Understanding Your Contributions

How can you plan for retirement through the California State University system?

Understanding your retirement benefits and taking advantage of all resources available to you can set you on the path to a financially secure future. Let us help guide you through preparing for retirement, whether through mandatory deductions or voluntary contributions. It is important to know where your money is going and how it will benefit you in the long run. Explore the various mandatory and voluntary retirement plans offered by the California State University a​nd start planning for your future today.

​This page will cover Mandatory Contributions, including
and Voluntary Contributions, including
403(b)​ | 401(k) and 457
Frequently Asked Questions​ can be found at the bottom of the page.

Mandatory C​​​ontributions


The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) offers California State Employees a defined benefit retirement plan. CalPERS membership is mandatory for CSU employees who are eligible.

CalPERS manages the investment of employer and employee contributions and uses the income from investments to pay for employee retirement benefits; therefore, employees do not bear any investment risk. Pension payments in retirement are determined by set formulas and are payable for life. The formulas provide benefits based on members' years of service, age, and final compensation.


Retirement program eligibility is based on appointment type, duration, full-time equivalency (FTE), and previous public or reciprocal agency employment. Employees eligible for membership include:

  • Full-Time appointment​s more than six months
  • Half-Time appointments (50 percent or more) for one year or longer
  • Temporary Faculty are required to enter CalPERS membership commencing with the third consecutive semester appointment at half-time or more (7.5 WTU's)

There are exceptions to CalPERS membership eligibility, contact the campus benefits office for more information.

CSU Employees Formulas (for all employees except Public Safety)*

​PEPRA Membership

Classic Member​ship

Employment and Membership

Hired by state and new CalPERS member on or after January 1, 2013

Hired by state and new CalPERS member between January 15, 2011 and December 31, 2012

Hired by state and new CalPERS member prior to January 11, 2011

Retirement Formula




Highest Benefit Factor





5 years

5 years

5 years

Age Requirement to Retire




Salary used to calculate retirement

Average highest 36 months (subject to cap)

Average highest 36 months

Average highest 12 months

*Public Safety employees should contact their campus benefits office for detailed information.

Employees can view the applicable retirement benefit formula chart by choosing one of the membership benefit publications below. Employees uncertain of their benefit formula can contact their campus benefits office.

Retirement benefits are calculated using a formula with three factors:

Service Credit (years)1 x Benefit Factor (% per year)2 x Final Compensation (Monthly $)3 = Unmodified Allowance ($)4

  • 1Service Credit - Total years of employment with a CalPERS employer. This could include other types of service credit such as sick leave and service credit purchase. Employees can view their Annual Member Statement by logging in to my|CalPERS to view service credit.
  • 2Benefit Factor - Percentage of final compensation for each year of service credit, based on an employee's age at retirement and retirement formula(s).
  • 3Final Compensation - Employee's highest average full-time monthly pay rate for 12 or 36 consecutive months of employment, depending upon the employee's benefit formula (if the employee pays into Social Security, $133.33 per month will be deducted from the employee's final compensation).
  • 4Unmodified Allowance - Highest benefit payable.

Note: Any unused sick leave is converted to additional service credit if the employee retires within 120 days of separation from employment. Eight hours of sick leave equals one day (.004 of a year of service). It takes 250 days of sick leave to receive one year of service credit (.004 x 250 = 1 year).

Final Compensation Caps

Employees who became members of CalPERS on or after 7/1/1996, are subject to the IRC 401(a) (17) limit, which restricts the amount of compensation that can be used to calculate the CalPERS retirement benefit. Employees who become new members of CalPERS on or after 1/1/2013, and deemed PEPRA members, are subject to a PEPRA compensation cap. These amounts represent the maximum salary that can count toward final compensation and calculation of retirement benefits.

Below are additional CalPERS Retirement Education Resources and Publications:

CalPERS Education Center
Guide to CalPERS Web Resources
Planning Your Service Retirement
Service Retirement Election Application
Service Credit Purchase Options
Special Power of Attorney
Welcome to CalPERS -A Benefits Guide for State Members (New)
When you Change Retirement Systems

It is highly recommended to attend Instructor-led or online Member Education classes that are periodically offered. Making a one-on-one appointment at one of CalPERS Regional Offices is a great way to gain valuable knowledge. For additional information, visit CalPERS or call 888-225-7377.

PST (Part-time, Seasonal, Temporary) Program

The Part-time, Seasonal, and Temporary Retirement Program (PST Program) is a savings program created by federal law for employees who are not members of a retirement system. The PST Program provides an opportunity for state and California State University (CSU) employees not covered by Social Security and by California Public Employee's Retirement System (CalPERS) to save for retirement. The PST Program is an eligible 457 Deferred Compensation Plan (457 Plan) under the Internal Revenue Code. Employees enrolled in the PST Program are required to contribute 7.5% of gross wages that are withheld automatically on a pre-tax basis and deposited into a 457 deferred compensation plan through Savings Plus.

Eligible CalPERS Membership

Most frequently, PST employees become eligible for CalPERS retirement benefits when:

  • They work more than 1,000 hours per fiscal year (cumulatively and regardless of the number of departments they work for)

  • They are appointed to a position that is covered by CalPERS

​Employees who become CalPERS members due to employment status changes no longer contribute the 7.5% to the PST Program and CalPERS and Social Security deductions begin to be taken. PST account balances are automatically transferred to the Savings Plus 457 Plan. Employees may be able to use their 457 Plan account balances to purchase service credit with CalPERS or other public pension plans if eligible. 

To purchase CalPERS Service Credit, log in to myCalPERS. 

Go to the Retirement tab, select Service Credit Purchase followed by the Search for Purchase Optionbutton.

Learn more in the PST to CalPERS Transition Guide.


Employees who have been separated from their employment are eligible to request a total distribution from their PST account after a period of 90 days from the last transaction involving their account. It is important to note that any payments received from the PST account are considered ordinary income and must be reported to the IRS.

It is also important to understand that a change in an employee's eligibility for a retirement system does not qualify as an event that allows for a distribution under IRS regulations. This means that employees who are covered by the PST Program and become eligible for coverage under a state retirement system cannot take a distribution from their PST account prior to separation. In these cases, HR professionals must stop PST deductions once a participant becomes eligible for CalPERS.

If a PST participant becomes eligible for CalPERS, Savings Plus will transfer the entire PST account balance to a 457(b) Plan account 75 days later. If the employee already has a 457(b) Plan account with Savings Plus, the balance will be transferred there. If the employee does not have an existing account, Savings Plus will establish one on their behalf and transfer the balance accordingly. Employees will be notified of the transfer and provided with information on how to contribute to the newly established 457(b) Plan account.

You can learn more about PST by viewing the plan manual, withdrawal request booklet, the SavingsPlus website or by calling SavingsPlus at (855) 616-4776.

UCDC Financial Retirement

The UCDC Plan is a defined contribution plan under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Unlike a traditional pension plan, where retirement benefits are based on a fixed formula, the UCDC Plan's future benefits are determined by contributions made to the plan and investment earnings.

In September 1991, the Regents of the University of California, as trustees of the University of California (UC) Defined Contribution Plan (the "UC Regents") and The California State University (CSU) Trustees (the "CSU Trustees") entered into an agreement, where the UC Regents agreed to maintain contributions (and any earnings and interest thereon) made on behalf of CSU Part-Time, Seasonal, and Temporary employees who were not eligible for CalPERS membership into the University of California Defined Contribution Plan (UCDC Plan).

As of July 1, 2005, the PST Program replaced the UCDC Plan and became CSU's exclusive part-time employee retirement program for employees excluded from CalPERS membership. Due to IRS regulations and retirement law, employees' balances contributed to the UCDC plan could not be moved into the PST plan administered by the State of California Human Service (CalHR/Savings Plus). Account balances remaining in the UCDC plan may be eligible for a distribution or a rollover. This may be a great time to consolidate your retirement savings accounts.

For more information login to your Fidelity accou​nt or contact Fidelity Investments at (866) 682-7787 and mention the University of California (UC) Defined Contribution (DC) Plan, plan number: 60988.

Voluntary Contributions

All active university employees, including those who are not eligible for CalPERS, can participate in these voluntary retirement plans to save more for retirement. Employees may enroll in either or both the California State University SRP 403(b) Plan or the Savings Plus 401(k) & 457(b) Plans.

Consolidating previous Retirement Accounts

If you have an old retirement account with a previous employer or a 403(b) account balance with one of the CSU legacy vendors (MetLife, TIAA, VALIC or Voya) you may benefit from consolidating it into the 403(b) plan with Fidelity.

It is important that you periodically review the performance and costs of your investments and retirement accounts including those with a legacy 403(b) vendor. Consolidating your retirement savings accounts into an easy-to-manage account before you retire may be a beneficial way to manage your accounts. There are many factors you must consider before making the decision such as (fees, investment performance, and services) – consider meeting with a financial consultant to discuss what is best for you.


The California State University 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Plan is a retirement account through Fidelity Investments where you choose from a mix of investment options with pre-tax and/or Roth payroll contributions. The minimum contribution is $15 a pay period. Rollovers are allowed into the plan and loans/hardships withdrawals can be taken from this plan if needed. Withdrawals are permitted upon separation or after age 59½.

​Traditional 403(b)

Roth 403(b)


Tax free




Tax free

*Election changes can take between 1 to 2 payroll cycles to process.
Enroll online using the button below or contact a Fidelity representative (877-278-3699).

Enroll in a 403(b) online.

Maximum Deferra​l Amount (MDA) Limited for 403(b)


Annual MDA under age 50


Annual MDA if turning 50+ in plan year


(15 Year rule) Catch-up contributions
(age 50+) (15 Year Catch up)

$3000 per year

California State University Supplemental Retirement Plan Features

Catch-up Contributions​​

Catch-up contributions are available if you are age 50 or will reach age 50 during the calendar year, January 1–December 31, and are making the maximum IRS contribution.

403(b) Plan Lifetime (15-year rule) Catch-up Contributions

This provision allows you to increase your contributions above the basic annual limit and age 50+ catch-up provision by $3,000 per year. To qualify, you must have 15 or more years of service and have contributed on average less than $5,000 a year to your 403(b) Plan. The lifetime catch-up provision limit is $15,000. (15-Year Catch up)


Vesting means ownership. You are 100% vested in all contributions to the Plan as soon as they are made.

Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)

A RMD is a specific amount of money you must withdraw from a tax-deferred retirement account each year, beginning at age 73.


Active employees may apply for a loan directly through Fidelity Investments®


Voluntary 403(b) Plan assets may be transferred “in plan" to Fidelity Investments.


You may roll over money from a previous employer's retirement plan to the 403(b) Plan.

Legacy Investment Provider Accounts

Learn about the distribution options for accounts that may be held with other investment providers to make it easier for you to keep your planning on track. If you have Voluntary 403(b) Plan balances with legacy investment providers, the balances will remain with the legacy provider unless you direct otherwise.

Investment Education

Fidelity Investments representatives make online appointments to meet with you. To schedule an appointment with Fidelity, call 877-278-3699 or visit Fidelity's website.

Account Access

Contact Fidelity Investments at 877-278-3699 or log on to Fidelity NetBenefits.

Update Beneficiary

Updating your beneficiary information consists of accessing your retirement account through the online platform. See the Beneficiary Guide for more information.

Distributions, Rollovers and Other Requests

If you need a Plan Administrator Signature, please submit your request to CSU Systemwide Benefits through one of the following: Online Submission, by fax 562-951-4695, or by mail to the address below.

CSU Chancellor's Office 
Attn: Systemwide Benefits 
401 Golden Shore 
Long Beach, CA 90802

The request processing timeline is 5-7 business days; requests must be submitted by December 10th to guarantee processing within the same calendar year.

401(k)​ and 457(b)

The Savings Plus 401(k) & 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan is a deferred compensation plan similar to a retirement account, to supplement retirement benefits through pre-tax and/or Roth payroll contributions. The investment provider is Nationwide and the minimum contribution is $25 per pay period. Learn more on the 401(k) & 457 (b) Guide​.

​​Traditional 401(k)

Roth 401(k)

Traditional 457(b)

Roth 457(b)











Enroll in a 457(b) online or call (855) 616-4776

Maximum Deferral Amoun​t (MDA) Limited for 457(b)


Annual MDA under age 50


Annual MDA if turning 50+ in plan year


Traditional Catch-Up Contribution
(Traditional Catch-Up Guide)


*If you were eligible to contribute to the Savings Plus 457(b) Plan and did not contribute the maximum amount in prior years, you may be eligible to participate in Traditional Catch-Up during the last three years prior to your Normal Retirement Age. You are not permitted to make age-based Catch-Up contributions and Traditional Catch-Up contributions to your 457(b) Plan in the same year.


  1. ​Where can I learn more about my CalPERS pension?
    ​You can log in to your myCalPERS account or call CalPERS at 888-225-7377.
  2. How do I know if I contributed to CalPERS or PST?
    Participation is dependent on your appointment. Please reach out to your campus benefits office to inquire.
  3. ​How do I know if I contributed to a 403(b), 401k, or 457 plan?
    Participation in these plans is voluntary. You can review payroll deductions on the Cal Employee Connect website to see if you have any voluntary supplemental retirement plan deductions or speak with your campus benefits office.
  4. What is the contact information for all of the vendors?
    You can find all of the contact information here.