To help lower the cost of public transit and parking for those who commute to work at the University, Northwestern deducts University parking fees and transit expenses from benefits-eligible employees' gross pay before calculating taxes.
Paying transit expenses with pre-tax dollars lowers the cost of public transportation. How much lower depends on the individual's marginal federal income tax rate (the rate at which the last dollar of taxable income is taxed), which is affected by exemptions, filing status, family income, and possibly other items. The tax savings usually lower the cost by 25-36%.
- CTA Chicago Card Plus
The Chicago Card Plus is used to pay CTA fares. The card is loaded with the denomination requested (a variety of amounts are available) or a 30-day pass is available. Learn more about the CTA Chicago Card Plus option.
- RTA Transit Checks
The RTA transit check is used to purchase PACE, South Shore, or Metra tickets. Monthly deductions for RTA transit checks are available in a variety of amounts. Learn more about the RTA Transit Check option.
Your transit deduction will be taken out of your monthly or second biweekly paycheck.
You must authorize the deduction by the 5th of the month in which the deduction is to be taken. Orders received after the 5th take effect in the following month. Initial enrollment for Chicago Card Plus takes an additional month for the CTA to record the information and mail you the card.
How to Authorize the Deduction and Enroll in the Program:
- Complete the Authorization for Payroll Deduction Form (Page 1 of the pdf).
- Individuals interested in the CTA Chicago Plus Card must also complete the Transit Benefit Program Employee Enrollment Form (Page 2 of the pdf). Ignore credit card information on the form, as this is not required.
- Deliver or send the completed forms to the Payroll Division, 720 University Pl., Evanston Campus.
How to Change or Cancel your Deduction:
- Complete the Authorization for Payroll Deduction Form (Page 1 of the pdf), noting the change or cancellation.
- Deliver or send the completed forms to the Payroll Division, 720 University Place, Evanston Campus. The form must be received by the 5th of the month in order to take effect in the pay checks issued during the remainder of that month. Refunds for late cancellations or changes are not available.