• Image 21474866901 /uploadedImages/_Headers/students-vail-forest-header.jpg Students at Vail Forest Students at Vail Forest
  • ContentBlock 21474871832

    Benefits

    We provide our employees with numerous benefits. Learn more about insurance, leave and many other benefits like employee assistance, flexible spending accounts, tuition benefits and more.

    Flexible Spending Accounts+

    Medical Spending Account

    • Contributions: pre-tax
    • 2015 Limit: $2550
    • Rollover Maximum: $500
    • Eligible Expenses: Co-pays, deductibles, prescriptions, etc.
    • BCBS Medical Plan Members: can be automatically reimbursed when you use your BCBS insurance card
    • Click here for a more in-depth listing of eligible expenses.

    Dependent Care Spending

    • Contributions: pre-tax
    • 2015 Limit: $5000
    • No Rollover

    Eligible Dependents:

    • Must share his or her principle place of residence with the participants and be one of the following:
    • A qualified dependent child under age 13 who lives with the participant for more than half of the year.
    • A qualified dependent child, a qualified relative dependent or your spouse who is physically or mentally unable to care for him or herself.
    • An elderly parent and qualify as an eligible dependent.

    Eligible expenses:

    • care provided inside or outside of the home
    • care provided at a dependent care center or child care center
    • care provided by a housekeeper whose services include providing care for a qualifying individual

    Ineligible Expenses:

    • child support payments
    • food/clothing/entertainment
    • cleaning and cooking services provided by the caregiver
    • over night camps
    • care provided by the participant's spouse
    • care provided by a person listed as the participant's dependent for income tax purposes
    • care provided by a participants child under age 19
    NOTE: Please refer to the IRS Publication 503, "Child and Dependent Care Credit" as a guide to covered and non-covered expenses.

    403(b) Retirement Plan+

    Eligibility

    • All Samford University employees (with the exception of student employees) are eligible to make voluntary personal deferrals to the 403(b) Plan.
    • Deferrals cannot exceed the annual maximums established by the Internal Revenue Code for 403(b) plans.
    • Vendors: TIAA-CREF and Fidelity
    • Deferrals: can start or stop at any time
    • Full time employees (those who work over 1,000 in a year) hired on or after 1/1/2013 are eligible for an employer match. Please see information below regarding the match.
    • Full time employees hired on or before 12/31/2012 are not eligible for the employer match. All part time employees (those who work less than 1,000 hours per year) are not eligible for the employer match.

    Options

    • Vendors: TIAA-CREF and Fidelity
    • Options: both offer a traditional and a ROTH plan
    • Traditional: deferrals are taken on a pre-tax basis from your paycheck
    • Traditional 403(b) withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income.
    • ROTH: deferrals are taken on an after-tax basis from your paycheck
    • ROTH withdrawals are tax free if IRS requirements are met
    • ROTH distributions are eligible for tax free treatment if made after 5 years following the January 1st of the year of the first ROTH 403(b) deferral, and on account of death, disability, or attainment of age 59.5 years old.

    Fidelity

    • Fidelity Investments provides personalized access to your account through www.netbenefits.com.
    • This tool provides you with links to your portfolio, questionnaires on retirement planning, online workshops, calculators, and educational content.
    • To access your account on netbenefits, click on New User Registration and follow the prompts.

    Learn more about Fidelity

    TIAA-CREF

    • Financial education webinars from TIAA-CREF can be accessed by clicking here.
    • These can be accessed from any pc and run anywhere from 10-20 minutes in length.
    • Currently there are six different web presentations that can be viewed.
    • There is a moderator that goes through the slides. There are also helpful links to retirement planning tools and calculators.

    Learn more about TIAA-CREF

    The coverage and benefits described in the above summary are subject to certain restrictions, limitations, conditions, maximums and minimums, as described in the relevant Plan Document. This is only a summary; in all instances the Plan Document will prevail.

    Samford University 403(b) Plan for Full Time Employees hired on or after 1/1/2013

    • Full-time employees hired on or after January 1, 2013 will participate in a 403(b) plan.
    • Contributions by the University are applied to individual annuities or accounts by TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments.
    • Full-time employees hired on or after January 1, 2013 are immediately eligible to make voluntary personal contributions based on the annual maximums established by the Internal Revenue Code for 403(b) plans.
    • Participants will be eligible for a $1 for $1 match of all employee contributions up to 3% of pay on the first January 1 or July 1 following a one year of service requirement and attainment of age 21.
    • Full-time employees hired on or after January 1, 2013 who have met the eligibility requirements mentioned above will also receive an annual Samford contribution on 12/31.

    The contribution rate is tied to years of service.

    Years of Participation Percent
    1-3 Years 2%
    4-6 Years 3.5%
    7+ Years 5%

    You must be actively employed on 12/31 to receive the Samford contribution. You are always 100% vested in your own contributions to the Samford University 403(b) Plan.

    Samford's matching contributions and discretionary contributions vest according to the following schedule:

    Years of Service Percent
    1 Year 0%
    2 Years 20%
    3 Years 40%
    4 Years 60%
    5 Year 80%
    6 Years 100%

    403(b) FAQ

    Is there a limit as to how much money I can set aside in my 403(b)?

    • Yes, this is governed by sections 415 and 402(g) of the Internal Revenue Code.
    • For the year 2015, the maximum amount an employee can defer to a tax deferred annuity is $18,000 for employees under age 50.
    • Employees age 50 and over may defer $24,000.

    How can I enroll in a 403(b)?

    • You can enroll online through both Fidelity and TIAA-CREF.
    • Once enrolled, complete a Salary Reduction Agreement and submit to Kelli Ledbetter.

    If I leave Samford, can I roll my 403(b) to my new employer?

    • It depends on whether or not the new employer's plan accepts roll-overs.

    Can I roll my old 403(b) into my new Samford account?

    • In most cases, yes.
    • You will need to read the instructions to see if your former tax-annuity can be rolled into your new plan.
    • If you have a previous account with Fidelity or TIAA-CREF, you can rollover your account online or by calling customer service. If you have an account with a different provider, you will have to contact them to rollover your 403(b).

    Pension Plan+

    Eligibility

    The information contained below pertains only to employees hired on or before 12/31/2012. Full-time employees hired after 12/31/2012 will participate in a 403(b) plan.

    Key Concepts

    • The SU Pension Plan is a defined benefit plan and is designed to provide a financial benefit to you at retirement.
    • It is completely funded by the University. Employees make no contributions.
    • If you are at least 21 years of age and have completed one year of membership service, you will participate in the SU Pension Plan.
    • A year of membership service is defined as 1,000 hours worked in the 12 month period from the date of hire or in any calendar year.
    • You become vested in the plan after 5 years of service.
    • Normal retirement is the first day of the month on or following your 65th birthday.
    • Early retirement is allowed at age 55 if you are vested.

    Payment Options

    The options available for pension payment are:
    • Joint and 50% to contingent annuitant (this is the automatic form of payment for married participants)
    • Joint and 75% to contingent annuitant
    • Joint and 100% to contingent annuitant
    • Straight life annuity (this is the automatic form of payment for single participants)

    Pension Plan FAQs

    Can I return to work at Samford after retirement and without affecting my benefit?

    • Yes, if there was no expectation of re-employment and after a reasonable period of separation.
    • You must work less than 1000 hours per calendar year
    • We must avoid what could appear to be an in-service distribution (receiving pension benefits while at work) which could have serious tax-qualification consequences for the Plan.
    • There is no set minimum period of time to be away (reasonable period of separation) before returning to work and, it is actually more about the expectation of re-employment than the period of time away.
    • This means there should not be a promise of reemployment after retirement nor even a “wink and a nod” about such.

    How is my pension calculated?

    • Your Normal Retirement Benefit depends on your Average Final compensation and your Credited Service.
    • These two factors are used in the Plan's Basic Benefit Formula to determine the actual amount of your monthly benefit.
    • Covered Compensation is also used to calculate your Normal Retirement Benefit under the Plan if you began working for Samford University after 2007.
    • Your Covered Compensation is the monthly average of the social security taxable wage bases for the 35-year period ending with the year in which you reach your social security retirement age.
    • If your employment is terminated prior to reaching your social security retirement age, the taxable wage base for future years is deemed to be the same as the taxable wage base for the current year in making this determination.
    • The Plan bases its calculations on Covered Compensation tables updated annually by the IRS.

    What is the Plan's Basic Benefit Formula?

    If you were hired prior to 1/1/2008 (and had worked for Samford University on or after January 1, 1989)

    • Basic Benefit Formula is: 1.83% of your Average Final Compensation plus 0.47% of your Average Final Compensation over $1,250 times your years of Credited Service, up to a maximum of 25.

    If you were hired on or after 1/1/2008

    • Basic Benefit Formula is 1.83% of your Average Final Compensation plus 0.47% of your Average Final Compensation over the Covered Compensation amount times your years of Credited Service, up to a maximum of 25.

    If you were hired on or after 1/1/2010

    • Basic Benefit Formula is 1.50% of your Average Final Compensation plus 0.47% of your Average Final Compensation over the Covered Compensation amount times your years of Credited Service, up to a maximum of 25.

    Benefit Synopsis

    What is meant by Average Final Compensation?

    It is the average of your monthly compensation for the five full consecutive calendar years in the last ten full calendar years of Credited Service that produces the highest average.

    What is Credited Service?

    It is a year in which you are a member of the Plan and complete at least 1,000 hours of service.

    I am a salaried employee. How are my hours worked during the year calculated?

    Salaried employees will be credited with 45 Hours of Service for each week in which they perform at least one hour of service during employment.

    I understand that early retirement is age 55 with 5 years of service, however what if I would like to retire at age 62. Can I do that or can I only retire at ages 55 or 65?

    Once you reach age 55 and have completed 5 years of service you may then retire from Samford at any time. However if you do retire prior to age 65, your monthly benefit payments will be reduced because the payments begin early and will be paid over a longer period of time.

    By how much will my benefit be reduced if I do decide to retire early?

    The amount of reduction is 3.33% for each year that your early retirement date precedes your Normal Retirement Date.

    I have reached age 65 and would like to start the retirement process here at Samford. What is the first step I need to take?

    Once you have determined the date you wish to retire, contact Human Resources and ask for a pension benefit calculation. This calculation must be completed before you can sign the pension application. The estimate will take about 7 -10 business days to be completed and returned to you.

    I have contacted Human Resources and have received my estimate. What is the next step in the retirement process?

    Contact Human Resources and schedule an appointment to come in and sign the paperwork. Paperwork can be signed up to 90 days prior to your retirement date. It will take approximately 20 minutes to complete the application. Make sure you schedule enough time to complete the paperwork and ask any questions you may have.

    I have signed the application. When will my pension benefit begin?

    Pension payments start on the first of the month following the retirement date.

    Is it possible to receive a lump sum payment?

    Only if the amount of your calculated benefit is $5,000.00 or less.

    Will I be able to stay on the Samford Health Plan?

    If you take early retirement (early retirement is age 55 – age 64) you will be able to stay on the Samford Health Plan as a retiree. You can remain in the Plan until you reach the age of 65 or gain other insurance.

    I am 65 but my spouse is not yet 65. Can he/she remain a member of the Samford Health Plan?

    If your spouse was a dependent on your Health Contract prior to your retirement and is not 65 at the time of your retirement, he/she can stay on the Samford Health Plan until the time he/she turns age 65 or gains other insurance.

    How do I pay for my insurance premiums as a retiree?

    You will be required to send a check for the amount of the premium at the first of each month. If the check becomes more than 30 days overdue, you will be cancelled from the Plan.

    Will I be charged the employee rate for coverage or some other rate?

    You will be charged the retiree rate for coverage. The current rate will be given to you at the time you sign your pension application paperwork.

    I am 65 and know that I will not be able to stay on the Samford Health Plan. What do I need to do about insurance?

    Contact social security as soon as possible to enroll in Medicare Parts A, B, and D. If you are interested, you may also contact BCBS for information regarding C+ coverage.

    What if I terminate my employment with Samford before I am eligible to start retirement?

    • If your employment at Samford University stops before you are eligible for retirement, you will still be entitled to the benefit that you have earned up to the day your employment ended if you have earned at least five years of Vesting Service.
    • Your benefit is computed in a manner similar to the Early Retirement Benefit, using the Basic Benefit Formula with your Average Final Compensation and Credited Service (and Covered Compensation, if applicable) that apply on the date your employment ends.
    • You will begin receiving benefits at age 65, but you may instead elect to receive your benefit payments beginning at any time after you reach age 55, reduced in the same manner as Early Retirement Benefit payments beginning before age 65.
    • However, if the present value of your benefit is $5,000 or less, you will receive your benefit in a lump sum as soon as practicable after you terminate employment after mandatory withholding of income tax.
    • In the alternative, you may choose to have the lump sum payment rolled over directly into an IRA or to the qualified retirement plan of your new employer, provided the plan accepts rollovers.

    What happens if I die before I retire?

    If you are married, a death benefit will be paid to your spouse if you have at least five years of Vesting Service and you die while employed by Samford University or you terminate employment and die before your retirement benefits begin.

    How much will my spouse receive as a death benefit?

    The amount of your spouse's monthly benefit will be equal to one-half of the benefit that you would have received under the automatic form of payment if your benefits had started on the earliest date that you could have elected to receive them.

    I am married and do not wish to receive the automatic form of payment. Can I choose one of the other options of payment?

    Yes, however you must have your spouse's consent to do so. He/she will have to sign their consent at the time you fill out the pension application.

    I am single, but wish to have a portion of my benefit continue for a contingent annuitant. Is this possible?

    Yes, however you must realize that the amount of your benefit will be reduced.

    Tuition Benefit+

    • ETB is available to employees, retirees, and to their spouses and dependent children when they meet the University's admission requirements.
    • ETB is available beginning with the next academic term following the date of full-time employment.
    • If upon employment, an individual is currently enrolled at SU, the ETB will become effective at the beginning of the next academic term.
    • Should you leave the employment of the University before the end of the term in which your spouse or dependent received ETB, the stududent will be billed pro rata for the remaning value of ETB for that term.

    Qualified Recipients

    • Full time employees with no break in full-time employment at Samford since their initial hire date
    • Legal Spouses of full time employees and retirees
    • Sons and Daughters of full time employees and retirees who may be claimed as legal dependents for the current calendar year for federal income tax purposes
    • Retirees with 15 or more years of service
    • Dependent children of deceased employees who have 10 years of benefit eligible service at the time of death

    ETB Forms

    How ETB works in conjunction with scholarships

    Outside Scholarships

    If student is eligible for 50% or 75% ETB the cost of tuition is covered first by the ETB amount, then the scholarship pays up to the amount of tuition. Any remaining amount applies to housing or meal charges. The amount of the scholarship and ETB may not exceed the amount of tuition, housing or meal charges. If this occurs, ETB is reduced. If student is eligible for 100% ETB, the ETB is reduced by the amount of the scholarship, unless the student has housing or meal charges on his account, which may be covered by the scholarship.

    Samford Scholarships

    • Students cannot have a Samford Scholarship and ETB at the same time.
    • If student is offered a Samford Scholarship they can accept the Samford Scholarship over ETB.
    • Example: If the student is awarded a merit scholarship and the scholarship is worth more than the value of ETB the student may accept the merit scholarship.

    Alabama Student Grant (ASG)

    • If student lives on campus the ASG applies to room and board charges.
    • If student lives off campus the ASG applies to tuition first before ETB is applied. *Pell grant is treated the same way.

    Loans

    • Student is allowed both a loan and ETB if the student has room remaining in his/her cost of attendance budget.
    • Loans can be used to pay for books, room and board fees, and other educational expenses.
    • When the loan hits the account it would automatically cover the room and board with remaining funds refunded to the student.

    Full Time Employees

    For full time employees, this benefit applies to full time and part time undergraduate studies through the attainment of one bachelor's degree and part time graduate studies deemed beneficial to the employee's job at Samford, through the attainment of one master's degree. The benefit will pay for 100% of the employee's tuition. It does not apply to charges for room, meals, books, special course fees, or any charges other than tuition as established by the Board of Trustees. Full-time employees are permitted to audit or take for credit up to two undergraduate courses at a time or two graduate course at a time as long as there are sufficient non-employee students in the class which meet the criteria for the minimum number of students necessary to teach the class. You must receive permission from your Vice President/Provost to take a course during normal working hours. If a course is taken during normal working hours, you must make up the lost work time during the same workweek and on University work premises. ETB received for graduate courses, including auditing the course, is sometimes considered a taxable fringe benefit by the Federal Government. When taxable, the taxes on the value of this benefit will be withheld from your paycheck and reflected on your W-2 form.

    Spouse/Dependent Children of Full Time Employees

    For the spouse or dependent child(ren) of full-time employees, this benefit applies to full time and part time undergraduate studies through the attainment of one bachelor's degree. The benefit does not apply to charges for room, meals, books, special course fees, or any charges other than tuition as established by the Board of Trustees.

    The benefit for the spouse, dependent child(ren) of full-time employees will be as follows:

    • During the first two years of your full time continuous employment, spouses and dependent children shall receive tuition remission equal to 50% of the cost of tuition
    • Beginning with the third year of your full time continuous employment, spouses and dependent children shall receive tuition remission equal to 75% of the cost of tuition.
    • Beginning with the fourth year of your full time continuous employment, spouses and dependent children shall receive tuition remission equal to 100% of the cost of tuition.

    The steps used to determine the value of the ETB for a qualified student are:

    • The student first applies any non-Samford scholarship, grant, or other gift-aid (excluding loans) to charges for room and board appearing on the Samford statement
    • Any balance of the scholarship, grant, or gift aid funds remaining applies to tuition charges
    • Any balance of tuition charges is covered by the ETB

    Retirees

    Retirees (with 15 or more years of service) who were eligible for ETB prior to retirement are permitted to audit or take for credit undergraduate and graduate courses as long as there are sufficient non-employee students in the class which meet the criteria for the minimum number of students necessary to teach the class, and as long as no paying student will be denied access to the class. This benefit will pay for 100% of the retiree's tuition. It does not apply to charges for room, meals, books, special course fees, or any charges other than tuition as established by the Board of Trustees.

    Spouse/Dependent Children of Retirees

    For the spouse or dependent child(ren) of retired employees (with 15 or more years of service) , this benefit applies to full time and part time undergraduate studies through the attainment of one bachelor's degree. The benefit does not apply to charges for room, meals, books, special course fees, or any charges other than tuition as established by the Board of Trustees.

    The steps used to determine the value of the ETB for a qualified student are:

    • The student first applies any non-Samford scholarship, grant, or other gift-aid (excluding loans) to charges for room and board appearing on the Samford statement
    • Any balance of the scholarship, grant, or gift aid funds remaining applies to tuition charges
    • Any balance of tuition charges is covered by the ETB

    This benefit is not extended to children adopted after retirement, step children resulting from a post-retirement marriage or to the widow/widower of a retiree who remarries after the death of the retiree.

    Dependent Children of Deceased Employees

    ETB is available to dependent children of an employee with 10 or more years of benefit eligible service, who is eligible for the benefit and dies while employed by the University. The benefit is the same as that described for dependent children of full time employees.

    ETB Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I use the ETB for Samford after Sundown courses?

    No. The benefit does not apply to Samford After Sundown courses.

    I am divorced. My child lives with his/her mother/father. He/she has decided to come to school here at Samford. Can I use the ETB to cover his/her tuition here at Samford?

    Only if the child can be claimed as your legal dependent for the current calendar year for federal income tax purposes.

    My child goes to Auburn. She is home for the summer, but wants to take a class at Samford. Can my ETB cover the cost of the class?

    Only if the class will apply to the degree the child is seeking at Auburn.

    I would like to enroll in Metro College to obtain an undergraduate degree. Will ETB cover my tuition at Metro?

    Yes, as long you have not already utilized the ETB to obtain an undergraduate degree at Samford.

    I would like to obtain my Doctoral degree here at Samford. Will the ETB cover that?

    No. Employees may utilize ETB to obtain one undergraduate and one master's degree only.

    My spouse would like to get a master's degree here at Samford. Can I use my ETB to cover the tuition?

    No. ETB will only cover tuition for undergraduate studies for spouses and dependent children.

    My spouse needs to take a few classes here at Samford for recertification of his/her teaching certificate. Will my ETB cover this?

    Yes. ETB can be used for recertification classes here at Samford, provided that the spouse did not receive an undergraduate degree at Samford utilizing the ETB.

    My spouse has a degree at Samford that he/she earned prior to our marriage. He/she now would like to get a second undergraduate degree. Can I use my ETB to cover his/her tuition?

    Yes. Provided that the spouse did not utilize his/her parent's ETB to obtain the first undergraduate degree.

    Can I use the ETB to pay for my teacher's certification test?

    No.

    I will reach the beginning of my fourth year of employment mid-fall semester and my child is utilizing ETB. Will his/her tuition for fall be prorated?

    No. You will stay at the 75% tuition remission for the fall semester. Beginning with Jan Term you will be eligible for 100% tuition remission.

    ETB Forms

    Other Benefits+

    • Free admission to most home athletic events. For more information, view the Athletics Ticket Policy and Registration Form
    • A 10% discount is offered on books and some other items at the University Bookstore with your current ID.
    • $2.00 Friday at the Cafeteria with your current ID.
    • Reid Chapel is available, for a fee, for weddings and other events. For more information, visit Event Planning.
    • Personal checks up to $50.00 may be cashed with proper identification in the Bursar's Office.
    • Employees are recognized at our Annual Service Awards Luncheon for each five years of full-time service.
    • You are welcome to use the University Libraries, but will first need to have your ID coded by the library. Employees are responsible for the payment of fines when returning overdue books and materials.
    • An official branch of the Post Office is located on the ground floor of the University Center.
    • Weight room, swimming pool, racquetball court, and indoor track facilities are available to faculty and staff when classes are not in session. For more information, visit Campus Recreation.
    • Employees are eligible for one free ticket to most Theater Productions. For more information, visit the Theater Box Office.