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403(b) plan

Plan details 

Welcome to your 403(b) retirement plan. 

Each member institution of the University System of Georgia (USG) sponsors its own 403(b) plan. The general terms and conditions of member institution 403(b) plans are the same. This web site provides an overview of the basic provisions of the 403(b) plans. For specific information, please contact your employer or financial advisor.  

Click below to view the features and highlights of your employer’s retirement plan.

The plan highlights are only a brief overview of the plan's features and are not a legally binding document. The information in this section does not modify the terms of the plan and in the event of a conflict, the terms of the plan control.

Take advantage today

All employees are immediately eligible to participate in the 403(b) plan. There are no age or service requirements.

Employees who are students and regularly attending classes at the employer during the calendar year are excluded.

Starting early has its advantages

Your contributions

You are eligible to contribute on a pretax basis, up to the maximum IRS contribution limit.

Contribution limit

You can increase or decrease the amount you contribute to the plan as often as your employer allows. Please note that some member institutions permit contributions to their 403(b) plans on a pretax basis, on a post-tax Roth basis, or a combination of the two. Please consult with your employer for more information.

Catch-up contributions

You might be eligible to contribute an additional catch-up amount if you meet the following condition. 

Catch-up contributions


You are immediately vested in your own contributions, rollover contributions and earnings they generate.

Accessing your money before retirement


Generally, you can withdraw your account balance if any of these events apply:

  • Your retirement 

  • Your death 

  • Your disability 

  • Separation from service 

  • Immediate financial hardship 

  • You attain age 59½ or older

You must begin taking distributions when you reach age 70½ or retire from the employer sponsoring the plan, whichever occurs later.
To the extent permitted by the applicable investment option, you may elect to receive a distribution of all or a portion of the amount held in your rollover account at any time. 

Remember that income tax is due at withdrawal, and withdrawals from your 403(b) account prior to age 59½ are subject to federal restrictions and a 10% federal tax penalty.

Hardship withdrawals

If you have an immediate financial need created by severe hardship and you lack other reasonably available resources to meet that need, you may be eligible to receive a hardship withdrawal from your voluntary contributions. A hardship may include:

  • Medical expenses for you, your spouse or your dependent

  • Expenses directly related to the purchase of your principal residence

  • Tuition, fees, room and board, for post-secondary education for the next 12 months for you, your spouse, your children, or your dependents

  • Amounts required to prevent eviction from, or foreclosure on, your principal residence

  • Funeral expenses for your deceased parent, spouse, children or dependents

  • Repairs for uninsured or underinsured damage to your home due to theft, fire, storm or other casualty

If you feel you are facing a financial hardship, you should see your financial advisor for more details including important information regarding required documentation.


The plan is intended to help you put aside money for your retirement. However, your employer has included a plan feature that enables you to access the money from the plan tax-free without permanently reducing your account. 

  • All loans will be limited to the lesser of: one-half of your vested account balance or $50,000, across all plans of your employer.

  • The minimum loan amount is $1,000.

  • All loans must generally be repaid within five years. A longer term may be available if the loan is to be used to purchase your principal residence.

  • You can have two loans outstanding at a time: one general purpose loan and one mortgage loan.

  • You pay interest back to your account. The interest rate on your loan will be fixed with 1% above Prime Rate.

  • A $50.00 processing fee for all new loans and a $25.00 per year maintenance fee are charged to your account.

  • A participant receiving a loan from the plan must enter into an Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) debit agreement to repay the loan from the participant’s personal bank or savings account.

Unpaid loan amounts will be taxed as ordinary income and may incur a 10% federal tax penalty if the employee is under age 59½. For additional information regarding loans, please see your financial advisor.

An array of investment choices

The mutual funds available in your retirement plan will help provide you with the flexibility you need to create a suitably diversified portfolio that matches your personal retirement time horizon, investment risk tolerance and investment preferences. 

View the entire list of funds and their historical performance available to the University System of Georgia 403(b) plan participants. 

To view or print a prospectus, access “Prospectuses and Other Important Materials”. The prospectus contains the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other information about the respective investment companies that you should consider carefully before investing. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing or sending money. You can also request a copy by calling 1-800-428-2542.