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University salary deferral form says...
"Your total salary reduction to all plans in any calendar year may not exceed the lesser of:
1) your 403(b)(2) exclusion allowance,
2) 25% of your annual taxable earnings, or
3) $10,500 (or $13,500 under the catchup option).
The $10,500 and alternative catchup limits apply to the aggregate of all voluntary employer plans in which you participate. However, if you also
contribute to the State Deferred Compensation Plan (457) your combined limit is 25% of taxable salary or $8,000."

That's a poorly written form. As you stated in your post, it can be construed to mean 'not more than $8000'. But the IRS form says 'not more than $8000 if you participate in a 403 program', which is a different matter entirely.

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