FAQ: MnSCU Voluntary Retirement Programs

MnSCU Defined Contribution Retirement (DCR) Plan

What is the DCR Plan?

The DCR Plan is a qualified employer sponsored retirement plan, qualified under IRS code section 401(a). Employees who are eligible for the plan are required to contribute at the rate set by Minnesota Statute. The DCR Plan includes the Individual Retirement Account Plan (IRAP) and the Supplemental Retirement Plan (SRP).

Does MnSCU match my contributions?

MnSCU matches contributions to the IRAP portion of the program at a rate of 6% gross compensation. Supplemental contributions are matched dollar for dollar.

Can I contribute more than the amounts specified by Minnesota Statute?

You can not contribute more than the mandatory rates to the DCR Plan. MnSCU employees can make voluntary pretax contributions to either the MnSCU Tax Sheltered Annuity Program or the Minnesota Deferred Compensation Plan. See below for further details on these programs. 

How can I change my investment elections?

You can make changes to your future contribution election or your existing balance allocation. Visit the TIAA-CREF website or call the MnSCU Retirement Service Center at 1-800-682-8969.

Which investments are right for me?

Your investment selections will probably depend on how much time you have until retirement and how much risk you can take. The more time you have and the more tolerance you have for market ups and downs, the more risk you can afford in your portfolio.

Remember, too, that diversification can help you lessen risk over time. By choosing a balanced mix of stock, bond and money-market investments, you can capture the best of what several markets have to offer, while helping to lessen the effects of periodic market changes on your overall portfolio.

The investments you choose for retirement and the amount you allocate to each category should be personalized to your needs - only you are the best judge of which funds are right for your goals. Therefore, you should carefully read the information you have on your investment options (including prospectuses) before you make any investment decisions.

When should I make investment changes?

The most successful investment plan is one that is followed. Do not panic if you see your investments go down in value in the short-term. Sometimes people panic and end up buying when the market is high, and selling when it's low. The plan is intended as a long-term investment. To make it work best, you should choose an investment approach and stick with it.

Where can I get more information on the investment funds available in the Plan?

Investment fund performance for the DCR Plan fund options and fund descriptors for each of the currently available options are available on the TIAA-CREF website.  To obtain copies of prospectuses or other detailed information, call TIAA-CREF at 1-800-682-8969. 

Is there an additional cost I pay for this plan?

Administration fees are primarily paid by participants of the program. The administration fees are collected annually from participants.

An annual fee of $9.00 per participant is assessed for TIAA-CREF's administration fee. An additional annual fee of $5.00 per participant is assessed by MnSCU to pay the expenses of the Plan, including legal fees and accounting expenses. The fee will be paid annually in June.

The MnSCU fee is reviewed and adjusted annually, if warranted.

What happens to my account if I die or become disabled? Does MnSCU have access to the money in my account?

In the event of your death or disability before retirement, your account balance will be paid to your beneficiary on file or to you if you become disabled. It is very important for you to verify your current Beneficiary on file or to complete a new Beneficiary Form. Call the MnSCU Retirement Service Center at 1-800-682-8969 or visit the TIAA-CREF website and log into your individual account.

At no time can your account be paid to MnSCU or be forfeited to any other entity.

How much will I receive at retirement?

Your account balance at retirement will depend totally on your contributions, MnSCU's contributions and the investment performance of the funds you selected. The benefit will be different for each participant.

Am I required to take a distribution at retirement or when I terminate employment?

At the time you attain the age of 70 1/2 you will be required to begin taking minimum distributions if you are no longer actively employed by MnSCU. The amount of the distribution is based on the IRS formula for minimum distributions.

The distribution options for each plan is available to you on the TIAA-CREF website. 

  • TIAA-CREF MnSCU Retirement Call Center
    Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. CT
    Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. CT


MnSCU Tax Sheltered Annuity Program (403b) and

State of Minnesota Deferred Compensation Plan (457b)

Where can I obtain more detailed information on the investment providers and products available in the program?

Each investment provider has detailed product information available, including investment fund descriptors, prospectuses and performance.

Tax Sheltered Annuity Program (403b)
TIAA-CREF MnSCU Retirement Call Center

Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. CT
Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. CT 

Minnesota State Deferred Compensation (457) Plan
Minnesota State Retirement System

Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

How often can I change my TSA-403(b) or 457 Salary Deferral Election during the year?

Employees can make multiple elections during the year. This provides more flexibility for you to increase or decrease your deferral during the year to accommodate changing needs and to ensure that IRS contribution limits are not exceeded. You must make changes directly on the State of Minnesota Employee Self Service website

Can I take a loan from my TSA-403(b) or 457 account?

Loans are available from the TSA Plan. You should call TIAA-CREF at 1-800-682-8969 to verify how much you can take as a loan.

The 457 plan does not offer a loan provision.

I use an independent financial planner to help me determine the amount I will contribute to the 403(b) and/or 457 plan the investment fund options best for me. Can I continue to use my financial planner?

TIAA-CREF will provide objective investment advice via their partnership with Ibbotson.  However, TIAA-CREF and the Minnesota State Retirement System Services are not financial planners in their role as record-keepers for the MnSCU 403(b) and the State's 457 programs. They provide broad education information. You can continue to use your financial planner to assist you with investment and tax advice.