Academic Researchers

Conducting and sponsoring rigorous academic research since 1998

With a team of economists and program staff, Fellows and strategic partners, the Institute conducts research and organizes convenings on critical issues related to financial security, higher education and endowments and foundations.

Academic Researchers

Initiatives to advance the academic community

The Institute provides an environment in which academic researchers can exchange ideas and expand their reach to affect public policy. Leaders use the knowledge provided by the Institute to make better-informed decisions.

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Institute Fellows are nationally recognized thought leaders and prominent scholars, experienced in matters of importance to TIAA and those we serve. These experts extend our knowledge, skills and reach, and advance our thought leadership. Fellows have conducted more than 100 Institute-sponsored research studies.

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The TIAA Institute supports original research and thought leadership through its grants program. Leading scholars are encouraged to submit innovative research ideas on financial security, higher education and endowments and foundations. The TIAA Institute, with the Pension Research Council at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, funds high-quality, cutting-edge research on retirement policy and practice.

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The Institute’s signature award programs are designed to advance knowledge and recognize leadership excellence. The TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award For Outstanding Scholarly Writing On Lifelong Financial Security recognizes an outstanding research publication that helps advance Americans’ lifelong financial well-being. The TIAA Institute Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education recognizes a current higher education leader for commitment to higher education, leadership and contributions to the greater good.

Latest Research Reports

March 2018

The breadth of initiatives led by the Hesburgh Award winners reveals the variety and complexity of higher education institutions.

February 2018

Procrastination keeps employees at the default contribution rate, but only in “opt-out” plans.

February 2018

Highly educated people with relatively high expected lifetime earnings are often assumed to have greater financial acumen than the general population. But is this a safe assumption?

December 2017

Higher education leaders are continually urged to innovate as they guide their institutions into the future. This compendium of research and best practices explains how successful institutions have translated this call to action into tangible results.

December 2017

Economists typically gauge the value of financial education by examining how it affects consumer behaviors. But the best financial choices for consumers depend on a mix of objective facts and subjective judgments – and one size rarely fits all.

September 2017

The decision to consolidate or merge higher education institutions is never easy, and the process is nearly always painful and costly. But given the potential benefits, and current fiscal realities, leaders need to consider mergers in their long-term strategic plans.