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Basic and Matching Contributions

Once you qualify to participate in the Contributory Retirement Account (CRA) of the Stanford Contributory Retirement Plan (SCRP), we will make contributions to the CRA on your behalf.

There are two types of contributions – basic and matching.

Basic Contribution

We make a basic contribution to the plan on behalf of every eligible Contributory Retirement Account (CRA) participant. Even if you choose not to contribute, we make this basic contribution to the plan.

The university's basic contribution is based on your salary and years of qualifying service:

Years of Qualifying Service Percentage of Salary
1 1%
2 2%
3 3%
4 4%
5 5%

Matching Contribution

If you contribute matchable before-tax or after-tax money from your eligible earnings to your CRA, Stanford makes a matching contribution. This is in addition to the basic contribution. Currently, the matching contribution is made each pay period.

If you contribute...  The matching contribution is... 
1 percent of eligible  earnings  1.5 percent of eligible earnings 
2 percent of eligible earnings  3 percent of eligible earnings 
3 percent of eligible earnings  4 percent of eligible earnings 
4 percent of eligible earnings  5 percent of eligible earnings

 

The university’s matching contribution will never exceed 5 percent of compensation for a payroll period. Therefore, if you contribute more than 4 percent of compensation for some payroll periods and less than 4 percent for other payroll periods, you could receive less in matching contributions over the year than had you contributed at an even rate throughout the year. To enhance the matching contributions for those employees whose contributions may vary over the course of the plan year, the plan provides an additional “true-up” matching contribution.

At the end of the year, the university will review your employee contributions and match contributions during the entire plan year and “true-up” your account by providing any missing matching contribution. True-up contributions will be posted after the close of the plan year.

Be sure to check and see if we have already auto-enrolled you at 4 percent before-tax contribution rate. Log into My Retirement Savings or call 1-888-793-8733.

Contribution Limits Set by Federal Tax Laws

The IRS imposes certain contribution limits on this type of retirement savings plan. Each calendar year, federal tax law limits the amount you may contribute to a retirement savings plan using before-tax dollars. In 2018, employees under age 50 may contribute up to $18,500. Employees age 50 and over may contribute an additional $6,000 (for a total of $24,500).

These limits apply to all before-tax contributions you make during the calendar year to all retirement plans - a Stanford plan and/or another employer's plan. If you exceed these limits the IRS may impose penalties. Stanford’s contributions may be reduced or stopped if you reach certain federal limits. 

Get more details about the 2018 Contribution Limits

If you were employed by another employer during a calendar year, you are responsible to:

  • Ensure that your annual contributions do not exceed IRS limits.
  • Monitor your limits and pay any taxes, penalties or interest due because of excess contributions.

To learn more or to change your contribution rate, log into My Retirement Savings or call 1-888-793-8733. If you have any questions about the limits or your responsibilities, consult with a tax advisor.

Transition from TDA to CRA without Losing Matching Contributions

If you become eligible to open a Contributory Retirement Account (CRA) mid-year, remember to enroll and begin contributing at least 4 percent of your future contributions to your CRA. That way, you can start receiving the university's matching contribution as soon as possible. You can continue to make before-tax contributions to TDA. Remember, contributions that go into TDA are not eligible for the matching contributions and cannot transfer into your CRA.

Important Note

If you defer too much of your before-tax contributions to TDA, you may reach the before-tax contribution limits before deferring at least 4 percent to CRA. In order to receive the maximum matching contribution, you will have to contribute on an after-tax basis. Refer to the tips to Maximize Your Contributions.

To Enroll or Ask Questions

To enroll for TDA and CRA contributions, log into the My Retirement Savings. You can also enroll by phone at 888-793-8733.

After you determine how much you wish to contribute on a before-tax basis for the year, be aware you can adjust the amount any time. You can  keep track of your year-to-date before-tax contributions by looking at your pay statement and your Total Compensation Statement.