Student Employees Offered 403(b), but No One’s Biting

April 19, 2011 ( – University Student Union, Inc. of California State University, Northridge, has offered its student employees the opportunity to participate in a 403(b) plan for four years now, but with no interest among those employees.

The Daily Sundial student newspaper says not one student employee has opted into the program since it became available.   

The USU board of directors voted down a measure that would require the university to match any deposits up to 6%. Joe Illuminate, associate director of finance and business services, said matching could cost the USU about $60,000 a year, according to the news report.  

During the board’s discussion to approve matching, University Representative Robert Barker said this plan is probably not attractive to students because they are not looking 50 years into the future, and USU Human Resources Officer Kristen Pichler agreed. “It’s not surprising that they don’t participate,” she said in an interview with the Sundial.  “Students are not thinking about retirement, they just want to graduate.”  

Pichler said smaller paychecks and more immediate financial demands may also play a role in students’ reluctance to put money away into a retirement plan  

During the voting body’s meeting, Faculty Representative Sally Spencer spoke in favor of the program. “This could help students gain perspective and save money for the future,” she said.