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Retirement Plan Eligibility

All employees of the University are eligible to participate in the Retirement Plan. Enrollment begins after the date they commence employment with the University, except the following individuals:

  • A student, post-doctoral fellows or trainee performing services that are exempt from social security taxes;
  • A nonresident alien described in Section 410(b)(3)(C) of the IRC; and
  • Newly hired faculty who are not highly compensated and who are eligible to participate in the Vanderbilt University New Faculty Plan.

The following categories of University employees are eligible to participate in the Plan by making voluntary elective deferrals after the employee commences employment with the University, but they are not eligible to receive University Matching Contributions.:

  • Employees who have not attained age twenty-one (21);
  • Employees in a collective bargaining unit who participate in a union-sponsored plan;
  • Employees in Vanderbilt Temporary Services;
  • Part-time faculty members (except those designated as “full-status, partial-load”);
  • Full-time and part-time staff who have not yet met 1,000 hours and one year of service;
  • Full-time temporary faculty members; and
  • Faculty members whose positions include the term “adjunct,” “adjoint,” “visiting,” “emeritus,” or “in-residence.”


Employees are immediately vested 100% in their contributions and in the University's matching contribution upon their eligibility for participation. This means an employee immediately owns his/her contributions and Vanderbilt's contributions upon eligibility and may take them at the time he/she ends employment with Vanderbilt.


For faculty and executive administration members: If your gross compensation exceeds $135,000 by December 31 of your first year working at Vanderbilt,(determination year)you will be deemed a highly compensated employee for that plan year and your match will stop until you reach the one-year anniversary of your appointment date. At that time, matching contributions will resume. A highly compensated employee is defined by the Internal Revenue Code Section 414(q) as a specified indexed amount ($135,000 for 2022). This is a requirement of the Plan to meet non-discrimination regulations. See the Faculty Manual for a full explanation.