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College Faculty Benefiting from Retirement Plans, Says Survey


TIAA-CREF, the financial services organization and leading provider of
retirement security in the academic, medical and cultural fields, this
week released the findings from the first-ever “Retirement Confidence
Survey of College and University Faculty,” which show that faculty in
higher education are more confident regarding their retirement savings
preparations than individuals in the general working population.

“The retirement savings challenges facing America are well known — low
personal savings rates, low participation in employer-sponsored
retirement plans, large unfunded liabilities in defined benefit plans
and a serious funding challenge for our Social Security system,” said
Madeleine d’Ambrosio, vice president and executive director of the
TIAA-CREF Institute. “Against this backdrop, higher education
retirement systems stand out as success stories, though not without

According to the survey, conducted by the Employee Benefit Research
Institute (EBRI), Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Inc. (MGA) and the
TIAA-CREF Institute, among higher education faculty, 35 percent are
very confident in their retirement income prospects and an additional
51 percent are somewhat confident.

Two-thirds (65 percent) expect employer-sponsored retirement plans to
be their largest source of retirement income. Almost all (95 percent)
of faculty have personally saved money for retirement and 66 percent
have tried to determine how much they need to save so they can afford a
comfortable retirement.

By comparison, only 25 percent of all working Americans say that they
are very confident that they will have enough money in retirement,
while an additional 40 percent are somewhat confident. Only 69
percent of all working Americans have begun to save for retirement and
only 42 percent have tried to determine how much they need to save for

“There are important differences in retirement plan availability and
design in higher education that contribute to the better outcomes
identified by this survey for higher education faculty,” said Paul
Yakoboski of the TIAA-CREF Institute. “Pension plan coverage is greater
in the higher education sector relative to the economy as a whole.”

“Both defined benefit and defined contribution plans are common in
higher education, and many faculty have a choice between them as their
primary retirement plan,” said Yakoboski. “Furthermore, defined
contribution plans as primary plans in higher education are
fundamentally different than 401(k) plans; worker participation is
mandatory and both worker and employer contribution levels are set at
pre-determined levels. And clearly the resources and information
available to those in the higher education community are helping them
move farther head in the race to save.”

A representative sample of all college and university faculty was
surveyed by telephone between March and May 2005; 1,307 individuals
were surveyed. These individuals are faculty members at both private
and public institutions and both two-year and four-year institutions.
Part-time as well as full-time faculty were surveyed, and both
tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty were included.

For a more in-depth report on the findings from the survey, visit

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