Human Resources

Retirement Plans

The College provides retirement benefits through a Matching Retirement Plan. A Voluntary Retirement Plan is also offered. Both plans are administered by Transamerica.

See the applicable links below for information on the two plans, including enrollment information and how to sign up for one-on-one information sessions with a Transamerica representative.

Transamerica Contact Information:

Transamerica Customer Service (Enrollment & Deferral Changes): 800-755-5801

Transamerica Customer Service (Rollovers & Transfers from another plan): 888-976-5602

Transamerica Website


Mandatory/Matching Retirement Plan - Staff and Full Time Faculty 

The College provides retirement benefits through a 403(b) tax-deferred defined contribution plan. Eligibility criteria and waiting periods for the College's matching contribution vary by classification of employment. An employee who meets the eligibility requirements must contribute, as a condition of employment, 3% of base salary on a pre-tax basis to receive the College's 9% match. Upon enrollment, all contributions are 100% vested. 

Emerson provides staff employees credit towards participation in its matching retirement plan based on previous employment at other accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities. The new staff employee have their former employer complete and submit a Verification of Service Credit Form verifying that they have been employed by another higher educational institution for at least two years, at at least 1000 hours per year, and that this employment immediately preceded their employment at Emerson College (within 120 days). The former employer also verifies that the employee was in an employment classification eligible to receive employer contributions (even if in a waiting period when they left employment) in a broad-based employee retirement program, such as a 403(b) plan, 401(k) plan or a qualified pension or savings plan.

Effective August 1, 2020, the mandatory (3%) employee contributions and matching (9%) employer contributions to the retirement plan will be suspended. Voluntary employee contributions will continue, and employees may enroll or change their voluntary contributions at any time (see Voluntary section below). For more information about this change, please read the following email: Mandatory/Match Contribution Suspension beginning August 1, 2020.

To access your account and make fund selections for the retirement plan contributions, go to the Transamerica website

For assistance with registration, see Transamerica Registration Instructions.

For detailed information about the plan, see the 403b Summary Plan Description.


Mandatory/Matching Retirement Plan - Affliated Faculty in AFEC

Effective September 1, 2020, Affiliated Faculty who are members of AFEC with at least 48 teaching credits will become participants in the Emerson College Affiliated Faculty Mandatory/Matching Retirement plan. This plan includes a 1.5% employee mandatory contribution, and a 3% employer contribution. However, the 1.5% employee contribution has been suspended for one year (until 9/1/2021), so only the 3% contribution will occur. Vesting is 100%, meaning you own all contributions immediately once in your account.
To access your account and make fund selections for the retirement plan contributions, go to the Transamerica website

For assistance with registration, see Transamerica Registration Instructions.


Voluntary Retirement Plan

The College offers a 403(b) tax-deferred annuity plan that allows employees to make voluntary, tax-deferred contributions through payroll deduction to either supplement or initiate their retirement savings. Employees may make pre-tax voluntary contributions to this plan up to the annual limits allowed by the IRS. No matching contributions are made by the College into the Voluntary plan.

For the 2020 calendar year, the IRS general contribution limit is $19,500. Employees age 50 and older can contribute an additional $6,500 under the "catch-up" provision.

To access your account, make deferral elections and changes, and make fund selections for the retirement plan contributions, go to the Transamerica website

For assistance with registration, see Transamerica Registration Instructions.

Do you want to contribute the maximum allowed for calendar year 2021? See here for instructions.

For detailed information about the plan, see the 403b Summary Plan Description



Enrollment Information

Contributions to the Matching Retirement Plan and the Voluntary Retirement Plan will be directed to accounts with Transamerica. Register on the Transamerica website to make your fund elections or enroll with or make changes to your voluntary plan contribution amounts.

For assistance with registration, see Transamerica Registration Instructions.

Changes to the voluntary deferrals can be made at any time. Please note that changes made on the Transamerica can take up to 2 paychecks (after the date of the change on the Transamerica site) to take affect for semi-monthly employees; and up to 3 paychecks for weekly employees.

Also, please note that due to Winter Intersession, deferral changes made in the Transamerica system after Friday, Dec. 18 of 2020 will first affect the 1st 2021 paycheck for semi-monthly employees and the 2nd weekly paycheck of 2021 for weekly employees. Therefore any changes that employees wish to make to their paychecks in the 2nd half of December should be made with Transamerica by Friday, Dec. 18.



One on One Counseling Sessions

Transamerica representatives will be on-site monthly for one-on-one meetings. (Currently counseling sessions are being held by phone). A Transamerica Participant Counselor can discuss any of your retirement planning needs, including:

  • How much to save
  • Your investment options
  • Asset allocation
  • Consolidating your savings

A Transamerica Participant Counselor is ready to assist you with selecting the appropriate investments in your retirement plan and assist with your allocation strategy. They will also be available for consultation of your current retirement strategy, and can also help you with completing forms to rollover or transfer funds from a previous plan provider.

We encourage you to bring the most recent copies)of your account statement(s) to your meeting.  

Listed below are the one-on-one meeting dates. To schedule a meeting, go to the One-on-One Meeting Registration page.

All on-site meetings take place in Human Resources at 20 Park Plaza, 13th floor.

One on One Counseling Dates (2021) - Currently These are Phone Sessions

  • Thursday, January 28
  • Wednesday, February 10
  • Tuesday, March 9
  • Special Flexible Sessions in April - sign up here
  • Wednesday, May 5
  • Tuesday, June 8
  • Wednesday, July 7
  • Wednesday, August 11
  • Wednesday, September 8
  • Wednesday, October 6
  • Wednesday, November 10
  • Wednesday, December 8







403(B) Savings And Investment Committee

Retirement Plan Committee Charter and Mission Statement

Origin of the Committee

The Committee was established and its original membership was determined by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources and Vice President of Administration and Finance in April of 2012.

Purpose and Authority of Committee

The purpose of the Retirement Plan Committee is to oversee the investment portfolio of the Emerson College Tax Deferred Annuity Plan (the “Plan”). The Committee also has general oversight and administrative responsibilities with respect to the Plan.

With respect to the Plan, the Committee has been designated a "named fiduciary" within the meaning of Sections 402(a)(2) and 402(c)(3) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended ("ERISA").                                                                                           

The Committee shall have the responsibility to:                                         

  • Select and monitor service providers, including record keepers, trustees, and investment managers/providers.
  • Establish and review periodically an investment policy statement to guide the selection and monitoring of investment options.
  • Review and approve the selection of investment options offered to employees for the Investment of contributions under the Plan.
  • Provide a periodic report to the Finance Committee and the President’s Council on the investment performance and fees of the investment options within the plan.
  • Appoint other agents as the Committee deems necessary or desirable in connection with carrying out its responsibilities.
  • Delegate to investment managers and other agents that are appointed by the Committee such powers and duties, discretionary or otherwise, as the Committee may deem appropriate.
  • Administer and interpret the terms of the Plan.
  • Delegate authority and responsibility as the Committee deems proper and periodically review such delegations.
  • Conduct other activities within the scope of the Retirement Plan Committee's purpose and authority as determined by the Vice President of Administration and Finance or the President’s Council may determine.
  • Periodically review this charter and make recommendations to the Board of Directors with regard to any changes to the charter that the Committee believes would be desirable.


The Committee shall consist of those directors or faculty of the College appointed by the Vice President of Administration and Finance via delegated authority from the Board of Directors. Participants of the Committee will serve renewable 3-year terms, subject to the willingness of the Committee members. The Senior Associate Vice President and the Director of Compensation and Benefits will be permanent members of the Committee.

Other changes in Committee membership are subject to review and approval by the Vice President of Administration and Finance.

The Current Members of the Committee Include:

William Gilligan, Vice President for Information Technology
Shari Stier, Senior Associate Vice President of Human Resources
John Richard, Director of Budget
Alan Bowers, Director of Treasury

Employees of the College will be informed within 30 calendar days when there are changes to the membership of the Committee.


The Committee shall meet on a regular basis to carry out and its responsibilities and document its decisions and actions. Meeting minutes will be provided for each planning meeting and will be available for review by plan participants. 

Rules and Procedures

As provided under the Plan, the presence of a majority of the membership of the Committee shall be necessary to constitute a quorum. The affirmative vote of a majority of the members present shall be necessary for the adoption of any resolution.

Meeting agendas are developed by the Committee Chair in consultation with the Committee members. Agendas are circulated to Committee members prior to meetings.


Resources of the Committee

The College shall provide appropriate staff support, as requested by the members of the Committee, to the Committee's work. The Committee may retain the services of outside Counsel or consultants that it considers necessary or appropriate in carrying out its responsibility, at the College’s cost. The Assistant VP of Compensation and Benefits will obtain authorization and funding approval from the Vice President of Administration and Finance if the Committee decides to retain the services of outside counsel or consultants.


Fee Disclosures

In accordance with federal fee disclosure reporting requirements, the document linked below, related to the Emerson College Matching Retirement Plan (Summary of Plan Services and Costs and the Investment Options Comparison Chart) is provided for newly hired employees to the College.

2020 Fee Disclosures 


Summary Annual Report

Click here for a copy of the latest Summary Annual Report.


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