute at least one percent and be an eligible employee on the last day of the plan year in order to receive University contributions for that plan year. If you do not meet these requirements, you will not receive University contributions for the plan year. Remember that you must contribute at least one percent to the Plan in order to receive University contributions.


Eligible to Make Employee Contributions 

Eligible to Receive University Contributions, Deposited on a Payroll Basis

Eligible to Receive University Contributions, Deposited on an Annual Basis (if certain service requirements are met)

Ineligible for University Contributions Under the 403(b) Plan

Full-time staff 40 hours per week; full-time faculty 100% appt    
Part-Time Faculty at least 50% appt but less than 100%; part-time professional staff that work between 20 to 39 hours per week    
Temporary, Casual, Per-Diem    
Drexel Police    
Operating Engineers Local 835    
Teamsters Local 115 (Maintenance, Custodian & Residential Desk)    
Co-op Students    
Student, Leased Employees Ineligible to participate in the Plan

Employee Contributions

You can elect to contribute to the plan through pre-tax and/or post-tax (Roth) payroll deductions. Elections must be made in whole percentages and cannot exceed 75%. You can change your contribution percentage throughout the year on a prospective basis.

The maximum employee contribution limit is established by the IRS each year.

In 2023, your combined pre-tax and Roth contributions limits were $22,500 if you are under age 50, or $30,000 if you are age 50 or older.

In 2024, the limits increased to $23,000 and $30,500 if you are age 50 or older.

University Contributions

The University makes two types of employer contributions to the Plan: matching contributions and basic contributions.

If you are eligible to receive University contributions (and meet the Plan service requirements described in the Eligibility section above, if applicable to you), contributions will be made in the following amounts:

  • The matching contribution is equal to 100 percent of your combined pretax and Roth contributions (but not catch-up contributions) to a maximum of six percent of your pay.
  • Basic contributions will only be made if you are contributing at least one percent of pay to the Plan on a pretax or Roth basis. The amount of the basic contribution depends on your age. If you are under age 50, you will receive a basic contribution of three percent of pay. Once you reach age 50, you will receive a basic contribution of five percent the first pay after the month of your 50th birthday. 

How to Enroll or Make Changes

To enroll in or make any changes to your 403(b) contribution:

  • Log in to DrexelOne and select the Employee tab.
  • Scroll down to the My Benefits heading on the left-hand side of the screen and select the link for “Retirement Plan management” which will directly connect you to your account on without having to supply additional login credentials.
  • Select Manage Contribution Amount under the Actions menu. Update the percentage for your contributions and the date to make your change effective.

Automatic Enrollment

If you are classified by the University as a full-time, part-time, temporary, casual, per diem or co-op employee or an adjunct, you are eligible for automatic enrollment. This means if you do not make an election to participate in the Plan or affirmatively elect not to participate in the Plan within 31 days of your new hire date, you will be automatically enrolled in the Plan to make employee pretax contributions at the rate of two percent per pay.

If you do become automatically enrolled in the Plan, you may elect to stop making contributions at any time. Any elections to participate, to not participate, or to change your contribution rate can be made through your TIAA retirement account, accessible through DrexelOne.

Automatic enrollment does not apply to certain collectively bargained employees.

How Do I Become Vested in the Plan?

You always have a nonforfeitable or 100% “vested” right to your Employee Pre-Tax Contributions, Roth Contributions, Catch-up Contributions, Rollover Contributions, Matching Contributions and Basic Contributions under the plan.

Investment Options

Visit to view the Plan’s investment lineup.

TIAA-CREF Lifecycle Index Funds are the default investment option for the Plan. If you do not select specific investments when you enroll, your contributions will be directed to the TIAA-CREF Lifecycle Index Fund that most closely corresponds to the year you turn age 65. You may select a different investment choice for your contributions at any time.

Beneficiary Designation

Naming your beneficiaries will ensure that your retirement plan assets are transferred to the people or causes that you choose. One or more beneficiaries can be designated directly on your TIAA account.

Spousal Waiver: Under the Plan, spouses are entitled to receive at least 50 percent of the participant’s retirement plan death benefits. If you would like to direct less than 50 percent to your spouse, you and your spouse will need to complete a spousal waiver form. If such a spousal consent is not executed, your spouse will be entitled to receive at least 50 percent of your pre-retirement survivor benefits, regardless of your beneficiary designation.

Loans and Hardship Withdrawals


The Plan allows active employees to take loans from their 403(b) accounts. Loans are repaid directly to TIAA. For detailed information about loan provisions, contact TIAA at 800.842.2252.

Hardship Withdrawal

Under circumstances of severe financial hardship, you may be eligible to take funds out of your account. In order to qualify, there are certain IRS approved hardships that you would need to provide documentation to confirm your situation.

Employer contributions are not eligible for distribution while actively employed with the University. You will be penalized for an early withdrawal and the funds are considered taxable. For more information and to apply for a hardship withdrawal, contact TIAA at 800.842.2252.

Contact TIAA

For general questions, contact TIAA participant services at 800.842.2252.

To schedule an individual consultation with a TIAA financial consultant visit or call 800.732.8353.