Wise Information for Higher Ed Employees



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The 403(b) Basics: 403(b) Contribution Limits

Participants may contribute up to $18,500 for year 2018. From 2017 to 2015 the limit was $18,000. In 2014 and 2013 the limit was $17,500. It was $17,000 in 2012. 

For those with employer matches or other employer contributions, the limit is $55,000 or 100% of compensation (whichever is less). The participant is still limited to the employee elective deferral limit ($18,500 for 2018). An employer can add up to another $36,500.

Age 50 Catch Up

Participants age 50 and older at any time during the calendar year are permitted to contribute an additional $6,000 in 2018. The age 50 catch up has been $6,000 since 2015. From 2009 to 2014 it was $5,500.

15-Year Rule

Employees with 15 years of service with their current employer and an annual average contribution of less than $5,000 per year are eligible for an additional $3,000 contribution per year up to a lifetime maximum catch up of $15,000. This is known as the 15-year rule. For participants eligible for both the age 50 catch up and the 15-year rule, the IRS will apply contributions above the regular limit first to the 15-year rule. Employers are not required to make this provision available.

Higher Ed Stories

Savings Advice for Higher Ed Participants

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Inga Chira brings a unique perspective to the Higher Education market. She is a professor and a CFP®. Here are her tips for saving for retirement as a higher ed employee.