UA Retirement Plan

Useful Links, Contacts

UA System benefits website

TIAA website

Fidelity website


The University of Arkansas Retirement Plan, or “UARP”, is a 403(b)/457(b) defined contribution plan. That means your benefits are based on contributions made to the plan by you and UAMS, plus the growth or interest earnings of those contributions. This is the retirement savings plan for UAMS employees and those at other University of Arkansas campuses. Employees can elect TIAA or Fidelity as their investment provider/record keeper.

Note to APERS members:  UA employees who had the option to elect the APERS retirement plan in the past, when they were hired, may remain in that plan.  However, APERS is closed to new employees. If a UA employee who is enrolled in APERS leaves UA employment and subsequently returns to UA employment, they will be enrolled in the UARP. 

All employees can contribute

Anyone who receives a paycheck at UAMS can make personal, voluntary contributions to the UARP. However, the University match only applies to regular benefits-eligible staff and faculty.  Employees ineligible for the match include temporary employees, employees working less than half-time, residents, and student employees — these employees can make contributions on an unmatched basis via Tax Deferred Annuities.

Required Contribution

Effective July 2016, employees are required to make a contribution.  It began at 1% and will increase by 1% each year until the mandatory employee contribution reaches 5%,
UPDATE 5-4-2020:  the increase to 5% required contribution is delayed to July 2021.   The required contribution will remain 4% from July 2019 through June 2021. 

Retirement benefit scenarios – see how your personal contributions can impact your retirement benefit down the road

UAMS Match

Once you select an investment provider – TIAA or Fidelity –  UAMS automatically contributes a base amount equal to 5% of your salary. You are encouraged to contribute to your account as well. Your combined required and voluntary contributions over 5% are matched by UAMS up to 10% (within IRS limits). Because the plan is a combo 403(b) and 457(b) plan, you can generally contribute up to two times the applicable IRS limit on tax-deferred contributions.

Employees vest after 24 months of continuous employment and participation in the plan.  When you are “vested” it means you are the owner of the money that the University has contributed and can therefore enjoy those benefits when you retire.  Your own personal contributions are always vested immediately.

Additional Retirement Information

PowerPoint presentation used in new employee onboarding

Bucket illustration:  2020
Shows the limits on tax-deferred contributions and how your contributions flow from bucket to bucket.

How to reach your retirement contribution goal in:  2020
Tips to help you:

  • Maximize the UAMS match
  • Contribute all you can on a tax-deferred basis (use the 2020 calculation spreadsheet to help you)
  • Contribute all you can, tax-deferred and after-tax
  • Contribute until the UAMS match maximum is reached, then stop

The UA Retirement Plan Summary Plan Description (plan details) can be found on the UA System website.

Meet with a TIAA or Fidelity retirement counselor
Attend a TIAA or Fidelity seminar

Information about the Roth option added in October 2011:
Fidelity Roth 403(b) Fact Sheet
TIAA Roth 403(b) BrochureTutorial
TIAA Roth Flyer

America Saves

Retirement Forms

Retirement forms, for example to change your contribution, can be found on the Benefits Forms page.

Email your change form to  Or fax to 501-686-5386.   You keep the original and fax confirmation. Log into Employee Self Service in a few days to verify it has been processed.


Benefit plan information on these web pages is in a summary format and is not intended to replace actual plan documents.  UAMS reserves the right to amend or terminate all or any part of any benefit plan.