Retirement Savings and Financial Planning

It's never too soon to begin saving for retirement. Learn more about the retirement savings accounts available to Columbia faculty and staff.


You enroll and make adjustments to retirement savings accounts* via CUBES. However, you manage your accounts and find resources via the TIAA and Vanguard websites:

  • Vanguard  (You will first need to register under "Sign up for online access". Follow instructions and input Plan #096141)
  • TIAA  (You will first need to register under "New user access")

Important Reminder on Beneficiaries: Assign your beneficiaries in the Vanguard and TIAA plans via their websites (not only in CUBES).

*Retirement benefits may vary according to your employment group.

Investment Lineup Transition

The University is committed to providing retirement programs to help you plan for the future and provide a foundation of retirement income in addition to your personal savings and investments.

Student Employees

Retirement Plan for Student Employees

Make Sure You Are Signed Up

Not sure if you are participating in the VRSP? The simplest way to check is to look at your payroll statement.

To enroll in the VRSP, log in to CUBES; select "Retirement" and follow the prompts. 


The VRSP is a defined contribution 403(b) plan that lets you contribute from 1% to 80% of your eligible pay on a pre-tax and/or Roth basis, in half percentages, through convenient payroll contributions.

  • Eligibility begins on date of hire.
  • You are always 100% entitled to the value of your own contributions.
  • The IRS sets a maximum contribution limit each year, which applies to combined contributions, pre-tax and Roth:
    • The 2023 maximum contribution is $22,500 (plus $7,500 if you are age 50 and over, for a total of $30,000).
  • The Social Security wage base is $160,200 in 2023.
  • Your own contributions are not eligible for employer matching contributions.

You have a wide range of funds to choose from for investing your savings, available through TIAA and/or Vanguard.

Pre-tax contributions to the VRSP are deducted from your paycheck with only FICA taxes withheld. 

Making pre-tax contributions allows you to defer paying income taxes until you make a withdrawal from your retirement account. 

A Roth contribution is money that you contribute to your VRSP after taxes. Roth contributions are taxable like the rest of your current pay.

Because Roth contributions are deposited into a VRSP after taxes were deducted, withdrawals will be tax free, subject to certain rules. 


Are you a currently retired Columbia Officer or Support Staff member—or planning for your retirement? Find all benefits information and planning resources on the Retiree Benefits website.


Benefits Service Center

Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 am - 4 pm


The Vanguard Group

  • Telephone: 1-888-523-1188

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