Voluntary 403(b)

The University of Alaska provides a voluntary, supplemental retirement plan - the 403(b). This retirement vehicle offers employees the opportunity to make additional retirement contributions in two ways: (1) pre-tax (Tax-deferred Annuity) and (2)  post-tax (Roth) contributions outside their required contributions to their respective retirement plans (either PERS, TRS, or ORP). 

All Employees
All University of Alaska employees are eligible to participate in the 403(b). This includes students, adjuncts and other temporary employees. Participation in this plan is voluntary and consists of employee contributions only. 

Employees Manage All Aspects of Account
While UA allows you to contribute to a 403(b) through payroll deduction, the management of the account lies entirely with the employee - including managing maximum contribution limits. 

UA Cannot Provide Financial Advice
Employees are encouraged to speak with a financial advisor before opening/changing a voluntary 403(b). The UA Benefits team is not able to provide financial planning advice.

Contribution Limits Set by IRS
Contribution limits are set by the IRS each calendar year.

For calendar year 2023, the contribution limit is $22,500.
For calendar year 2024, the contribution limit is $23,000.

Elective deferrals for both Tax-deferred Annuities (TDA) and for Roth accounts combined for a calendar year may not exceed the IRC limit under Section 402(g).

Catch-up Amounts 
If you are over the age of 50, you are eligible to contribute an additional $7,500 catch up amount bringing the total to $30,000. 

Initial Contributions and Set-up

Tax-deferred Contributions
To start a new Tax-deferred 403(b), review our list of vendors below and open an account with your preferred provider.

Roth Contributions
The Roth option is available with TIAA only. If you already have a TIAA voluntary 403(b) you can begin designating contributions as Roth contributions as early as December 17, 2023. If you do not have a TIAA voluntary 403(b) account already, you will need to open an account with TIAA to begin making Roth contributions. 

Account Required
You must have an account with your provider before UA HR will begin your contributions toward the account.

Making Changes to your Provider or to your Contribution Limit or Contribution Type
You can make any of these changes at any time.

Provider Change
If you want to change your current 403(b) fund sponsor to a different fund sponsor, you must indicate on the form that you are stopping deductions for one provider and starting them for another provider. We will not automatically stop any live deductions without an employee's direct authorization. You can make both changes on the same form by selecting your current 403(b) provider and entering "$0" to stop the deductions and entering the dollar amount for the new provider immediately below. Stopping the deduction does not move the funds from one fund sponsor to another. If you would like to move funds between your 403(b) fund sponsors, please reach out to the sponsor directly for the process and paperwork. 

Contribution Limit
To update your contribution limit, complete a new form and indicate your new biweekly and yearly goal amount(s). Be sure to designate if these contributions will be pre-tax (tax-deferred) or post-tax (Roth). 

Contribution Type
To update your contribution type, complete a new form and indicate your biweekly and yearly goal amount(s) and what type (pre-tax or post-tax). Changing your deduction from pre- to post-tax will not move the funds from one type of contribution to the other. 

Tax-deferred Providers

Roth Providers

403(b) Enrollment Form

Name Beneficiaries with the Provider
It is the employee's responsibility to maintain accurate beneficiary records with their managing fund sponsor. Contact your provider directly or login to your account to update/review your beneficiary designations.

When Can Funds be Accessed?
Per IRS guidelines, withdraws from a TDA can begin with the member is age 59.5. Withdraws prior to age 59.5 may face additional tax penalties for early withdraw. Special considerations may apply. Please reach out to your provider or financial advisor directly to discuss your particular options. As you are preparing for retirement, please review our offboarding webpage which provides detailed information on separating from the university.

Applying for Retirement

  1. 403(b) accounts have a few different options available for retirement withdraws. Please contact your financial planner prior to your retirement to discuss your options.
  2. To initiate your desired retirement, contact your provider directly for the paperwork required for the action you are wishing to take.
  3. Complete and submit the provider paperwork to Planwithease. Remember - these documents have sensitive personal information included. Be sure to send all documents password protected or securely via fax to ensure your personally identifiable information is protected.

Actions for Employees Separating but Not Retiring
If you are separating from the university but are not retiring, there are a few different considerations for your 403(b). The university also has an offboarding webpage which provides detailed information on separating from the university. 

  • You may take no action and leave all funds in your 403(b).
  • You may rollover your vested funds into another qualified tax-free retirement account such as an IRA, or you can rollover your vested funds into a new employer's eligible retirement account.

UA Cannot Provide Financial Advice
Employees are encouraged to speak with a financial advisor before changing or taking action against a voluntary 403(b). The UA Benefits team is not able to provide financial planning advice.

The University of Alaska uses a third party administrator to manage most transactions under the voluntary TDA program. Planwithease offers administrative services for the plan, such as approvals for distributions, loans, qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) and hardship withdrawals.

The most current  Participant User Guide is available from the planwithease.com website once a participant logs in. To access Planwithease, login using the information below.

  • User ID: Your SSN with no dashes. You will be prompted to change your user ID after your first login.
  • Password: University employees are directly mailed their unique password from Planwithease. Contact their customer service if you did not receive a letter or need helping creating an account. You can also access the Planwithease Participant User Guide for help. You will be promoted to change your password after your first login. 

Planwithease can be reached at 1-855-464-6928, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. central time or by email at customerservice@planwithease.com.

Planwithease is only used for the voluntary 403(b) program. It is not used for the UA Pension or ORP.

You can access funds in  your voluntary 403(b) through loans. Some providers allow you to borrow against your account in the form of a personal or residential loan. Please work with your provider and Planwithease for information on what they allow and what proof is required. 

Loans are only allowed with UA's active 403(b) vendors. These vendors are:

  • TIAA
  • Fidelity
  • Lincoln
  • Corebridge (VALIC)
  • American Funds
  • Vanguard
  • VOYA

Loans cannot be processed with voluntary 403(b) vendors that are not currently active an eligible to receive contributions from UA. If you would like to apply for a loan and have funds with an inactive voluntary 403(b) vendor, you may roll the funds over to an active voluntary 403(b) vendor.

Hardship distributions are available for an immediate and heavy financial need, such as severe medical debt, risk of foreclosure or eviction, educational expenses, expenses to repair damage to your home, and others. All applications for a hardship distribution must go through Planwithease.

If your university 403(b) account is involved in a QDRO, please work with Planwithease and your provider to process the order. 

You can also access your account after age 59.5 even if you’re still employed.  All pre-tax distributions made directly to you (not rolled over or transferred) are taxable in the year you take them.