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Retirement Plan for Adjunct Faculty & Part-Time Staff

COVID-19 Update: The University will temporarily suspend employer matching contributions and automatic enrollment to the American University 403(b) Retirement Plan effective August 1, 2020, for at least six months.

AU's 403(b) Retirement Plan allows you to make contributions immediately to your retirement savings. If you are eligible for matching funds from the university (see below for eligibility) the first five percent (5%) of your contributions are matched 2-to-1 by the university, for a total contribution of up to 15 percent (5% from you plus a 10% match by the university).

Eligibility to Contribute to the Retirement Plan

  • Faculty: Full-time or adjunct faculty member under contract and receiving remuneration
  • Staff: Employed by AU on a full-time or part-time basis

Eligibility to Receive the University Matching Contribution

  • Eligible faculty or staff member (defined as full-time or adjunct faculty and full-time or part-time staff who worked for at least 1,000 hours per year as measured from date of hire), and
  • Age 24 or over, and
  • Completed at least one year of eligibility service (waived if at least one year of previous full-time service at an approved institution - see "Waiver of the One-Year Waiting Period" below).

Waiver of the One-Year Waiting Period for the University Matching Contribution

If you have a year of service at another 501(c)(3), non-profit, or university, you may be eligible for a waiver of the one-year waiting period. Complete the AU Retirement Plan Eligibility Verification Form and return it to the human resources benefits team.

Enrolling in the Retirement Plan/Making Changes to Your Contribution

You may enroll or make changes to your payroll contribution amount through the myBenefits - Retirement site.

Note regarding Automatic Enrollment: You will be automatically enrolled in the retirement plan when you meet the university's matching contribution requirements. You will receive a notification shortly before you become eligible with enrollment instructions. If you do not make an election, the university will automatically reduce your compensation by 1% and contribute it to the retirement plan on your behalf, with a 2% match from the university.

One-on-One Confidential Consultations with Fidelity and TIAA

All faculty and staff participating in the retirement plan are encouraged to schedule one-on-one appointments with our Fidelity and TIAA consultants. Both service providers are on-site at American University Office of Human Resources twice a month and offered at no cost to you.

For available dates and to register for a consultation, please click on your retirement service provider's link.

In-service Distributions, Loans, Withdrawals, and Hardship Distributions

For information on in-service distributions, loans, withdrawals, and hardship distributions, refer to the Faculty Staff Benefits Manual. To initiate the process for taking a distribution or to learn more about the process, contact your 403(b) vendor (Fidelity and/or TIAA).

Rebalancing Your 403(b) Investments

It is important to rebalance your 403(b) investments periodically. Rebalancing realigns your portfolio if it has deviated from your original asset allocation goals. Both TIAA and Fidelity have rebalancing tools to help you optimize your investment mix. Contact TIAA or Fidelity to rebalance your portfolio.

Yearly Maximum Contributions/Compensation Limits

Limits on compensation for determining contributions as well as contribution limits are determined under federal tax laws. See the outside retirement contributions and yearly maximum contributions for more information.

Outside Business Retirement Plan Contributions

Retirement plan contributions you make through an outside business may impact your maximum contribution each calendar year. See the outside retirement contributions and yearly maximum contributions for more information.

For more information on the AU Retirement Plan, refer to the Faculty Staff Benefits Manual.


Fidelity Retirement Benefits Line: (800) 343-0860
Available Monday through Friday (excluding New York Stock Exchange holidays), 8 a.m. - midnight ET

To schedule a one-on-one Guidance Consultation, call (800) 642-7131 or visit

Schedule Appointment


Customer Service: (800) 842-2776 available Monday through Friday,
8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. ET, Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. ET
Automated service available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week

To schedule a one-on-one consultation on campus, call (800) 732-8353 or visit

Schedule Appointment