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Voluntary Investment Program


Visit to learn more, schedule a consultation with a Fidelity Workplace Planning and Guidance Consultant, view your investment options, and learn about the new Roth 403(b) option available to you.


The Voluntary Investment Program (VIP) is an optional, unmatched retirement savings plan, operating under Section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). VIP participants may contribute to one or both of the following investment options:

Pre-tax 403(b) Contributions

After-tax 403(b) Contributions (Roth)

The total combined contributions cannot exceed the year's contribution limit (see below).

Please note your VIP contributions are not matched by the University. Social Security tax is paid on the deductions whether pre-tax or Roth, and contributions to VIP have no effect on future Social Security benefits. Your VIP funds should be regarded as unavailable until you reach age 59 ½ or separate from the University, with the exception of a Loan or Hardship Withdrawal described below. Any withdrawals from your pre-tax contributions will be subject to federal income taxes, and a 10% penalty may apply.


As a UW employee, you are eligible to participate in the VIP at any time regardless of whether you are enrolled in one of the basic UW retirement plans. Those not eligible to participate include:

Investment Options

View the list of investment options at:

Contribution Limits

Under IRC 403(b), the IRS sets annual limits on total, combined employee and employer contributions to defined contribution retirement plans like the UW Retirement Plan (UWRP) and VIP. VIP employee contributions—whether pre-tax and/or after-tax—combined with employee and employer UWRP contributions cannot exceed the IRS limit for all 403(b) plans.

You can contribute as little as $15 per pay period and as much as 75% of your pay not to exceed the maximum contribution limits described below.

2016 Maximum Contribution Limits

The maximum combined employee and employer contribution allowed under the IRC 403(b) is:

An additional $6,000 is allowed for each of these years if you are age 50 or above as described in “Catch-up Contributions” section below.

The maximum amount you can contribute to your VIP, based upon the retirement plan in which you are participating as a UW employee, is as follows:

*The VIP maximum contribution amount shown above includes the Age 50 “Catch–up Contribution” of $6,000 as described in the "Catchup Contributions" section below.

Catch-up Contributions

The IRS allows what is called an "Age 50 Catch-up Contribution," a contribution in excess of the general IRS contribution limit for 403(b) plans. This catch-up is available to employees who have reached age 50 during the calendar year. The catch-up contribution is $6,000 for tax year 2016 (same as prior tax year) and is included in the limits listed above.


The UW Benefits Office reserves the right to stop or return VIP contributions to prevent over-deferrals. Current participants can find their current year VIP maximum contribution amount at Employee Self Service (ESS) under the “Retirement and Savings” tab.


Enroll, Stop, or Change VIP Contributions

Eligible employees may enroll in the VIP at any time. Enroll or make changes through the UW’s master administrator, Fidelity Investments at, or call 1-800-642-7131 for assistance. Also, update your beneficiary information here.

Accessing VIP Savings

At age 59-1/2 or greater: Once you reach this age, you can access your VIP contributions regardless of your employment status according to the Internal Revenue Code.

Prior to Age 59-1/2 or Loan and Hardship Withdrawals: When unexpected financial hardships occur, you may find that you need to explore all your options including tapping into any VIP savings.  There are special rules about accessing these funds for hardship situations. Learn more.


Washington State Deferred Compensation Plan

The UW offers an additional optional retirement savings program, called the Washington State Deferred Compensation Plan (WSDCP). WSDCP is a retirement savings program operating under Section 457(b) of the IRC. It is an agreement between an employee and the state that postpones ("defers") part of the employee’s income. This income deferral reduces current taxable income and allows the deferred income to grow untaxed until retirement. The state of Washington retains ownership of funds invested through this plan until retirement.

If you wish to maximize your retirement savings, or if you participate in the UWRP and your allowed VIP contribution is smaller than your desired savings rate, you may wish to explore this plan. You may participate in your basic retirement plan and both the VIP and the WSDCP in the same tax year at the same time. If you wish to participate in the WSDCP contact the Department of Retirement Systems at 1-888-327-5596 for assistance in plan enrollment. See the WSDCP webpage for more information.

Saver's Tax Credit and the VIP

When making contributions to the VIP, you may be eligible for a "saver's credit." This credit could reduce the federal income tax you pay dollar-for-dollar. The amount of the credit that you can receive is based on the contributions you make and your credit rate. Review the rules for the Saver's Tax Credit to see if you qualify.

Beneficiary Designations

Internal Revenue Service Publication 571

Voluntary Investment Program Forms

Voluntary Investment Program Hardship Withdrawals

VIP Resources