Announcement: Upcoming 403(b) Program Enhancements

The UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity 403(b) Program is being enhanced. For current information, please visit the 403(b) Program Enhancements page.

TSA Review Committee upcoming meetings

TSA Review Committee Meeting

Date: Friday, October 1, 2021
Time: 10:00am – 1:30pm
Location: TBD


The UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program is a supplemental retirement savings program. Through the TSA Program, you can invest a portion of your income for retirement on either a pre-tax basis, an after-tax basis (Roth), or a combination of both. Participation in the UW TSA Program is voluntary with employees making the entire contribution; there is no employer match. For more background, read the Plan Document pdf or Plan Criteria pdf .

The TSA Program is administered by UW System Office of Trust Funds, with the TSA Review Committee serving as an advisory resource of the program. Financial information on the program can be found in the Annual Reports.


UW TSA 403(b) Program investment options include a wide array of mutual funds and fixed and variable annuities managed by five providers.

Contact information for frozen providers can be found here. See the Quick Guide pdf for more information on the providers.

Name & Address Changes

If you are already enrolled with a TSA provider and need to make changes to your personal information, please do the following:

  • Name Change: Must be made in writing. Contact your provider to obtain a form.
  • Address Change: Contact the provider via phone or in writing. Only TIAA permits online address changes.


All UW System employees (including rehired annuitants, student hourly, and graduate assistants) are eligible to participate. Some positions funded by scholarships or fellowships are not eligible. Eligible employees can enroll at any time.


The UW TSA 403(b) Program provides a low-cost way to save for retirement. All funds are no-load: there are no sales commissions or broker fees. There is no University fee. The UW TSA providers have no annual fees. Participants have access to funds with special low-cost share classes like Fidelity K Shares and TIAA and T. Rowe Price Institutional share classes.


It is important to Save Smart, Save Early pdf — even a small amount adds up! There are many tools to help you learn about investment choices and how to meet your savings goals, including counseling sessions with representatives of the providers, TSA Basics seminars, and webinars. Click on the options below to learn more.

All providers are available for one-on-one counseling sessions. These sessions are available for those who already participate in the TSA Program as well as for those considering participation. Counseling sessions are a free service provided by the UW TSA Program providers.


To schedule an appointment with a Fidelity representative, either sign up online or call 1-800-642-7131.

If you choose to sign up online, you will be taken to the Fidelity page that provides open dates and times based on locations available.

T. Rowe price

T. Rowe Price provides individual counseling sessions via phone. To speak to a T. Rowe Price representative, call 1-888-263-2899.


To schedule an appointment with a TIAA representative, either sign up online or call 1-800-732-8353.

If you choose to sign up online, a new tab will open to a TIAA page. To meet with a TIAA representative at your institution, choose "At Work" under One-on-one Consultations. From here, select the location and the dates and times will show for the next available sessions. 


Ameriprise/RiverSource has advisors for all campuses. To find the location nearest you, call 608-819-0500.

Lincoln financial

Lincoln Financial has advisors for all campuses. To find the location nearest you, call 608-238-8388. 


Please contact your human resources office if you require additional assistance.

Listed below is a selection of live webinars offered by TSA providers. Webinars may or may not directly pertain to the plan. You do not need to be enrolled with that provider to participate in the webinar.

You can also view one of the basic overviews of the program -- "Select, Sign Up and Save" and "Save Smart, Save Early" -- at any time in the On Demand tab below if your schedule doesn't allow for a live webinar.

For additional webinars in the areas of well-being, visit the Employee Well-being Webinars page (webinars may be cross-posted).

NOTE: We have listed webinars in Central Standard Time (CST) but they may be listed in another time zone when you visit the provider website to register.

ProviderTitleDateTime (CST)
 Please see the On-Demand webinars in the tab below for introductions to the program (under TIAA and Fidelity) and visit the Employee Well-being Webinars page for additional webinars.  


Several of our TSA providers offer webinars for current participants and those considering enrolling to view at their leisure. Please keep in mind that some of these webinars and videos cover a large variety of topics and are not specific to 403(b) plans or the UW TSA 403(b) Program.


To watch an overview of the program, click on the link below:

Select, Sign Up and Save with Your UW 403(b) 

Fidelity current has two Brainshark videos available on Pre-tax v. Roth after-tax and navigating market volatility.

Roth versus Traditional Pre-tax Contributions

Navigating Market Volatility


Lincoln currently has two Brainshark videos available on budgeting and managing debt, with regards to retirement planning. 

Retire Right: Budgeting for the future you want

Managing Debt: The art of balancing spending and savings


To watch an overview of the program, click on the link below:

Save Smart, Save Early with Your UW TSA 403(b)

TIAA offers a variety of webinars under the following topics: Investing in Your Future, Living in Retirement, Planning for Today and Tomorrow, Saving for Life's Milestones, and Spending Within Your Means. You can view these webinars whether you have enrolled with TIAA or not. After clicking the link below, scroll down the page and click on "Explore Webinars."

TIAA Webinars

If you have enrolled, use your sign-in information to gain access. If you have not enrolled, you will need to click on the "Register for guest access" link and follow the prompts to sign in. Once you have signed in, you can either register for upcoming webinars by clicking one and filling out the information OR you can choose "On Demand Webinars" to gain access to saved webinars that expire 30 days after the date listed.

T. Rowe Price

Through their myRetirementTV site, T. Rowe Price offers a variety of videos on topics including: Women on Retirement, Your Savings at Work, Social Security, Investing, and Planning.


Watch the short video below to learn more about the UW TSA 403(b) Program. When you click on the video link, a new tab will open and take you to the video on  YouTube.

  • UW TSA 403(b) Program Overview - (4:33) - This video goes over the basics of the TSA Program and briefly explains how to start the enrollment process.
  • Compound Interest - (4:48) - This video gives an overview of the concept of compound interest with examples.
  • Pre-Tax vs. Roth (After-Tax) Contributions - (3:45) - This video walks you through some of the differences between Pre-Tax and Roth (After-Tax) Contributions and may help you decide what works best for you.
  • Target Retirement Date Funds - (5:08) - This video provides some basic information on Target Date Funds and several benefits to investing in one.

UW System Administration staff provides a seminar that helps you learn about the TSA 403(b) Program and the basics of investing. If you are in the Madison area and would like to attend, please see the UW-Madison OHRD Benefits Education website (click on TSA Basics) for dates, times, and how to register.

Please contact TSA staff at for more information about group seminars.


First, research and select a TSA Program provider(s) that can help you meet your future retirement needs with the flexibility you need to manage your account. Please view the UW System TSA Investment Options to see which funds each provider offers. The provider websites also have great information on investment basics.

Second, choose a way to sign up! When you create an account with the provider(s), be prepared to provide them with information about yourself, your beneficiary(ies), and your investment choices. If you need help choosing investments, call the provider. You can also check out the Education section on this website to see if there are individual counseling sessions, workshops, and webinars available.

  • To set up an account with Ameriprise/RiverSource and/or Lincoln, work directly with an agent. Use the contact information in the Overview above.
  • To set up an account with Fidelity, TIAA, and/or T. Rowe Price, use the EZ Enrollment, register online, or fill out a complete paper application. Instructions can be found below.

With any provider(s) you choose, you will need to fill out a Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA) after you set up your account (exception: the EZ Enrollment does not require a SRA to be filled out).

Click below for instructions on how to set up an account via the EZ Enrollment, online, or through a paper application. You will find links to provider websites, enrollment forms, and the Salary Reduction Agreement form in the menu below.

With the EZ Enrollment, you are both setting up your account with the selected provider and setting up your contribution election.

Print out the EZ Enrollment pdf and submit it to your human resources office

You do not need to fill out a Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA) if you enroll with the EZ Enrollment. To stop or change your deductions in the future, you will need to fill out and turn in an SRA.

When you create an account online, using the links below, you have only set up your account with the provider. Once you have set up your account, you will then need to set up your contribution election by submitting a Salary Reduction Agreement pdf (SRA) to your human resources office

  • Fidelity - Enter your Social Security Number and click Continue
  • TIAA - Click the yellow Ready to Enroll button, check the 403(b) Tax-Sheltered Annuity Plan, and click next. Then click the yellow Begin Enrollment button
  • T. Rowe Price - Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the blue Enrollment Form button

When you complete and submit a paper application, you are only setting up your account with the provider. Allow at least 14 days for your application to be received and processed and then set up your contribution election by submitting a Salary Reduction Agreement pdf (SRA) to your human resources office.

Download the paper application for the provider(s) of your choice. Mail the completed application directly to the provider address listed on the application. 

With the exception of the EZ Enrollment, you will need to fill out a Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA) when signing up for a TSA 403(b) account. Depending on which option you choose, it may be time-sensitive to when you turn it into your human resources office (please see the tabs above for more information on each option). The provider cannot accept your 403(b) contribution until you have opened an account. Do NOT file a Salary Reduction Agreement with human resources until you have enrolled with your provider.

The Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA) authorizes the UW to withhold either a dollar amount or percent of pay (salary) from each paycheck and send it to the TSA provider(s) you choose.

It is your responsibility to confirm that your SRA has been properly processed by monitoring your earnings statement.

WARNING: If you choose 100%, then ALL of your salary — after Social Security (FICA), insurance premiums, and required deductions — will be sent to your TSA provider and you will have a $0.00 paycheck.

Note: Use only Adobe Reader to open and complete pdf forms.

You must print the SRA and sign it. Please make a copy for your records and send or fax the original to your human resources office. The address and fax number are provided on page two of the SRA.

Deduction Changes

If you’re already enrolled and want to change your deduction, you have two options.

MyUW Portal

For quick changes, this is the best option.

Log into MyUW Portal and under the Benefits Information tile, click “Launch full app.” Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Update TSA Deductions.” You can view detailed instructions here.

  • When can you use this option?
    You can use this option when you’re already enrolled with the provider for the specific deduction type (i.e., pre-tax and Roth after-tax). You can only change current deductions. You cannot begin or stop deductions via MyUW Portal. To enroll with a different provider, change the type of deduction, or to begin or stop deductions, use the Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA).

Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA)

This option provides more choices but may take longer to take effect.

Complete a Salary Reduction Agreement (SRA) and submit it to your human resources office, indicating whether you want to begin, change or stop your deduction.

  • When can you use this option?
    You can use the SRA to enroll with a new provider or change or stop your deduction with a current provider or type of deduction (i.e., pre-tax or Roth after-tax, percentage or dollar amount).


Under the UW TSA 403(b) Program, you can invest on a pre-tax and/or post-tax (Roth) basis for Fidelity, TIAA, T. Rowe Price, and Lincoln and on a pre-tax basis for Ameriprise.


Contributions deducted from your earnings on a pre-tax basis reduce your current taxable income. Both your contributions and your earnings grow on a tax-deferred basis. When you withdraw money from your account, it is taxed as regular income to you in the year you receive it.

After-tax (Roth)

Contributions deducted from your earnings on a post-tax (Roth) basis are included in taxable income in the year they are made, but the account balance and earnings are not taxed when you take the money out in retirement (subject to certain restrictions). Only TIAA, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, and Lincoln offer the Roth option.


The following limits should be considered when enrolling with the UW TSA 403(b) Program.

Minimum contribution is $8.00 per biweekly paycheck.


  • if under age 50: $19,500
  • if age 50 or older at any time during the year: $26,000 (includes an additional $6,500 catch-up)

You may contribute an additional $3,000 per year ($15,000 max over a minimum of five years) if:

  • You have 15 years or more of service with the UW; and
  • Your TSA contributions average less than $5,000 per year over the course of your UW employment.

By IRS rule, the $3,000 (per year) service catch-up is considered used prior to the $6,000 age 50 and over catch-up.

Please note: You must check with your human resources office to see if you qualify each year. Due to the $5,000 per year average, you may qualify one year but not the next. It is advisable to have this checked by early fall for the upcoming year. This will allow time for you to submit a new Salary Reduction Agreement with any necessary changes to your contribution amount prior to the first paycheck of the new year.

Contributions to Other Savings Plans

Contributions to the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (WDC) or other 457 deferred compensation plans, and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) do not affect your 403(b) limit. You may contribute the full amount to the TSA Program, WDC plan and to a personal IRA, either traditional or Roth.

402(g) Limit – Elective Deferrals

Your UW TSA 403(b) contribution limit is reduced dollar for dollar by contributions you make to any of the following retirement savings plans: other 403(b), 401(k), and Federal Thrift Savings Plans (TSP) and SIMPLE IRAs, SIMPLE 401(k)s, and salary reduction SEP IRAs.

415(c) Limit – Annual Additions

Please note: If you own more than 50% of a business, then retirement contributions made on your behalf by that business must be aggregated with your UW TSA 403(b) contributions and are limited by the 415(c) limit – $57,000 in 2020 and $58,000 in 2021. Your 403(b) contributions made under the Age 50 catch-up are not included when calculating the 415(c) limit.

If you have questions, please email the TSA Plan Administrator at to be sure you have not exceeded IRS contribution limits.

Investment Options

Information on the investment options available in the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) Program can be accessed in the drop down below.

TSA staff is not able to provide financial advice, however a guide on How to Choose a Financial Planner pdf does offer some tips on obtaining financial advice.

The UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) Review Committee reviews the investment options available in the program and works with the providers to make sure the program has the lowest fees and expenses where possible.

The UW TSA Program offers Fixed Annuities, Variable Annuities and Mutual Funds.

Annuities are insurance contracts purchased from one of the insurance providers. Fixed annuities pay interest at or above a guaranteed rate. Variable annuities do not have a guaranteed return: through the insurance provider, you invest in a stock or bond fund similar to a mutual fund. Your return depends on the performance of the investments.

In a mutual fund, your money is pooled with that of other investors and is managed by an investment manager. Mutual funds invest in a variety of different types of stocks and bonds according to their investment objectives. Your return depends on the performance of the investments.

Click here to access a list of the UW TSA Investment Options by provider that are authorized for UW employees under the UW TSA Program.

Low-Cost Share Classes

Each UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA) 403(b) provider incurs operating expenses when it manages your investments. These expenses are taken out of the fund's assets and affect the overall rate of return of the fund. The measure of what it costs a provider to manage its funds is referred to as an expense ratio. Typically, the lower the expense ratio, the greater the rate of return for you - the investor.

Fidelity, TIAA, and T. Rowe Price offer mutual funds with institutional (low-cost) share classes to UW TSA participants. Fidelity refers to these low-cost share classes as "K share" classes. TIAA also offers the lowest-cost tier or annuity products in the UW TSA Program. Because of the size of the UW TSA Program, UW employees qualify to purchase these low-cost shares and annuity products through the TSA Program.

Funds with institutional class shares have the same management team and investment objectives as the funds in other share classes but the expense ratios are lower. Access to low-cost funds provides a great advantage for UW TSA Program participants.

All the target retirement date funds (Fidelity Freedom Funds, TIAA Lifecycle Funds, and T. Rowe Price Retirement funds) are available as part of the lower-cost share class offering. The other Fidelity, TIAA, and T. Rowe Price funds, including those being offered with the lower-cost share classes, are listed on the UW TSA Investment Options by provider document.


The IRS regulates and limits the access you have to your retirement savings. You may withdraw your contributions (take a distribution) only when you:

  • leave employment with the UW System,
  • reach age 59 ½ — even if you are still working, or
  • become disabled.

Once you meet the eligibility criteria above, you have three options to manage your UW TSA 403(b) Program assets. Make sure to explore the pros and cons of each before making a decision.

  • Leave your assets with your provider in the UW TSA Program.
  • Roll over to another plan with a new employer or to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
  • Cash out. Get immediate access to your retirement savings, minus 20% withholding and possible early withdrawal penalties under age 59 ½.

To access your money, contact your TSA provider(s). Withdrawals from TIAA, Fidelity, and T. Rowe Price may be initiated over the phone; TIAA and Fidelity also provide online distribution requests. To withdraw your money from Lincoln or Ameriprise, you must use their form.

Please note: a signature from the UW Plan Administrator is NOT required for any of the current TSA providers — just complete the form, sign it, and submit it directly to the TSA provider.

Only providers no longer active in our Program (frozen providers) — Wells Fargo (Strong), DWS (Scudder), American United Life (One America), and Security Benefit Life — require a signature from the UW Plan Administrator. BNY Mellon (Dreyfus) does not require a signature once the participant is 59 ½ or older.

For questions or contact information, email

The money you take out from your pre-tax TSA accounts is taxed as regular income to you in the year you receive it:

  • Withdrawals before age 59 ½ may result in tax penalties.
  • If you terminate UW employment at age 55 or older – even though you are not 59 ½ – you may take distributions from your UW TSA pre-tax accounts without being subject to the 10% tax penalty for early withdrawal.

Withdrawals from your Roth after-tax 403(b) account are tax-free as long as you meet the IRS restrictions:

  • You must have had the account open at least five years from your first Roth contribution, and
  • You must be at least 59 ½ years old.

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) became law on December 20, 2019. The Secure Act made major changes to the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) rules.

Under the Secure Act, if you reach age 70 ½ in 2020 or later and you are no longer working for the University, you must take your first RMD by April 1 of the year after you reach 72. (If you reached 70 ½ before January 1, 2020, you must have taken your first RMD by April 1 of the year after you reach 70 ½.)

If you neglect to take the distribution, you will incur a 50% tax penalty on the minimum amount you should have received. Your investment provider will calculate your minimum required distribution upon request.

Note: If you are still working at the UW at age 72 (or under the old law at 70 ½), you do not need to take a distribution from your UW TSA until April 1 of the year following your termination of employment. (If you have accounts with previous employers or IRAs, you should begin taking distributions on those accounts by April 1 of the year after you turn 72, or under the law at 70 ½.)

Rollovers & Transfers

If you have funds in an account from a previous employer or you have funds with one of our frozen providers, you may benefit from moving that money to a current provider with the UW TSA 403(b) Program. Consider the following information based on your situation:

If you are permitted to withdraw your money from your former plan, you can roll it into an account with a UW TSA investment provider.

Money that you roll in to your UW TSA 403(b) account will be treated like other 403(b) money for all tax purposes, except that you may be allowed to withdraw it before terminating employment or reaching age 59 ½, usually with a 10% tax penalty.  

The UW TSA Program will accept money from 401(a) "qualified" plans, 401(k), 403(a), 403(b), 457 governmental deferred compensation plans, and Thrift Savings Plans, as well as from traditional (pre-tax), SEP and SIMPLE IRAs. Be aware that if you roll your 457 account into a non-457 plan, it becomes subject to the 10% early withdrawal penalty, which could otherwise not apply.

If you decide to roll over a retirement account, elect a direct rollover, in which the money is paid directly to the new plan. Otherwise, 20% of the account will be withheld for income tax. 

To get started, contact your former plan or employer to get distribution paperwork. You may also need roll-in paperwork from your current UW TSA 403(b) Program provider.

Note: Roth IRAs can only be rolled into other Roth IRAs by federal regulation.

You may move your money within the UW TSA 403(b) Program from one provider to another. Since frozen providers no longer accept contributions, you may want to consolidate your account with a current provider. If you don't have an account with the new TSA provider, sign up before you start the transfer process. To begin the transfer process, call the new provider and ask for a 403(b) transfer request. Complete the form(s) and return them to the new provider. Your new provider is responsible for contacting the old provider and requesting the money.

Exception: If you are transferring money from Ameriprise/RiverSource or Lincoln you must use their form. You'll also need the new provider's form. Complete both and send them to your new company. Alert your new provider that it must submit the Ameriprise/RiverSource or Lincoln form.

Below is contact information for the frozen providers (current provider information can be found in the Overview).

If you would like more information, please take a look at our Tips for Transferring Funds pdf and, if you have questions, contact UWSHR (


If you need access to your money and you can’t or don’t want to take a distribution, you may be eligible to take a loan from your TSA account.

Loans are available from all TSA providers: Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, TIAA, Ameriprise/RiverSource, and Lincoln. The loan administrative fee is very low, and with Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, and Ameriprise you borrow the money from yourself and pay the interest to your own account. With TIAA and Lincoln, a portion of your account is collateralized and you borrow from the company, but interest is low.

To start the loan process, contact your TSA provider. Each provider has its own loan procedure. In the UW TSA Program, you may have up to two outstanding loans at any time, either both from the same provider or one each from different providers. The minimum loan amount is $1,000 and you may borrow the lesser of $50,000 or one-half of your account, subject to federal regulation and provider requirements. Generally, the loan must be repaid within five years unless the loan is used to acquire your principal residence. Loan repayments are made from your bank account to the provider.

You may continue paying off your loan even if you have terminated employment. You can also initiate taking out a loan if you are no longer employed with UW System.


Looking for more information or have a specific question? Take a look at the FAQ page or the Question & Answer Guide pdf .

TSA Review Committee

The TSA Review Committee (TSARC) is a nine-member committee consisting of faculty, academic, and university staff that provides oversight of the program and advice on program issues. Members are appointed by the UW System President to three-year terms that are staggered to provide continuity to the function of the TSARC. The chair and vice-chair are elected at the fall meeting of even-numbered years.

Access the full TSARC membership list here pdf .















Additional agendas and minutes are available upon request.

Beneficiary Information

Employees are encouraged to designate a beneficiary(ies) to ensure benefits are paid according to their wishes. Whenever an employee has a life event, such as a marriage, divorce, or birth of a child, beneficiary designations should be reviewed and updated. Beneficiary designations can be changed at any time.

For more information on beneficiary designations, see the Beneficiary Information page.

Every effort has been made to ensure this information is current and correct. Information on this page does not guarantee enrollment, benefits and/or the ability to make changes to your benefits.

Updated: 07/28/2021