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Duke Faculty & Staff retirement plan highlights

Welcome to your Duke Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan. Click below to view the features and highlights of your employer’s retirement plan.

The plan highlights are only a brief overview of the plan's features and are not a legally binding document. The information in this section does not modify the terms of the plan and in the event of a conflict, the terms of the plan control.

Take advantage today

Eligible employees may enroll in the Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan upon employment. An eligible employee includes all employees except students and certain non-resident aliens.

Starting early has its advantages

Employee contributions
Generally, you may contribute as much as 80% of your includible compensation up to the maximum IRS contribution limit. You may increase or decrease the amount you contribute to the plan as often as your employer allows.

Contribution limit

Employer contributions


For exempt employees 
In general, exempt employees are eligible for Duke’s contribution; however, certain job categories are not eligible to receive Duke’s contribution. Click here for more information about Duke’s contribution to the Duke Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan. 

For non-exempt employees 
Duke does not make a contribution for non-exempt employees to this plan; however, some non-exempt Duke employees who are eligible for The Duke Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan may also be eligible for the Employees’ Retirement Plan (ERP), a pension plan funded entirely by Duke. Additional information about the Employees’ Retirement Plan can be found here.


Catch-up contributions

Subject to the 80% limitation, you may be able to contribute additional catch-up amounts if you meet the following conditions.

Catch-up contributions

Stop/change contributions

You may change your contribution amount to discontinue contributing to your plan at any time and resume contributing again later, subject to your employer’s plan provisions. In the meantime, your account can continue to grow and be managed by you. Please allow one month’s notice for processing.


Vesting is a participant’s right of ownership to the money in his or her plan account. You are always 100% vested in your own contributions (employee contributions). 

Vesting in the employer contributions is as follows: 

  • Employees hired prior to January 1, 2012 are 100% vested in Duke’s contribution towards their retirement.
  • In general, employees hired January 1, 2012, or after will become 100% vested after completing three (3) years of service. 

Click here to learn more about vesting. Once you are vested, you have an irrevocable right to the amount of the Duke contribution in your account adjusted for gains or losses.

Accessing your money before retirement

Generally, you may withdraw your contributions if you meet one of the following requirements:

  • Attaining age 59½ for your voluntary contributions
  • Attaining age 67 for your vested employer contributions             
  • Retirement or separation from service                   
  • Your death or total disability                  
  • Hardship

Federal tax penalty
Your plan was established to encourage long-term savings, so withdrawals prior to age 59½ might be subject to federal restrictions and a 10% federal tax penalty. 

The following are events upon which you may withdraw vested amounts without incurring a 10% federal tax penalty:      

  • Attaining age 59½              
  • Separation from service on or after age 55                
  • Your death or total disability                
  • Taking substantially equal payments after separation from service for a period of five years or attainment of age 59½, whichever is later

In addition, you must begin taking distributions once you reach age 70½ or you retire, whichever is later.


Hardship distributions
In certain instances, your plan may allow for hardship distributions. Contact our Client Care Center at 1.877.375.2424 for more details.


Distribution options


VALIC offers many distribution options, allowing you to tailor your benefits to meet your individual needs. Your withdrawal options include:     

  • Transferring or rolling over your vested account balance to another tax-advantaged plan that accepts rollovers  
  • Receiving systematic or partial withdrawals   
  • Taking a lump-sum distribution
  • Deferring distributions until a later date (but no later than attainment of age 70½ if no longer employed at Duke), allowing for the potential of your account to continue to grow. 

Generally, income taxes must be paid on all amounts you withdraw from your plan. A 10% federal tax penalty may apply to distributions taken prior to attainment of age 59½.

Consult your financial advisor for more specific information.


Tax-free loans make it possible for you to access your account without permanently reducing your account balance. Defaulted loan amounts (not repaid on time) will be taxed as ordinary income and may be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty if you are under age 59½.

An array of investment choices

The following funds are available in your Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan. They provide you with the flexibility you need to create a suitably diversified portfolio that matches your personal retirement time horizon, investment risk tolerance and investment preferences. 

: View the entire list of funds and performance available in your Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan.

ANNUITY: View the entire list of funds and performance available in your Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan.
(Please note: It may take a few minutes to load the performance.) 

Fixed Interest Options *
In addition to mutual funds, a Fixed-Interest Option is available in your plan. A 20% annual withdrawal is allowed from the Fixed-Interest Option with no withdrawal charge. There is no transfer or withdrawal restrictions if one of the following conditions are met:  

  • Annuity payout option is selected
  • Your death         
  • Total and permanent disability               
  • Withdrawal taken as a hardship under the terms of the employer plan               
  • Retirement or separation from service from the employer who sponsors your plan            
  • Elect to transfer a portion of the account value to a companion account for a loan

This restriction includes money transferred to mutual funds or to another provider. 

* Policy Form series GFA-504, a group fixed allocated annuity issued by The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company, Houston, Texas. 

To view or print a prospectus, access “Prospectuses and Other Important Materials”. The prospectus contains the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other information about the respective investment companies that you should consider carefully before investing. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing or sending money. You can also request a copy by calling 1-800-428-2542. 

To obtain a Portfolio Director prospectus and underlying fund prospectuses, visit or call 1-800-428-2542 and follow the prompts. The prospectuses contain the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other information about the respective investment company that you should consider carefully before investing. Please read the prospectuses carefully before investing or sending money. Policy Form Series UIT-194, UITG-194 and UITG-194P.