Adjunct faculty members teaching even one course may contribute to a retirement savings plan offered at 83 percent of institutions and 75 percent of college and university systems, according to a new research brief by the TIAA Institute.
Almost all institutions and systems studied allowed some adjuncts to contribute as of 2019, the year when data were collected. Adjuncts aren’t typically auto-enrolled in these savings plans, however, and just about 37 percent of institutions and 60 percent of systems match those savings, TIAA found. Certain course-load thresholds for matching often apply.
The study didn't look at how many adjuncts contribute to plans where they are eligible to do so, but rather sought to shed light on matching opportunities. A 2015 survey from TIAA found that 82 percent of adjuncts were saving for retirement, either through a plan at work or on their own, but many adjuncts still report anxiety about their pay being too low to defer salary into retirement savings or otherwise plan financially for the future.