Defined Contribution Retirement Plan

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Summary and plan information

Northwestern’s 403(b) retirement plan is comprised of two components: employer contributions and salary deferrals.

Employer contributions

Employees are eligible to receive employer contributions to the retirement plan upon completion of one (1) year of service and 1,000 hours of service in a plan year. A year of eligible service includes immediate prior service at a non-profit, tax-exempt institution of higher education.

The University contributes a percentage of the employee's salary to the retirement plan. This percentage is determined by the administration of the University. Employees should contact Principal Financial Group for the retirement plan investment options.

All contributions to the retirement are fully vested (owned) by the employee immediately. The accumulations are not accessible to employees while they are still working at Northwestern. However, upon retirement or termination of employment, several distribution options will be available.

Salary deferrals

Employees may participate immediately upon starting employment. This plan allows employees to contribute a portion of their salary on a pre-tax basis to their retirement plan. Contributions are made on a tax-deferred basis.

Accumulations in the employee's supplemental accounts are generally not accessible before age 59½ except in case of death, disability, termination of employment or hardship as defined by IRS regulations. In certain situations (determined by IRS regulations) loans may be taken out against an employee's supplemental retirement account.

If an employee dies before retirement, the full current value of their accumulations in their retirement plan are payable to their designated beneficiary.

Further details regarding these plans may be found in the Summary Plan Description.


Principal Financial Group
Phone: 800-547-7754
Fax: 866-704-3481

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