Human Resources

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Retirement Benefits

403(b) Plan for all Benefit-Based Employees

The university provides all benefit-based employees with a 403(b) plan which is a Defined Contribution plan.  A Defined Contribution plan is a retirement plan wherein a certain amount or percentage of money is set aside each year for the benefit of the employee. There are restrictions as to when and how you can withdraw these funds without penalties. 

The university contributes 12% of your base salary to the plan and you have the option of making voluntary contributions on a pre-tax basis up to the maximum set by the IRS.  You may choose how to invest all contributions among two retirement vendors:  TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments.
University contributions to the retirement plan cannot begin until the Human Resources/Benefits office receives a completed Salary Reduction Agreement form and an enrollment form for the retirement vendor(s) you have selected. All contributions made to the plan by you and the university are immediately vested.  You may participate in this plan beginning the first full pay period following your date of employment. 

If you wish to enroll or make changes to your retirement contributions, please complete a Salary Reduction Agreement form and any associated vendor enrollment forms.  Vendor enrollment information may be obtained in the Human Resources office.

Defined Contribution Plan Summary Plan Description

(h2)Retirement Vendors: TIAA-CREF and Fidelity
In order to assist you in planning for your retirement, representatives from TIAA-CREF and Fidelity are on campus regularly for individual counseling sessions.  These sessions will provide you the opportunity to discuss your retirement goals and objectives, asset allocation and investment mix, and the tax advantages of saving through the university's 403 (b) plan.

To schedule your appointment, please contact the vendor directly by calling the toll free number listed below or visiting their web site.

TIAA-CREF: 1-800-732-8353 or
Fidelity: 1-800-642-7131 or

457(b) Plan for Key Executives

The university provides a 457(b) plan to a select group of management and highly compensated employees.  This is an eligible unfunded deferred compensation plan which is intended to supplement the University’s Defined Contribution Plan [403(b) plan]. 

You may defer a percentage or dollar amount of your base salary, up to the maximum contribution allowed by law.  These deferrals are not included as taxable income for state or federal income taxes.  You are immediately vested for all contributions you make to this plan.

To enroll or make changes to your 457(b) plan, please contact Human Resources.

Phased Retirement

The university offers a phased retirement program to benefit eligible employees (faculty, administration, and staff) whose positions are reasonably susceptible to being handled on a less than full-time basis without materially altering the expectations and responsibilities inherent in the position or title, and without adversely affecting the area of program, or the costs relating thereto.

Employees interested in participating in this program must meet the following criteria:

  • Currently employed on a full-time basis with USD
  • Have at least 10 years of continuous full-time, benefit-based service
  • At least 55 years old when Phased Retirement commences
  • Holds a role other than that of President, Vice President, Dean, Director, Assistant/Associate Dean/Director, Department Chair, Program Director, or other role that is not reasonably susceptible to being handled on a less than full-time basis without materially altering the expectations and responsibilities inherent in the position or title, and without adversely affecting the area or program, or the costs relating thereto.
  • Funds are available in the employee’s area to meet the financial commitment
  • There is not detrimental impact on USD programs/students

Please see the Policy and Procedure manual, Section 2.2.6 for full details including the application and approval process and benefits provided under this program.

Post-Retirement Medical 

The university provides limited financial support for Medicare supplemental insurance for eligible retired employees in any year when the university’s budget permits such support.


  • Former employees who have retired (at age 59 ½ or older) from benefit eligible positions at USD on or after January 1, 1988
  • At least 10 years of benefit-based years of service
  • Are at least 65 years of age
  • Participating in the federal Medicare program
  • Who are not receiving paid medical and/or dental insurance from another employer

Please see Policy and Procedure Manual, Section 2.2.7 for full details.

 The University of San Diego Retirement Plan Investment Committee

The University of San Diego established the University of San Diego Retirement Plan (“Plan”) for the benefit of certain eligible employees. The University of San Diego Retirement Plan Investment Committee was created to serve in an advisory capacity to the Plan Administrator in connection with the day-to-day administration of the Plan and the investment of the Plan’s funds.  The Committee shall regularly meet in order to evaluate the various investment options available to Participants under the Plan, and review overall plan administration to ensure compliance.

In general, the Committee has the responsibility to manage the operation and administration of the Plan.  The Committee’s specific duties include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Oversight of day-to-day Plan administration;
  • Interpretation of Plan provisions;
  • Development of procedures regarding the Plan’s administration;
  • Selection, approval, and oversight of third-party service providers, such as recordkeepers, trustees, consultants, legal counsel, auditors, and others, who may or may not exercise discretionary authority over the Plan and who may or may not be considered “fiduciaries” under ERISA;
  • Evaluation, selection and oversight of Plan investments; and
  • Review of benefit claims and appeals.

Under ERISA, the Committee Members must discharge their duties:

  • Solely in the interest of Plan participants and beneficiaries for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits and defraying reasonable costs of the Plan’s administration;
  • With the care, skill, prudence and diligence under the circumstances that a prudent man acting in a like capacity and familiar with retirement plan matters would use in a similar situation; and
  • In accordance with plan documents.

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