Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Our improved site navigation is here! Thank you to everyone who participated in our user tests. Send us your feedback.

Loans & Hardship Distributions

Main content start

As a participant in the Stanford Contributory Retirement Plan (SCRP), you may be eligible to take a loan from your account balance held in Fidelity and Vanguard funds. Loans give you the opportunity to borrow from your account balance, and then repay yourself.

You may take out a loan against your account balance in your Tax-Deferred Account and/or Contributory Retirement Account, as long as your funds are with Vanguard or Fidelity. To request a loan you must have a total account balance in these funds of at least $2,000. Fidelity and Vanguard funds are subject to certain rules and restrictions, including those set by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

TIAA does not allow loans from their investment options.

Apply for Other Loans and Distributions First

Before requesting a hardship distribution under SCRP, you must first apply for all other types of distributions and non-taxable loans currently available to you in SCRP and/or any other plan within the “controlled group” (read about these groups below). The account or annuity contract may impose additional limits.

Loan Provisions

Before requesting a loan, you should be aware of the general provisions of the loan program:

  • You can have only one outstanding loan at any time.
  • The minimum amount you can request is $1,000.
  • The maximum amount you can request is 50 percent of your account balance up to $50,000 (reduced by the highest aggregate outstanding loan balance under the plan or any other plan within the controlled group during the year that ends on the date before the loan is made).
  • The interest rate is the prime rate plus 1 percent and is determined at the time you request a loan.
  • If the loan is to purchase your primary residence, you may elect to repay the loan over a period of up to 15 years. If the loan is for any other reason, you may take up to five years to repay the loan.
  • You must be employed by Stanford or SLAC at the time your loan application is approved.
  • Loans may be subject to an administrative processing fee.
  • Loan repayments are monthly through an automatic transfer of funds from your checking or savings account into your SCRP account.

Hardship Distributions

If you have an account balance in the Stanford Contributory Retirement Plan (SCRP), you are under age 59-½ and are still employed by Stanford, you can only withdraw money from SCRP if you have a financial hardship.

Hardship distributions may be available to:

  • Purchase a primary residence
  • Pay tuition, room and board, and education-related fees, when these fees are paid directly to the institution and not used to reimburse yourself after you have already paid them (you may also want to read more about Stanford's Tuition Grant Program)
  • Pay uninsured, qualified medical expenses
  • Prevent eviction from or foreclosure on your primary residence
  • Pay burial or funeral expenses for your deceased parent, spouse, child(ren) or dependent, when these fees are paid directly to the institution and not used to reimburse yourself after you have already paid them
  • Pay expenses for the repair of damage to your primary residence that would qualify for a casualty deduction under the Internal Revenue Code

The amount available for a financial hardship distribution is limited to the lesser of either:

  • The amount you need to meet your current financial need (the amount needed to satisfy tax liability on a hardship distribution is included in the determination of your financial need)
  • The amount of your account balance representing before-tax contributions plus investment gains earned before Jan. 1, 1989

NOTE: Employer contributions are not eligible for hardship withdrawals.

"Controlled Group” and Loans

Stanford is required to follow IRS regulations that mandate the university treat its retirement plans and plans maintained by other Stanford-related employers as belonging to a single “controlled group” for various purposes. This controlled group includes:

  • Stanford University
  • Stanford Health Care (SHC)
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford
  • University Healthcare Alliance
  • Packard Children’s Health Alliance
  • CareCounsel
  • SAA Sierra Programs LLC
  • Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health.

Employees who work for any of these organizations will be considered, for certain administrative purposes, to be employed by the same employer: Stanford.

If you have been employed by any of the other entities within the controlled group and have taken a loan that has had an outstanding balance within the last 12 months, it may affect the loan amount available to you. This will be determined during the review of your loan request by Stanford.

Before you request a loan, you can model various loan scenarios on the My Retirement Savings website. To apply for a loan, call 888-793-8733 and speak with a Fidelity representative.

If you request a hardship withdrawal from more than one plan or vendor within the controlled group you must file for each separately and the amount requested from all plans and vendors cannot exceed the amount allowed for financial hardships as defined above.


Neither Stanford nor any plan fiduciary or investment provider will be liable if an administrative plan process (i.e., enrollment, distribution) is materially delayed due to circumstances beyond their reasonable control. This includes, but is not limited to, war, earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, pandemic, acts of terrorism and acts of God which could not be avoided by the exercise of due diligence.