485APOS 1 c81176_485apos.htm

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 15, 2015
File Nos. 333-76651, 811-09301

 

 

 

UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM N-1A

 

  REGISTRATION STATEMENT UNDER THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933 x
  Pre-Effective Amendment No. o
  Post-Effective Amendment No. 83 x
  and/or  
  REGISTRATION STATEMENT UNDER THE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940 x
  Amendment No. 86 x
  (Check appropriate box or boxes)  

 

TIAA-CREF Funds

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Charter)

 

730 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10017-3206

(Address of Principal Executive Offices) (Zip Code)
Registrant’s Telephone Number, including Area Code: (800) 842-2733

 

John M. McCann, Esq.
TIAA-CREF Funds
8500 Andrew Carnegie Boulevard
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262

 

(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

 

Copy to:

Jeffrey S. Puretz, Esq.
Dechert LLP
1900 K Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20006
Approximate Date of Proposed Public Offering:

As soon as practicable after effectiveness of the Registration Statement.

 

It is proposed that this filing will become effective (check appropriate box):

 

o Immediately upon filing pursuant to paragraph (b)
o On __________  pursuant to paragraph (b)
o 60 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)
o 75 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of rule 485
o On (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)
x On July 31, 2015 pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of rule 485

 

If appropriate, check the following box:

 

¨ This post-effective amendment designates a new effective date for a previously filed post-effective amendment.

 

 

 

PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS SUBJECT TO COMPLETION ON OR AFTER [______________]. THE INFORMATION IN THIS PROSPECTUS IS NOT COMPLETE AND MAY BE CHANGED. SHARES OF THE FUND MAY NOT BE SOLD UNTIL THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT FILED WITH THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION IS EFFECTIVE. THIS PROSPECTUS IS NOT AN OFFER TO SELL THESE SECURITIES AND IT IS NOT SOLICITING AN OFFER TO BUY THESE SECURITIES IN ANY STATE WHERE THE OFFER OR SALE IS NOT PERMITTED.

PROSPECTUS

[_____], 2015

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund

of the TIAA-CREF Funds

Class Ticker: Retail [_____] Retirement [_____] Premier [_____] Institutional [_____]

This Prospectus describes the Retail, Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares offered by the TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund (the “Fund”). The Fund is one of the investment portfolios of the TIAA-CREF Funds (the “Trust”).

An investment in the Fund is not a deposit of any bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. An investor can lose money in the Fund and the Fund could perform more poorly than other investments.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) has not approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this Prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.


Table of contents

   

Summary information 3

Investment objective 3

Fees and expenses 3

Shareholder fees 3

Annual Fund operating expenses 4

Example 4

Portfolio turnover 4

Principal investment strategies 5

Principal investment risks 6

Past performance 7

Portfolio management 7

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 7

Tax information 8

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 8

Additional information about investment strategies and risks 8

Additional information about the Fund 8

Additional information on principal investment risks of the Fund 9

Additional information about the Fund’s benchmark index 12

Additional information on principal and non-principal investment strategies 12

Portfolio holdings 13

Portfolio turnover 13

Share classes 14

Management of the Fund 14

The Fund’s investment adviser 14

Investment management fees 15

Portfolio management team 15

Other services 16

Distribution and services arrangements 17

Other arrangements 18

Calculating share price 18

Dividends and distributions 20

 

Taxes 21

Your account: purchasing, redeeming or exchanging shares 23

Fund shares offered in this Prospectus 23

Share class eligibility 24

Purchasing shares 26

Redeeming shares 32

Exchanging shares 35

Conversion of shares–applicable to all investors 37

Important transaction information 38

Market timing/excessive trading policy–applicable to all investors 41

Electronic prospectuses 43

Additional information about index providers 43

Glossary 44

Financial highlights 45




Summary information

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund

of the TIAA-CREF Funds

Investment objective

The Fund seeks a favorable long-term total return, that reflects the investment performance of the overall foreign equity markets while giving special consideration to certain environmental, social and governance ("ESG") criteria.

Fees and expenses

This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund:

SHAREHOLDER FEES (fees paid directly from your investment)

         
 

Retail
Class

 

Retirement
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Institutional
Class

 

Maximum Sales Charge Imposed on Purchases
(percentage of offering price)

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum Deferred Sales Charge

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum Sales Charge Imposed on Reinvested
Dividends and Other Distributions

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Redemption or Exchange Fee (on shares held less than 60 days)

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Account Maintenance Fee
(annual fee on accounts under $2,000)

$15.00

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     3


ANNUAL FUND OPERATING EXPENSES (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)1

          

 

 

  Retail
Class

 

   Retirement Class

 

  Premier Class

 

  Institutional
Class

 

Management Fees

0.30%

 

0.30%

 

0.30%

 

0.30%

 

Distribution (Rule 12b-1) Fees

0.25%

 

 

0.15%

 

 

Other Expenses1

0.88%

 

0.99%

 

0.74%

 

0.74%

 

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses

1.43%

 

1.29%

 

1.19%

 

1.04%

 

Waivers and Expense Reimbursements2

0.64%

 

0.64%

 

0.64%

 

0.64%

 

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waiver and/or Expense Reimbursement

0.79%

 

0.65%

 

0.55%

 

0.40%

 

          

1

Estimates for current fiscal year.

 

2

Under the Fund’s expense reimbursement arrangements, the Fund’s investment adviser, Teachers Advisors, Inc., has contractually agreed to reimburse the Fund for any Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses (excluding interest, taxes, brokerage commissions or other transactional expenses, Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses and extraordinary expenses) that exceed: (i) 0.40% of average daily net assets for Institutional Class shares; (ii) 0.55% of average daily net assets for Premier Class shares; (iii) 0.65% of average daily net assets for Retirement Class shares; and (iv) 0.79% of average daily net assets for Retail Class shares of the Fund. These expense reimbursement arrangements will continue through at least August 1, 2016, unless changed with approval of the Board of Trustees.

 

Example

This example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all your shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses, before expense reimbursements, remain the same. The example assumes that the Fund’s expense reimbursement agreement will remain in place through August 1, 2016, but that there will be no waiver or expense reimbursement agreement in effect thereafter. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:

             

 

  Retail Class

 

  Retirement Class

 

  Premier Class

 

  Institutional Class

 

1 Year

$

81

 

$

66

 

$

56

 

$

41

 

3 Years

$

389

 

$

346

 

$

314

 

$

267

 

Portfolio turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. The Fund has no annual portfolio turnover rate because the Fund is newly operational.

4     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


Principal investment strategies

Under normal circumstances, the Fund invests at least 80% of its assets in equity securities of foreign issuers. The Fund attempts to achieve the return of the foreign equity markets, as represented by its benchmark index, the Morgan Stanley Capital International EAFE®(Europe, Australasia, Far East) Index (the “MSCI EAFE® Index), while investing in companies whose activities are consistent with the Fund’s ESG criteria. See “Additional information about the Fund’s benchmark index” below for more information about the Fund’s benchmark.

The Fund’s investments are subject to certain ESG criteria. The research vendor currently providing the ESG performance evaluation is MSCI, Inc. (“MSCI”). All companies must meet or exceed minimum ESG performance standards to be eligible for inclusion in the Fund. The evaluation process favors companies with leadership in ESG performance relative to their peers. Typically, environmental assessment categories include climate change, natural resource use, waste management and environmental opportunities. Social evaluation categories include human capital, product safety and social opportunities. Governance assessment categories include corporate governance, business ethics and government and public policy. How well companies adhere to international norms and principles and involvement in major ESG controversies (examples of which may relate to the environment, customers, human rights and community, labor rights and supply chain, and governance) are other considerations.

The ESG evaluation process is conducted on an industry-specific basis and involves the identification of key performance indicators, which are given more relative weight compared to the broader range of potential assessment categories. Concerns in one area do not automatically eliminate an issuer from being an eligible investment for the Fund, When ESG concerns exist, the evaluation process gives careful consideration to how companies address the risks and opportunities they face in the context of their industry and relative to their peers. The social and environmental impact of corporate activities related to the production and sale of alcohol, tobacco, military weapons, firearms, nuclear power and gambling products and services are quantified and incorporated into a company’s overall ESG performance assessment. While not automatically excluded from the Fund, most companies involved in these industries are ineligible for inclusion in the Fund due to their poor overall ESG performance.

Once a universe of ESG-eligible companies is established, Advisors then uses quantitative investment techniques to attempt to closely match, to the extent practicable, the overall risk characteristics of the benchmark index. The Fund holdings will generally consist of a subset of the eligible investment universe. The Fund is not required to invest in all of the companies that meet the ESG criteria.

The Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility Committee (the “CGSR Committee”) of the Board of Trustees of the Trust (“Board of Trustees”) reviews

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     5


the ESG criteria used to determine eligibility of the securities held by the Fund and approves the vendor of that service. Advisors seeks to ensure that the Fund’s investments are consistent with its ESG criteria, but Advisors cannot guarantee that this will always be the case for every Fund investment. Consistent with its responsibilities, the CGSR Committee evaluates options for implementing the Fund’s ESG investment criteria and monitors the ESG vendor(s) selected to supply the ESG-eligible universe. Advisors has the right to change the ESG vendor(s) at any time and to add to the number of vendors providing the universe of eligible companies. Investing on the basis of ESG criteria is qualitative and subjective by nature, and there can be no assurance that the process utilized by the Fund’s vendor(s) or any judgment exercised by the CGSR Committee or Advisors will reflect the beliefs or values of any particular investor.

The ESG criteria the Fund takes into consideration are non-fundamental investment policies. Such criteria and the universe of investments that the Fund utilizes may be changed without the approval of the Fund’s shareholders. For purposes of the 80% investment policy, the term “assets” means net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes.

Principal investment risks

You could lose money over short or long periods by investing in this Fund. An investment in the Fund, due to the nature of the Fund’s portfolio holdings, typically is subject to the following principal investment risks:

· ESG Criteria Risk—The risk that because the Fund’s ESG criteria excludes securities of certain issuers for nonfinancial reasons, the Fund may forgo some market opportunities available to funds that don’t use these criteria.

· Market Risk—The risk that market prices of portfolio investments held by the Fund may fall rapidly or unpredictably due to a variety of factors, including changing economic, political or market conditions. Market risk may affect a single issuer, industry or sector of the economy, or it may affect the market as a whole.

· Issuer Risk (often called Financial Risk)—The risk that an issuer’s earnings prospects and overall financial position will deteriorate, causing a decline in the value of the issuer’s financial instruments over short or extended periods of time.

· Foreign Investment Risk—Foreign markets can be more volatile than the U.S. market due to increased risks of adverse issuer, political, regulatory, currency, market or economic developments and can result in greater price volatility and perform differently from financial instruments of U.S. issuers. This risk may be heightened in emerging or developing markets. Foreign investments may also be less liquid and more difficult to value than investments in U.S. issuers.

· Large-Cap Risk—The risk that large-capitalization companies are more mature and may grow more slowly than the economy as a whole and tend to go in and out of favor based on market and economic conditions.

6     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


· Mid-Cap Risk—The risk that the stocks of mid-capitalization companies often experience greater price volatility, lower trading volume and less liquidity than the stocks of larger, more established companies.

· Active Management Risk—The risk that Advisors’ strategy, investment selection or trading execution may cause the Fund to underperform relative to the benchmark index or mutual funds with similar investment objectives.

· Benchmark Risk—The risk that the Fund’s performance may not correspond to its benchmark index for any period of time and may underperform such index or the overall financial market. Additionally, to the extent that the Fund’s investments vary from the composition of its benchmark index, the Fund’s performance could potentially vary from the index’s performance to a greater extent than if the Fund merely attempted to replicate the index.

· Quantitative Analysis Risk—The risk that stocks selected using quantitative modeling and analysis could perform differently from the market as a whole.

Please see the non-summary portion of the Prospectus for more detailed information about the risks described above.

Past performance

Performance information is not available for the Fund for the most recently completed calendar year because the Fund is newly operational.

For current performance information of each share class, including performance to the most recent month-end, please visit www.tiaa-cref.org.

Portfolio management

Investment Adviser. The Fund’s investment adviser is Teachers Advisors, Inc.

Portfolio Managers. The following persons manage the Fund on a day-to-day basis:

   
   

Name:

Philip James (Jim) Campagna, CFA

Lei Liao, CFA

Title:

Senior Director

Director

Experience on Fund:

since 2015

since 2015

Purchase and sale of Fund shares

Retail Class shares are available for purchase through certain financial intermediaries or by contacting the Fund directly at 800 223-1200 or www.tiaa-cref.org. Retirement Class and Premier Class shares are generally available for purchase through employee benefit plans or other types of savings plans or accounts. Institutional Class shares are available for purchase directly from the Fund by certain eligible investors (which include employee benefit plans and financial intermediaries).

· The minimum initial investment for Retail Class shares is $2,000 per Fund account for Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and Coverdell accounts and $2,500 for

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     7


all other account types. Subsequent investments for all account types must be at least $100.

· There is no minimum initial or subsequent investment for Retirement Class shares. Retirement Class shares are primarily offered through employer-sponsored employee benefit plans.

· There is no minimum initial or subsequent investment for Premier Class shares. Premier Class shares are primarily offered through certain financial intermediaries and employer-sponsored employee benefit plans.

· The minimum initial investment is $2 million and the minimum subsequent investment is $1,000 for Institutional Class shares, unless an investor purchases shares by or through financial intermediaries that have entered into an appropriate agreement with the Fund or its affiliates.

Redeeming or Exchanging Shares. You can redeem (sell) or exchange your shares of the Fund on any day that the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) is open for business. Exchanges may be made for shares of the same share class of other funds offered by the Trust. If your shares are held through a third party, please contact that entity for applicable redemption or exchange requirements. If your shares are held directly with the Fund, contact the Fund directly in writing or by telephone.

Tax information

The Fund intends to make distributions to shareholders that may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions made to tax-exempt shareholders or shareholders who hold Fund shares in a tax-deferred account are generally not subject to income tax in the current year, but redemptions made from tax-deferred accounts may be subject to income tax.

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation

If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), the Fund and/or its related companies may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services or for other investor services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.

Additional information about investment strategies and risks

Additional information about the Fund

This Prospectus describes the Fund and its investment objective, principal investment strategies and restrictions and principal investment risks. An investor

8     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


should consider whether the Fund is an appropriate investment. The investment objective of the Fund and its non-fundamental investment restrictions may be changed by the Board of Trustees of the Trust (“Board of Trustees”) without shareholder approval. Certain investment restrictions described in the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) are fundamental and may only be changed with shareholder approval.

As noted in the “Principal investment strategies” section of this Prospectus, the Fund has a policy of normally investing at least 80% of its assets (net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes) in equity securities of foreign issuers. Shareholders will receive at least 60 days’ prior notice before changes are made to the 80% policy.

Advisors may, for temporary defensive purposes, invest some or all of the Fund’s assets in cash and money market instruments, although Advisors is not obligated to do so. In doing so, the Fund may be successful in reducing market losses but may otherwise not achieve its investment objective.

The use of a particular index as the Fund’s benchmark index is not a fundamental policy and can be changed by the Board of Trustees without shareholder approval. The Fund will notify you before such a change is made.

The Fund is not appropriate for market timing. You should not invest in the Fund if you are a market timer.

There can be no assurances that the Fund will achieve its investment objective and investors should not consider an investment in this Fund to be a complete investment program.

Investors should be aware that investments made by the Fund and the results achieved by it at any given time are not expected to be the same as those made by other mutual funds for which Advisors acts as an investment adviser, including mutual funds with names, investment objectives and policies similar to those of the Fund.

Please see the Glossary toward the end of this Prospectus for certain defined terms used in this Prospectus.

Additional information on principal investment risks of the Fund

The Fund invests primarily in equity securities. In general, the value of equity securities fluctuates in response to the fortune of individual companies and in response to general market and economic conditions. The value of the Fund may increase or decrease as a result of its investments in equity securities and other instruments. More specifically, the Fund typically is subject to the following principal investment risks:

· ESG Criteria Risk—The risk that because the Fund’s ESG criteria excludes securities of certain issuers for nonfinancial reasons, the Fund may forgo some market opportunities available to funds that don’t use these criteria.

· Market Risk—The risk that the price of equity investments may decline in response to general market and economic conditions or events, including

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     9


conditions and developments outside of the financial markets such as significant changes in interest and inflation rates and the availability of credit. Accordingly, the value of the equity investments that the Fund holds may decline over short or extended periods of time. Any investment is subject to the risk that the financial markets as a whole may decline in value, thereby depressing the investment’s price. Equity markets, for example, tend to be cyclical, with periods when prices generally rise and periods when prices generally decline. Foreign equity markets tend to reflect local economic and financial conditions and, therefore, trends often vary from country to country and region to region. During periods of unusual volatility or turmoil in the financial markets, the Fund may undergo an extended period of decline.

· Issuer Risk (often called Financial Risk)—The risk that the issuer’s earnings prospects and overall financial position will deteriorate, causing a decline in the value of the issuer’s financial instruments over short or extended periods of time. In times of market turmoil, perceptions of an issuer’s credit risk can quickly change and even large, well-established issuers may deteriorate rapidly with little or no warning.

· Foreign Investment Risk—Foreign investments, which may include securities of foreign issuers, securities or contracts traded or acquired in non-U.S. markets or on non-U.S. exchanges, or securities or contracts payable or denominated in non-U.S. currencies, can involve special risks that arise from one or more of the following events or circumstances: (1) changes in currency exchange rates; (2) possible imposition of market controls or currency exchange controls; (3) possible imposition of withholding taxes on dividends and interest; (4) possible seizure, expropriation or nationalization of assets; (5) more limited foreign financial information or difficulties interpreting it because of foreign regulations and accounting standards; (6) lower liquidity and higher volatility in some foreign markets; (7) the impact of political, social or diplomatic events; (8) economic sanctions or other measures by the United States or other governments; (9) the difficulty of evaluating some foreign economic trends; and (10) the possibility that a foreign government could restrict an issuer from paying principal and interest to investors outside the country. Brokerage commissions and custodial and transaction costs are often higher for foreign investments, and it may be difficult to use foreign laws and courts to enforce financial or legal obligations.

· Large-Cap Risk—The risk that, by focusing on securities of larger companies, the Fund may have fewer opportunities to identify securities that the market misprices and that these companies may grow more slowly than the economy as a whole or not at all. Also, larger companies may fall out of favor with the investing public as a result of market, political and economic conditions, including for reasons unrelated to their businesses or economic fundamentals.

10     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


· Mid-Cap Risk—Securities of medium-sized companies may experience greater fluctuations in price than the securities of larger companies. From time to time, medium-sized company securities may have to be sold at a discount from their current market prices or in small lots over an extended period, since they may be harder to sell than larger-cap securities. In addition, it may be difficult to find buyers for securities of medium-sized companies that the Fund wishes to sell when the company is not perceived favorably in the marketplace or during periods of poor economic or market conditions. Such companies may be subject to certain business risks due to their smaller size, limited markets and financial resources, narrow product lines and frequent lack of depth of management. The costs of purchasing and selling securities of medium-sized companies may be greater than those of more widely traded securities.

· Active Management Risk—The risk that the performance of the Fund, which is actively managed, reflects in part the ability of Advisors to make active investment, strategic or trading decisions that are suited to achieving the Fund’s investment objective. As a result of strategy, investment selection or trading execution, the Fund could underperform its benchmark or other mutual funds with similar investment objectives.

· Benchmark Risk—The risk that the performance of the Fund may not correspond to, or may underperform, its benchmark index for any period of time. Although the Fund attempts to use the investment performance of its respective index as a baseline, it may not duplicate the exact composition of that index. In addition, unlike a mutual fund, the returns of an index are not reduced by investment and other operating expenses, and therefore, the ability of an indexed fund to match the performance of its index is adversely affected by the costs of buying and selling investments as well as other expenses.

· Quantitative Analysis Risk—The risk that securities selected for funds that are actively managed, in whole or in part, according to a quantitative analysis methodology can perform differently from the market as a whole based on the model and the factors used in the analysis, the weight placed on each factor and changes in the factor’s historical trends. Because such models are based on assumptions of these and other market factors, the models may not take into account certain factors, or perform as intended, and may result in a decline in the value of the Fund’s portfolio.

In addition to the principal investment risks set forth above, there are other risks associated with investing in the Fund and its investments that are discussed elsewhere in the Fund’s Prospectus and in the Fund’s SAI. There can be no assurances that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. You should not consider the Fund to be a complete investment program.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     11


Additional information about the Fund’s benchmark index

The benchmark index described below is unmanaged, and you cannot invest directly in the index.

MSCI EAFE® Index

The MSCI EAFE® Index tracks the performance of the leading stocks in certain MSCI countries outside of North America in Europe, Australasia and the Far East. The MSCI EAFE® Index constructs indices country by country, then assembles the country indices into regional indices. To construct an MSCI country index, the MSCI EAFE® Index analyzes each stock in that country’s market based on its market capitalization, trading volume and significant owners. The stocks are sorted by free float adjusted market capitalization, and the largest stocks (meeting liquidity and trading volume requirements) are selected until approximately 85% of the free float adjusted market representation of each country’s market is reached. When combined as the MSCI EAFE® Index, the regional index captures approximately 85% of the free float adjusted market capitalization of certain countries around the world.

The MSCI EAFE® Index is primarily a large-capitalization index, with approximately 83% of its stocks falling in this category. MSCI Barra determines the composition of the index based on a combination of factors including regional/country exposure, price, trading volume and significant owners, and can change its composition at any time.

Additional information on principal and non-principal investment strategies

The Fund may invest in short-term debt securities of the same type as those held by money market funds and other kinds of short-term instruments for cash management and other purposes. These securities help the Fund maintain liquidity, use cash balances effectively, and take advantage of attractive investment opportunities. The Fund also may invest up to 20% of its assets in fixed-income investments.

The Fund may write (sell) call options, including covered call options, and purchase call and put options, to try to enhance income, reduce portfolio volatility or protect gains in the Fund’s portfolio. Such options may include put and call options on securities of the types in which the Fund may invest and on securities indices composed of such securities. In writing (selling) call options, the Fund may give up the opportunity to profit on a security if the market price of the security rises and the option is exercised and, conversely, the premiums received from call options sold may not reduce the extent of Fund losses during periods of market decline. In purchasing call and put options, the Fund may purchase a call or put option that expires with no value due to the market price of the security remaining below or above, as applicable, the strike price of the option. In such an event, the Fund would lose the value of the premium paid for the call or put option but would also receive no economic benefit from the purchase or sale, as

12     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


applicable, of the security. The Fund can also write (sell) put options. In writing put options, the Fund may experience losses on a security if the market price of the security declines and the option is exercised and, conversely, the premiums received from put options sold may not reduce the extent of Fund losses during periods of market decline.

In addition, the Fund may buy and sell futures contracts on securities indices composed of securities of the types in which it may invest, and put and call options on such futures contracts. The Fund may use such futures contracts and options on futures contracts for hedging or cash management purposes, or to seek increased total return. Futures contracts permit the Fund to gain or reduce exposure to groups of securities and thereby have the potential to earn returns that are similar to those that would be earned by direct investments in those securities or instruments.

In seeking to manage currency exposure, the Fund also may enter into forward currency contracts and currency swaps and may buy or sell put and call options and futures contracts on foreign currencies.

The Fund can invest in other derivatives and similar financial instruments, such as equity swaps (including contracts for difference, an arrangement where the return is linked to the price movement of an underlying security, and other arrangements where the return is linked to a stock market index), options on swaps, and equity-linked fixed-income securities, so long as these derivatives and other financial instruments are consistent with the Fund’s investment objective, restrictions and policies and current regulations.

Please see the Fund’s SAI for more information on these and other investments the Fund may utilize.

Portfolio holdings

A description of the Fund’s policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of its portfolio holdings is available in the Fund’s SAI.

Portfolio turnover

If the Fund engages in active and frequent trading of portfolio securities, it will have a correspondingly higher “portfolio turnover rate.” A high portfolio turnover rate generally will result in (1) greater brokerage commission expenses or other transaction costs borne by the Fund and, ultimately, by shareholders and (2) higher amounts of realized investment gain subject to the payment of taxes by shareholders. Also, a high portfolio turnover rate for the Fund may cause the Fund to be more likely to generate capital gains that must be distributed to shareholders as taxable income. The Fund is not subject to a specific limitation on portfolio turnover, and securities of the Fund may be sold at any time such sale is deemed advisable for investment or operational reasons. Also, certain trading strategies utilized by the Fund may increase portfolio turnover. The Fund is not generally managed to minimize the tax burden for shareholders. The Fund may have investors that are funds of funds, education savings plans or other

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     13


asset allocation programs that are also managed by Advisors. These investors may engage in reallocations, rebalancings or other activity that may increase the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate and brokerage costs. Advisors may employ various portfolio management strategies to attempt to minimize any potential disruptive effects or costs of such activity.

Share classes

The Fund offers Retail, Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares in this Prospectus. The Fund’s investments are held by the Fund as a whole, not by a particular share class, so an investor’s money will be invested the same way no matter which class of shares is held. However, there are differences among the fees and expenses associated with each class and not everyone is eligible to buy every class. After determining which classes you are eligible to buy, decide which class best suits your needs. Please contact us if you have questions or would like assistance in determining which class is right for you.

Management of the Fund

The Fund’s investment adviser

Advisors manages the assets of the Trust, under the supervision of the Board of Trustees. Advisors is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (“TIAA”). TIAA is a life insurance company founded in 1918 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and is the companion organization of College Retirement Equities Fund (“CREF”), the first company in the United States to issue a variable annuity. Advisors is registered as an investment adviser with the SEC under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Advisors also manages the investments of TIAA Separate Account VA-1 and TIAA-CREF Life Funds. Through an affiliated investment adviser, TIAA-CREF Investment Management, LLC (“TCIM”), certain personnel of Advisors also manage the investment accounts of CREF. As of [_______], Advisors and TCIM together had approximately $[____] billion of registered investment company assets under management. Advisors is located at 730 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017-3206.

TIAA-CREF entities sponsor an array of financial products for retirement and other investment goals. For some of these products, for example, the investment accounts of CREF, TIAA or its subsidiaries perform services “at cost.” The Fund, however, pays the management fees and other expenses that are described in the table of fees and expenses in this Prospectus. The management fees paid by the Fund to Advisors are intended to compensate Advisors for its services to the Fund and are not limited to the reimbursement of Advisors’ costs. Thus, under this arrangement, Advisors can earn a profit or incur a loss on the services which it renders to the Fund. The Fund also pays Advisors for certain administrative services that Advisors provides to the Fund on an at-cost basis.

14     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


Advisors manages the assets of the Fund pursuant to an investment management agreement with the Trust (the “Management Agreement”). Advisors’ duties under the Management Agreement include, among other things, providing the Fund with investment research, advice and supervision; furnishing an investment program for the Fund; determining which securities or other investments to purchase, sell or exchange; and providing or obtaining any other necessary services to manage, acquire or dispose of securities, cash or other investments. Advisors also supervises and acts as liaison among the various service providers to the Fund, such as the custodian and transfer agent.

The annual investment management fees charged under the Management Agreement with respect to the Fund are as follows:

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT FEES

           
   

Assets Under Management

 

Fee Rate

 

 

 

(Billions)

 

(average daily net assets)

 

Social Choice International Equity Fund

All Assets

 

0.30%

 
      

A discussion regarding the basis for the Board of Trustees’ initial approval of the Fund’s Management Agreement will become available in the Fund’s shareholder report for the period ending October 31, 2015. For a free copy of the Fund’s shareholder report, please call 800 842-2252, visit the Fund’s website at www.tiaa-cref.org or visit the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

Portfolio management team

The Fund is managed by a team of managers, whose members are responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund, with expertise in the area applicable to the Fund’s investments. Certain team members are, for example, principally responsible for selecting appropriate investments for the Fund and others are principally responsible for asset allocation. The following is a list of members of the management team primarily responsible for managing the Fund’s investments, along with their relevant experience. The members of the management team may change from time to time.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     15


      

Name & Title

Portfolio Role/
Coverage/
Expertise/Specialty

Experience Over
Past Five Years

Total Experience
(since dates
specified below)

At
TIAA


Total

On
Team

Social Choice International Equity Fund

   

Philip James (Jim)
Campagna, CFA
Senior Director

Quantitative Portfolio Management

Advisors, TCIM and other advisory affiliates of TIAA—2005 to Present (portfolio management of domestic and international large-, mid- and small-cap equity index portfolios), Mellon Capital Management—1997 to 2005 (portfolio manager for a variety of equity index funds)

2005

1991

2015

      

Lei Liao, CFA
Director

Quantitative Portfolio Management

Advisors, TCIM and other advisory affiliates of TIAA—2012 to Present (portfolio management of domestic and international large-, mid- and small-cap equity index portfolios), Northern Trust Global Investment—2007 to 2012 (portfolio management of domestic and international, tax advantaged and index portfolios). World Asset Management—2005 to 2007 (portfolio manager for a variety of equity index funds)

2012

2005

2015

      

The Fund’s SAI provides additional disclosure about the compensation structure for the Fund’s portfolio managers, the other accounts they manage, total assets in those accounts and potential conflicts of interest, as well as the portfolio managers’ ownership of shares of the Fund.

Other services

Under the terms of the Administrative Services Agreement with the Trust, responsibility for payment of expenses relating to oversight and performance of certain services, including transfer agency, dividend disbursing, accounting, administrative, compliance and shareholder services, is allocated directly either to the Fund or to Advisors.

For Advisors’ provision of such administrative, compliance and other services to the Fund under the Administrative Services Agreement, the Fund pays to Advisors at the end of each calendar month the allocated costs of such services as determined under the TIAA-CREF cost allocation methodology then in effect.

For Retirement Class shares of the Fund, the Fund has a separate service agreement with Advisors (the “Retirement Class Service Agreement”) pursuant to which Advisors provides or arranges for the provision of administrative and shareholder services for the Retirement Class shares, including services associated with maintenance of Retirement Class shares on retirement plan or other platforms. Under the Retirement Class Service Agreement, the Retirement Class of the Fund pays monthly a fee to Advisors at an annual rate of up to

16     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


0.25% of average daily net assets, which is reflected as part of “Other Expenses” in the “Fees and expenses” section of this Prospectus. Advisors may rely on affiliated or unaffiliated persons to fulfill its obligations under the Retirement Class Service Agreement.

Distribution and services arrangements

All classes

Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc. (“TPIS”) distributes each class of Fund shares. TPIS may enter into agreements with other intermediaries, including its affiliated broker-dealer, TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC (“Services”), to offer and sell shares of the Fund. For Premier Class and Retail Class shares, TPIS may utilize some or all of the Rule 12b-1 plan fees it receives from Premier Class and Retail Class shares to pay such other intermediaries for services provided in connection with the sale, promotion and/or servicing of Premier Class and Retail Class shares, respectively. In addition, TPIS, Services or Advisors may pay intermediaries out of its own assets to support the distribution and/or servicing of Fund shares. Payments to intermediaries may include payments to certain third-party broker-dealers and financial advisors, including fund supermarkets, to provide access to their fund distribution platforms, as well as to provide transaction processing or administrative services. Additional information about payments to intermediaries appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Retail Class

The Fund has adopted a distribution plan under Rule 12b-1 with respect to Retail Class shares under which the Fund pays TPIS an annual fee as compensation for TPIS’ or other entities’ services related to the sale, promotion and/or servicing of Retail Class shares.

Under the plan, the Fund pays TPIS at the annual rate of 0.25% of average daily net assets attributable to Retail Class shares for distribution and promotion-related activities, as well as shareholder and account maintenance services, and TPIS may pay another entity for providing such services. Advisors, TPIS and their affiliates, at their own expense, may also pay for distribution, promotional and/or shareholder and account maintenance expenses of Retail Class shares. Because Rule 12b-1 plan fees are paid out of Retail Class assets on an ongoing basis, over time they will increase the cost of your investment in the Retail Class.

More information about the Fund’s distribution and services arrangements for Retail Class shares appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Retirement Class

More information about the Fund’s distribution and services arrangements for Retirement Class shares appears in the Fund’s SAI.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     17


Premier Class

The Fund has adopted a distribution plan under Rule 12b-1 with respect to Premier Class shares under which the Fund pays TPIS an annual fee as compensation for TPIS’ or other entities’ services related to the sale, promotion and/or servicing of Premier Class shares.

Under the plan, the Fund pays TPIS at the annual rate of 0.15% of average daily net assets attributable to Premier Class shares for distribution and promotion-related activities, as well as shareholder and account maintenance services, and TPIS may pay another entity for providing such services. Advisors, TPIS and their affiliates, at their own expense, may also pay for distribution, promotional and/or shareholder and account maintenance expenses of Premier Class shares. Because Rule 12b-1 plan fees are paid out of Premier Class assets on an ongoing basis, over time they will increase the cost of your investment in the Premier Class.

More information about the Fund’s distribution and services arrangements for Premier Class shares appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Institutional Class

More information about the Fund’s distribution and services arrangements for Institutional Class shares appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Other arrangements

Advisors also pays Services and/or other intermediaries an administrative charge at an annual rate of 0.25% of average daily net assets attributable to Retirement Class shares to compensate such intermediaries for maintenance of Retirement Class shares held on their platforms.

Calculating share price

The Fund determines its net asset value (“NAV”) per share, or share price, on each day the NYSE is open for business. The NAV for the Fund is calculated as of the time when regular trading closes on the NYSE (generally, 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time or at such earlier time that regular trading on the NYSE closes). The Fund does not price its shares on days that the NYSE is closed. NAV per share for each class is determined by dividing the value of the Fund’s assets attributable to such class, less all liabilities attributable to such class, by the total number of shares of the class outstanding.

If the Fund invests in foreign securities that are primarily listed on foreign exchanges that trade on days when the Fund does not price its shares, the value of the foreign securities in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days when shareholders will not be able to purchase or redeem Fund shares. The value of the Fund’s investments denominated in foreign currencies is converted to U.S. dollars for purposes of determining the Fund’s NAV.

18     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


The Fund generally uses market quotations or values obtained from independent pricing services to value securities and other instruments held by the Fund. If market quotations or values from independent pricing services are not readily available or are not considered reliable, the Fund will use a security’s “fair value,” as determined in good faith using procedures approved by the Board of Trustees. The Fund may also use fair value if events that have a significant effect on the value of an investment (as determined in Advisors’ sole discretion) occur between the time when its price is determined and the time the Fund’s NAV is calculated. For example, the Fund might use a domestic security’s fair value when the exchange on which the security is principally traded closes early or when trading in the security is halted and does not resume before the Fund’s NAV is calculated. The use of fair value pricing can involve reliance on quantitative models or individual judgment, and may result in changes to the prices of portfolio securities that are used to calculate the Fund’s NAV. Although the Fund fair values portfolio securities on a security-by-security basis, funds that hold foreign portfolio securities may see their portfolio securities fair valued more frequently than other funds that do not hold foreign securities.

Fair value pricing most commonly occurs with securities that are primarily traded outside the United States. This may have the effect of decreasing the ability of market timers to engage in “stale price arbitrage,” which takes advantage of the perceived difference in price from a foreign market closing price.

While using a fair value price for foreign securities is intended to decrease the ability of market timers to make money by exchanging into or out of the Fund to the detriment of longer-term shareholders, it may reduce some of the certainty in pricing obtained by using actual market close prices.

The Fund’s fair value pricing procedures provide, among other things, for the Fund to examine whether to fair value foreign securities when there is a movement in the value of a U.S. market index between the close of one or more foreign markets and the close of the NYSE. For these securities, the Fund uses a fair value pricing service approved by the Board of Trustees. This pricing service employs quantitative models to value foreign investments in order to adjust for stale pricing, which may occur between the close of certain foreign exchanges and the close of the NYSE. Fair value pricing is subjective in nature and the use of fair value pricing by the Fund may cause the NAV of the Fund’s shares to differ significantly from the NAV that would have been calculated using market prices at the close of the foreign exchange on which a portfolio security is primarily traded. The Fund also examines the prices of individual securities to determine, among other things, whether the price of such securities reflects fair value at the close of the NYSE based on market movements. In addition, the Fund may fair value domestic securities when it is believed the last market quotation is not readily available or such quotation does not represent the fair value of that security.

Fixed-income securities, including money market instruments, are valued using market quotations, independent pricing sources or values derived from a pricing

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     19


matrix that has various types of the applicable fixed-income instrument along one axis and various maturities along the other. The use of a price derived from a pricing matrix is a method of fair value pricing.

Dividends and distributions

The Fund expects to declare and distribute to shareholders substantially all of its net investment income and net realized capital gains, if any. The amount distributed will vary according to the income received from investments held by the Fund and capital gains realized from the sale of investments. The Fund plans to pay dividends on an annual basis. The Fund intends to pay net capital gains, if any, annually. Dividends and capital gains can be paid in cash or reinvested. If you have elected to receive your distributions in cash and the distribution amount is less than $10, then the amount will be automatically reinvested in the Fund and no check will be issued. If the postal service is unable to deliver checks to your address of record, or the distribution check remains outstanding for six months or more, then the Fund reserves the right to reinvest the distribution check into your account using the Fund’s current NAV and to change your distribution option to reinvestment. No interest will accrue on amounts represented by uncashed distribution checks.

Dividends and capital gain distributions paid to shareholders who hold their shares through a TIAA-CREF-administered retirement plan or custody account will automatically be reinvested in additional shares of the same class of the Fund. All other shareholders may elect from the following distribution options (barring any restrictions from the intermediary or plan through which such shares are held):

1. Reinvestment Option, Same Fund. Your dividend and capital gain distributions are automatically reinvested in additional shares of the same share class of the Fund. Unless you elect otherwise, this will be your default distribution option.

2. Reinvestment Option, Different Fund. Your dividend and capital gain distributions are automatically reinvested in additional shares of the same share class of another fund in which you already hold shares.

3. Income-Earned Option. Your long-term capital gain distributions are automatically reinvested, but you will be sent a check for each dividend and short-term capital gain distribution.

4. Capital Gains Option. Your dividend and short-term capital gain distributions are automatically reinvested, but you will be sent a check for each long-term capital gain distribution.

5. Cash Option. A check will be sent for your dividend and each capital gain distribution.

On the Fund’s distribution date, the Fund makes distributions on a per share basis to the shareholders who hold and have paid for Fund shares on the record date. The Fund does this regardless of how long the shares have been held. This means that if you buy shares just before or on a record date, you will pay the full

20     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


price for the shares and then you may receive a portion of the price back as a taxable distribution (see the discussion of “Buying a dividend” below under “Taxes”). Cash distribution checks will be mailed within seven days of the distribution date.

Shareholders who hold their shares through a variable insurance or annuity product, an employee benefit plan or through an intermediary may be subject to restrictions on their distribution payment options imposed by the product, plan or intermediary. Please contact the variable insurance or annuity product issuer or your plan sponsor or intermediary for more details.

Taxes

As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in the Fund will be taxed.

Taxes on dividends and distributions. Unless you are tax-exempt or hold Fund shares in a tax-deferred account, you are subject to federal income tax on dividends and taxable distributions each year. Your dividends and taxable distributions generally are taxable when they are paid, whether you take them in cash or reinvest them. However, distributions declared in October, November or December of a year and paid in January of the following year are taxable as if they were paid on December 31 of the prior year.

For federal tax purposes, income and short-term capital gain distributions from the Fund are taxed as ordinary income, and long-term capital gain distributions are taxed as long-term capital gains. Every January, a statement showing the taxable distributions paid to you in the previous year from the Fund will be sent to you and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) (for taxable accounts only). Whether or not a capital gain distribution is considered long-term or short-term depends on how long the Fund held the securities the sale of which led to the gain.

A portion of ordinary income dividends paid by the Fund to individual investors may constitute “qualified dividend income” that is subject to the same maximum tax rates as long-term capital gains. The portion of a dividend that will qualify for this treatment will depend on the aggregated qualified dividend income received by the Fund. Notwithstanding this, certain holding period requirements with respect to a shareholder’s shares in the Fund may apply to prevent the shareholder from treating any portion of a dividend as “qualified dividend income.” Additional information about this can be found in the Fund’s SAI.

Taxes on transactions. Unless a transaction involves Fund shares held in a tax-deferred account, redemptions (sales), including exchanges to other funds, may also give rise to capital gains or losses. The amount of any capital gain or loss will be the difference, if any, between the adjusted cost basis of your shares and the price you receive when you sell or exchange them. In general, a capital gain or loss will be treated as a long-term capital gain or loss if you have held your shares for more than one year.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     21


The Fund is required to report to the IRS and furnish to Fund shareholders the cost basis information for sale transactions of shares purchased on or after January 1, 2012. Shareholders may elect to have one of several cost basis methods applied to their account when calculating the cost basis of shares sold, including average cost, “first-in, first-out” (FIFO), or some other specific identification method. Unless you instruct otherwise, the Fund will use average cost as its default cost basis method, and will treat sales as first coming from shares purchased prior to January 1, 2012. If average cost is used for a shareholder’s first sale of the Fund shares covered by these new rules, the shareholder may only use an alternative cost basis method for shares purchased prospectively. Fund shareholders should consult with their tax advisors to determine the best cost basis method for their tax situation.

For shares you sell that were purchased prior to January 1, 2012, you will be sent a statement showing how many shares you sold and at what price. However, the statement will not include cost basis information and will not be furnished to the IRS. You or your tax preparer must determine whether this sale resulted in a capital gain or loss and the amount of tax to be paid on any gain. Be sure to keep your regular account statements; the information they contain will be essential in calculating the amount of your capital gains or losses.

Backup withholding. If you fail to provide a correct taxpayer identification number or fail to certify that it is correct, the Fund is required by law to withhold 28% of all the distributions and redemption proceeds paid from your account. The Fund is also required to begin backup withholding if instructed by the IRS to do so.

Buying a dividend. If you buy shares just before the Fund deducts a distribution from its NAV, you will pay the full price for the shares and then receive a portion of the price back in the form of a taxable distribution. This is referred to as “buying a dividend.” For example, assume you bought shares of the Fund for $10.00 per share the day before the Fund paid a $0.25 dividend. After the dividend was paid, each share would be worth $9.75, and, unless you hold your shares through a tax-deferred arrangement such as a 401(a), 401(k) or 403(b) plan or an IRA, you would have to include the $0.25 dividend in your gross income for tax purposes.

Effect of foreign taxes. Foreign governments may impose taxes on the Fund and its investments and these taxes generally will reduce the Fund’s distributions. If the Fund qualifies to pass through a credit for such taxes paid and elects to do so, an offsetting tax credit or deduction may be available to you if you maintain a taxable account. If so, your tax statement will show more taxable income than was actually distributed by the Fund, but will also show the amount of the available offsetting credit or deduction.

Other restrictions. There are tax requirements that all mutual funds must follow in order to avoid federal taxation. In its effort to adhere to these requirements, the Fund may have to limit its investment in some types of instruments.

22     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


Special considerations for certain institutional investors. If you are a corporate investor, a portion of the dividends from net investment income paid by the Fund may qualify for the corporate dividends-received deduction. The portion of the dividends that will qualify for this treatment will depend on the aggregate qualifying dividend income received by the Fund from domestic (U.S.) sources. Certain holding period and debt financing restrictions may apply to corporate investors seeking to claim the deduction.

Taxes related to employee benefit plans or IRAs. Generally, individuals are not subject to federal income tax in connection with shares held (or that are held on their behalf) in participant or custody accounts under Code section 401(a) employee benefit plans (including 401(k) and Keogh plans), Code section 403(b) or 457 employee benefit plans, or IRAs. Distributions from such plan participant or custody accounts may, however, be subject to ordinary income taxation in the year of the distribution. For information about the tax aspects of your plan or IRA or Keogh account, please consult your plan administrator, TIAA-CREF or your tax advisor.

Other tax matters. Certain investments of the Fund, including certain debt instruments, foreign securities and shares of other investment funds, could affect the amount, timing and character of distributions you receive and could cause the Fund to recognize taxable income in excess of the cash generated by such investments (which may require the Fund to liquidate other investments in order to make required distributions).

This information is only a brief summary of certain federal income tax information about your investment in the Fund. The investment may have state, local or foreign tax consequences, and you should consult your tax advisor about the effect of your investment in the Fund in your particular situation. Additional tax information can be found in the Fund’s SAI.

Your account: purchasing, redeeming
or exchanging shares

Fund shares offered in this Prospectus

The Fund offers four share classes: Retail, Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares. Retail Class shares are available for purchase through certain financial intermediaries or by contacting the Fund directly at 800 223-1200 or www.tiaa-cref.org. Retirement Class and Premier Class shares are generally available for purchase through employee benefit plans or other types of savings plans or accounts. Institutional Class shares are available for purchase directly from the Fund by certain eligible investors (which include employee benefit plans and financial intermediaries). Investors should note that certain account minimums may be required for purchasing Retail or Institutional Class shares.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     23


Share class eligibility

Overview

Each of the Fund’s share classes has certain eligibility requirements that apply when purchasing Fund shares. Eligibility to purchase a certain class of shares is generally based on the type of account being opened in the Fund as well as certain account minimums. In order to better understand the eligibility requirements outlined below, the following defined terms shall apply when used throughout this Prospectus.

Definitions

Financial Intermediary Accounts. These include accounts held through platforms, programs, plans and other similar entities, as well as omnibus accounts, on behalf of other investors. Financial Intermediary Accounts may include, but are not limited to, the following:

· Benefit Plans (as defined below);

· Certain custody accounts sponsored or administered by TIAA-CREF, or by other entities not affiliated with TIAA-CREF, that are established by individuals as IRAs pursuant to section 408 of the Code; and

· Wrap accounts or other such arrangements as may be offered by a financial advisor or other intermediary.

Benefit Plans. These include accounts sponsored or administered by either TIAA-CREF and its affiliates or by other entities not affiliated with TIAA-CREF and that are established by or on behalf of employers, or the trustees of plans sponsored by employers, in connection with certain employee benefit plans. Such Benefit Plans include those described in sections 401(a) (including 401(k) and Keogh plans), 403(a), 403(b) or 457 of the Code. Shareholders investing through such Benefit Plans may have to pay additional expenses related to the administration of such plans.

Eligible Investors. These include both Financial Intermediary Accounts and Benefit Plans.

Direct Purchasers. These accounts are opened directly with the transfer agent for the Fund, Boston Financial Data Services, Inc., and include the following: individual, financial advisor, domestic trust and joint accounts; traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs; corporate and institutional accounts; custodial accounts for a minor child under the Uniform Gift to Minors Act (“UGMA”) or Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (“UTMA”); and Coverdell education savings accounts.

Eligibility—Retail Class and Institutional Class

Retail Class and Institutional Class shares are available for purchase by or through the following types of accounts:

· Direct Purchasers;

· Financial Intermediary Accounts;

· Other investment companies or pools;

24     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


· State-sponsored tuition savings plans (529) or healthcare saving accounts (HSA);

· Insurance company separate accounts advised by or affiliated with Advisors, or other affiliates of TIAA-CREF; and

· Other accounts, entities, programs, plans and categories of shareholders as may be approved by the Fund from time to time.

Eligibility—Retirement Class and Premier Class

Retirement Class and Premier Class shares are available for purchase by or through the following types of accounts:

· Financial Intermediary Accounts;

· Other investment companies or pools;

· State-sponsored tuition savings plans (529) or healthcare saving accounts (HSA);

· Insurance company separate accounts advised by or affiliated with Advisors, or other affiliates of TIAA-CREF; and

· Other accounts, entities, programs, plans and categories of shareholders as may be approved by the Fund from time to time.

Account minimums

Investors should note that the following account minimums may be required for initial and subsequent purchases of Retail Class and Institutional Class shares:

· Retail Class shares: The minimum initial investment is $2,000 per Fund account for Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and Coverdell accounts and $2,500 for all other account types. Subsequent investments for all account types must be at least $100.

· Institutional Class shares: The minimum initial investment is $2,000,000 per Fund account and the minimum subsequent investment is at least $1,000 unless an investor purchases shares by or through financial intermediaries that have entered into an appropriate agreement with the Fund or its affiliates.

The Fund has the discretion to waive or otherwise change the initial or subsequent minimum investment requirements at any time without any prior notice to shareholders. These minimum account requirements are discussed in more detail below.

There are no minimum account requirements, including initial or subsequent minimum investment requirements, for Retirement Class or Premier Class shares.

All share classes

The Fund reserves the right to determine in its sole discretion whether any person, financial intermediary or entity is eligible to purchase Retail, Retirement,

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     25


Premier or Institutional Class shares. For more information with regard to Retail Class shares, please call the Fund at 800 223-1200, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time. For more information with regard to Retirement, Premier or Institutional Class shares, please call the Fund at 800 842-2252, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time. If you are a Direct Purchaser of Institutional Class shares, please contact your assigned relationship manager (“Relationship Manager”).

Investors in all share classes should be aware that the Fund may from time to time, in its discretion, deviate from or vary the processes and procedures outlined below for purchasing, redeeming and exchanging shares.

The Fund is not responsible for any losses due to unauthorized or fraudulent instructions when purchasing, redeeming or exchanging shares as long as the Fund follows reasonable security procedures to verify your identity. It is your responsibility to review and verify the accuracy of your confirmation statements immediately after you receive them.

Purchasing shares

For Retail Class shares and Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class shares

How to open an account—Retail Class

Accounts can be opened online, via mail or in person. To open an account, send the Fund a completed application with your initial investment. To open an account online or download an application to mail to the Fund, please visit the TIAA-CREF Web Center at www.tiaa-cref.org and click on Mutual Funds. At the Web Center, you can establish an individual, joint or custodial (UGMA/UTMA) account. If you have any questions or need help obtaining or completing the application, call the Fund at 800 223-1200. If you currently hold or in the future intend to hold your Retail Class shares indirectly through a financial intermediary, please contact the intermediary about initiating or making additional purchases of Retail Class shares.

How to open an account—Institutional Class

Direct Purchasers interested in opening an account to hold Institutional Class shares should request an application from their Relationship Manager, who can answer any questions or help complete the application. The application will need to be submitted directly either to a Relationship Manager or to the Fund via mail. Confirmation that the account has been established will be delivered to the applicant or can be obtained by calling the Fund.

Minimum initial and subsequent investment

The minimum initial investment for Retail Class shares in Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and Coverdell accounts is $2,000 per Fund account. The minimum initial investment for Retail Class shares in all other accounts is $2,500 per Fund account. For Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class shares, the minimum initial

26     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


investment is $2,000,000 per Fund account. The Fund can only accept payment to establish a new account if the check presented for deposit into the new account is drawn against an account registered in the same name as the prospective investor.

Subsequent investments into the Retail Class for all account types must be at least $100 per Fund account. Subsequent investments into the Institutional Class for all account types must be at least $1,000 per Fund account. Financial intermediaries may enforce their own initial and subsequent investment minimums.

All Retail Class shareholders automatically have the right to buy shares by telephone or through the TIAA-CREF Web Center as long as bank account information and a voided check were provided at the time the account was established. If you do not want the telephone/web purchase option, you can indicate this on the application or call the Fund at 800 223-1200 anytime after opening your account. You may add this privilege after the account has been established by completing an Account Services Form, which you can request by calling 800 223-1200, or you may download it from the Fund’s website. The Retail Class imposes a $100,000 per fund per day limit on telephone and web purchases.

Transaction methods for purchases

Over the Internet: With TIAA-CREF’s Web Center, you can make electronic withdrawals from your designated bank account to buy additional Retail Class shares over the Internet. TIAA-CREF’s Web Center can be accessed through TIAA-CREF’s homepage at www.tiaa-cref.org.

By telephone: You can request electronic withdrawals from your designated bank account to buy additional Retail Class shares of the Fund by calling 800 223-1200. You can request electronic withdrawals from your designated bank account to buy additional Institutional Class shares by calling your Relationship Manager.

Purchasing via mail: Send a check to either of the addresses listed below with an investment coupon from a previous confirmation statement. If you do not have an investment coupon, use a separate piece of paper including your name, address, Fund account number, the Fund and class you want to invest in and the amount to be invested in the Fund.

Make checks payable to “The TIAA-CREF Funds.”

First-Class Mail:

The TIAA-CREF Funds—(specify either: “Retail Class” or “Institutional Class”)

c/o Boston Financial Data Services

P.O. Box 55081

Boston, MA 02205-5081

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     27


Overnight Mail:

The TIAA-CREF Funds—(specify either: “Retail Class” or “Institutional Class”)

c/o Boston Financial Data Services

30 Dan Road

Canton, MA 02021-2809

Purchasing via wire: See the section entitled “Transaction methods for purchases” below.

Purchasing via Automatic Investment Plan for Retail Class shares: You can make subsequent investments into Retail Class shares automatically by electing to utilize the Fund’s automatic investment plan (“Automatic Investment Plan”) on your initial application or later upon request. By electing this option you authorize the Fund to take regular, automatic withdrawals from your bank account. To begin this service, send the Fund a voided checking or savings account investment slip. It will take the Fund up to 10 days from the time it is received to set up your Automatic Investment Plan. You can make automatic investments semi-monthly or monthly (on the 1st and 15th of each month or on the next business day if those days are not business days). Investments must be made for at least $100 per Fund account. You can change the date or amount of your investment, or terminate the Automatic Investment Plan, at any time by letter or by telephone or over the Internet. The change will take effect approximately five business days after the Fund receives your request. As used herein, the term “business day” means any day that the NYSE is open for trading.

In-kind purchases of shares: Advisors, at its sole discretion, may allow the purchase of shares with investment securities (instead of cash), if: (1) Advisors believes the securities are appropriate investments for the Fund; (2) the securities offered to the Fund are not subject to any restrictions upon their sale by the Fund under the Securities Act of 1933, or otherwise; and (3) the securities are permissible holdings under the Fund’s investment policies and restrictions. If the Fund accepts the securities, the shareholder’s account will be credited with shares equal in NAV to the market value of the securities received. Shareholders investing through a financial intermediary or Benefit Plan who are interested in making in-kind purchases should contact their intermediary or Benefit Plan sponsor directly. Otherwise, shareholders interested in making in-kind purchases should contact either their Relationship Manager or the Fund directly.

Payment limitations: Generally, for Retail Class shareholders and Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class shares, the Fund will not accept payment in the following forms (exceptions may apply):

· checks made out to you or other parties and signed over to the Fund;

· corporate checks for investment into non-corporate accounts;

· third-party checks except in limited circumstances with regard to subsequent investments (any check not made payable directly to TIAA-CREF Funds will be considered a third-party check); or

28     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


· travelers’ checks, money orders, credit card convenience checks, cash, counter checks or starter checks.

Stopped checks: If your purchase check does not clear or payment on it is stopped, or if the Fund does not receive good funds through wire transfer or electronic funds transfer, the Fund will treat this as a redemption of the shares purchased when your check or electronic funds were received. You will be responsible for any resulting loss incurred by the Fund or Advisors and you may be subject to investment losses and tax consequences on such a redemption. If you are already a shareholder, the Fund can redeem shares from any of your account(s) as reimbursement for all losses. The Fund also reserves the right to restrict you from making future purchases in the Fund or any other series of the Trust. There is a $25 fee for all returned items, including checks and electronic funds transfers. Please note that there is a 10 calendar day hold on all purchases by check, or through electronic funds transfer.

For Eligible Investors in Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares and their clients

For Participants in a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF

How to open an account

You should first contact your employer to learn important details necessary to facilitate enrollment in a Benefit Plan. Your employer must notify TIAA-CREF that you are eligible to enroll. In many cases, you will be able to use the TIAA-CREF Web Center’s online enrollment feature at www.tiaa-cref.org. Some plans allow submission of a hard-copy application for a new account; this form can be returned to your human resources (HR) office, a TIAA-CREF Relationship Manager or to either of the addresses below:

First-Class or Standard Mail:

TIAA-CREF

PO Box 1259

Charlotte, NC 28262

Overnight Mail:

TIAA-CREF

8500 Andrew Carnegie Blvd

Charlotte, NC 28262

You may allocate single or ongoing contributions by selecting the Fund and the amounts you wish to contribute to the Fund.

Subject to the terms of your plan, you may be eligible to roll over or transfer in balances from other eligible accounts as determined by the Code.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     29


The Fund may suspend or terminate the offering of Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares to your employer’s plan. You may be able to change your allocation for future contributions by:

· writing to TIAA-CREF at P.O. Box 1259, Charlotte, NC 28201;

· calling our Automated Telephone Service (24 hours a day) at 800 842-2252; or

· using the TIAA-CREF website’s account access feature at www.tiaa-cref.org.

For Participants in a Benefit Plan or other account not administered by TIAA-CREF

How to open an account

You should first contact your employer to learn important details necessary to facilitate enrollment in a Benefit Plan. If you are investing through a financial intermediary, you will need to follow the instructions and procedures provided by the intermediary.

Other information for Benefit Plans

As a participant in a Benefit Plan, the Fund imposes no minimum investment. The Fund does not currently restrict the frequency of investments made in the Fund by participant accounts through Benefit Plans, although the Fund reserves the right to impose such restrictions in the future. If you are investing in the Fund through a Benefit Plan, your employer’s plan may limit the amount and available methods to invest in your participant account. Additionally, the Code limits total annual contributions to most types of Benefit Plans.

Other information for Eligible Investors

Investors purchasing shares through Eligible Investors may purchase shares only in accordance with instructions and limitations pertaining to their account with the Eligible Investor. These Eligible Investors may set different minimum investment requirements for their customers’ investments. Please contact your financial intermediary or Benefit Plan sponsor for more information.

Transaction methods for purchases

Purchasing via wire: You may remit initial or subsequent deposits into your account via wire. To open an account by wire please send a completed and signed application by mail as instructed above and then follow the wiring instructions below once you have confirmed the account is open and have the account number.

State Street Bank and Trust Company

One Lincoln Street

Boston, MA 02111

ABA Number (all classes) 011000028

DDA Number

   
 

Retail Class:

99052771

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All other classes:

99054546

Specify on the wire:

· “The TIAA-CREF Funds—” and the “Share Class” being purchased. For example, a proper set of wire instructions for an initial or subsequent investment into the Institutional Class would read as follows: “The TIAA-CREF Funds—Institutional Class”;

· Account registration (names of registered owners), address and Social Security number or taxpayer identification number;

· The Fund account number; and

· The Fund and amount to be invested.

Points to remember for all purchases

The Fund considers all purchase requests to be received when they are received in “good order” as determined by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent). (See the section entitled “Important transaction information—Good Order” below.) Your investment must be for a specified dollar amount. The Fund cannot accept purchase requests specifying a certain price, date, or number of shares. These types of requests will be deemed to be not in “good order” and the money you sent will be returned to you. If you hold your shares through a financial intermediary, such intermediary may have its own independent “good order” and eligibility requirements.

Your ability to purchase shares may be restricted due to limitations on purchases or exchanges, including limitations under the Fund's Market Timing/Excessive Trading Policy (see below). If you hold your shares through a financial intermediary, it may charge you additional fees. Contact your financial intermediary to find out if it imposes any other conditions on your transactions, such as a different minimum investment requirement.

Federal law requires the Fund to obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. Until the Fund receives such information, it may not be able to open an account or effect transactions for you. Furthermore, if the Fund is unable to verify your identity, or that of another person authorized to act on your behalf, or if it is believed potential criminal activity has been identified, the Fund reserves the right to take such action as deemed appropriate, which may include closing your account.

Before you can use TIAA-CREF’s Web Center, you must enter your Social Security number, date of birth and active account number. You will then be given an opportunity to create a user name and password. TIAA-CREF’s Web Center will lead you through the transaction process, and the Fund will use reasonable procedures to confirm that the instructions given are genuine. All transactions over TIAA-CREF’s Web Center are recorded electronically.

All purchases must be in U.S. dollars and all checks must be drawn on U.S. banks. The Fund will only accept accounts with a U.S. address of record. The Fund will not accept a P.O. Box as the address of record. For payments made by

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     31


check, the Fund can only accept payment to establish a new account if the check presented for deposit into the new account is drawn against an account registered in the same name as the prospective investor.

If your purchase check does not clear or payment on it is stopped, or if the Fund does not receive good funds through wire transfer or electronic funds transfer, the Fund will treat this as a redemption of the shares purchased when your check or electronic funds were received. You will be responsible for any resulting loss incurred by the Fund or Advisors and you may be subject to investment losses and tax consequences on such a redemption. If you are already a shareholder, the Fund can redeem shares from any of your account(s) as reimbursement for all losses. The Fund also reserves the right to restrict you from making future purchases in the Fund or any other series of the Trust. There is a $25 fee for all returned items, including checks and electronic funds transfers. Please note that there is a 10 calendar day hold on all purchases by check, or through electronic funds transfer.

There may be circumstances when the Fund will not accept new investments. The Fund reserves the right to suspend or terminate the offering of its shares at any time without prior notice. The Fund also reserves the right to restrict you from making future purchases in the Fund or any other series of the Trust. In addition, the Fund reserves the right to reject any application or investment or any other specific purchase request.

Redeeming shares

All share classes

You can redeem (sell) your shares on any business day. If you hold your Fund shares through a financial intermediary, please contact the intermediary to sell your shares. Your financial intermediary may have different requirements and restrictions on redemptions than the Fund. If you hold your Fund shares through a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF, the Benefit Plan or other account may impose further restrictions on the sale of Fund shares.

You may be required to complete and return certain forms to effect your redemption. Before you complete your redemption request, please make sure you understand the possible federal and other income tax consequences of a redemption. Neither the Fund nor its transfer agent can process redemption requests that specify a certain price or date; these requests will be deemed not in “good order” and will be returned. (See the section entitled “Important transaction information—Good Order” below.)

Usually, the Fund sends redemption proceeds (minus any applicable Redemption Fee) on the next business day after the Fund receives a redemption request in “good order” as determined by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent), but not later than seven days afterwards.

If a redemption is requested after a recent purchase of shares, the Fund may delay payment of the redemption proceeds until the check or an electronic funds transfer transaction clears. This can take up to 10 days. There is a 10 calendar

32     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


day hold from the date of purchase to the first available redemption for all Direct Purchasers redeeming through the TIAA-CREF Web Center.

If you request a redemption, we will send the proceeds (minus any applicable Redemption Fee) by check to the address of record, or by electronic funds transfer to the bank account on file. A letter of instruction with a bank Medallion Signature Guarantee of all owners exactly as registered on the account is required if the redemption is sent to (i) a bank account not on file, (ii) an address other than the address of record, or (iii) an address of record that has been changed within the last 30 calendar days. You may obtain a Medallion Signature Guarantee from some commercial or savings banks, credit unions, trust companies or member firms of a U.S. stock exchange. A notary public cannot provide a Medallion Signature Guarantee.

The Fund can postpone payment if: (a) the NYSE is closed for other than usual holidays or weekends, or trading on the NYSE is restricted; (b) an emergency exists as defined by the SEC, or when the SEC requires that trading be restricted; or (c) the SEC permits a delay for the protection of investors.

The Fund reserves the right to require a Medallion Signature Guarantee for a redemption of any class. The Fund can suspend or terminate your ability to transact by telephone, Internet, or by fax at any time, for any reason.

Once mailed to the Fund, your redemption request is irrevocable and cannot be modified or canceled.

For participants holding shares through a Benefit Plan (Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares)

A redemption can be part of an exchange into (1) another fund available through your Benefit Plan or, (2) another account or IRA.

If you are married, and all or part of your investment is attributable to purchases made under either (i) an employer plan subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) or (ii) an employer plan that provides for spousal rights to benefits, then to the extent required by the Code or ERISA or the terms of your employer plan, your rights to make certain redemptions may be restricted by the rights of your spouse to such benefits.

For Direct Purchasers, Eligible Investors and their clients (Retail and Institutional Class shares)

Requests must include: account number, transaction amount (in dollars or shares), signatures of all owners exactly as registered on the account, Medallion Signature Guarantees (if required), and any other required supporting legal documentation. All other requests, including those specifying a certain price or date will not be deemed to be in “good order” and will be returned. (See the section entitled “Important transaction information—Good Order” below.)

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     33


Transaction methods for redemptions

If your shares are held through a financial intermediary, please contact the intermediary for redemption requirements.

By mail: Send your written request to the appropriate address as described in the section entitled “Purchasing shares” above.

Over the Internet: With TIAA-CREF’s Web Center, Direct Purchasers of Retail Class shares can redeem their shares over the Internet although there is a limit on Internet redemptions. Investors in the Retail Class shares are limited to Internet redemptions of up to $100,000 per fund per day. Internet redemptions are not available for self-directed IRA accounts and Coverdell education savings accounts held by Direct Purchasers. Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares held through a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF are limited to a maximum cumulative Internet redemption of $50,000 on a rolling 12 month basis. TIAA-CREF’s Web Center can be accessed through TIAA-CREF’s homepage at www.tiaa-cref.org. Before you can use the Web Center, you must enter your Social Security number, date of birth and active account number. The Fund will use reasonable procedures to confirm that the instructions given are genuine. All transactions over the Web Center are recorded electronically.

By telephone: Call the appropriate number provided in the section entitled “Purchasing shares” above. All shareholders with telephone redemption options automatically receive the Internet redemption option. If you do not want to be able to redeem by telephone or Internet, indicate this on your application or call the Fund anytime after opening your account. Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class shares wishing to make redemption orders by telephone should call their Relationship Manager.

· Direct Purchasers of Retail Class shares can redeem amounts up to $100,000 per fund per day by phone.

· Participants holding Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares through a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF can redeem up to $50,000 every seven days by phone or any greater amount as approved by the Fund from time to time.

By systematic redemption plan: For Retail Class shares, you can elect this feature only for accounts with balances of at least $5,000. The Fund will automatically redeem the requested dollar amount or number of shares for Retail Class each month or quarter on the 1st or 15th of the month or for Retirement, Premier and Institutional Classes held in a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF on any business day between the 1st and 28th of the month. For all share classes, if the days selected are not business days, shares will be redeemed on the following business day. Redemptions will be made via check or electronic transfer to your bank.

If you are a Direct Purchaser of Retail Class shares in the Fund and want to set up a systematic redemption plan, contact the Fund and it will send the necessary forms to you or you may enroll online through the TIAA-CREF Web

34     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


Center. All owners of an account must sign the systematic redemption plan request. Similarly, all owners must sign any request to increase the amount or frequency of the systematic redemptions or a request for payments to be sent to an address other than the address of record. A Medallion Signature Guarantee is required for this address change. The Fund can terminate the systematic redemption plan option at any time, although the Fund will notify you if this occurs. You can terminate the plan or reduce the amount or frequency of the redemptions by writing or by calling the Fund or through the TIAA-CREF Web Center. Requests to establish, terminate, or change the amount or frequency of redemptions will become effective within five days after the Fund receives your instructions.

In-kind redemptions of shares: Certain large redemptions of Fund shares may be detrimental to the Fund’s other shareholders because such redemptions can adversely affect a portfolio manager’s ability to implement the Fund’s investment strategy by causing premature sale of portfolio securities that would otherwise be held. Consequently, if, in any 90 day period, an investor redeems (sells) shares in an amount that exceeds the lesser of (i) $250,000 or (ii) 1% of the Fund’s assets, then the Fund, at its sole discretion, has the right (without prior notice) to satisfy the difference between the redemption amount and the lesser of the two previously mentioned figures with securities from the Fund’s portfolio instead of cash (minus any applicable Redemption Fee). This is referred to as a “distribution in-kind” redemption and the securities you receive in this manner represent a portion of the Fund’s entire portfolio. The securities you receive will be selected by the Fund in its discretion. The investor receiving the securities will be responsible for disposing of the securities and bearing any associated costs.

Exchanging shares

Overview

An exchange is a simultaneous redemption of shares in the Fund and a purchase of shares in another fund or series of the Trust. Investors can exchange shares on any business day subject to limitations (i) described in the section entitled "Market timing/excessive trading policy" below, (ii) imposed by your financial intermediary or (iii) any limitations under your employer’s plan. Shareholders who own shares through an Eligible Investor such as a Benefit Plan or Financial Intermediary Account should contact the Eligible Investor for exchange requests.

Exchanges between accounts can be made only if the accounts are registered in the same name(s), address and Social Security number or taxpayer identification number. Because restrictions may apply to certain accounts or plans, you should contact your financial intermediary or plan representative for further information. An exchange is considered a sale of securities and therefore may be a taxable event.

For Retail Class shareholders and Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class Shares, an exchange into a fund in which you already own shares must be for at

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     35


least $50 ($1,000 for Institutional) and an exchange to a new fund account must meet the account minimums as stated by account type above (i.e., for Retail Class shares, $2,000 per fund account for IRAs or Coverdell accounts and $2,500 per fund account for all other account types, including custodial (UGMA/UTMA) accounts). For Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares held through a plan, exchanges must generally be for at least $1,000 (except for systematic exchanges, which must be for at least $100) or your entire balance, if it is less.

Make sure you understand the investment objective, policies, strategies and risks disclosed in the prospectus of the fund into which you exchange shares. The exchange option is not designed to allow you to time the market. It gives you a convenient way to adjust the balance of your account so that it more closely matches your overall investment objectives and risk tolerance level.

The Fund reserves the right to reject any exchange request and to modify or terminate the exchange option at any time without prior notice to shareholders. The Fund may do this, in particular, when your transaction activity is deemed to be harmful to the Fund, including if it is considered to be market timing activity.

Once made, an exchange request by mail cannot be modified or cancelled.

Transaction methods for exchanges

Over the Internet: You can exchange shares using TIAA-CREF’s Web Center, which can be accessed through TIAA-CREF’s homepage at www.tiaa-cref.org.

By mail: Send your written request to the appropriate address as described in the section entitled “Purchasing shares” above. The letter must include your name, address, and the funds and accounts you want to exchange between.

By telephone: For Direct Purchasers of Retail Class shares, please call 800 223-1200. If you are a Direct Purchaser of Institutional Class shares, please call your Relationship Manager. For share classes held under Benefit Plans or other accounts administered by TIAA-CREF, please call 800 842-2252. For share classes held under Benefit Plans or other accounts not administered by TIAA-CREF, please contact your financial intermediary for exchange requirements.

By systematic exchange: Under this feature, TIAA-CREF automatically redeems shares in the Fund and purchases shares in another fund or series of the Trust as specified by the applicable agreement. However, the Fund does not offer systematic exchanges for Direct Purchasers in the Institutional Class shares. In addition, for Retail Class shares, you can only elect this feature if the balance of the Fund account from which you are transferring shares is at least $5,000. Retail Class systematic exchanges can occur on the 1st or 15th day of the month or on the following business day if those days are not business days. For all systematic exchanges, you must specify the dollar amount and the funds involved in the exchange. If you want to set up a systematic exchange, contact TIAA-CREF. You can terminate the plan or change the amount or frequency of the exchanges by writing or calling the number identified in the section entitled “Purchasing shares” above. Requests to establish, terminate, or change the

36     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


amount or frequency of exchanges will become effective within five days after the Fund receives your instructions. All account owners must sign the systematic exchange request. Similarly, all account owners must sign any request to increase the amount or frequency of systematic exchanges.

Conversion of shares—applicable to all investors

A share conversion is a transaction where shares of one class of the Fund are exchanged for shares of another class of the Fund. Share conversions can occur between each share class of the Fund. Generally, share conversions occur where a shareholder becomes eligible for another share class of the Fund or no longer meets the eligibility of the share class they own (and another class exists for which they would be eligible). Please note that a share conversion is generally a non-taxable event, but please consult with your personal tax advisor on your particular circumstances.

A request for a share conversion will not be processed until it is received in “good order” (as defined below) by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent). Conversion requests received in “good order” prior to the close of the NYSE (generally 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time) on a day the NYSE is open will receive the NAV of the new class calculated that day. Please note that, because the NAV of each class of the Fund will generally vary from the NAVs of the other classes due to differences in expenses, you will receive a different number of shares in the new class than you held in the old class, but the total value of your holdings will remain the same.

The Fund’s market timing policies will not be applicable to share conversions. If you hold your shares through an Eligible Investor like an intermediary or plan sponsor, please contact the Eligible Investor for more information on share conversions. Please note that certain intermediaries or plan sponsors may not permit all types of share conversions. The Fund reserves the right to terminate, suspend or modify the share conversion privilege for any shareholder or group of shareholders.

Voluntary conversions

If you believe that you are eligible to convert your Fund shares to another class, you may place an order for a share conversion by contacting your Relationship Manager. If you hold your shares through an Eligible Investor like a plan or intermediary, please contact the Eligible Investor regarding conversions. Please be sure to read the applicable sections of the prospectus for the new class in which you wish to convert prior to such a conversion in order to learn more about its different features, performance and expenses. Neither the Fund nor Advisors has any responsibility for reviewing accounts and/or contacting shareholders to apprise them that they may qualify to request a voluntary conversion. Some Eligible Investors may not allow investors who own Fund shares through them to make share conversions.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     37


Mandatory conversions

The Fund reserves the right to automatically convert shareholders from one class to another if they no longer qualify as eligible for their existing class or if they become eligible for another class. Such mandatory conversions may be as a result of a change in value of an account due to market movements, exchanges or redemptions. The Fund will notify affected shareholders in writing prior to any mandatory conversion.

Important transaction information

Good Order. Purchase, redemption and exchange requests are not processed until received in good order by the Fund’s transfer agent at its processing center (or by another authorized Fund agent). “Good order” means actual receipt of the order along with all information and supporting legal documentation necessary to effect the transaction by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent). This information and documentation generally includes the Fund account number, the transaction amount (in dollars or shares), signatures of all account owners exactly as registered on the account and any other information or supporting documentation as the Fund, its transfer agent or other authorized Fund agent may require. With respect to purchase requests, “good order” also generally includes receipt of sufficient funds by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent) to effect the purchase. The Fund, its transfer agent or any other authorized Fund agent may, in their sole discretion, determine whether any particular transaction request is in good order and reserve the right to change or waive any good order requirement at any time.

Financial intermediaries or plan sponsors may have their own requirements for considering transaction requests to be in “good order.” If you hold your shares through a financial intermediary or plan sponsor, please contact them for their specific “good order” requirements.

Share Price. If the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent) receives an order to purchase, redeem or exchange shares that is in good order anytime before close of regular trading on the NYSE (usually 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time), the transaction price will be the NAV per share for that day. If the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent) receives an order to purchase, redeem or exchange shares that is in good order anytime after the NYSE closes, the transaction price will be the NAV per share calculated the next business day.

If you hold Retirement, Premier or Institutional Class shares through an Eligible Investor, or if you hold Retail Class shares through a financial intermediary, the Eligible Investor or financial intermediary, as applicable, may require you to communicate to it any purchase, redemption or exchange request by a specified deadline earlier than 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time in order to receive that day’s NAV per share as the transaction price.

Large Redemptions—Applicable to All Investors. Please contact the Fund before attempting to redeem a large dollar amount of shares (including exchange requests since they include redemption transactions). Large redemptions of Fund

38     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


shares may be detrimental to the Fund’s other shareholders because such transactions can adversely affect a portfolio manager’s ability to efficiently manage the Fund. By contacting the Fund before you attempt to redeem a large dollar amount, you may avoid in-kind payment of your request.

Minimum Account Size.

· Retail Class. Due to the relatively high cost of maintaining smaller accounts, the Fund reserves the right to redeem shares in any account if the value of that account drops below $1,500. You will be allowed at least 60 days, after written notice, to make an additional investment to bring your account value up to at least the specified minimum before the redemption is processed. The Fund reserves the right to waive or reduce the minimum account size for the Fund’s account at any time. Additionally, the Fund may increase, terminate or revise the terms of the minimum account size requirements at any time without advance notice to shareholders.

· Premier and Retirement Class. There is currently no minimum account size for Premier or Retirement Class shares. The Fund reserves the right, without prior notice, to establish a minimum amount required to open, maintain or add to an account.

· Institutional Class. While there is currently no minimum account size for maintaining an Institutional Class account, the Fund reserves the right, without prior notice, to establish a minimum amount required to maintain an account.

Small Account Maintenance Fee—Retail Class. The Fund charges an annual Small Account Maintenance Fee of $15.00 per Retail Class account (applicable to both retirement and non-retirement accounts) in order to allocate shareholder servicing costs equitably if your Fund balance falls below $2,000 (for any reason, including a decrease in market value). Investors cannot pay this fee by any other means besides an automatic deduction of the fee from their account.

The annual Small Account Maintenance Fee will not apply to the following types of Retail Class Fund accounts: accounts held through retirement or employee benefit plans; accounts held through intermediaries and their supermarkets and platforms (i.e., omnibus accounts); accounts that are registered under a taxpayer identification number (or Social Security number) that have aggregated non-retirement or non-employee benefit plan assets held in accounts for the Fund or other series of the Trust of $25,000 or more; accounts currently enrolled in the Fund’s Automatic Investment Plan; and accounts held through tuition (529) plan programs. However, the annual Small Account Maintenance Fee will apply to IRAs and Coverdell education savings accounts. The Fund reserves the right to waive or reduce the annual Small Account Maintenance Fee for any Fund account at any time. Additionally, the Fund may increase, terminate or revise the terms of the annual Small Account Maintenance Fee at any time without advance notice to shareholders.

Taxpayer Identification Number. Regardless of whether you hold your Fund shares directly or through a financial intermediary, you must give the Fund your

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     39


taxpayer identification number (which, for most individuals, is your Social Security number) and tell the Fund whether or not you are subject to backup withholding. If you do not furnish your taxpayer identification number, redemptions or exchanges of shares, as well as dividends and capital gains distributions, will be subject to backup tax withholding. In addition, if you hold Fund shares directly and do not furnish your taxpayer identification number, then your account application will be rejected and returned.

Changing Your Address.

· Retail Class. To change the address on your account, please call the Fund or send the Fund a written notification signed by all registered owners of your account. If you hold your shares through a financial intermediary, please contact the intermediary to change your address.

· Premier and Retirement Class. To change the address on an Eligible Investor account, please send the Fund a written notification.

· Institutional Class. To change the address on an account, please contact your Relationship Manager (for Direct Purchasers) or send the Fund a written notification.

Medallion Signature Guarantee. For some transaction requests (for example, when you are redeeming shares within 30 days (for direct investors) or 14 days (for participants holding shares through a plan or account administered by TIAA-CREF) of changing your address, bank or bank account or adding certain new services to an existing account), the Fund may require a Medallion Signature Guarantee of each owner of record of an account. This requirement is designed to protect you and the Fund from fraud, and to comply with rules on stock transfers. A Medallion Signature Guarantee is a written endorsement from an eligible guarantor institution that the signature(s) on the written request is (are) valid. Certain commercial banks, trust companies, savings associations, credit unions and members of U.S. stock exchanges participate in the Medallion Signature Guarantee program. No other form of signature verification will be accepted. A notary public cannot provide a signature guarantee. For more information about when a Medallion Signature Guarantee may be required, please contact the Fund or your Relationship Manager (for Direct Purchasers).

Transferring Shares. For certain share classes, you can transfer ownership of your account to another person or organization that also qualifies to own the class of shares or change the name on your account by sending the Fund written instructions. Generally, each registered owner of the account must sign the request and provide Medallion Signature Guarantees. When you change the name on an account, shares in that account are transferred to a new account.

Limitations. Federal laws designed to counter terrorism and prevent money laundering might, in certain circumstances, require the Fund to block an account owner’s ability to make certain transactions and thereby refuse to accept a purchase order or any request for transfers or withdrawals, until instructions are received from the appropriate regulator. The Fund may also be required to

40     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


provide additional information about you and your account to government regulators.

Advice About Your Account—Direct Purchasers Only. TPIS, a TIAA subsidiary, is the principal underwriter for the Fund, and Services, a TIAA subsidiary, has entered into an agreement with TPIS to sell Fund shares. TPIS representatives are only authorized to recommend securities of investment companies or other pooled investment vehicles managed by TIAA or its affiliates. Neither TPIS nor Services receives commissions for these recommendations.

Customer Complaints. Customer complaints may be directed to TIAA-CREF Funds, 730 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017-3206, Mail Stop 730/07/01, Attention: Director, Distribution Operation Services.

Transfer On Death—Retail Class. If you live in certain states and hold Retail Class shares, you can designate one or more persons (“beneficiaries”) to whom your Fund shares can be transferred upon death. You can set up your account with a Transfer On Death (“TOD”) registration upon request. (Call us to get the necessary forms.) A TOD registration avoids probate if the beneficiary(ies) survives all shareholders. You maintain total control over your account during your lifetime.

TIAA-CREF Web Center and Telephone Transactions. The Fund is not liable for losses from unauthorized TIAA-CREF Web Center and telephone transactions so long as reasonable procedures designed to verify the identity of the person effecting the transaction are followed. The Fund requires the use of personal identification numbers, codes and other procedures designed to reasonably confirm that instructions given through TIAA-CREF’s Web Center or by telephone are genuine. The Fund also tape records telephone instructions and provides written confirmations of such instructions. The Fund accepts all telephone instructions that are reasonably believed to be genuine and accurate. However, you should verify the accuracy of your confirmation statements immediately after you receive them. The Fund may suspend or terminate Internet or telephone transaction facilities at any time, for any reason. If you do not want to be able to effect transactions over the telephone, call the Fund for instructions.

Market timing/excessive trading policy—applicable to all investors

There are shareholders who may try to profit from making transactions back and forth among the Fund and other funds in an effort to “time” the market. As money is shifted in and out of the Fund, the Fund may incur transaction costs, including, among other things, expenses for buying and selling securities. These costs are borne by all Fund shareholders, including long-term investors who do not generate these costs. In addition, market timing can interfere with efficient portfolio management and cause dilution if timers are able to take advantage of pricing inefficiencies. Consequently, the Fund is not appropriate for such market timing and you should not invest in the Fund if you want to engage in market timing activity.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     41


The Board of Trustees has adopted policies and procedures to discourage this market timing activity. Under these policies and procedures, if, within a 60 calendar day period, a shareholder redeems or exchanges any monies out of the Fund, subsequently purchases or exchanges any monies back into the Fund and then redeems or exchanges any monies out of the Fund, the shareholder will not be permitted to transfer back into the Fund through a purchase or exchange for 90 calendar days.

These market timing policies and procedures will not be applied to certain types of transactions like reinvestments of dividends and capital gains distributions, systematic withdrawals, systematic purchases, automatic rebalancings, death and hardship withdrawals, certain transactions made within a retirement or employee benefit plan, such as contributions, mandatory distributions, loans and plan sponsor-initiated transactions, and other types of transactions specified by the Fund. In addition, the market timing policies and procedures will not apply to certain tuition (529) plan programs, funds of funds, wrap programs, asset allocation programs and other similar programs that are approved by the Fund. The Fund may also waive the market timing policies and procedures when it is believed that such waiver is in the Fund’s best interest, including but not limited to when it is determined that enforcement of these policies and procedures is not necessary to protect the Fund from the effects of short-term trading.

The Fund also reserves the right to reject any purchase or exchange request, including when it is believed that a request would be disruptive to the Fund’s efficient portfolio management. The Fund also may suspend or terminate your ability to transact by telephone, fax or Internet for any reason, including the prevention of market timing. A purchase or exchange request could be rejected or electronic trading privileges could be suspended because of the timing or amount of the investment or because of a history of excessive trading by the investor. Because the Fund has discretion in applying this policy, it is possible that similar transaction activity could be handled differently because of the surrounding circumstances.

The Fund’s portfolio securities are fair valued, as necessary (most frequently with respect to international holdings), to help ensure that a portfolio security’s true value is reflected in the Fund’s NAV, thereby minimizing any potential stale price arbitrage.

The Fund seeks to apply its market timing policies and procedures uniformly to all shareholders, and not to make exceptions with respect to these policies and procedures (beyond the exemptions noted above). The Fund makes reasonable efforts to apply these policies and procedures to shareholders who own shares through omnibus accounts. However, an intermediary’s omnibus accounts, by their nature, do not initially identify their individual investors to the Fund, thereby making it more difficult for the Fund to identify market timing by such individual investors. At times, the Fund may agree to defer to an intermediary’s market timing policy if the Fund believes that the intermediary’s

42     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


policy provides comparable protection of Fund shareholders’ interests. The Fund has the right to modify its market timing policies and procedures at any time without advance notice. These efforts may include requesting transaction data from intermediaries from time to time to verify whether the Fund’s policies are being followed and/or to instruct intermediaries to take action against shareholders who have violated the Fund’s market timing policies.

The Fund is not appropriate for market timing. You should not invest in the Fund if you want to engage in market timing activity.

Shareholders seeking to engage in market timing may deploy a variety of strategies to avoid detection, and, despite efforts to discourage market timing, there is no guarantee that the Fund or its agents will be able to identify such shareholders or curtail their trading practices.

If you invest in the Fund through an intermediary, including through a retirement or employee benefit plan, you may be subject to additional market timing or excessive trading policies implemented by the intermediary or plan. Please contact your intermediary or plan sponsor for more details.

Electronic prospectuses

If you received this Prospectus electronically and would like a paper copy, please contact the Fund and one will be sent to you.

Additional information about index providers

The Fund is not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by MSCI Inc. (“MSCI”), any of its affiliates, any of its information providers or any other third party involved in, or related to, compiling, computing or creating any MSCI index (collectively, the “MSCI parties”). The MSCI indexes are the exclusive property of MSCI. MSCI and the MSCI index names are service mark(s) of MSCI or its affiliates and have been licensed for use for certain purposes by Advisors. None of the MSCI parties makes any representation or warranty, express or implied, to the issuer or owners of a fund or any other person or entity regarding the advisability of investing in funds generally or in this Fund particularly or the ability of any MSCI index to track corresponding stock market performance. MSCI or its affiliates are the licensors of certain trademarks, service marks and trade names and of the MSCI indexes which are determined, composed and calculated by MSCI without regard to the Fund or the issuer or owners of a fund or any other person or entity. None of the MSCI parties has any obligation to take the needs of the issuer or owners of the Fund or any other person or entity into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the MSCI indexes. None of the MSCI parties is responsible for or has participated in the determination of the timing of, prices at, or quantities of the Fund to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by or the consideration into which a fund is redeemable. Further, none of the MSCI parties has any obligation or

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     43


liability to the issuer or owners of the Fund or any other person or entity in connection with the administration, marketing or offering of the Fund.

although msci shall obtain information for inclusion in or for use in the calculation of the msci indexes from sources that msci considers reliable, none of the msci parties warrants or guarantees the originality, accuracy and/or the completeness of any msci index or any data included therein. none of the msci parties makes any warranty, express or implied, as to results to be obtained by the issuer of the fund, owners of the fund, or any other person or entity, from the use of any msci index or any data included therein. none of the msci parties shall have any liability for any errors, omissions or interruptions of or in connection with any msci index or any data included therein. further, none of the msci parties makes any express or implied warranties of any kind, and the msci parties hereby expressly disclaim all warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to each msci index and any data included therein. without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall any of the msci parties have any liability for any direct, indirect, special, punitive, consequential or any other damages (including lost profits) even if notified of the possibility of such damages.

No purchaser, seller or holder of this security, product or Fund, or any other person or entity, should use or refer to any MSCI trade name, trademark or service mark to sponsor, endorse, market or promote this security without first contacting MSCI to determine whether MSCI’s permission is required. Under no circumstances may any person or entity claim any affiliation with MSCI without the prior written permission of MSCI.

Glossary

Code: The Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, including any applicable regulations and Revenue Rulings.

Duration: Duration is a measure of volatility in the price of a bond in response to a change in prevailing interest rates, with a longer duration indicating more volatility. It can be understood as the weighted average of the time to each coupon and principal payment of such a security. For an investment portfolio of fixed-income securities, duration is the weighted average of each security’s duration. For example, the price of a bond with a duration of two years will rise (fall) two percent for every one percent decrease (increase) in its interest rate.

Equity Investments: Primarily, common stock, preferred stock and securities convertible or exchangeable into common stock, including convertible debt securities, convertible preferred stock and warrants or rights to acquire common stock.

Fixed-Income or Fixed-Income Investments: Primarily, bonds and notes (such as corporate and government debt obligations), mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities, and structured securities that generally pay fixed or variable rates of interest; debt obligations issued at a discount from face value (i.e., that have an imputed rate of interest); non-interest-bearing debt

44     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund


securities (i.e., zero coupon bonds); and other non-equity securities that pay dividends.

Foreign Investments: Foreign investments may include securities of foreign issuers, securities or contracts traded or acquired in non-U.S. markets or on non-U.S. exchanges, or securities or contracts payable or denominated in non-U.S. currencies. Obligations issued by U.S. companies in non-U.S. currencies are not considered to be foreign investments.

Foreign Issuers: Foreign issuers generally include (1) companies whose securities are principally traded outside of the United States, (2) companies having their principal business operations outside of the United States,
(3) companies organized outside the United States, and (4) foreign governments and agencies or instrumentalities of foreign governments.

Investment-Grade: A fixed-income security is investment-grade if it is rated in the four highest categories by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”) or an unrated security that Advisors determines is of comparable quality.

U.S. Government Securities: Securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities.

Financial highlights

Because the Fund is newly operational, no financial highlights information is currently available.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity Fund    Prospectus     45


For more information about TIAA-CREF Funds

Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”). The Fund’s SAI contains more information about certain aspects of the Fund. A current SAI has been filed with the SEC and is incorporated into this Prospectus by reference. This means that the Fund’s SAI is legally a part of the Prospectus.

Annual and Semiannual Reports. The Fund’s annual and semiannual reports provide additional information about the Fund’s investments. In the Fund’s annual report (once available), you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected the Fund’s performance during the preceding fiscal year.

Requesting documents. You can request a copy of the Fund’s SAI or these reports (once available) without charge, or contact the Fund for any other purpose, in any of the following ways:

By telephone:

Call 877 518-9161

In writing:

TIAA-CREF Funds
P.O. Box 1259
Charlotte, NC 28201

Over the Internet:

www.tiaa-cref.org

Information about the Trust (including the Fund’s SAI) can be reviewed and copied at the SEC’s public reference room (202 551-8090) in Washington, DC. The reports and other information are also available through the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s Internet website at www.sec.gov. Copies of the information can also be obtained, upon payment of a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov, or by writing the SEC’s Public Reference Section, Washington, DC 20549.

To lower costs and eliminate duplicate documents sent to your home, the Fund may mail only one copy of the Fund’s Prospectus, prospectus supplements, annual and semiannual reports, or any other required documents, to your household, even if more than one shareholder lives there. If you would prefer to continue receiving your own copy of any of these documents, you may call the Fund toll-free or write to the Fund as follows:

By telephone:

Call 877 518-9161

In writing:

TIAA-CREF Funds
P.O. Box 1259
Charlotte, NC 28201

Important Information about procedures for opening a new account

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions, including the Fund, to obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account.

What this means for you: When you open an account, the Fund will ask for your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other information that will allow the Fund to identify you, such as your home telephone number. Until you provide the Fund with the information it needs, the Fund may not be able to open an account or effect any transactions for you.

  

1940 Act File No. 811-9301

Atk (__/15)

 

PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS SUBJECT TO COMPLETION ON OR AFTER [______________]. THE INFORMATION IN THIS PROSPECTUS IS NOT COMPLETE AND MAY BE CHANGED. SHARES OF THE FUND MAY NOT BE SOLD UNTIL THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT FILED WITH THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION IS EFFECTIVE. THIS PROSPECTUS IS NOT AN OFFER TO SELL THESE SECURITIES AND IT IS NOT SOLICITING AN OFFER TO BUY THESE SECURITIES IN ANY STATE WHERE THE OFFER OR SALE IS NOT PERMITTED.

PROSPECTUS

[_______], 2015

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund

of the TIAA-CREF Funds

Class Ticker: Retail [_____] Retirement [_____] Premier [_____] Institutional [_____]

This Prospectus describes the Retail, Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares offered by the TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund (the “Fund”). The Fund is one of the investment portfolios of the TIAA-CREF Funds (the “Trust”).

An investment in the Fund is not a deposit of any bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. An investor can lose money in the Fund and the Fund could perform more poorly than other investments.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) has not approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this Prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.


Table of contents

   

Summary information 3

Investment objective 3

Fees and expenses 3

Shareholder fees 3

Annual Fund operating expenses 4

Example 4

Portfolio turnover 4

Principal investment strategies 5

Principal investment risks 6

Past performance 8

Portfolio management 8

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 8

Tax information 9

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 9

Additional information about investment strategies and risks 9

Additional information about the Fund 9

Additional information on principal investment risks of the Fund 10

Additional information about the Fund’s benchmark index 13

Additional information on principal and non-principal investment strategies 13

Portfolio holdings 14

Portfolio turnover 14

Share classes 15

Management of the Fund 15

The Fund’s investment adviser 15

Investment management fees 16

Portfolio management team 16

Other services 17

Distribution and services arrangements 18

Other arrangements 19

Calculating share price 19

 

Dividends and distributions 21

Taxes 22

Your account: purchasing, redeeming or exchanging shares 24

Fund shares offered in this Prospectus 24

Share class eligibility 24

Purchasing shares 27

Redeeming shares 33

Exchanging shares 36

Conversion of shares–applicable to all investors 37

Important transaction information 38

Market timing/excessive trading policy–applicable to all investors 42

Electronic prospectuses 44

Additional information about index providers 44

Glossary 44

Financial highlights 45




Summary information

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund

of the TIAA-CREF Funds

Investment objective

The Fund seeks a favorable long-term total return that reflects the investment performance of the overall U.S. stock market while giving special consideration to certain environmental, social, and governance criteria (“ESG”), which include additional criteria relating to carbon emissions and fossil fuel reserves.

Fees and expenses

This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund:

SHAREHOLDER FEES (fees paid directly from your investment)

         
 

Retail
Class

 

Retirement
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Institutional
Class

 

Maximum Sales Charge Imposed on Purchases
(percentage of offering price)

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum Deferred Sales Charge

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum Sales Charge Imposed on Reinvested
Dividends and Other Distributions

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Redemption or Exchange Fee

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Account Maintenance Fee
(annual fee on accounts under $2,000)

$15.00

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     3


ANNUAL FUND OPERATING EXPENSES (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)

          

 

 

  Retail
Class

 

   Retirement Class

 

  Premier Class

 

  Institutional
Class

 

Management Fees

0.25%

 

0.25%

 

0.25%

 

0.25%

 

Distribution (Rule 12b-1) Fees

0.25%

 

 

0.15%

 

 

Other Expenses1

0.48%

 

0.59%

 

0.34%

 

0.34%

 

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses

0.98%

 

0.84%

 

0.74%

 

0.59%

 

Waivers and Expense Reimbursements2

0.27%

 

0.27%

 

0.27%

 

0.27%

 

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waiver and/or Expense Reimbursement

0.71%

 

0.57%

 

0.47%

 

0.32%

 

          

1

Estimates for the current fiscal year.

 

2

Under the Fund’s expense reimbursement arrangements, the Fund’s investment adviser, Teachers Advisors, Inc., has contractually agreed to reimburse the Fund for any Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses (excluding interest, taxes, brokerage commissions or other transactional expenses, Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses and extraordinary expenses) that exceed: (i) 0.32% of average daily net assets for Institutional Class shares; (ii) 0.47% of average daily net assets for Premier Class shares; (iii) 0.57% of average daily net assets for Retirement Class shares; and (iv) 0.71% of average daily net assets for Retail Class shares of the Fund. These expense reimbursement arrangements will continue through at least August 1, 2016, unless changed with approval of the Board of Trustees.

 

Example

This example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all your shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses, before expense reimbursements, remain the same. The example assumes that the Fund’s expense reimbursement agreement will remain in place through August 1, 2016, but that there will be no waiver or expense reimbursement agreement in effect thereafter. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:

             

 

  Retail Class

 

  Retirement Class

 

  Premier Class

 

  Institutional Class

 

1 Year

$

73

 

$

58

 

$

48

 

$

33

 

3 Years

$

285

 

$

241

 

$

209

 

$

162

 

Portfolio turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. The Fund has no annual portfolio turnover rate because the Fund is newly operational.

4     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


Principal investment strategies

Under normal circumstances, the Fund invests at least 80% of its assets in equity securities. The Fund attempts to achieve investment results that reflect the return of the U.S. stock market as represented by its benchmark index, the Russell 3000® while investing in companies whose activities are consistent with the Fund’s ESG criteria, which include additional criteria relating to carbon emissions and fossil fuel reserves. See “Additional information about the Fund’s benchmark index” below for more information about the Fund’s benchmark.

The Fund’s investments are subject to certain ESG criteria. The research vendor currently providing the ESG performance evaluation is MSCI, Inc. (“MSCI”). All companies must meet or exceed minimum ESG performance standards to be eligible for inclusion in the Fund. The evaluation process favors companies with leadership in ESG performance relative to their peers. Typically, environmental assessment categories include climate change, natural resource use, waste management and environmental opportunities. Social evaluation categories include human capital, product safety and social opportunities. Governance assessment categories include corporate governance, business ethics and government and public policy. How well companies adhere to international norms and principles and involvement in major ESG controversies (examples of which may relate to the environment, customers, human rights and community, labor rights and supply chain, and governance) are other considerations.

The ESG evaluation process is conducted on an industry-specific basis and involves the identification of key performance indicators, which are given more relative weight compared to the broader range of potential assessment categories. Concerns in one area do not automatically eliminate an issuer from being an eligible investment for the Fund. When ESG concerns exist, the evaluation process gives careful consideration to how companies address the risks and opportunities they face in the context of their industry and relative to their peers. The social and environmental impact of corporate activities related to the production and sale of alcohol, tobacco, military weapons, firearms, nuclear power and gambling products and services are quantified and incorporated into a company’s overall ESG performance assessment. While not automatically excluded from the Fund, most companies involved in these industries are ineligible for inclusion in the Fund due to their poor overall ESG performance.

In addition to the overall ESG performance evaluation, the Fund favors companies that (1) demonstrate leadership in managing and mitigating their current carbon emissions and (2) have limited exposure to oil, gas, and coal (i.e., fossil fuel) reserves. The determination of leadership criteria takes into consideration company carbon emissions in both absolute and normalized terms. Absolute emissions are measured as tons of carbon emitted directly into the atmosphere while intensity is measured using a normalized unit of economic output (e.g., tons of carbon emitted per unit sales). Reserves are fossil fuel deposits that have not yet been extracted.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     5


Once a universe of ESG-eligible companies is established, the Fund’s investment adviser, Teachers Advisors, Inc. (“Advisors”), then uses quantitative investment techniques to attempt to closely match, to the extent practicable, the overall risk characteristics of the benchmark index. The Fund holdings will generally consist of a subset of the eligible investment universe. The Fund is not required to invest in all of the companies that meet the ESG criteria.

The Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility Committee (the “CGSR Committee”) of the Board of Trustees of the Trust (“Board of Trustees”) reviews the ESG criteria used to determine eligibility of the securities held by the Fund and approves the vendor of that service. Advisors seeks to ensure that the Fund’s investments are consistent with its ESG criteria, but Advisors cannot guarantee that this will always be the case for every Fund investment. Consistent with its responsibilities, the CGSR Committee evaluates options for implementing the Fund’s ESG investment criteria and monitors the ESG vendor(s) selected to supply the ESG-eligible universe. Advisors has the right to change the ESG vendor(s) at any time and to add to the number of vendors providing the universe of eligible companies. Investing on the basis of ESG criteria is qualitative and subjective by nature, and there can be no assurance that the process utilized by the Fund’s vendor(s) or any judgment exercised by the CGSR Committee or Advisors will reflect the beliefs or values of any particular investor.

The ESG criteria the Fund takes into consideration are non-fundamental investment policies. Such criteria and the universe of investments that the Fund utilizes may be changed without the approval of the Fund’s shareholders. For purposes of the 80% investment policy, the term “assets” means net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes.

The Fund is not restricted from investing in any securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities. The Fund may also invest in securities issued by other countries or their agencies or instrumentalities as approved by the CGSR Committee. Consistent with its ESG criteria, the Fund may invest up to 15% of its assets in foreign investments.

Principal investment risks

You could lose money over short or long periods by investing in this Fund. An investment in the Fund, due to the nature of the Fund’s portfolio holdings, typically is subject to the following principal investment risks:

· ESG Criteria Risk—The risk that because the Fund’s ESG criteria exclude securities of certain issuers for nonfinancial reasons, the Fund may forgo some market opportunities available to funds that don’t use these criteria.

· Low-Carbon Risk—The risk that because the Fund’s investment will have special emphasis on companies with low current carbon emissions and limited exposure to fossil fuel reserves, the Fund’s portfolio might exclude certain issuers for nonfinancial reasons and the Fund may forgo some market opportunities that otherwise would be available.

6     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


· Market Risk—The risk that market prices of portfolio investments held by the Fund may fall rapidly or unpredictably due to a variety of factors, including changing economic, political or market conditions. Market risk may affect a single issuer, industry or sector of the economy, or it may affect the market as a whole.

· Issuer Risk (often called Financial Risk)—The risk that an issuer’s earnings prospects and overall financial position will deteriorate, causing a decline in the value of the issuer’s financial instruments over short or extended periods of time.

· Foreign Investment Risk—Foreign markets can be more volatile than the U.S. market due to increased risks of adverse issuer, political, regulatory, currency, market or economic developments and can result in greater price volatility and perform differently from financial instruments of U.S. issuers. This risk may be heightened in emerging or developing markets. Foreign investments may also be less liquid and more difficult to value than investments in U.S. issuers.

· Large-Cap Risk—The risk that large-capitalization companies are more mature and may grow more slowly than the economy as a whole and tend to go in and out of favor based on market and economic conditions.

· Mid-Cap Risk—The risk that the stocks of mid-capitalization companies often experience greater price volatility, lower trading volume and less liquidity than the stocks of larger, more established companies.

· Small-Cap RiskThe risk that the stocks of small-capitalization companies often experience greater price volatility than large- or mid-sized companies because small-cap companies are often newer or less established than larger companies and are likely to have more limited resources, products and markets. Securities of small-cap companies are often less liquid than securities of larger companies as a result of there being a smaller market for their securities.

· Active Management Risk—The risk that Advisors’ strategy, investment selection or trading execution may cause the Fund to underperform relative to the benchmark index or mutual funds with similar investment objectives.

· Benchmark Risk—The risk that the Fund’s performance may not correspond to its benchmark index for any period of time and may underperform such index or the overall financial market. Additionally, to the extent that the Fund’s investments vary from the composition of its benchmark index, the Fund’s performance could potentially vary from the index’s performance to a greater extent than if the Fund merely attempted to replicate the index.

· Quantitative Analysis Risk—The risk that stocks selected using quantitative modeling and analysis could perform differently from the market as a whole.

Please see the non-summary portion of the Prospectus for more detailed information about the risks described above.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     7


Past performance

Performance information is not available for the Fund for the most recently completed calendar year because the Fund is newly operational.

For current performance information of each share class, including performance to the most recent month-end, please visit www.tiaa-cref.org.

Portfolio management

Investment Adviser. The Fund’s investment adviser is Teachers Advisors, Inc.

Portfolio Managers. The following persons manage the Fund on a day-to-day basis:

   
   

Name:

Philip James (Jim) Campagna, CFA

Lei Liao, CFA

Title:

Senior Director

Director

Experience on Fund:

since 2015

since 2015

Purchase and sale of Fund shares

Retail Class shares are available for purchase through certain financial intermediaries or by contacting the Fund directly at 800 223-1200 or www.tiaa-cref.org. Retirement Class and Premier Class shares are generally available for purchase through employee benefit plans or other types of savings plans or accounts. Institutional Class shares are available for purchase directly from the Fund by certain eligible investors (which include employee benefit plans and financial intermediaries).

· The minimum initial investment for Retail Class shares is $2,000 per Fund account for Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and Coverdell accounts and $2,500 for all other account types. Subsequent investments for all account types must be at least $100.

· There is no minimum initial or subsequent investment for Retirement Class shares. Retirement Class shares are primarily offered through employer-sponsored employee benefit plans.

· There is no minimum initial or subsequent investment for Premier Class shares. Premier Class shares are primarily offered through certain financial intermediaries and employer-sponsored employee benefit plans.

· The minimum initial investment is $2 million and the minimum subsequent investment is $1,000 for Institutional Class shares, unless an investor purchases shares by or through financial intermediaries that have entered into an appropriate agreement with the Fund or its affiliates.

Redeeming or Exchanging Shares. You can redeem (sell) or exchange your shares of the Fund on any day that the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) is open for business. Exchanges may be made for shares of the same share class of other funds offered by the Trust. If your shares are held through a third party, please contact that entity for applicable redemption or exchange requirements. If

8     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


your shares are held directly with the Fund, contact the Fund directly in writing or by telephone.

Tax information

The Fund intends to make distributions to shareholders that may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions made to tax-exempt shareholders or shareholders who hold Fund shares in a tax-deferred account are generally not subject to income tax in the current year, but redemptions made from tax-deferred accounts may be subject to income tax.

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation

If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), the Fund and/or its related companies may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services or for other investor services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.

Additional information about investment strategies and risks

Additional information about the Fund

This Prospectus describes the Fund and its investment objective, principal investment strategies and restrictions and principal investment risks. An investor should consider whether the Fund is an appropriate investment. The investment objective of the Fund and its non-fundamental investment restrictions may be changed by the Board of Trustees without shareholder approval. Certain investment restrictions described in the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) are fundamental and may only be changed with shareholder approval.

As noted in the “Principal investment strategies” section of this Prospectus, the Fund has a policy of normally investing at least 80% of its assets (net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes) in equity securities. Shareholders will receive at least 60 days’ prior notice before changes are made to the 80% policy.

Advisors may, for temporary defensive purposes, invest some or all of the Fund’s assets in cash and money market instruments, although Advisors is not obligated to do so. In doing so, the Fund may be successful in reducing market losses but may otherwise not achieve its investment objective.

The use of a particular index as the Fund’s benchmark index is not a fundamental policy and can be changed by the Board of Trustees without shareholder approval. The Fund will notify you before such a change is made.

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The Fund is not appropriate for market timing. You should not invest in the Fund if you are a market timer.

There can be no assurances that the Fund will achieve its investment objective and investors should not consider an investment in this Fund to be a complete investment program.

Investors should be aware that investments made by the Fund and the results achieved by it at any given time are not expected to be the same as those made by other mutual funds for which Advisors acts as an investment adviser, including mutual funds with names, investment objectives and policies similar to those of the Fund.

Please see the Glossary toward the end of this Prospectus for certain defined terms used in this Prospectus.

Additional information on principal investment risks of the Fund

The Fund invests primarily in equity securities. In general, the value of equity securities fluctuates in response to the fortune of individual companies and in response to general market and economic conditions. The value of the Fund may increase or decrease as a result of its investments in equity securities and other instruments. More specifically, the Fund typically is subject to the following principal investment risks:

· ESG Criteria Risk—The risk that because the Fund’s ESG criteria exclude securities of certain issuers for nonfinancial reasons, the Fund may forgo some market opportunities available to funds that don’t use these criteria.

· Low-Carbon Risk—The risk that because the Fund’s investment will have special emphasis on companies with low current carbon emissions and limited exposure to fossil fuel reserves, the Fund’s portfolio might exclude certain issuers for nonfinancial reasons and the Fund may forgo some market opportunities that otherwise would be available.

· Market Risk—The risk that the price of equity investments may decline in response to general market and economic conditions or events, including conditions and developments outside of the financial markets such as significant changes in interest and inflation rates and the availability of credit. Accordingly, the value of the equity investments that the Fund holds may decline over short or extended periods of time. Any investment is subject to the risk that the financial markets as a whole may decline in value, thereby depressing the investment’s price. Equity markets, for example, tend to be cyclical, with periods when prices generally rise and periods when prices generally decline. Foreign equity markets tend to reflect local economic and financial conditions and, therefore, trends often vary from country to country and region to region. During periods of unusual volatility or turmoil in the financial markets, the Fund may undergo an extended period of decline.

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· Issuer Risk (often called Financial Risk)—The risk that the issuer’s earnings prospects and overall financial position will deteriorate, causing a decline in the value of the issuer’s financial instruments over short or extended periods of time. In times of market turmoil, perceptions of an issuer’s credit risk can quickly change and even large, well-established issuers may deteriorate rapidly with little or no warning.

· Foreign Investment Risk—Foreign investments, which may include securities of foreign issuers, securities or contracts traded or acquired in non-U.S. markets or on non-U.S. exchanges, or securities or contracts payable or denominated in non-U.S. currencies, can involve special risks that arise from one or more of the following events or circumstances: (1) changes in currency exchange rates; (2) possible imposition of market controls or currency exchange controls; (3) possible imposition of withholding taxes on dividends and interest; (4) possible seizure, expropriation or nationalization of assets; (5) more limited foreign financial information or difficulties interpreting it because of foreign regulations and accounting standards; (6) lower liquidity and higher volatility in some foreign markets; (7) the impact of political, social or diplomatic events; (8) economic sanctions or other measures by the United States or other governments; (9) the difficulty of evaluating some foreign economic trends; and (10) the possibility that a foreign government could restrict an issuer from paying principal and interest to investors outside the country. Brokerage commissions and custodial and transaction costs are often higher for foreign investments, and it may be difficult to use foreign laws and courts to enforce financial or legal obligations.
 The risks described above often increase in countries with emerging markets. For example, these countries may have more unstable governments than developed countries, and their economies may be based on only a few industries. Because their financial markets may be very small, prices of issuers in emerging market countries may be volatile and difficult to determine. In addition, foreign investors such as the Fund are subject to a variety of special restrictions in many such countries.

· Large-Cap Risk—The risk that, by focusing on securities of larger companies, the Fund may have fewer opportunities to identify securities that the market misprices and that these companies may grow more slowly than the economy as a whole or not at all. Also, larger companies may fall out of favor with the investing public as a result of market, political and economic conditions, including for reasons unrelated to their businesses or economic fundamentals.

· Mid-Cap Risk—Securities of medium-sized companies may experience greater fluctuations in price than the securities of larger companies. From time to time, medium-sized company securities may have to be sold at a discount from their current market prices or in small lots over an extended period, since they may be harder to sell than larger-cap securities. In addition, it may be difficult to find buyers for securities of medium-sized

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     11


companies that the Fund wishes to sell when the company is not perceived favorably in the marketplace or during periods of poor economic or market conditions. Such companies may be subject to certain business risks due to their smaller size, limited markets and financial resources, narrow product lines and frequent lack of depth of management. The costs of purchasing and selling securities of medium-sized companies may be greater than those of more widely traded securities.

· Small-Cap Risk—Securities of small-sized companies may experience greater fluctuations in price than the securities of larger companies. From time to time, small-sized company securities may have to be sold at a discount from their current market prices or in small lots over an extended period, since they may be harder to sell than larger-cap securities. In addition, it may be difficult to find buyers for securities of small-sized companies that the Fund wishes to sell when the company is not perceived favorably in the marketplace or during periods of poor economic or market conditions. Such companies may be subject to certain business risks due to their smaller size, limited markets and financial resources, narrow product lines and frequent lack of depth of management. The costs of purchasing and selling securities of small-sized companies may be greater than those of more widely traded securities.

· Active Management Risk—The risk that the performance of the Fund, which is actively managed, reflects in part the ability of Advisors to make active investment, strategic or trading decisions that are suited to achieving the Fund’s investment objective. As a result of strategy, investment selection or trading execution, the Fund could underperform its benchmark or other mutual funds with similar investment objectives.

· Benchmark Risk—The risk that the performance of the Fund may not correspond to, or may underperform, its benchmark index for any period of time. Although the Fund attempts to use the investment performance of its respective index as a baseline, it may not duplicate the exact composition of that index. In addition, unlike a mutual fund, the returns of an index are not reduced by investment and other operating expenses, and therefore, the ability of an indexed fund to match the performance of its index is adversely affected by the costs of buying and selling investments as well as other expenses.

· Quantitative Analysis Risk—The risk that securities selected for funds that are actively managed, in whole or in part, according to a quantitative analysis methodology can perform differently from the market as a whole based on the model and the factors used in the analysis, the weight placed on each factor and changes in the factor’s historical trends. Because such models are based on assumptions of these and other market factors, the models may not take into account certain factors, or perform as intended, and may result in a decline in the value of the Fund’s portfolio.

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In addition to the principal investment risks set forth above, there are other risks associated with investing in the Fund and its investments that are discussed elsewhere in the Fund’s Prospectus and in the Fund’s SAI. There can be no assurances that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. You should not consider the Fund to be a complete investment program.

Additional information about the Fund’s benchmark index

The benchmark index described below is unmanaged, and you cannot invest directly in the index.

Russell 3000® Index

The Russell 3000® Index represents the 3,000 largest publicly traded U.S. companies, based on market capitalization (according to the Russell Investment Group). Russell 3000® Index companies represent about 98% of the total market capitalization of the publicly traded U.S. equity market. As of July 1, 2015 the Russell 3000® Index had a mean market capitalization of $[________] billion and a median market capitalization of $[______] billion. The largest market capitalization of companies in the Russell 3000® Index was $[______] billion. The Russell Investment Group determines the composition of the index based only on market capitalization and can change its composition at any time.

Additional information on principal and non-principal investment strategies

The Fund may invest in short-term debt securities of the same type as those held by money market funds and other kinds of short-term instruments for cash management and other purposes. These securities help the Fund maintain liquidity, use cash balances effectively, and take advantage of attractive investment opportunities. The Fund also may invest up to 20% of its assets in fixed-income investments.

The Fund may write (sell) call options, including covered call options, and purchase call and put options, to try to enhance income, reduce portfolio volatility or protect gains in the Fund’s portfolio. Such options may include put and call options on securities of the types in which the Fund may invest and on securities indices composed of such securities. In writing (selling) call options, the Fund may give up the opportunity to profit on a security if the market price of the security rises and the option is exercised and, conversely, the premiums received from call options sold may not reduce the extent of Fund losses during periods of market decline. In purchasing call and put options, the Fund may purchase a call or put option that expires with no value due to the market price of the security remaining below or above, as applicable, the strike price of the option. In such an event, the Fund would lose the value of the premium paid for the call or put option but would also receive no economic benefit from the purchase or sale, as applicable, of the security. The Fund can also write (sell) put options. In writing put options, the Fund may experience losses on a security if the market price of

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the security declines and the option is exercised and, conversely, the premiums received from put options sold may not reduce the extent of Fund losses during periods of market decline.

In addition, the Fund may buy and sell futures contracts on securities indices composed of securities of the types in which it may invest, and put and call options on such futures contracts. The Fund may use such futures contracts and options on futures contracts for hedging or cash management purposes, or to seek increased total return. Futures contracts permit the Fund to gain or reduce exposure to groups of securities and thereby have the potential to earn returns that are similar to those that would be earned by direct investments in those securities or instruments.

In seeking to manage currency exposure, the Fund also may enter into forward currency contracts and currency swaps and may buy or sell put and call options and futures contracts on foreign currencies.

The Fund can invest in other derivatives and similar financial instruments, such as equity swaps (including contracts for difference, an arrangement where the return is linked to the price movement of an underlying security, and other arrangements where the return is linked to a stock market index), options on swaps, and equity-linked fixed-income securities, so long as these derivatives and other financial instruments are consistent with the Fund’s investment objective, restrictions and policies and current regulations.

Please see the Fund’s SAI for more information on these and other investments the Fund may utilize.

Portfolio holdings

A description of the Fund’s policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of its portfolio holdings is available in the Fund’s SAI.

Portfolio turnover

If the Fund engages in active and frequent trading of portfolio securities, it will have a correspondingly higher “portfolio turnover rate.” A high portfolio turnover rate generally will result in (1) greater brokerage commission expenses or other transaction costs borne by the Fund and, ultimately, by shareholders and (2) higher amounts of realized investment gain subject to the payment of taxes by shareholders. Also, a high portfolio turnover rate for the Fund may cause the Fund to be more likely to generate capital gains that must be distributed to shareholders as taxable income. The Fund is not subject to a specific limitation on portfolio turnover, and securities of the Fund may be sold at any time such sale is deemed advisable for investment or operational reasons. Also, certain trading strategies utilized by the Fund may increase portfolio turnover. The Fund is not generally managed to minimize the tax burden for shareholders. The Fund may have investors that are funds of funds, education savings plans or other asset allocation programs that are also managed by Advisors. These investors may engage in reallocations, rebalancings or other activity that may increase the

14     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


Fund’s portfolio turnover rate and brokerage costs. Advisors may employ various portfolio management strategies to attempt to minimize any potential disruptive effects or costs of such activity.

Share classes

The Fund offers Retail, Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares in this Prospectus. The Fund’s investments are held by the Fund as a whole, not by a particular share class, so an investor’s money will be invested the same way no matter which class of shares is held. However, there are differences among the fees and expenses associated with each class and not everyone is eligible to buy every class. After determining which classes you are eligible to buy, decide which class best suits your needs. Please contact us if you have questions or would like assistance in determining which class is right for you.

Management of the Fund

The Fund’s investment adviser

Advisors manages the assets of the Trust, under the supervision of the Board of Trustees. Advisors is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (“TIAA”). TIAA is a life insurance company founded in 1918 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and is the companion organization of College Retirement Equities Fund (“CREF”), the first company in the United States to issue a variable annuity. Advisors is registered as an investment adviser with the SEC under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Advisors also manages the investments of TIAA Separate Account VA-1 and TIAA-CREF Life Funds. Through an affiliated investment adviser, TIAA-CREF Investment Management, LLC (“TCIM”), certain personnel of Advisors also manage the investment accounts of CREF. As of [___________], Advisors and TCIM together had approximately $[____] billion of registered investment company assets under management. Advisors is located at 730 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017-3206.

TIAA-CREF entities sponsor an array of financial products for retirement and other investment goals. For some of these products, for example, the investment accounts of CREF, TIAA or its subsidiaries perform services “at cost.” The Fund, however, pays the management fees and other expenses that are described in the table of fees and expenses in this Prospectus. The management fees paid by the Fund to Advisors are intended to compensate Advisors for its services to the Fund and are not limited to the reimbursement of Advisors’ costs. Thus, under this arrangement, Advisors can earn a profit or incur a loss on the services which it renders to the Fund. The Fund also pays Advisors for certain administrative services that Advisors provides to the Fund on an at-cost basis.

Advisors manages the assets of the Fund pursuant to an investment management agreement with the Trust (the “Management Agreement”). Advisors’

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duties under the Management Agreement include, among other things, providing the Fund with investment research, advice and supervision; furnishing an investment program for the Fund; determining which securities or other investments to purchase, sell or exchange; and providing or obtaining any other necessary services to manage, acquire or dispose of securities, cash or other investments. Advisors also supervises and acts as liaison among the various service providers to the Fund, such as the custodian and transfer agent.

The annual investment management fees charged under the Management Agreement with respect to the Fund are as follows:

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT FEES

           
   

Assets Under Management

 

Fee Rate

 

 

 

(Billions)

 

(average daily net assets)

 

Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund

All Assets

 

0.25%

 
      

A discussion regarding the basis for the Board of Trustees’ initial approval of the Fund’s Management Agreement will become available in the Fund’s shareholder report for the period ending October 31, 2015. For a free copy of the Fund’s shareholder report, please call 800 842-2252, visit the Fund’s website at www.tiaa-cref.org or visit the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

Portfolio management team

The Fund is managed by a team of managers, whose members are responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund, with expertise in the area applicable to the Fund’s investments. Certain team members are, for example, principally responsible for selecting appropriate investments for the Fund and others are principally responsible for asset allocation. The following is a list of members of the management team primarily responsible for managing the Fund’s investments, along with their relevant experience. The members of the management team may change from time to time.

      

Name & Title

Portfolio Role/
Coverage/
Expertise/Specialty

Experience Over
Past Five Years

Total Experience
(since dates
specified below)

At
TIAA


Total

On
Team

Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund

   

Philip James (Jim)
Campagna, CFA
Senior Director

Quantitative Portfolio Management

Advisors, TCIM and other advisory affiliates of TIAA—2005 to Present (portfolio management of domestic and international large-, mid- and small-cap equity index portfolios), Mellon Capital Management—1997 to 2005 (portfolio manager for a variety of equity index funds)

2005

1991

2015

      

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Name & Title

Portfolio Role/
Coverage/
Expertise/Specialty

Experience Over
Past Five Years

Total Experience
(since dates
specified below)

At
TIAA


Total

On
Team

Lei Liao, CFA
Director

Quantitative Portfolio Management

Advisors, TCIM and other advisory affiliates of TIAA—2012 to Present (portfolio management of domestic and international large-, mid- and small-cap equity index portfolios), Northern Trust Global Investment—2007 to 2012 (portfolio management of domestic and international, tax advantaged and index portfolios). World Asset Management—2005 to 2007 (portfolio manager for a variety of equity index funds)

2012

2005

2015

      

The Fund’s SAI provides additional disclosure about the compensation structure for the Fund’s portfolio managers, the other accounts they manage, total assets in those accounts and potential conflicts of interest, as well as the portfolio managers’ ownership of shares of the Fund.

Other services

Under the terms of the Administrative Services Agreement with the Trust, responsibility for payment of expenses relating to oversight and performance of certain services, including transfer agency, dividend disbursing, accounting, administrative, compliance and shareholder services, is allocated directly either to the Fund or to Advisors.

For Advisors’ provision of such administrative, compliance and other services to the Fund under the Administrative Services Agreement, the Fund pays to Advisors at the end of each calendar month the allocated costs of such services as determined under the TIAA-CREF cost allocation methodology then in effect.

For Retirement Class shares of the Fund, the Fund has a separate service agreement with Advisors (the “Retirement Class Service Agreement”) pursuant to which Advisors provides or arranges for the provision of administrative and shareholder services for the Retirement Class shares, including services associated with maintenance of Retirement Class shares on retirement plan or other platforms. Under the Retirement Class Service Agreement, the Retirement Class of the Fund pays monthly a fee to Advisors at an annual rate of up to 0.25% of average daily net assets, which is reflected as part of “Other Expenses” in the “Fees and expenses” section of this Prospectus. Advisors may rely on affiliated or unaffiliated persons to fulfill its obligations under the Retirement Class Service Agreement.

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Distribution and services arrangements

All classes

Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc. (“TPIS”) distributes each class of Fund shares. TPIS may enter into agreements with other intermediaries, including its affiliated broker-dealer, TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC (“Services”), to offer and sell shares of the Fund. For Premier Class and Retail Class shares, TPIS may utilize some or all of the Rule 12b-1 plan fees it receives from Premier Class and Retail Class shares to pay such other intermediaries for services provided in connection with the sale, promotion and/or servicing of Premier Class and Retail Class shares, respectively. In addition, TPIS, Services or Advisors may pay intermediaries out of its own assets to support the distribution and/or servicing of Fund shares. Payments to intermediaries may include payments to certain third-party broker-dealers and financial advisors, including fund supermarkets, to provide access to their fund distribution platforms, as well as to provide transaction processing or administrative services. Additional information about payments to intermediaries appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Retail Class

The Fund has adopted a distribution plan under Rule 12b-1 with respect to Retail Class shares under which the Fund pays TPIS an annual fee as compensation for TPIS’ or other entities’ services related to the sale, promotion and/or servicing of Retail Class shares.

Under the plan, the Fund pays TPIS at the annual rate of 0.25% of average daily net assets attributable to Retail Class shares for distribution and promotion-related activities, as well as shareholder and account maintenance services, and TPIS may pay another entity for providing such services. Advisors, TPIS and their affiliates, at their own expense, may also pay for distribution, promotional and/or shareholder and account maintenance expenses of Retail Class shares. Because Rule 12b-1 plan fees are paid out of Retail Class assets on an ongoing basis, over time they will increase the cost of your investment in the Retail Class.

More information about the Fund’s distribution and services arrangements for Retail Class shares appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Retirement Class

More information about the Fund’s distribution and services arrangements for Retirement Class shares appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Premier Class

The Fund has adopted a distribution plan under Rule 12b-1 with respect to Premier Class shares under which the Fund pays TPIS an annual fee as compensation for TPIS’ or other entities’ services related to the sale, promotion and/or servicing of Premier Class shares.

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Under the plan, the Fund pays TPIS at the annual rate of 0.15% of average daily net assets attributable to Premier Class shares for distribution and promotion-related activities, as well as shareholder and account maintenance services, and TPIS may pay another entity for providing such services. Advisors, TPIS and their affiliates, at their own expense, may also pay for distribution, promotional and/or shareholder and account maintenance expenses of Premier Class shares. Because Rule 12b-1 plan fees are paid out of Premier Class assets on an ongoing basis, over time they will increase the cost of your investment in the Premier Class.

More information about the Fund’s distribution and services arrangements for Premier Class shares appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Institutional Class

More information about the Fund’s distribution and services arrangements for Institutional Class shares appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Other arrangements

Advisors also pays Services and/or other intermediaries an administrative charge at an annual rate of 0.25% of average daily net assets attributable to Retirement Class shares to compensate such intermediaries for maintenance of Retirement Class shares held on their platforms.

Calculating share price

The Fund determines its net asset value (“NAV”) per share, or share price, on each day the NYSE is open for business. The NAV for the Fund is calculated as of the time when regular trading closes on the NYSE (generally, 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time or at such earlier time that regular trading on the NYSE closes). The Fund does not price its shares on days that the NYSE is closed. NAV per share for each class is determined by dividing the value of the Fund’s assets attributable to such class, less all liabilities attributable to such class, by the total number of shares of the class outstanding.

If the Fund invests in foreign securities that are primarily listed on foreign exchanges that trade on days when the Fund does not price its shares, the value of the foreign securities in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days when shareholders will not be able to purchase or redeem Fund shares. The value of the Fund’s investments denominated in foreign currencies is converted to U.S. dollars for purposes of determining the Fund’s NAV.

The Fund generally uses market quotations or values obtained from independent pricing services to value securities and other instruments held by the Fund. If market quotations or values from independent pricing services are not readily available or are not considered reliable, the Fund will use a security’s “fair value,” as determined in good faith using procedures approved by the Board

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of Trustees. The Fund may also use fair value if events that have a significant effect on the value of an investment (as determined in Advisors’ sole discretion) occur between the time when its price is determined and the time the Fund’s NAV is calculated. For example, the Fund might use a domestic security’s fair value when the exchange on which the security is principally traded closes early or when trading in the security is halted and does not resume before the Fund’s NAV is calculated. The use of fair value pricing can involve reliance on quantitative models or individual judgment, and may result in changes to the prices of portfolio securities that are used to calculate the Fund’s NAV. Although the Fund fair values portfolio securities on a security-by-security basis, funds that hold foreign portfolio securities may see their portfolio securities fair valued more frequently than other funds that do not hold foreign securities.

Fair value pricing most commonly occurs with securities that are primarily traded outside the United States. This may have the effect of decreasing the ability of market timers to engage in “stale price arbitrage,” which takes advantage of the perceived difference in price from a foreign market closing price.

While using a fair value price for foreign securities is intended to decrease the ability of market timers to make money by exchanging into or out of the Fund to the detriment of longer-term shareholders, it may reduce some of the certainty in pricing obtained by using actual market close prices.

The Fund’s fair value pricing procedures provide, among other things, for the Fund to examine whether to fair value foreign securities when there is a movement in the value of a U.S. market index between the close of one or more foreign markets and the close of the NYSE. For these securities, the Fund uses a fair value pricing service approved by the Board of Trustees. This pricing service employs quantitative models to value foreign investments in order to adjust for stale pricing, which may occur between the close of certain foreign exchanges and the close of the NYSE. Fair value pricing is subjective in nature and the use of fair value pricing by the Fund may cause the NAV of the Fund’s shares to differ significantly from the NAV that would have been calculated using market prices at the close of the foreign exchange on which a portfolio security is primarily traded. The Fund also examines the prices of individual securities to determine, among other things, whether the price of such securities reflects fair value at the close of the NYSE based on market movements. In addition, the Fund may fair value domestic securities when it is believed the last market quotation is not readily available or such quotation does not represent the fair value of that security.

Fixed-income securities, including money market instruments, are valued using market quotations, independent pricing sources or values derived from a pricing matrix that has various types of the applicable fixed-income instrument along one axis and various maturities along the other. The use of a price derived from a pricing matrix is a method of fair value pricing.

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Dividends and distributions

The Fund expects to declare and distribute to shareholders substantially all of its net investment income and net realized capital gains, if any. The amount distributed will vary according to the income received from investments held by the Fund and capital gains realized from the sale of investments. The Fund plans to pay dividends on an annual basis. The Fund intends to pay net capital gains, if any, annually. Dividends and capital gains can be paid in cash or reinvested. If you have elected to receive your distributions in cash and the distribution amount is less than $10, then the amount will be automatically reinvested in the Fund and no check will be issued. If the postal service is unable to deliver checks to your address of record, or the distribution check remains outstanding for six months or more, then the Fund reserves the right to reinvest the distribution check into your account using the Fund’s current NAV and to change your distribution option to reinvestment. No interest will accrue on amounts represented by uncashed distribution checks.

Dividends and capital gain distributions paid to shareholders who hold their shares through a TIAA-CREF-administered retirement plan or custody account will automatically be reinvested in additional shares of the same class of the Fund. All other shareholders may elect from the following distribution options (barring any restrictions from the intermediary or plan through which such shares are held):

1. Reinvestment Option, Same Fund. Your dividend and capital gain distributions are automatically reinvested in additional shares of the same share class of the Fund. Unless you elect otherwise, this will be your default distribution option.

2. Reinvestment Option, Different Fund. Your dividend and capital gain distributions are automatically reinvested in additional shares of the same share class of another fund in which you already hold shares.

3. Income-Earned Option. Your long-term capital gain distributions are automatically reinvested, but you will be sent a check for each dividend and short-term capital gain distribution.

4. Capital Gains Option. Your dividend and short-term capital gain distributions are automatically reinvested, but you will be sent a check for each long-term capital gain distribution.

5. Cash Option. A check will be sent for your dividend and each capital gain distribution.

On the Fund’s distribution date, the Fund makes distributions on a per share basis to the shareholders who hold and have paid for Fund shares on the record date. The Fund does this regardless of how long the shares have been held. This means that if you buy shares just before or on a record date, you will pay the full price for the shares and then you may receive a portion of the price back as a taxable distribution (see the discussion of “Buying a dividend” below under “Taxes”). Cash distribution checks will be mailed within seven days of the distribution date.

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Shareholders who hold their shares through a variable insurance or annuity product, an employee benefit plan or through an intermediary may be subject to restrictions on their distribution payment options imposed by the product, plan or intermediary. Please contact the variable insurance or annuity product issuer or your plan sponsor or intermediary for more details.

Taxes

As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in the Fund will be taxed.

Taxes on dividends and distributions. Unless you are tax-exempt or hold Fund shares in a tax-deferred account, you are subject to federal income tax on dividends and taxable distributions each year. Your dividends and taxable distributions generally are taxable when they are paid, whether you take them in cash or reinvest them. However, distributions declared in October, November or December of a year and paid in January of the following year are taxable as if they were paid on December 31 of the prior year.

For federal tax purposes, income and short-term capital gain distributions from the Fund are taxed as ordinary income, and long-term capital gain distributions are taxed as long-term capital gains. Every January, a statement showing the taxable distributions paid to you in the previous year from the Fund will be sent to you and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) (for taxable accounts only). Whether or not a capital gain distribution is considered long-term or short-term depends on how long the Fund held the securities the sale of which led to the gain.

A portion of ordinary income dividends paid by the Fund to individual investors may constitute “qualified dividend income” that is subject to the same maximum tax rates as long-term capital gains. The portion of a dividend that will qualify for this treatment will depend on the aggregated qualified dividend income received by the Fund. Notwithstanding this, certain holding period requirements with respect to a shareholder’s shares in the Fund may apply to prevent the shareholder from treating any portion of a dividend as “qualified dividend income.” Additional information about this can be found in the Fund’s SAI.

Taxes on transactions. Unless a transaction involves Fund shares held in a tax-deferred account, redemptions (sales), including exchanges to other funds, may also give rise to capital gains or losses. The amount of any capital gain or loss will be the difference, if any, between the adjusted cost basis of your shares and the price you receive when you sell or exchange them. In general, a capital gain or loss will be treated as a long-term capital gain or loss if you have held your shares for more than one year.

The Fund is required to report to the IRS and furnish to Fund shareholders the cost basis information for sale transactions of shares purchased on or after January 1, 2012. Shareholders may elect to have one of several cost basis methods applied to their account when calculating the cost basis of shares sold, including average cost, “first-in, first-out” (FIFO), or some other specific

22     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


identification method. Unless you instruct otherwise, the Fund will use average cost as its default cost basis method, and will treat sales as first coming from shares purchased prior to January 1, 2012. If average cost is used for a shareholder’s first sale of the Fund shares covered by these new rules, the shareholder may only use an alternative cost basis method for shares purchased prospectively. Fund shareholders should consult with their tax advisors to determine the best cost basis method for their tax situation.

For shares you sell that were purchased prior to January 1, 2012, you will be sent a statement showing how many shares you sold and at what price. However, the statement will not include cost basis information and will not be furnished to the IRS. You or your tax preparer must determine whether this sale resulted in a capital gain or loss and the amount of tax to be paid on any gain. Be sure to keep your regular account statements; the information they contain will be essential in calculating the amount of your capital gains or losses.

Backup withholding. If you fail to provide a correct taxpayer identification number or fail to certify that it is correct, the Fund is required by law to withhold 28% of all the distributions and redemption proceeds paid from your account. The Fund is also required to begin backup withholding if instructed by the IRS to do so.

Buying a dividend. If you buy shares just before the Fund deducts a distribution from its NAV, you will pay the full price for the shares and then receive a portion of the price back in the form of a taxable distribution. This is referred to as “buying a dividend.” For example, assume you bought shares of the Fund for $10.00 per share the day before the Fund paid a $0.25 dividend. After the dividend was paid, each share would be worth $9.75, and, unless you hold your shares through a tax-deferred arrangement such as a 401(a), 401(k) or 403(b) plan or an IRA, you would have to include the $0.25 dividend in your gross income for tax purposes.

Effect of foreign taxes. Foreign governments may impose taxes on the Fund and its investments and these taxes generally will reduce the Fund’s distributions. If the Fund qualifies to pass through a credit for such taxes paid and elects to do so, an offsetting tax credit or deduction may be available to you if you maintain a taxable account. If so, your tax statement will show more taxable income than was actually distributed by the Fund, but will also show the amount of the available offsetting credit or deduction.

Other restrictions. There are tax requirements that all mutual funds must follow in order to avoid federal taxation. In its effort to adhere to these requirements, the Fund may have to limit its investment in some types of instruments.

Special considerations for certain institutional investors. If you are a corporate investor, a portion of the dividends from net investment income paid by the Fund may qualify for the corporate dividends-received deduction. The portion of the dividends that will qualify for this treatment will depend on the aggregate qualifying dividend income received by the Fund from domestic (U.S.) sources.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     23


Certain holding period and debt financing restrictions may apply to corporate investors seeking to claim the deduction.

Taxes related to employee benefit plans or IRAs. Generally, individuals are not subject to federal income tax in connection with shares held (or that are held on their behalf) in participant or custody accounts under Code section 401(a) employee benefit plans (including 401(k) and Keogh plans), Code section 403(b) or 457 employee benefit plans, or IRAs. Distributions from such plan participant or custody accounts may, however, be subject to ordinary income taxation in the year of the distribution. For information about the tax aspects of your plan or IRA or Keogh account, please consult your plan administrator, TIAA-CREF or your tax advisor.

Other tax matters. Certain investments of the Fund, including certain debt instruments, foreign securities and shares of other investment funds, could affect the amount, timing and character of distributions you receive and could cause the Fund to recognize taxable income in excess of the cash generated by such investments (which may require the Fund to liquidate other investments in order to make required distributions).

This information is only a brief summary of certain federal income tax information about your investment in the Fund. The investment may have state, local or foreign tax consequences, and you should consult your tax advisor about the effect of your investment in the Fund in your particular situation. Additional tax information can be found in the Fund’s SAI.

Your account: purchasing, redeeming
or exchanging shares

Fund shares offered in this Prospectus

The Fund offers four share classes: Retail, Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares. Retail Class shares are available for purchase through certain financial intermediaries or by contacting the Fund directly at 800 223-1200 or www.tiaa-cref.org. Retirement Class and Premier Class shares are generally available for purchase through employee benefit plans or other types of savings plans or accounts. Institutional Class shares are available for purchase directly from the Fund by certain eligible investors (which include employee benefit plans and financial intermediaries). Investors should note that certain account minimums may be required for purchasing Retail or Institutional Class shares.

Share class eligibility

Overview

Each of the Fund’s share classes has certain eligibility requirements that apply when purchasing Fund shares. Eligibility to purchase a certain class of shares is generally based on the type of account being opened in the Fund as

24     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


well as certain account minimums. In order to better understand the eligibility requirements outlined below, the following defined terms shall apply when used throughout this Prospectus.

Definitions

Financial Intermediary Accounts. These include accounts held through platforms, programs, plans and other similar entities, as well as omnibus accounts, on behalf of other investors. Financial Intermediary Accounts may include, but are not limited to, the following:

· Benefit Plans (as defined below);

· Certain custody accounts sponsored or administered by TIAA-CREF, or by other entities not affiliated with TIAA-CREF, that are established by individuals as IRAs pursuant to section 408 of the Code; and

· Wrap accounts or other such arrangements as may be offered by a financial advisor or other intermediary.

Benefit Plans. These include accounts sponsored or administered by either TIAA-CREF and its affiliates or by other entities not affiliated with TIAA-CREF and that are established by or on behalf of employers, or the trustees of plans sponsored by employers, in connection with certain employee benefit plans. Such Benefit Plans include those described in sections 401(a) (including 401(k) and Keogh plans), 403(a), 403(b) or 457 of the Code. Shareholders investing through such Benefit Plans may have to pay additional expenses related to the administration of such plans.

Eligible Investors. These include both Financial Intermediary Accounts and Benefit Plans.

Direct Purchasers. These accounts are opened directly with the transfer agent for the Fund, Boston Financial Data Services, Inc., and include the following: individual, financial advisor, domestic trust and joint accounts; traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs; corporate and institutional accounts; custodial accounts for a minor child under the Uniform Gift to Minors Act (“UGMA”) or Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (“UTMA”); and Coverdell education savings accounts.

Eligibility—Retail Class and Institutional Class

Retail Class and Institutional Class shares are available for purchase by or through the following types of accounts:

· Direct Purchasers;

· Financial Intermediary Accounts;

· Other investment companies or pools;

· State-sponsored tuition savings plans (529) or healthcare saving accounts (HSA);

· Insurance company separate accounts advised by or affiliated with Advisors, or other affiliates of TIAA-CREF; and

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     25


· Other accounts, entities, programs, plans and categories of shareholders as may be approved by the Fund from time to time.

Eligibility—Retirement Class and Premier Class

Retirement Class and Premier Class shares are available for purchase by or through the following types of accounts:

· Financial Intermediary Accounts;

· Other investment companies or pools;

· State-sponsored tuition savings plans (529) or healthcare saving accounts (HSA);

· Insurance company separate accounts advised by or affiliated with Advisors, or other affiliates of TIAA-CREF; and

· Other accounts, entities, programs, plans and categories of shareholders as may be approved by the Fund from time to time.

Account minimums

Investors should note that the following account minimums may be required for initial and subsequent purchases of Retail Class and Institutional Class shares:

· Retail Class shares: The minimum initial investment is $2,000 per Fund account for Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and Coverdell accounts and $2,500 for all other account types. Subsequent investments for all account types must be at least $100.

· Institutional Class shares: The minimum initial investment is $2,000,000 per Fund account and the minimum subsequent investment is at least $1,000 unless an investor purchases shares by or through financial intermediaries that have entered into an appropriate agreement with the Fund or its affiliates.

The Fund has the discretion to waive or otherwise change the initial or subsequent minimum investment requirements at any time without any prior notice to shareholders. These minimum account requirements are discussed in more detail below.

There are no minimum account requirements, including initial or subsequent minimum investment requirements, for Retirement Class or Premier Class shares.

All share classes

The Fund reserves the right to determine in its sole discretion whether any person, financial intermediary or entity is eligible to purchase Retail, Retirement, Premier or Institutional Class shares. For more information with regard to Retail Class shares, please call the Fund at 800 223-1200, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time. For more information with regard to Retirement, Premier or Institutional Class shares, please call the Fund at 800

26     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


842-2252, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time. If you are a Direct Purchaser of Institutional Class shares, please contact your assigned relationship manager (“Relationship Manager”).

Investors in all share classes should be aware that the Fund may from time to time, in its discretion, deviate from or vary the processes and procedures outlined below for purchasing, redeeming and exchanging shares.

The Fund is not responsible for any losses due to unauthorized or fraudulent instructions when purchasing, redeeming or exchanging shares as long as the Fund follows reasonable security procedures to verify your identity. It is your responsibility to review and verify the accuracy of your confirmation statements immediately after you receive them.

Purchasing shares

For Retail Class shares and Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class shares

How to open an account—Retail Class

Accounts can be opened online, via mail or in person. To open an account, send the Fund a completed application with your initial investment. To open an account online or download an application to mail to the Fund, please visit the TIAA-CREF Web Center at www.tiaa-cref.org and click on Mutual Funds. At the Web Center, you can establish an individual, joint or custodial (UGMA/UTMA) account. If you have any questions or need help obtaining or completing the application, call the Fund at 800 223-1200. If you currently hold or in the future intend to hold your Retail Class shares indirectly through a financial intermediary, please contact the intermediary about initiating or making additional purchases of Retail Class shares.

How to open an account—Institutional Class

Direct Purchasers interested in opening an account to hold Institutional Class shares should request an application from their Relationship Manager, who can answer any questions or help complete the application. The application will need to be submitted directly either to a Relationship Manager or to the Fund via mail. Confirmation that the account has been established will be delivered to the applicant or can be obtained by calling the Fund.

Minimum initial and subsequent investment

The minimum initial investment for Retail Class shares in Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and Coverdell accounts is $2,000 per Fund account. The minimum initial investment for Retail Class shares in all other accounts is $2,500 per Fund account. For Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class shares, the minimum initial investment is $2,000,000 per Fund account. The Fund can only accept payment to establish a new account if the check presented for deposit into the new account is drawn against an account registered in the same name as the prospective investor.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     27


Subsequent investments into the Retail Class for all account types must be at least $100 per Fund account. Subsequent investments into the Institutional Class for all account types must be at least $1,000 per Fund account. Financial intermediaries may enforce their own initial and subsequent investment minimums.

All Retail Class shareholders automatically have the right to buy shares by telephone or through the TIAA-CREF Web Center as long as bank account information and a voided check were provided at the time the account was established. If you do not want the telephone/web purchase option, you can indicate this on the application or call the Fund at 800 223-1200 anytime after opening your account. You may add this privilege after the account has been established by completing an Account Services Form, which you can request by calling 800 223-1200, or you may download it from the Fund’s website. The Retail Class imposes a $100,000 per fund per day limit on telephone and web purchases.

Transaction methods for purchases

Over the Internet: With TIAA-CREF’s Web Center, you can make electronic withdrawals from your designated bank account to buy additional Retail Class shares over the Internet. TIAA-CREF’s Web Center can be accessed through TIAA-CREF’s homepage at www.tiaa-cref.org.

By telephone: You can request electronic withdrawals from your designated bank account to buy additional Retail Class shares of the Fund by calling 800 223-1200. You can request electronic withdrawals from your designated bank account to buy additional Institutional Class shares by calling your Relationship Manager.

Purchasing via mail: Send a check to either of the addresses listed below with an investment coupon from a previous confirmation statement. If you do not have an investment coupon, use a separate piece of paper including your name, address, Fund account number, the Fund and class you want to invest in and the amount to be invested in the Fund.

Make checks payable to “The TIAA-CREF Funds.”

First-Class Mail:

The TIAA-CREF Funds—(specify either: “Retail Class” or “Institutional Class”)

c/o Boston Financial Data Services

P.O. Box 55081

Boston, MA 02205-5081

Overnight Mail:

The TIAA-CREF Funds—(specify either: “Retail Class” or “Institutional Class”)

c/o Boston Financial Data Services

30 Dan Road

Canton, MA 02021-2809

28     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


Purchasing via wire: See the section entitled “Transaction methods for purchases” below.

Purchasing via Automatic Investment Plan for Retail Class shares: You can make subsequent investments into Retail Class shares automatically by electing to utilize the Fund’s automatic investment plan (“Automatic Investment Plan”) on your initial application or later upon request. By electing this option you authorize the Fund to take regular, automatic withdrawals from your bank account. To begin this service, send the Fund a voided checking or savings account investment slip. It will take the Fund up to 10 days from the time it is received to set up your Automatic Investment Plan. You can make automatic investments semi-monthly or monthly (on the 1st and 15th of each month or on the next business day if those days are not business days). Investments must be made for at least $100 per Fund account. You can change the date or amount of your investment, or terminate the Automatic Investment Plan, at any time by letter or by telephone or over the Internet. The change will take effect approximately five business days after the Fund receives your request. As used herein, the term “business day” means any day that the NYSE is open for trading.

In-kind purchases of shares: Advisors, at its sole discretion, may allow the purchase of shares with investment securities (instead of cash), if: (1) Advisors believes the securities are appropriate investments for the Fund; (2) the securities offered to the Fund are not subject to any restrictions upon their sale by the Fund under the Securities Act of 1933, or otherwise; and (3) the securities are permissible holdings under the Fund’s investment policies and restrictions. If the Fund accepts the securities, the shareholder’s account will be credited with shares equal in NAV to the market value of the securities received. Shareholders investing through a financial intermediary or Benefit Plan who are interested in making in-kind purchases should contact their intermediary or Benefit Plan sponsor directly. Otherwise, shareholders interested in making in-kind purchases should contact either their Relationship Manager or the Fund directly.

Payment limitations: Generally, for Retail Class shareholders and Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class shares, the Fund will not accept payment in the following forms (exceptions may apply):

· checks made out to you or other parties and signed over to the Fund;

· corporate checks for investment into non-corporate accounts;

· third-party checks except in limited circumstances with regard to subsequent investments (any check not made payable directly to TIAA-CREF Funds will be considered a third-party check); or

· travelers’ checks, money orders, credit card convenience checks, cash, counter checks or starter checks.

Stopped checks: If your purchase check does not clear or payment on it is stopped, or if the Fund does not receive good funds through wire transfer or electronic funds transfer, the Fund will treat this as a redemption of the shares purchased when your check or electronic funds were received. You will be responsible for any resulting loss incurred by the Fund or Advisors and you may

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     29


be subject to investment losses and tax consequences on such a redemption. If you are already a shareholder, the Fund can redeem shares from any of your account(s) as reimbursement for all losses. The Fund also reserves the right to restrict you from making future purchases in the Fund or any other series of the Trust. There is a $25 fee for all returned items, including checks and electronic funds transfers. Please note that there is a 10 calendar day hold on all purchases by check, or through electronic funds transfer.

For Eligible Investors in Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares and their clients

For Participants in a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF

How to open an account

You should first contact your employer to learn important details necessary to facilitate enrollment in a Benefit Plan. Your employer must notify TIAA-CREF that you are eligible to enroll. In many cases, you will be able to use the TIAA-CREF Web Center’s online enrollment feature at www.tiaa-cref.org. Some plans allow submission of a hard-copy application for a new account; this form can be returned to your human resources (HR) office, a TIAA-CREF Relationship Manager or to either of the addresses below:

First-Class or Standard Mail:

TIAA-CREF

PO Box 1259

Charlotte, NC 28262

Overnight Mail:

TIAA-CREF

8500 Andrew Carnegie Blvd

Charlotte, NC 28262

You may allocate single or ongoing contributions by selecting the Fund and the amounts you wish to contribute to the Fund.

Subject to the terms of your plan, you may be eligible to roll over or transfer in balances from other eligible accounts as determined by the Code.

The Fund may suspend or terminate the offering of Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares to your employer’s plan. You may be able to change your allocation for future contributions by:

· writing to TIAA-CREF at P.O. Box 1259, Charlotte, NC 28201;

· calling our Automated Telephone Service (24 hours a day) at 800 842-2252; or

· using the TIAA-CREF website’s account access feature at www.tiaa-cref.org.

30     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


For Participants in a Benefit Plan or other account not administered by TIAA-CREF

How to open an account

You should first contact your employer to learn important details necessary to facilitate enrollment in a Benefit Plan. If you are investing through a financial intermediary, you will need to follow the instructions and procedures provided by the intermediary.

Other information for Benefit Plans

As a participant in a Benefit Plan, the Fund imposes no minimum investment. The Fund does not currently restrict the frequency of investments made in the Fund by participant accounts through Benefit Plans, although the Fund reserves the right to impose such restrictions in the future. If you are investing in the Fund through a Benefit Plan, your employer’s plan may limit the amount and available methods to invest in your participant account. Additionally, the Code limits total annual contributions to most types of Benefit Plans.

Other information for Eligible Investors

Investors purchasing shares through Eligible Investors may purchase shares only in accordance with instructions and limitations pertaining to their account with the Eligible Investor. These Eligible Investors may set different minimum investment requirements for their customers’ investments. Please contact your financial intermediary or Benefit Plan sponsor for more information.

Transaction methods for purchases

Purchasing via wire: You may remit initial or subsequent deposits into your account via wire. To open an account by wire please send a completed and signed application by mail as instructed above and then follow the wiring instructions below once you have confirmed the account is open and have the account number.

State Street Bank and Trust Company

One Lincoln Street

Boston, MA 02111

ABA Number (all classes) 011000028

DDA Number

   
 

Retail Class:

99052771

 

All other classes:

99054546

Specify on the wire:

· “The TIAA-CREF Funds—” and the “Share Class” being purchased. For example, a proper set of wire instructions for an initial or subsequent investment into the Institutional Class would read as follows: “The TIAA-CREF Funds—Institutional Class”;

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     31


· Account registration (names of registered owners), address and Social Security number or taxpayer identification number;

· The Fund account number; and

· The Fund and amount to be invested.

Points to remember for all purchases

The Fund considers all purchase requests to be received when they are received in “good order” as determined by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent). (See the section entitled “Important transaction information—Good Order” below.) Your investment must be for a specified dollar amount. The Fund cannot accept purchase requests specifying a certain price, date, or number of shares. These types of requests will be deemed to be not in “good order” and the money you sent will be returned to you. If you hold your shares through a financial intermediary, such intermediary may have its own independent “good order” and eligibility requirements.

Your ability to purchase shares may be restricted due to limitations on purchases or exchanges, including limitations under the Fund's Market Timing/Excessive Trading Policy (see below). If you hold your shares through a financial intermediary, it may charge you additional fees. Contact your financial intermediary to find out if it imposes any other conditions on your transactions, such as a different minimum investment requirement.

Federal law requires the Fund to obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. Until the Fund receives such information, it may not be able to open an account or effect transactions for you. Furthermore, if the Fund is unable to verify your identity, or that of another person authorized to act on your behalf, or if it is believed potential criminal activity has been identified, the Fund reserves the right to take such action as deemed appropriate, which may include closing your account.

Before you can use TIAA-CREF’s Web Center, you must enter your Social Security number, date of birth and active account number. You will then be given an opportunity to create a user name and password. TIAA-CREF’s Web Center will lead you through the transaction process, and the Fund will use reasonable procedures to confirm that the instructions given are genuine. All transactions over TIAA-CREF’s Web Center are recorded electronically.

All purchases must be in U.S. dollars and all checks must be drawn on U.S. banks. The Fund will only accept accounts with a U.S. address of record. The Fund will not accept a P.O. Box as the address of record. For payments made by check, the Fund can only accept payment to establish a new account if the check presented for deposit into the new account is drawn against an account registered in the same name as the prospective investor.

If your purchase check does not clear or payment on it is stopped, or if the Fund does not receive good funds through wire transfer or electronic funds transfer, the Fund will treat this as a redemption of the shares purchased when your check or electronic funds were received. You will be responsible for any

32     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


resulting loss incurred by the Fund or Advisors and you may be subject to investment losses and tax consequences on such a redemption. If you are already a shareholder, the Fund can redeem shares from any of your account(s) as reimbursement for all losses. The Fund also reserves the right to restrict you from making future purchases in the Fund or any other series of the Trust. There is a $25 fee for all returned items, including checks and electronic funds transfers. Please note that there is a 10 calendar day hold on all purchases by check, or through electronic funds transfer.

There may be circumstances when the Fund will not accept new investments. The Fund reserves the right to suspend or terminate the offering of its shares at any time without prior notice. The Fund also reserves the right to restrict you from making future purchases in the Fund or any other series of the Trust. In addition, the Fund reserves the right to reject any application or investment or any other specific purchase request.

Redeeming shares

All share classes

You can redeem (sell) your shares on any business day. If you hold your Fund shares through a financial intermediary, please contact the intermediary to sell your shares. Your financial intermediary may have different requirements and restrictions on redemptions than the Fund. If you hold your Fund shares through a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF, the Benefit Plan or other account may impose further restrictions on the sale of Fund shares.

You may be required to complete and return certain forms to effect your redemption. Before you complete your redemption request, please make sure you understand the possible federal and other income tax consequences of a redemption. Neither the Fund nor its transfer agent can process redemption requests that specify a certain price or date; these requests will be deemed not in “good order” and will be returned. (See the section entitled “Important transaction information—Good Order” below.)

Usually, the Fund sends redemption proceeds on the next business day after the Fund receives a redemption request in “good order” as determined by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent), but not later than seven days afterwards.

If a redemption is requested after a recent purchase of shares, the Fund may delay payment of the redemption proceeds until the check or an electronic funds transfer transaction clears. This can take up to 10 days. There is a 10 calendar day hold from the date of purchase to the first available redemption for all Direct Purchasers redeeming through the TIAA-CREF Web Center.

If you request a redemption, we will send the proceeds by check to the address of record, or by electronic funds transfer to the bank account on file. A letter of instruction with a bank Medallion Signature Guarantee of all owners exactly as registered on the account is required if the redemption is sent to (i) a bank account not on file, (ii) an address other than the address of record, or

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     33


(iii) an address of record that has been changed within the last 30 calendar days. You may obtain a Medallion Signature Guarantee from some commercial or savings banks, credit unions, trust companies or member firms of a U.S. stock exchange. A notary public cannot provide a Medallion Signature Guarantee.

The Fund can postpone payment if: (a) the NYSE is closed for other than usual holidays or weekends, or trading on the NYSE is restricted; (b) an emergency exists as defined by the SEC, or when the SEC requires that trading be restricted; or (c) the SEC permits a delay for the protection of investors.

The Fund reserves the right to require a Medallion Signature Guarantee for a redemption of any class. The Fund can suspend or terminate your ability to transact by telephone, Internet, or by fax at any time, for any reason.

Once mailed to the Fund, your redemption request is irrevocable and cannot be modified or canceled.

For participants holding shares through a Benefit Plan (Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares)

A redemption can be part of an exchange into (1) another fund available through your Benefit Plan or, (2) another account or IRA.

If you are married, and all or part of your investment is attributable to purchases made under either (i) an employer plan subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) or (ii) an employer plan that provides for spousal rights to benefits, then to the extent required by the Code or ERISA or the terms of your employer plan, your rights to make certain redemptions may be restricted by the rights of your spouse to such benefits.

For Direct Purchasers, Eligible Investors and their clients (Retail and Institutional Class shares)

Requests must include: account number, transaction amount (in dollars or shares), signatures of all owners exactly as registered on the account, Medallion Signature Guarantees (if required), and any other required supporting legal documentation. All other requests, including those specifying a certain price or date will not be deemed to be in “good order” and will be returned. (See the section entitled “Important transaction information—Good Order” below.)

Transaction methods for redemptions

If your shares are held through a financial intermediary, please contact the intermediary for redemption requirements.

By mail: Send your written request to the appropriate address as described in the section entitled “Purchasing shares” above.

Over the Internet: With TIAA-CREF’s Web Center, Direct Purchasers of Retail Class shares can redeem their shares over the Internet although there is a limit on Internet redemptions. Investors in the Retail Class shares are limited to Internet redemptions of up to $100,000 per fund per day. Internet redemptions are not available for self-directed IRA accounts and Coverdell education savings

34     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


accounts held by Direct Purchasers. Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares held through a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF are limited to a maximum cumulative Internet redemption of $50,000 on a rolling 12 month basis. TIAA-CREF’s Web Center can be accessed through TIAA-CREF’s homepage at www.tiaa-cref.org. Before you can use the Web Center, you must enter your Social Security number, date of birth and active account number. The Fund will use reasonable procedures to confirm that the instructions given are genuine. All transactions over the Web Center are recorded electronically.

By telephone: Call the appropriate number provided in the section entitled “Purchasing shares” above. All shareholders with telephone redemption options automatically receive the Internet redemption option. If you do not want to be able to redeem by telephone or Internet, indicate this on your application or call the Fund anytime after opening your account. Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class shares wishing to make redemption orders by telephone should call their Relationship Manager.

· Direct Purchasers of Retail Class shares can redeem amounts up to $100,000 per fund per day by phone.

· Participants holding Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares through a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF can redeem up to $50,000 every seven days by phone or any greater amount as approved by the Fund from time to time.

By systematic redemption plan: For Retail Class shares, you can elect this feature only for accounts with balances of at least $5,000. The Fund will automatically redeem the requested dollar amount or number of shares for Retail Class each month or quarter on the 1st or 15th of the month or for Retirement, Premier and Institutional Classes held in a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF on any business day between the 1st and 28th of the month. For all share classes, if the days selected are not business days, shares will be redeemed on the following business day. Redemptions will be made via check or electronic transfer to your bank.

If you are a Direct Purchaser of Retail Class shares in the Fund and want to set up a systematic redemption plan, contact the Fund and it will send the necessary forms to you or you may enroll online through the TIAA-CREF Web Center. All owners of an account must sign the systematic redemption plan request. Similarly, all owners must sign any request to increase the amount or frequency of the systematic redemptions or a request for payments to be sent to an address other than the address of record. A Medallion Signature Guarantee is required for this address change. The Fund can terminate the systematic redemption plan option at any time, although the Fund will notify you if this occurs. You can terminate the plan or reduce the amount or frequency of the redemptions by writing or by calling the Fund or through the TIAA-CREF Web Center. Requests to establish, terminate, or change the amount or frequency of redemptions will become effective within five days after the Fund receives your instructions.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     35


In-kind redemptions of shares: Certain large redemptions of Fund shares may be detrimental to the Fund’s other shareholders because such redemptions can adversely affect a portfolio manager’s ability to implement the Fund’s investment strategy by causing premature sale of portfolio securities that would otherwise be held. Consequently, if, in any 90 day period, an investor redeems (sells) shares in an amount that exceeds the lesser of (i) $250,000 or (ii) 1% of the Fund’s assets, then the Fund, at its sole discretion, has the right (without prior notice) to satisfy the difference between the redemption amount and the lesser of the two previously mentioned figures with securities from the Fund’s portfolio instead of cash. This is referred to as a “distribution in-kind” redemption and the securities you receive in this manner represent a portion of the Fund’s entire portfolio. The securities you receive will be selected by the Fund in its discretion. The investor receiving the securities will be responsible for disposing of the securities and bearing any associated costs.

Exchanging shares

Overview

An exchange is a simultaneous redemption of shares in the Fund and a purchase of shares in another fund or series of the Trust. Investors can exchange shares on any business day subject to limitations (i) described in the section entitled "Market timing/excessive trading policy" below, (ii) imposed by your financial intermediary or (iii) any limitations under your employer’s plan. Shareholders who own shares through an Eligible Investor such as a Benefit Plan or Financial Intermediary Account should contact the Eligible Investor for exchange requests.

Exchanges between accounts can be made only if the accounts are registered in the same name(s), address and Social Security number or taxpayer identification number. Because restrictions may apply to certain accounts or plans, you should contact your financial intermediary or plan representative for further information. An exchange is considered a sale of securities and therefore may be a taxable event.

For Retail Class shareholders and Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class Shares, an exchange into a fund in which you already own shares must be for at least $50 ($1,000 for Institutional) and an exchange to a new fund account must meet the account minimums as stated by account type above (i.e., for Retail Class shares, $2,000 per fund account for IRAs or Coverdell accounts and $2,500 per fund account for all other account types, including custodial (UGMA/UTMA) accounts). For Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares held through a plan, exchanges must generally be for at least $1,000 (except for systematic exchanges, which must be for at least $100) or your entire balance, if it is less.

Make sure you understand the investment objective, policies, strategies and risks disclosed in the prospectus of the fund into which you exchange shares. The exchange option is not designed to allow you to time the market. It gives you

36     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


a convenient way to adjust the balance of your account so that it more closely matches your overall investment objectives and risk tolerance level.

The Fund reserves the right to reject any exchange request and to modify or terminate the exchange option at any time without prior notice to shareholders. The Fund may do this, in particular, when your transaction activity is deemed to be harmful to the Fund, including if it is considered to be market timing activity.

Once made, an exchange request by mail cannot be modified or cancelled.

Transaction methods for exchanges

Over the Internet: You can exchange shares using TIAA-CREF’s Web Center, which can be accessed through TIAA-CREF’s homepage at www.tiaa-cref.org.

By mail: Send your written request to the appropriate address as described in the section entitled “Purchasing shares” above. The letter must include your name, address, and the funds and accounts you want to exchange between.

By telephone: For Direct Purchasers of Retail Class shares, please call 800 223-1200. If you are a Direct Purchaser of Institutional Class shares, please call your Relationship Manager. For share classes held under Benefit Plans or other accounts administered by TIAA-CREF, please call 800 842-2252. For share classes held under Benefit Plans or other accounts not administered by TIAA-CREF, please contact your financial intermediary for exchange requirements.

By systematic exchange: Under this feature, TIAA-CREF automatically redeems shares in the Fund and purchases shares in another fund or series of the Trust as specified by the applicable agreement. However, the Fund does not offer systematic exchanges for Direct Purchasers in the Institutional Class shares. In addition, for Retail Class shares, you can only elect this feature if the balance of the Fund account from which you are transferring shares is at least $5,000. Retail Class systematic exchanges can occur on the 1st or 15th day of the month or on the following business day if those days are not business days. For all systematic exchanges, you must specify the dollar amount and the funds involved in the exchange. If you want to set up a systematic exchange, contact TIAA-CREF. You can terminate the plan or change the amount or frequency of the exchanges by writing or calling the number identified in the section entitled “Purchasing shares” above. Requests to establish, terminate, or change the amount or frequency of exchanges will become effective within five days after the Fund receives your instructions. All account owners must sign the systematic exchange request. Similarly, all account owners must sign any request to increase the amount or frequency of systematic exchanges.

Conversion of shares—applicable to all investors

A share conversion is a transaction where shares of one class of the Fund are exchanged for shares of another class of the Fund. Share conversions can occur between each share class of the Fund. Generally, share conversions occur where a shareholder becomes eligible for another share class of the Fund or no longer meets the eligibility of the share class they own (and another class exists for

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     37


which they would be eligible). Please note that a share conversion is generally a non-taxable event, but please consult with your personal tax advisor on your particular circumstances.

A request for a share conversion will not be processed until it is received in “good order” (as defined below) by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent). Conversion requests received in “good order” prior to the close of the NYSE (generally 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time) on a day the NYSE is open will receive the NAV of the new class calculated that day. Please note that, because the NAV of each class of the Fund will generally vary from the NAVs of the other classes due to differences in expenses, you will receive a different number of shares in the new class than you held in the old class, but the total value of your holdings will remain the same.

The Fund’s market timing policies will not be applicable to share conversions. If you hold your shares through an Eligible Investor like an intermediary or plan sponsor, please contact the Eligible Investor for more information on share conversions. Please note that certain intermediaries or plan sponsors may not permit all types of share conversions. The Fund reserves the right to terminate, suspend or modify the share conversion privilege for any shareholder or group of shareholders.

Voluntary conversions

If you believe that you are eligible to convert your Fund shares to another class, you may place an order for a share conversion by contacting your Relationship Manager. If you hold your shares through an Eligible Investor like a plan or intermediary, please contact the Eligible Investor regarding conversions. Please be sure to read the applicable sections of the prospectus for the new class in which you wish to convert prior to such a conversion in order to learn more about its different features, performance and expenses. Neither the Fund nor Advisors has any responsibility for reviewing accounts and/or contacting shareholders to apprise them that they may qualify to request a voluntary conversion. Some Eligible Investors may not allow investors who own Fund shares through them to make share conversions.

Mandatory conversions

The Fund reserves the right to automatically convert shareholders from one class to another if they no longer qualify as eligible for their existing class or if they become eligible for another class. Such mandatory conversions may be as a result of a change in value of an account due to market movements, exchanges or redemptions. The Fund will notify affected shareholders in writing prior to any mandatory conversion.

Important transaction information

Good Order. Purchase, redemption and exchange requests are not processed until received in good order by the Fund’s transfer agent at its processing center

38     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


(or by another authorized Fund agent). “Good order” means actual receipt of the order along with all information and supporting legal documentation necessary to effect the transaction by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent). This information and documentation generally includes the Fund account number, the transaction amount (in dollars or shares), signatures of all account owners exactly as registered on the account and any other information or supporting documentation as the Fund, its transfer agent or other authorized Fund agent may require. With respect to purchase requests, “good order” also generally includes receipt of sufficient funds by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent) to effect the purchase. The Fund, its transfer agent or any other authorized Fund agent may, in their sole discretion, determine whether any particular transaction request is in good order and reserve the right to change or waive any good order requirement at any time.

Financial intermediaries or plan sponsors may have their own requirements for considering transaction requests to be in “good order.” If you hold your shares through a financial intermediary or plan sponsor, please contact them for their specific “good order” requirements.

Share Price. If the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent) receives an order to purchase, redeem or exchange shares that is in good order anytime before close of regular trading on the NYSE (usually 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time), the transaction price will be the NAV per share for that day. If the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent) receives an order to purchase, redeem or exchange shares that is in good order anytime after the NYSE closes, the transaction price will be the NAV per share calculated the next business day.

If you hold Retirement, Premier or Institutional Class shares through an Eligible Investor, or if you hold Retail Class shares through a financial intermediary, the Eligible Investor or financial intermediary, as applicable, may require you to communicate to it any purchase, redemption or exchange request by a specified deadline earlier than 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time in order to receive that day’s NAV per share as the transaction price.

Large Redemptions—Applicable to All Investors. Please contact the Fund before attempting to redeem a large dollar amount of shares (including exchange requests since they include redemption transactions). Large redemptions of Fund shares may be detrimental to the Fund’s other shareholders because such transactions can adversely affect a portfolio manager’s ability to efficiently manage the Fund. By contacting the Fund before you attempt to redeem a large dollar amount, you may avoid in-kind payment of your request.

Minimum Account Size.

· Retail Class. Due to the relatively high cost of maintaining smaller accounts, the Fund reserves the right to redeem shares in any account if the value of that account drops below $1,500. You will be allowed at least 60 days, after written notice, to make an additional investment to bring your account value up to at least the specified minimum before the redemption is processed. The Fund reserves the right to waive or reduce the minimum account size for

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     39


the Fund’s account at any time. Additionally, the Fund may increase, terminate or revise the terms of the minimum account size requirements at any time without advance notice to shareholders.

· Premier and Retirement Class. There is currently no minimum account size for Premier or Retirement Class shares. The Fund reserves the right, without prior notice, to establish a minimum amount required to open, maintain or add to an account.

· Institutional Class. While there is currently no minimum account size for maintaining an Institutional Class account, the Fund reserves the right, without prior notice, to establish a minimum amount required to maintain an account.

Small Account Maintenance Fee—Retail Class. The Fund charges an annual Small Account Maintenance Fee of $15.00 per Retail Class account (applicable to both retirement and non-retirement accounts) in order to allocate shareholder servicing costs equitably if your Fund balance falls below $2,000 (for any reason, including a decrease in market value). Investors cannot pay this fee by any other means besides an automatic deduction of the fee from their account.

The annual Small Account Maintenance Fee will not apply to the following types of Retail Class Fund accounts: accounts held through retirement or employee benefit plans; accounts held through intermediaries and their supermarkets and platforms (i.e., omnibus accounts); accounts that are registered under a taxpayer identification number (or Social Security number) that have aggregated non-retirement or non-employee benefit plan assets held in accounts for the Fund or other series of the Trust of $25,000 or more; accounts currently enrolled in the Fund’s Automatic Investment Plan; and accounts held through tuition (529) plan programs. However, the annual Small Account Maintenance Fee will apply to IRAs and Coverdell education savings accounts. The Fund reserves the right to waive or reduce the annual Small Account Maintenance Fee for any Fund account at any time. Additionally, the Fund may increase, terminate or revise the terms of the annual Small Account Maintenance Fee at any time without advance notice to shareholders.

Taxpayer Identification Number. Regardless of whether you hold your Fund shares directly or through a financial intermediary, you must give the Fund your taxpayer identification number (which, for most individuals, is your Social Security number) and tell the Fund whether or not you are subject to backup withholding. If you do not furnish your taxpayer identification number, redemptions or exchanges of shares, as well as dividends and capital gains distributions, will be subject to backup tax withholding. In addition, if you hold Fund shares directly and do not furnish your taxpayer identification number, then your account application will be rejected and returned.

Changing Your Address.

· Retail Class. To change the address on your account, please call the Fund or send the Fund a written notification signed by all registered owners of

40     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


your account. If you hold your shares through a financial intermediary, please contact the intermediary to change your address.

· Premier and Retirement Class. To change the address on an Eligible Investor account, please send the Fund a written notification.

· Institutional Class. To change the address on an account, please contact your Relationship Manager (for Direct Purchasers) or send the Fund a written notification.

Medallion Signature Guarantee. For some transaction requests (for example, when you are redeeming shares within 30 days (for direct investors) or 14 days (for participants holding shares through a plan or account administered by TIAA-CREF) of changing your address, bank or bank account or adding certain new services to an existing account), the Fund may require a Medallion Signature Guarantee of each owner of record of an account. This requirement is designed to protect you and the Fund from fraud, and to comply with rules on stock transfers. A Medallion Signature Guarantee is a written endorsement from an eligible guarantor institution that the signature(s) on the written request is (are) valid. Certain commercial banks, trust companies, savings associations, credit unions and members of U.S. stock exchanges participate in the Medallion Signature Guarantee program. No other form of signature verification will be accepted. A notary public cannot provide a signature guarantee. For more information about when a Medallion Signature Guarantee may be required, please contact the Fund or your Relationship Manager (for Direct Purchasers).

Transferring Shares. For certain share classes, you can transfer ownership of your account to another person or organization that also qualifies to own the class of shares or change the name on your account by sending the Fund written instructions. Generally, each registered owner of the account must sign the request and provide Medallion Signature Guarantees. When you change the name on an account, shares in that account are transferred to a new account.

Limitations. Federal laws designed to counter terrorism and prevent money laundering might, in certain circumstances, require the Fund to block an account owner’s ability to make certain transactions and thereby refuse to accept a purchase order or any request for transfers or withdrawals, until instructions are received from the appropriate regulator. The Fund may also be required to provide additional information about you and your account to government regulators.

Advice About Your Account—Direct Purchasers Only. TPIS, a TIAA subsidiary, is the principal underwriter for the Fund, and Services, a TIAA subsidiary, has entered into an agreement with TPIS to sell Fund shares. TPIS representatives are only authorized to recommend securities of investment companies or other pooled investment vehicles managed by TIAA or its affiliates. Neither TPIS nor Services receives commissions for these recommendations.

Customer Complaints. Customer complaints may be directed to TIAA-CREF Funds, 730 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017-3206, Mail Stop 730/07/01, Attention: Director, Distribution Operation Services.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     41


Transfer On Death—Retail Class. If you live in certain states and hold Retail Class shares, you can designate one or more persons (“beneficiaries”) to whom your Fund shares can be transferred upon death. You can set up your account with a Transfer On Death (“TOD”) registration upon request. (Call us to get the necessary forms.) A TOD registration avoids probate if the beneficiary(ies) survives all shareholders. You maintain total control over your account during your lifetime.

TIAA-CREF Web Center and Telephone Transactions. The Fund is not liable for losses from unauthorized TIAA-CREF Web Center and telephone transactions so long as reasonable procedures designed to verify the identity of the person effecting the transaction are followed. The Fund requires the use of personal identification numbers, codes and other procedures designed to reasonably confirm that instructions given through TIAA-CREF’s Web Center or by telephone are genuine. The Fund also tape records telephone instructions and provides written confirmations of such instructions. The Fund accepts all telephone instructions that are reasonably believed to be genuine and accurate. However, you should verify the accuracy of your confirmation statements immediately after you receive them. The Fund may suspend or terminate Internet or telephone transaction facilities at any time, for any reason. If you do not want to be able to effect transactions over the telephone, call the Fund for instructions.

Market timing/excessive trading policy—applicable to all investors

There are shareholders who may try to profit from making transactions back and forth among the Fund and other funds in an effort to “time” the market. As money is shifted in and out of the Fund, the Fund may incur transaction costs, including, among other things, expenses for buying and selling securities. These costs are borne by all Fund shareholders, including long-term investors who do not generate these costs. In addition, market timing can interfere with efficient portfolio management and cause dilution if timers are able to take advantage of pricing inefficiencies. Consequently, the Fund is not appropriate for such market timing and you should not invest in the Fund if you want to engage in market timing activity.

The Board of Trustees has adopted policies and procedures to discourage this market timing activity. Under these policies and procedures, if, within a 60 calendar day period, a shareholder redeems or exchanges any monies out of the Fund, subsequently purchases or exchanges any monies back into the Fund and then redeems or exchanges any monies out of the Fund, the shareholder will not be permitted to transfer back into the Fund through a purchase or exchange for 90 calendar days.

These market timing policies and procedures will not be applied to certain types of transactions like reinvestments of dividends and capital gains distributions, systematic withdrawals, systematic purchases, automatic rebalancings, death and hardship withdrawals, certain transactions made within

42     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


a retirement or employee benefit plan, such as contributions, mandatory distributions, loans and plan sponsor-initiated transactions, and other types of transactions specified by the Fund. In addition, the market timing policies and procedures will not apply to certain tuition (529) plan programs, funds of funds, wrap programs, asset allocation programs and other similar programs that are approved by the Fund. The Fund may also waive the market timing policies and procedures when it is believed that such waiver is in the Fund’s best interest, including but not limited to when it is determined that enforcement of these policies and procedures is not necessary to protect the Fund from the effects of short-term trading.

The Fund also reserves the right to reject any purchase or exchange request, including when it is believed that a request would be disruptive to the Fund’s efficient portfolio management. The Fund also may suspend or terminate your ability to transact by telephone, fax or Internet for any reason, including the prevention of market timing. A purchase or exchange request could be rejected or electronic trading privileges could be suspended because of the timing or amount of the investment or because of a history of excessive trading by the investor. Because the Fund has discretion in applying this policy, it is possible that similar transaction activity could be handled differently because of the surrounding circumstances.

The Fund’s portfolio securities are fair valued, as necessary (most frequently with respect to international holdings), to help ensure that a portfolio security’s true value is reflected in the Fund’s NAV, thereby minimizing any potential stale price arbitrage.

The Fund seeks to apply its market timing policies and procedures uniformly to all shareholders, and not to make exceptions with respect to these policies and procedures (beyond the exemptions noted above). The Fund makes reasonable efforts to apply these policies and procedures to shareholders who own shares through omnibus accounts. However, an intermediary’s omnibus accounts, by their nature, do not initially identify their individual investors to the Fund, thereby making it more difficult for the Fund to identify market timing by such individual investors. At times, the Fund may agree to defer to an intermediary’s market timing policy if the Fund believes that the intermediary’s policy provides comparable protection of Fund shareholders’ interests. The Fund has the right to modify its market timing policies and procedures at any time without advance notice. These efforts may include requesting transaction data from intermediaries from time to time to verify whether the Fund’s policies are being followed and/or to instruct intermediaries to take action against shareholders who have violated the Fund’s market timing policies.

The Fund is not appropriate for market timing. You should not invest in the Fund if you want to engage in market timing activity.

Shareholders seeking to engage in market timing may deploy a variety of strategies to avoid detection, and, despite efforts to discourage market timing,

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     43


there is no guarantee that the Fund or its agents will be able to identify such shareholders or curtail their trading practices.

If you invest in the Fund through an intermediary, including through a retirement or employee benefit plan, you may be subject to additional market timing or excessive trading policies implemented by the intermediary or plan. Please contact your intermediary or plan sponsor for more details.

Electronic prospectuses

If you received this Prospectus electronically and would like a paper copy, please contact the Fund and one will be sent to you.

Additional information about index providers

The Russell 3000® Index is a trademark/service mark of the Russell Investment Group. The Russell Investment Group is the owner of the copyrights relating to the Russell Indexes and is the source and owner of the data contained or reflected in the performance values relating to the Russell Indexes. The Fund is not promoted by, nor in any way affiliated with, the Russell Investment Group. The Russell Investment Group is not responsible for and has not reviewed the Fund nor any associated literature or publications and the Russell Investment Group makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to their accuracy, or completeness, or otherwise.

Russell reserves the right, at any time and without notice, to alter, amend, terminate or in any way change the Russell Indexes. Russell has no obligation to take the needs of any particular fund or its participants or any other product or person into consideration in determining, composing or calculating any of the Russell Indexes.

Russell’s publication of the Russell Indexes in no way suggests or implies an opinion by Russell as to the attractiveness or appropriateness of investment in any or all securities upon which the Russell Indexes are based. russell makes no representation, warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, completeness, reliability or otherwise of the russell indexes or any data included in the russell indexes. russell makes no representation, warranty or guarantee regarding the use or the results of use of the russell indexes or any data included therein, or any securities (or combination thereof) comprising the russell indexes. russell makes no other express or implied warranty, and expressly disclaims any warranty, of any kind, including without limitation, any warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose with respect to the russell index(es) or any data or any security (or combination thereof) included therein.

Glossary

Code: The Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, including any applicable regulations and Revenue Rulings.

44     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund


Duration: Duration is a measure of volatility in the price of a bond in response to a change in prevailing interest rates, with a longer duration indicating more volatility. It can be understood as the weighted average of the time to each coupon and principal payment of such a security. For an investment portfolio of fixed-income securities, duration is the weighted average of each security’s duration. For example, the price of a bond with a duration of two years will rise (fall) two percent for every one percent decrease (increase) in its interest rate.

Equity Investments: Primarily, common stock, preferred stock and securities convertible or exchangeable into common stock, including convertible debt securities, convertible preferred stock and warrants or rights to acquire common stock.

Fixed-Income or Fixed-Income Investments: Primarily, bonds and notes (such as corporate and government debt obligations), mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities, and structured securities that generally pay fixed or variable rates of interest; debt obligations issued at a discount from face value (i.e., that have an imputed rate of interest); non-interest-bearing debt securities (i.e., zero coupon bonds); and other non-equity securities that pay dividends.

Foreign Investments: Foreign investments may include securities of foreign issuers, securities or contracts traded or acquired in non-U.S. markets or on non-U.S. exchanges, or securities or contracts payable or denominated in non-U.S. currencies. Obligations issued by U.S. companies in non-U.S. currencies are not considered to be foreign investments.

Foreign Issuers: Foreign issuers generally include (1) companies whose securities are principally traded outside of the United States, (2) companies having their principal business operations outside of the United States,
(3) companies organized outside the United States, and (4) foreign governments and agencies or instrumentalities of foreign governments.

Investment-Grade: A fixed-income security is investment-grade if it is rated in the four highest categories by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”) or an unrated security that Advisors determines is of comparable quality.

U.S. Government Securities: Securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities.

Financial highlights

Because the Fund is newly operational, no financial highlights information is currently available.

TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund    Prospectus     45


For more information about TIAA-CREF Funds

Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”). The Fund’s SAI contains more information about certain aspects of the Fund. A current SAI has been filed with the SEC and is incorporated into this Prospectus by reference. This means that the Fund’s SAI is legally a part of the Prospectus.

Annual and Semiannual Reports. The Fund’s annual and semiannual reports provide additional information about the Fund’s investments. In the Fund’s annual report (once available), you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected the Fund’s performance during the preceding fiscal year.

Requesting documents. You can request a copy of the Fund’s SAI or these reports (once available) without charge, or contact the Fund for any other purpose, in any of the following ways:

By telephone:

Call 877 518-9161

In writing:

TIAA-CREF Funds
P.O. Box 1259
Charlotte, NC 28201

Over the Internet:

www.tiaa-cref.org

Information about the Trust (including the Fund’s SAI) can be reviewed and copied at the SEC’s public reference room (202 551-8090) in Washington, DC. The reports and other information are also available through the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s Internet website at www.sec.gov. Copies of the information can also be obtained, upon payment of a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov, or by writing the SEC’s Public Reference Section, Washington, DC 20549.

To lower costs and eliminate duplicate documents sent to your home, the Fund may mail only one copy of the Fund’s Prospectus, prospectus supplements, annual and semiannual reports, or any other required documents, to your household, even if more than one shareholder lives there. If you would prefer to continue receiving your own copy of any of these documents, you may call the Fund toll-free or write to the Fund as follows:

By telephone:

Call 877 518-9161

In writing:

TIAA-CREF Funds
P.O. Box 1259
Charlotte, NC 28201

Important Information about procedures for opening a new account

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions, including the Fund, to obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account.

What this means for you: When you open an account, the Fund will ask for your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other information that will allow the Fund to identify you, such as your home telephone number. Until you provide the Fund with the information it needs, the Fund may not be able to open an account or effect any transactions for you.

  

1940 Act File No. 811-9301

Atk (__/15)

 

PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS SUBJECT TO COMPLETION ON OR AFTER [______________]. THE INFORMATION IN THIS PROSPECTUS IS NOT COMPLETE AND MAY BE CHANGED. SHARES OF THE FUND MAY NOT BE SOLD UNTIL THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT FILED WITH THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION IS EFFECTIVE. THIS PROSPECTUS IS NOT AN OFFER TO SELL THESE SECURITIES AND IT IS NOT SOLICITING AN OFFER TO BUY THESE SECURITIES IN ANY STATE WHERE THE OFFER OR SALE IS NOT PERMITTED.

PROSPECTUS

[ __________], 2015

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund

of the TIAA-CREF Funds

Class Ticker: Retail [ ] Retirement [ ] Premier [ ] Institutional [ ]

This Prospectus describes the Retail, Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares offered by the TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund (the “Fund”). The Fund is one of the investment portfolios of the TIAA-CREF Funds (the “Trust”).

An investment in the Fund is not a deposit of any bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. An investor can lose money in the Fund and the Fund could perform more poorly than other investments.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) has not approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this Prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.


Table of contents

   

Summary information 3

Investment objective 3

Fees and expenses 3

Shareholder fees 3

Annual Fund operating expenses 4

Example 4

Portfolio turnover 4

Principal investment strategies 5

Principal investment risks 5

Past performance 6

Portfolio management 6

Purchase and sale of Fund shares 7

Tax information 7

Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation 8

Additional information about investment strategies and risks 8

Additional information about the Fund 8

Additional information on principal investment risks of the Fund 9

Additional information about the Fund’s benchmark index 11

Additional information on principal and non-principal investment strategies 12

Portfolio holdings 12

Portfolio turnover 12

Share classes 13

Management of the Fund 13

The Fund’s investment adviser 13

Investment management fees 14

Portfolio management team 14

Other services 15

Distribution and services arrangements 16

Other arrangements 17

Calculating share price 17

 

Dividends and distributions 19

Taxes 20

Your account: purchasing, redeeming or exchanging shares 22

Fund shares offered in this Prospectus 22

Share class eligibility 23

Purchasing shares 25

Redeeming shares 31

Exchanging shares 34

Conversion of shares–applicable to all investors 36

Important transaction information 37

Market timing/excessive trading policy 40

Electronic prospectuses 40

Glossary 40

Financial highlights 41




Summary information

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund

of the TIAA-CREF Funds

Investment objective

The Fund seeks a favorable long-term total return, mainly from current income, by primarily investing in a portfolio of fixed-income securities that is designed to produce a return that corresponds with the total return of the U.S. investment-grade bond market based on a short-term bond index.

Fees and expenses

This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund:

SHAREHOLDER FEES (fees paid directly from your investment)

         
 

Retail
Class

 

Retirement
Class

 

Premier
Class

 

Institutional
Class

 

Maximum Sales Charge Imposed on Purchases
(percentage of offering price)

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum Deferred Sales Charge

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Maximum Sales Charge Imposed on Reinvested
Dividends and Other Distributions

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Redemption or Exchange Fee

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

Account Maintenance Fee
(annual fee on accounts under $2,000)

$15.00

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     3


ANNUAL FUND OPERATING EXPENSES (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)

          

 

 

  Retail
Class

 

   Retirement Class

 

  Premier Class

 

  Institutional
Class

 

Management Fees

0.07%

 

0.07%

 

0.07%

 

0.07%

 

Distribution (Rule 12b-1) Fees

0.25%

 

 

0.15%

 

 

Other Expenses1

0.43%

 

0.58%

 

0.33%

 

0.33%

 

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses

0.75%

 

0.65%

 

0.55%

 

0.40%

 

Waivers and Expense Reimbursements2

0.28%

 

0.28%

 

0.28%

 

0.28%

 

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waiver and/or Expense Reimbursement

0.47%

 

0.37%

 

0.27%

 

0.12%

 

          

1

Estimates for the current fiscal year.

 

2

Under the Fund’s expense reimbursement arrangements, the Fund’s investment adviser, Teachers Advisors, Inc., has contractually agreed to reimburse the Fund for any Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses (excluding interest, taxes, brokerage commissions or other transactional expenses, Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses and extraordinary expenses) that exceed: (i) 0.12% of average daily net assets for Institutional Class shares; (ii) 0.27% of average daily net assets for Premier Class shares; (iii) 0.37% of average daily net assets for Retirement Class shares; and (iv) 0.47% of average daily net assets for Retail Class shares of the Fund. These expense reimbursement arrangements will continue through at least August 1, 2016, unless changed with approval of the Board of Trustees.

 

Example

This example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all your shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses, before expense reimbursements, remain the same. The example assumes that the Fund’s expense reimbursement agreement will remain in place through August 1, 2016, but that there will be no waiver or expense reimbursement agreement in effect thereafter. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:

             

 

  Retail Class

 

  Retirement Class

 

  Premier Class

 

  Institutional Class

 

1 Year

$

48

 

$

38

 

$

28

 

$

12

 

3 Years

$

212

 

$

180

 

$

148

 

$

100

 

Portfolio turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. The Fund has no annual portfolio turnover rate because the Fund is newly operational.

4     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


Principal investment strategies

Under normal circumstances, the Fund invests at least 80% of its assets in bonds within its benchmark and portfolio tracking index, the Barclays U.S. 1-3 Year Government/Credit Bond Index (the “Index”). The Fund uses a sampling technique to create a portfolio that closely matches the overall investment characteristics of the Index (for example, duration, sector diversification and credit quality) without investing in all of the securities in the Index. At times the Fund may purchase securities not held in the Index, but which Teachers Advisors, Inc. (“Advisors”) believes have similar investment characteristics to securities held in its index. Generally, the Fund intends to invest in a wide spectrum of public, investment-grade, taxable debt securities denominated in U.S. dollars including United States treasury debt, government-related debt, and corporate issues. The Fund has a policy of maintaining a dollar weighted average maturity of no more than three years. For purposes of the 80% investment policy, the term “assets” means net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes.

The securities purchased by the Fund will mainly be high-quality instruments rated in the top four credit categories by Moody’s or S&P or deemed to be of the same quality by Advisors using its own credit quality analysis. The Fund may continue to hold instruments that were rated as high-quality when purchased, but which subsequently are downgraded to below-investment-grade status or have their ratings withdrawn by one or more rating agencies.

Because the return of the Index is not reduced by investment and other operating expenses, the Fund’s ability to match the Index is negatively affected by the costs of buying and selling securities, as well as other fees and expenses. The use of this index by the Fund is not a fundamental policy of the Fund and may be changed without shareholder approval.

Principal investment risks

You could lose money over short or long periods by investing in this Fund. An investment in the Fund, due to the nature of the Fund’s portfolio holdings, typically is subject to the following principal investment risks:

· Income Volatility Risk—The risk that the level of current income from a portfolio of fixed-income investments declines in certain interest rate environments.

· Credit Risk (a type of Issuer Risk)—The risk that the issuer of fixed-income investments may not be able or willing to meet interest or principal payments when the fixed-income investments become due.

· Call Risk—The risk that, during periods of falling interest rates, an issuer may call (or repay) a fixed-income security prior to maturity, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income.

· Market Volatility, Liquidity and Valuation Risk (types of Market Risk)—The risk that volatile or dramatic reductions in trading activity make it difficult for

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     5


the Fund to properly value its investments and that the Fund may not be able to purchase or sell an investment at an attractive price, if at all.

· Interest Rate Risk (a type of Market Risk)—The risk that increases in interest rates can cause the prices of fixed-income investments to decline. This risk is heightened to the extent the Fund invests in longer duration fixed-income investments and during periods when prevailing interest rates are low or negative. As of the date of this Prospectus, interest rates in the United States are at or near historic lows, which may increase the Fund’s exposure to risks associated with rising interest rates. Rising interest rates could have unpredictable effects on the markets and may expose fixed-income and related markets to heightened volatility.

· Issuer Risk (often called Financial Risk)—The risk that an issuer’s earnings prospects and overall financial position will deteriorate, causing a decline in the value of the issuer’s financial instruments over short or extended periods of time.

· Index Risk—The risk that the Fund’s performance may not correspond to its benchmark index for any period of time and may underperform such index or the overall financial market. Additionally, to the extent that the Fund’s investments vary from the composition of its benchmark index, the Fund’s performance could potentially vary from the index’s performance to a greater extent than if the Fund merely attempted to replicate the index.

Please see the non-summary portion of the Prospectus for more detailed information about the risks described above.

Past performance

Performance information is not available for the Fund for the most recently completed calendar year because the Fund is newly operational.

For current performance information of each share class, including performance to the most recent month-end, please visit www.tiaa-cref.org.

Portfolio management

Investment Adviser. The Fund’s investment adviser is Teachers Advisors, Inc.

Portfolio Managers. The following persons manage the Fund on a day-to-day basis:

6     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


   
   

Name:

Lijun (Kevin) Chen

James Tsang, CFA

Title:

Director

Director

Experience on Fund:

since 2015

since 2015

Purchase and sale of Fund shares

Retail Class shares are available for purchase through certain financial intermediaries or by contacting the Fund directly at 800 223-1200 or www.tiaa-cref.org. Retirement Class and Premier Class shares are generally available for purchase through employee benefit plans or other types of savings plans or accounts. Institutional Class shares are available for purchase directly from the Fund by certain eligible investors (which include employee benefit plans and financial intermediaries).

· The minimum initial investment for Retail Class shares is $2,000 per Fund account for Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and Coverdell accounts and $2,500 for all other account types. Subsequent investments for all account types must be at least $100.

· There is no minimum initial or subsequent investment for Retirement Class shares. Retirement Class shares are primarily offered through employer-sponsored employee benefit plans.

· There is no minimum initial or subsequent investment for Premier Class shares. Premier Class shares are primarily offered through certain financial intermediaries and employer-sponsored employee benefit plans.

· The minimum initial investment is $10 million and the minimum subsequent investment is $1,000 for Institutional Class shares, unless an investor purchases shares by or through financial intermediaries that have entered into an appropriate agreement with the Fund or its affiliates.

Redeeming or Exchanging Shares. You can redeem (sell) or exchange your shares of the Fund on any day that the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) is open for business. Exchanges may be made for shares of the same share class of other funds offered by the Trust. If your shares are held through a third party, please contact that entity for applicable redemption or exchange requirements. If your shares are held directly with the Fund, contact the Fund directly in writing or by telephone.

Tax information

The Fund intends to make distributions to shareholders that may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions made to tax-exempt shareholders or shareholders who hold Fund shares in a tax-deferred account are generally not subject to income tax in the current year, but redemptions made from tax-deferred accounts may be subject to income tax.

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     7


Payments to broker-dealers and other financial intermediary compensation

If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), the Fund and/or its related companies may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services or for other investor services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.

Additional information about investment strategies and risks

Additional information about the Fund

This Prospectus describes the Fund and its investment objective, principal investment strategies and restrictions and principal investment risks. An investor should consider whether the Fund is an appropriate investment. The investment objective of the Fund and its non-fundamental investment restrictions may be changed by the Board of Trustees without shareholder approval. Certain investment restrictions described in the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) are fundamental and may only be changed with shareholder approval.

As noted in the “Principal investment strategies” section of this Prospectus, the Fund has a policy of normally investing at least 80% of its assets (net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes) in bonds within its benchmark and portfolio tracking index. Shareholders will receive at least 60 days’ prior notice before changes are made to the 80% policy.

Advisors may, for temporary defensive purposes, invest some or all of the Fund’s assets in cash and money market instruments, although Advisors is not obligated to do so. In doing so, the Fund may be successful in reducing market losses but may otherwise not achieve its investment objective.

The use of a particular index as the Fund’s benchmark index is not a fundamental policy and can be changed by the Board of Trustees without shareholder approval. The Fund will notify you before such a change is made.

There can be no assurances that the Fund will achieve its investment objective and investors should not consider an investment in this Fund to be a complete investment program.

Investors should be aware that investments made by the Fund and the results achieved by it at any given time are not expected to be the same as those made by other mutual funds for which Advisors acts as an investment adviser, including mutual funds with names, investment objectives and policies similar to those of the Fund.

8     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


Please see the Glossary toward the end of this Prospectus for certain defined terms used in this Prospectus.

Additional information on principal investment risks of the Fund

The value of the Fund may increase or decrease as a result of its investments in fixed-income securities. More specifically, the Fund typically is subject to the following principal investment risks:

· Income Volatility Risk—Income volatility refers to the degree and speed with which changes in prevailing market interest rates diminish the level of current income from a portfolio of fixed-income securities. The risk of income volatility is that the level of current income from a portfolio of fixed-income securities declines in certain interest rate environments.

· Credit Risk (a type of Issuer Risk)—The risk that a decline in an issuer’s financial position may prevent it from making principal and interest payments on fixed-income investments when due. Credit risk relates to the possibility that the issuer could default on its obligations, thereby causing the Fund to lose its investment. Credit risk is heightened in times of market turmoil when perceptions of an issuer’s credit risk can quickly change and even large, well-established issuers and/or governments may deteriorate rapidly with little or no warning. Credit risk is also heightened in the case of investments in lower-rated, high-yield fixed-income securities because their issuers are typically in weak financial health and their ability to pay interest and principal is uncertain. Compared to issuers of investment-grade securities, issuers of lower-rated, high-yield fixed-income investments are more likely to encounter financial difficulties and to be materially affected by such difficulties. High-yield securities may also be relatively more illiquid, therefore, they may be more difficult to purchase or sell than more highly rated securities.

· Call Risk—The risk that an issuer will redeem a fixed-income investment prior to maturity. This often happens when prevailing interest rates are lower than the rate specified for the fixed-income investment. If a fixed-income investment is called early, the Fund may not be able to benefit fully from the increase in value that other fixed-income investments experience when interest rates decline. Additionally, the Fund would likely have to reinvest the payoff proceeds at current yields, which are likely to be lower than the fixed-income investment in which the Fund originally invested, resulting in a decline in income.

· Market Volatility, Liquidity and Valuation Risk (types of Market Risk)—Trading activity in fixed-income investments in which the Fund invests may be dramatically reduced or cease at any time, whether due to general market turmoil, a reduction in dealer capacity, problems experienced by a single company or a market sector or other factors. In such cases, it may be difficult for the Fund to properly value assets represented by such

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     9


investments. In addition, the Fund may not be able to purchase or sell a security at a price deemed to be attractive, if at all. Further, an increase in interest rates may lead to increased redemptions and increased portfolio turnover, which could reduce liquidity for certain Fund investments, adversely affect values, and increase the Fund’s costs. If dealer capacity in fixed-income markets is insufficient for market conditions, this has the potential to further inhibit liquidity and increase volatility in the fixed-income markets.

· Interest Rate Risk (a type of Market Risk)—The risk that the value or yield of fixed-income investments may decline if interest rates change. In general, when prevailing interest rates decline, the market values of fixed-income investments (particularly those paying a fixed rate of interest) tend to increase while yields on fixed-income investments tend to decrease, which could adversely affect the Fund’s income. Conversely, when prevailing interest rates increase, the market values of fixed-income investments (particularly those paying a fixed rate of interest) tend to decline. Depending on the timing of the purchase of a fixed-income investment and the price paid for it, changes in prevailing interest rates may increase or decrease the investment’s yield. Fixed-income investments with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes than shorter-term investments. Interest rate risk is generally heightened during periods when prevailing interest rates are low or negative. As of the date of this Prospectus, interest rates in the United States are at or near historic lows, which may increase the Fund’s exposure to risks associated with rising interest rates. Rising interest rates could have unpredictable effects on the markets and may expose fixed-income and related markets to heightened volatility.

· Issuer Risk (often called Financial Risk)—The risk that the issuer’s earnings prospects and overall financial position will deteriorate, causing a decline in the value of the issuer’s financial instruments over short or extended periods of time. In times of market turmoil, perceptions of an issuer’s credit risk can quickly change and even large, well-established issuers may deteriorate rapidly with little or no warning.

· Index Risk—The risk that the performance of the Fund may not correspond to, or may underperform, its benchmark index for any period of time. Although the Fund attempts to use the investment performance of its respective index as a baseline, it may not duplicate the exact composition of that index. In addition, unlike a mutual fund, the returns of an index are not reduced by investment and other operating expenses, and therefore, the ability of an indexed fund to match the performance of its index is adversely affected by the costs of buying and selling investments as well as other expenses. Therefore, no indexed fund can guarantee that its performance will match or exceed its index for any period of time.

10     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


In addition to the principal investment risks set forth above, there are other risks associated with investing in the Fund and its investments that are discussed elsewhere in the Fund’s Prospectus and in the Fund’s SAI. There can be no assurances that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. You should not consider the Fund to be a complete investment program.

Additional information about the Fund’s benchmark index

The benchmark index described below is unmanaged, and you cannot invest directly in the index.

Barclays U.S. 1–3 Year Government/Credit Bond Index

The Barclays 1–3 Year Index tracks the performance primarily of U.S. Treasury and agency securities and corporate bonds with 1–3 year maturities. The securities in the index must be rated investment-grade or higher by at least two of the following rating agencies: Moody’s, S&P and Fitch.

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     11


Additional information on principal and non-principal investment strategies

The Fund may also buy and sell put and call options, futures contracts, options on futures, and forwards; and engage in certain swap transactions. The Fund intends to use options and futures primarily as a hedging technique or for cash management as well as for risk management and to increase total return. Futures contracts permit the Fund to seek to gain or reduce exposure to groups of securities and thereby have the potential to earn returns that are similar to those that would be earned by direct investments in those securities or instruments. In seeking to manage currency risk, the Fund also may enter into forward currency contracts, buy or sell options and futures on foreign currencies, and enter into foreign currency swap contracts.

Where appropriate futures contracts are not available, or if Advisors deems advisable for other reasons, the Fund may invest in investment company securities, such as exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”). The Fund may also use ETFs for cash management purposes and other purposes, including to gain exposure to certain sectors or securities that are represented by ownership in ETFs. When the Fund invests in ETFs or other investment companies, the Fund bears a proportionate share of expenses charged by the investment company in which it invests. An ETF may trade at a premium or discount to its net asset value.

The Fund can buy and sell swaps and options on swaps, so long as these are consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and restrictions. For example, the Fund can invest in derivatives and other similar financial instruments such as credit default swaps (a derivative in which the buyer of the swap makes a series of payments to the seller and, in exchange, receives a payment if the underlying credit instrument (e.g., a bond) goes into default) and interest rate swaps (a derivative in which one party exchanges a stream of interest payments for another party’s stream of cash flows).

The Fund may also make certain other investments. For example, the Fund may invest in short-term debt securities of the same type as those held by money market funds and other kinds of short-term instruments for cash management and other purposes.

Please see the Fund’s SAI for more information on these and other investments the Fund may utilize.

Portfolio holdings

A description of the Fund’s policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of its portfolio holdings is available in the Fund’s SAI.

Portfolio turnover

If the Fund engages in active and frequent trading of portfolio securities, it will have a correspondingly higher “portfolio turnover rate.” A high portfolio turnover rate generally will result in (1) greater brokerage commission expenses or other transaction costs borne by the Fund and, ultimately, by shareholders and

12     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


(2) higher amounts of realized investment gain subject to the payment of taxes by shareholders. Also, a high portfolio turnover rate for the Fund may cause the Fund to be more likely to generate capital gains that must be distributed to shareholders as taxable income. The Fund is not subject to a specific limitation on portfolio turnover, and securities of the Fund may be sold at any time such sale is deemed advisable for investment or operational reasons. Also, certain trading strategies utilized by the Fund may increase portfolio turnover. The Fund is not generally managed to minimize the tax burden for shareholders. The Fund may have investors that are funds of funds, education savings plans or other asset allocation programs that are also managed by Advisors. These investors may engage in reallocations, rebalancings or other activity that may increase the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate and brokerage costs. Advisors may employ various portfolio management strategies to attempt to minimize any potential disruptive effects or costs of such activity.

Share classes

The Fund offers Retail, Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares in this Prospectus. The Fund’s investments are held by the Fund as a whole, not by a particular share class, so an investor’s money will be invested the same way no matter which class of shares is held. However, there are differences among the fees and expenses associated with each class and not everyone is eligible to buy every class. After determining which classes you are eligible to buy, decide which class best suits your needs. Please contact us if you have questions or would like assistance in determining which class is right for you.

Management of the Fund

The Fund’s investment adviser

Advisors manages the assets of the Trust, under the supervision of the Board of Trustees. Advisors is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (“TIAA”). TIAA is a life insurance company founded in 1918 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and is the companion organization of College Retirement Equities Fund (“CREF”), the first company in the United States to issue a variable annuity. Advisors is registered as an investment adviser with the SEC under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Advisors also manages the investments of TIAA Separate Account VA-1 and TIAA-CREF Life Funds. Through an affiliated investment adviser, TIAA-CREF Investment Management, LLC (“TCIM”), certain personnel of Advisors also manage the investment accounts of CREF. As of [_________], Advisors and TCIM together had approximately $[___] billion of registered investment company assets under management. Advisors is located at 730 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017-3206.

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     13


TIAA-CREF entities sponsor an array of financial products for retirement and other investment goals. For some of these products, for example, the investment accounts of CREF, TIAA or its subsidiaries perform services “at cost.” The Fund, however, pays the management fees and other expenses that are described in the table of fees and expenses in this Prospectus. The management fees paid by the Fund to Advisors are intended to compensate Advisors for its services to the Fund and are not limited to the reimbursement of Advisors’ costs. Thus, under this arrangement, Advisors can earn a profit or incur a loss on the services which it renders to the Fund. The Fund also pays Advisors for certain administrative services that Advisors provides to the Fund on an at-cost basis.

Advisors manages the assets of the Fund pursuant to an investment management agreement with the Trust (the “Management Agreement”). Advisors’ duties under the Management Agreement include, among other things, providing the Fund with investment research, advice and supervision; furnishing an investment program for the Fund; determining which securities or other investments to purchase, sell or exchange; and providing or obtaining any other necessary services to manage, acquire or dispose of securities, cash or other investments. Advisors also supervises and acts as liaison among the various service providers to the Fund, such as the custodian and transfer agent.

The annual investment management fees charged under the Management Agreement with respect to the Fund are as follows:

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT FEES

           
   

Assets Under Management
(Billions)

 

Fee Rate
(average daily net assets)

 

Short-Term Bond Index Fund

All Assets

 

0.07%

 
      

A discussion regarding the basis for the Board of Trustees’ initial approval of the Fund’s Management Agreement will become available in the Fund’s shareholder report for the period ending September 30, 2015. For a free copy of the Fund’s shareholder report, please call 800 842-2252, visit the Fund’s website at www.tiaa-cref.org or visit the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

Portfolio management team

The Fund is managed by a team of managers, whose members are responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund, with expertise in the area applicable to the Fund’s investments. Certain team members are, for example, principally responsible for selecting appropriate investments for the Fund and others are principally responsible for asset allocation. The following is a list of members of the management team primarily responsible for managing the Fund’s investments, along with their relevant experience. The members of the management team may change from time to time.

14     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


      

Name & Title

Portfolio Role/
Coverage/
Expertise/Specialty

Experience Over
Past Five Years

Total Experience
(since dates
specified below)

At
TIAA


Total

On
Team

Short-Term Bond Index Fund

   

Lijun (Kevin) Chen
Director

Lead Portfolio Manager

Advisors, TCIM and other advisory affiliates of TIAA—2006 to Present (quantitative portfolio management); previously, fixed-income quantitative strategies, enterprise risk management

2004

1992

2015

      

James Tsang, CFA
Director

Quantitative Portfolio Manager

Advisors, TCIM and other advisory affiliates of TIAA—2007 to Present, AIG Investments 2002 to 2007 (quantitative analyst)

2007

1997

2015

      
      

The Fund’s SAI provides additional disclosure about the compensation structure for the Fund’s portfolio managers, the other accounts they manage, total assets in those accounts and potential conflicts of interest, as well as the portfolio managers’ ownership of shares of the Fund.

Other services

Under the terms of the Administrative Services Agreement with the Trust, responsibility for payment of expenses relating to oversight and performance of certain services, including transfer agency, dividend disbursing, accounting, administrative, compliance and shareholder services, is allocated directly either to the Fund or to Advisors.

For Advisors’ provision of such administrative, compliance and other services to the Fund under the Administrative Services Agreement, the Fund pays to Advisors at the end of each calendar month the allocated costs of such services as determined under the TIAA-CREF cost allocation methodology then in effect.

For Retirement Class shares of the Fund, the Fund has a separate service agreement with Advisors (the “Retirement Class Service Agreement”) pursuant to which Advisors provides or arranges for the provision of administrative and shareholder services for the Retirement Class shares, including services associated with maintenance of Retirement Class shares on retirement plan or other platforms. Under the Retirement Class Service Agreement, the Retirement Class of the Fund pays monthly a fee to Advisors at an annual rate of up to 0.25% of average daily net assets, which is reflected as part of “Other Expenses” in the “Fees and expenses” section of this Prospectus. Advisors may rely on affiliated or unaffiliated persons to fulfill its obligations under the Retirement Class Service Agreement.

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     15


Distribution and services arrangements

All classes

Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc. (“TPIS”) distributes each class of Fund shares. TPIS may enter into agreements with other intermediaries, including its affiliated broker-dealer, TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC (“Services”), to offer and sell shares of the Fund. For Premier Class and Retail Class shares, TPIS may utilize some or all of the Rule 12b-1 plan fees it receives from Premier Class and Retail Class shares to pay such other intermediaries for services provided in connection with the sale, promotion and/or servicing of Premier Class and Retail Class shares, respectively. In addition, TPIS, Services or Advisors may pay intermediaries out of its own assets to support the distribution and/or servicing of Fund shares. Payments to intermediaries may include payments to certain third-party broker-dealers and financial advisors, including fund supermarkets, to provide access to their fund distribution platforms, as well as to provide transaction processing or administrative services. Additional information about payments to intermediaries appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Retail Class

The Fund has adopted a distribution plan under Rule 12b-1 with respect to Retail Class shares under which the Fund pays TPIS an annual fee as compensation for TPIS’ or other entities’ services related to the sale, promotion and/or servicing of Retail Class shares.

Under the plan, the Fund pays TPIS at the annual rate of 0.25% of average daily net assets attributable to Retail Class shares for distribution and promotion-related activities, as well as shareholder and account maintenance services, and TPIS may pay another entity for providing such services. Advisors, TPIS and their affiliates, at their own expense, may also pay for distribution, promotional and/or shareholder and account maintenance expenses of Retail Class shares. Because Rule 12b-1 plan fees are paid out of Retail Class assets on an ongoing basis, over time they will increase the cost of your investment in the Retail Class.

More information about the Fund’s distribution and services arrangements for Retail Class shares appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Retirement Class

More information about the Fund’s distribution and services arrangements for Retirement Class shares appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Premier Class

The Fund has adopted a distribution plan under Rule 12b-1 with respect to Premier Class shares under which the Fund pays TPIS an annual fee as compensation for TPIS’ or other entities’ services related to the sale, promotion and/or servicing of Premier Class shares.

16     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


Under the plan, the Fund pays TPIS at the annual rate of 0.15% of average daily net assets attributable to Premier Class shares for distribution and promotion-related activities, as well as shareholder and account maintenance services, and TPIS may pay another entity for providing such services. Advisors, TPIS and their affiliates, at their own expense, may also pay for distribution, promotional and/or shareholder and account maintenance expenses of Premier Class shares. Because Rule 12b-1 plan fees are paid out of Premier Class assets on an ongoing basis, over time they will increase the cost of your investment in the Premier Class.

More information about the Fund’s distribution and services arrangements for Premier Class shares appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Institutional Class

More information about the Fund’s distribution and services arrangements for Institutional Class shares appears in the Fund’s SAI.

Other arrangements

Advisors also pays Services and/or other intermediaries an administrative charge at an annual rate of 0.25% of average daily net assets attributable to Retirement Class shares to compensate such intermediaries for maintenance of Retirement Class shares held on their platforms.

Calculating share price

The Fund determines its net asset value (“NAV”) per share, or share price, on each day the NYSE is open for business. The NAV for the Fund is calculated as of the time when regular trading closes on the NYSE (generally, 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time or at such earlier time that regular trading on the NYSE closes). The Fund does not price its shares on days that the NYSE is closed. NAV per share for each class is determined by dividing the value of the Fund’s assets attributable to such class, less all liabilities attributable to such class, by the total number of shares of the class outstanding.

If the Fund invests in foreign securities that are primarily listed on foreign exchanges that trade on days when the Fund does not price its shares, the value of the foreign securities in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days when shareholders will not be able to purchase or redeem Fund shares. The value of the Fund’s investments denominated in foreign currencies is converted to U.S. dollars for purposes of determining the Fund’s NAV.

The Fund generally uses market quotations or values obtained from independent pricing services to value securities and other instruments held by the Fund. If market quotations or values from independent pricing services are not readily available or are not considered reliable, the Fund will use a security’s “fair value,” as determined in good faith using procedures approved by the Board

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     17


of Trustees. The Fund may also use fair value if events that have a significant effect on the value of an investment (as determined in Advisors’ sole discretion) occur between the time when its price is determined and the time the Fund’s NAV is calculated. For example, the Fund might use a domestic security’s fair value when the exchange on which the security is principally traded closes early or when trading in the security is halted and does not resume before the Fund’s NAV is calculated. The use of fair value pricing can involve reliance on quantitative models or individual judgment, and may result in changes to the prices of portfolio securities that are used to calculate the Fund’s NAV. Although the Fund fair values portfolio securities on a security-by-security basis, funds that hold foreign portfolio securities may see their portfolio securities fair valued more frequently than other funds that do not hold foreign securities.

Fair value pricing most commonly occurs with securities that are primarily traded outside the United States. This may have the effect of decreasing the ability of market timers to engage in “stale price arbitrage,” which takes advantage of the perceived difference in price from a foreign market closing price.

While using a fair value price for foreign securities is intended to decrease the ability of market timers to make money by exchanging into or out of the Fund to the detriment of longer-term shareholders, it may reduce some of the certainty in pricing obtained by using actual market close prices.

The Fund’s fair value pricing procedures provide, among other things, for the Fund to examine whether to fair value foreign securities when there is a movement in the value of a U.S. market index between the close of one or more foreign markets and the close of the NYSE. For these securities, the Fund uses a fair value pricing service approved by the Board of Trustees. This pricing service employs quantitative models to value foreign investments in order to adjust for stale pricing, which may occur between the close of certain foreign exchanges and the close of the NYSE. Fair value pricing is subjective in nature and the use of fair value pricing by the Fund may cause the NAV of the Fund’s shares to differ significantly from the NAV that would have been calculated using market prices at the close of the foreign exchange on which a portfolio security is primarily traded. The Fund also examines the prices of individual securities to determine, among other things, whether the price of such securities reflects fair value at the close of the NYSE based on market movements. In addition, the Fund may fair value domestic securities when it is believed the last market quotation is not readily available or such quotation does not represent the fair value of that security.

Fixed-income securities, including money market instruments, are valued using market quotations, independent pricing sources or values derived from a pricing matrix that has various types of the applicable fixed-income instrument along one axis and various maturities along the other. The use of a price derived from a pricing matrix is a method of fair value pricing.

18     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


Dividends and distributions

The Fund expects to declare and distribute to shareholders substantially all of its net investment income and net realized capital gains, if any. The amount distributed will vary according to the income received from investments held by the Fund and capital gains realized from the sale of investments. The Fund declares dividends as of each business day of the calendar year (to the extent such dividends are not previously distributed) and pays dividends monthly. The Fund intends to pay net capital gains, if any, annually. Dividends and capital gains can be paid in cash or reinvested. If you have elected to receive your distributions in cash and the distribution amount is less than $10, then the amount will be automatically reinvested in the Fund and no check will be issued. If the postal service is unable to deliver checks to your address of record, or the distribution check remains outstanding for six months or more, then the Fund reserves the right to reinvest the distribution check into your account using the Fund’s current NAV and to change your distribution option to reinvestment. No interest will accrue on amounts represented by uncashed distribution checks.

Dividends and capital gain distributions paid to shareholders who hold their shares through a TIAA-CREF-administered retirement plan or custody account will automatically be reinvested in additional shares of the same class of the Fund. All other shareholders may elect from the following distribution options (barring any restrictions from the intermediary or plan through which such shares are held):

1. Reinvestment Option, Same Fund. Your dividend and capital gain distributions are automatically reinvested in additional shares of the same share class of the Fund. Unless you elect otherwise, this will be your default distribution option.

2. Reinvestment Option, Different Fund. Your dividend and capital gain distributions are automatically reinvested in additional shares of the same share class of another fund in which you already hold shares.

3. Income-Earned Option. Your long-term capital gain distributions are automatically reinvested, but you will be sent a check for each dividend and short-term capital gain distribution.

4. Capital Gains Option. Your dividend and short-term capital gain distributions are automatically reinvested, but you will be sent a check for each long-term capital gain distribution.

5. Cash Option. A check will be sent for your dividend and each capital gain distribution.

On the Fund’s distribution date, the Fund makes distributions on a per share basis to the shareholders who hold and have paid for Fund shares on the record date. The Fund does this regardless of how long the shares have been held. This means that if you buy shares just before or on a record date, you will pay the full price for the shares and then you may receive a portion of the price back as a taxable distribution (see the discussion of “Buying a dividend” below under

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     19


“Taxes”). Cash distribution checks will be mailed within seven days of the distribution date.

Shareholders who hold their shares through a variable insurance or annuity product, an employee benefit plan or through an intermediary may be subject to restrictions on their distribution payment options imposed by the product, plan or intermediary. Please contact the variable insurance or annuity product issuer or your plan sponsor or intermediary for more details.

Taxes

As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in the Fund will be taxed.

Taxes on dividends and distributions. Unless you are tax-exempt or hold Fund shares in a tax-deferred account, you are subject to federal income tax on dividends and taxable distributions each year. Your dividends and taxable distributions generally are taxable when they are paid, whether you take them in cash or reinvest them. However, distributions declared in October, November or December of a year and paid in January of the following year are taxable as if they were paid on December 31 of the prior year.

For federal tax purposes, income and short-term capital gain distributions from the Fund are taxed as ordinary income, and long-term capital gain distributions are taxed as long-term capital gains. Every January, a statement showing the taxable distributions paid to you in the previous year from the Fund will be sent to you and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) (for taxable accounts only). Whether or not a capital gain distribution is considered long-term or short-term depends on how long the Fund held the securities the sale of which led to the gain.

A portion of ordinary income dividends paid by the Fund to individual investors may constitute “qualified dividend income” that is subject to the same maximum tax rates as long-term capital gains. The portion of a dividend that will qualify for this treatment will depend on the aggregated qualified dividend income received by the Fund. Notwithstanding this, certain holding period requirements with respect to a shareholder’s shares in the Fund may apply to prevent the shareholder from treating any portion of a dividend as “qualified dividend income.” Additional information about this can be found in the Fund’s SAI.

Taxes on transactions. Unless a transaction involves Fund shares held in a tax-deferred account, redemptions (sales), including exchanges to other funds, may also give rise to capital gains or losses. The amount of any capital gain or loss will be the difference, if any, between the adjusted cost basis of your shares and the price you receive when you sell or exchange them. In general, a capital gain or loss will be treated as a long-term capital gain or loss if you have held your shares for more than one year.

The Fund is required to report to the IRS and furnish to Fund shareholders the cost basis information for sale transactions of shares purchased on or after January 1, 2012. Shareholders may elect to have one of several cost basis

20     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


methods applied to their account when calculating the cost basis of shares sold, including average cost, “first-in, first-out” (FIFO), or some other specific identification method. Unless you instruct otherwise, the Fund will use average cost as its default cost basis method, and will treat sales as first coming from shares purchased prior to January 1, 2012. If average cost is used for a shareholder’s first sale of the Fund shares covered by these new rules, the shareholder may only use an alternative cost basis method for shares purchased prospectively. Fund shareholders should consult with their tax advisors to determine the best cost basis method for their tax situation.

For shares you sell that were purchased prior to January 1, 2012, you will be sent a statement showing how many shares you sold and at what price. However, the statement will not include cost basis information and will not be furnished to the IRS. You or your tax preparer must determine whether this sale resulted in a capital gain or loss and the amount of tax to be paid on any gain. Be sure to keep your regular account statements; the information they contain will be essential in calculating the amount of your capital gains or losses.

Backup withholding. If you fail to provide a correct taxpayer identification number or fail to certify that it is correct, the Fund is required by law to withhold 28% of all the distributions and redemption proceeds paid from your account. The Fund is also required to begin backup withholding if instructed by the IRS to do so.

Buying a dividend. If you buy shares just before the Fund deducts a distribution from its NAV, you will pay the full price for the shares and then receive a portion of the price back in the form of a taxable distribution. This is referred to as “buying a dividend.” For example, assume you bought shares of the Fund for $10.00 per share the day before the Fund paid a $0.25 dividend. After the dividend was paid, each share would be worth $9.75, and, unless you hold your shares through a tax-deferred arrangement such as a 401(a), 401(k) or 403(b) plan or an IRA, you would have to include the $0.25 dividend in your gross income for tax purposes.

Effect of foreign taxes. Foreign governments may impose taxes on the Fund and its investments and these taxes generally will reduce the Fund’s distributions. If the Fund qualifies to pass through a credit for such taxes paid and elects to do so, an offsetting tax credit or deduction may be available to you if you maintain a taxable account. If so, your tax statement will show more taxable income than was actually distributed by the Fund, but will also show the amount of the available offsetting credit or deduction.

Other restrictions. There are tax requirements that all mutual funds must follow in order to avoid federal taxation. In its effort to adhere to these requirements, the Fund may have to limit its investment in some types of instruments.

Special considerations for certain institutional investors. If you are a corporate investor, a portion of the dividends from net investment income paid by the Fund may qualify for the corporate dividends-received deduction. The portion

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     21


of the dividends that will qualify for this treatment will depend on the aggregate qualifying dividend income received by the Fund from domestic (U.S.) sources. Certain holding period and debt financing restrictions may apply to corporate investors seeking to claim the deduction.

Taxes related to employee benefit plans or IRAs. Generally, individuals are not subject to federal income tax in connection with shares held (or that are held on their behalf) in participant or custody accounts under Code section 401(a) employee benefit plans (including 401(k) and Keogh plans), Code section 403(b) or 457 employee benefit plans, or IRAs. Distributions from such plan participant or custody accounts may, however, be subject to ordinary income taxation in the year of the distribution. For information about the tax aspects of your plan or IRA or Keogh account, please consult your plan administrator, TIAA-CREF or your tax advisor.

Other tax matters. Certain investments of the Fund, including certain debt instruments, foreign securities and shares of other investment funds, could affect the amount, timing and character of distributions you receive and could cause the Fund to recognize taxable income in excess of the cash generated by such investments (which may require the Fund to liquidate other investments in order to make required distributions).

This information is only a brief summary of certain federal income tax information about your investment in the Fund. The investment may have state, local or foreign tax consequences, and you should consult your tax advisor about the effect of your investment in the Fund in your particular situation. Additional tax information can be found in the Fund’s SAI.

Your account: purchasing, redeeming
or exchanging shares

Fund shares offered in this Prospectus

The Fund offers four share classes: Retail, Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares. Retail Class shares are available for purchase through certain financial intermediaries or by contacting the Fund directly at 800 223-1200 or www.tiaa-cref.org. Retirement Class and Premier Class shares are generally available for purchase through employee benefit plans or other types of savings plans or accounts. Institutional Class shares are available for purchase directly from the Fund by certain eligible investors (which include employee benefit plans and financial intermediaries). Investors should note that certain account minimums may be required for purchasing Retail or Institutional Class shares.

22     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


Share class eligibility

Overview

Each of the Fund’s share classes has certain eligibility requirements that apply when purchasing Fund shares. Eligibility to purchase a certain class of shares is generally based on the type of account being opened in the Fund as well as certain account minimums. In order to better understand the eligibility requirements outlined below, the following defined terms shall apply when used throughout this Prospectus.

Definitions

Financial Intermediary Accounts. These include accounts held through platforms, programs, plans and other similar entities, as well as omnibus accounts, on behalf of other investors. Financial Intermediary Accounts may include, but are not limited to, the following:

· Benefit Plans (as defined below);

· Certain custody accounts sponsored or administered by TIAA-CREF, or by other entities not affiliated with TIAA-CREF, that are established by individuals as IRAs pursuant to section 408 of the Code; and

· Wrap accounts or other such arrangements as may be offered by a financial advisor or other intermediary.

Benefit Plans. These include accounts sponsored or administered by either TIAA-CREF and its affiliates or by other entities not affiliated with TIAA-CREF and that are established by or on behalf of employers, or the trustees of plans sponsored by employers, in connection with certain employee benefit plans. Such Benefit Plans include those described in sections 401(a) (including 401(k) and Keogh plans), 403(a), 403(b) or 457 of the Code. Shareholders investing through such Benefit Plans may have to pay additional expenses related to the administration of such plans.

Eligible Investors. These include both Financial Intermediary Accounts and Benefit Plans.

Direct Purchasers. These accounts are opened directly with the transfer agent for the Fund, Boston Financial Data Services, Inc., and include the following: individual, financial advisor, domestic trust and joint accounts; traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs; corporate and institutional accounts; custodial accounts for a minor child under the Uniform Gift to Minors Act (“UGMA”) or Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (“UTMA”); and Coverdell education savings accounts.

Eligibility—Retail Class and Institutional Class

Retail Class and Institutional Class shares are available for purchase by or through the following types of accounts:

· Direct Purchasers;

· Financial Intermediary Accounts;

· Other investment companies or pools;

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     23


· State-sponsored tuition savings plans (529) or healthcare saving accounts (HSA);

· Insurance company separate accounts advised by or affiliated with Advisors, or other affiliates of TIAA-CREF; and

· Other accounts, entities, programs, plans and categories of shareholders as may be approved by the Fund from time to time.

Eligibility—Retirement Class and Premier Class

Retirement Class and Premier Class shares are available for purchase by or through the following types of accounts:

· Financial Intermediary Accounts;

· Other investment companies or pools;

· State-sponsored tuition savings plans (529) or healthcare saving accounts (HSA);

· Insurance company separate accounts advised by or affiliated with Advisors, or other affiliates of TIAA-CREF; and

· Other accounts, entities, programs, plans and categories of shareholders as may be approved by the Fund from time to time.

Account minimums

Investors should note that the following account minimums may be required for initial and subsequent purchases of Retail Class and Institutional Class shares:

· Retail Class shares: The minimum initial investment is $2,000 per Fund account for Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and Coverdell accounts and $2,500 for all other account types. Subsequent investments for all account types must be at least $100.

· Institutional Class Shares: The minimum initial investment is $10,000,000 per Fund account and the minimum subsequent investment is at least $1,000 unless an investor purchases shares by or through financial intermediaries that have entered into an appropriate agreement with the Fund or its affiliates.

The Fund has the discretion to waive or otherwise change the initial or subsequent minimum investment requirements at any time without any prior notice to shareholders. These minimum account requirements are discussed in more detail below.

There are no minimum account requirements, including initial or subsequent minimum investment requirements, for Retirement Class or Premier Class shares.

All share classes

The Fund reserves the right to determine in its sole discretion whether any person, financial intermediary or entity is eligible to purchase Retail, Retirement, Premier or Institutional Class shares. For more information with regard to Retail

24     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


Class shares, please call the Fund at 800 223-1200, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time. For more information with regard to Retirement, Premier or Institutional Class shares, please call the Fund at 800 842-2252, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time. If you are a Direct Purchaser of Institutional Class shares, please contact your assigned relationship manager (“Relationship Manager”).

Investors in all share classes should be aware that the Fund may from time to time, in its discretion, deviate from or vary the processes and procedures outlined below for purchasing, redeeming and exchanging shares.

The Fund is not responsible for any losses due to unauthorized or fraudulent instructions when purchasing, redeeming or exchanging shares as long as the Fund follows reasonable security procedures to verify your identity. It is your responsibility to review and verify the accuracy of your confirmation statements immediately after you receive them.

Purchasing shares

For Retail Class shares and Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class shares

How to open an account—Retail Class

Accounts can be opened online, via mail or in person. To open an account, send the Fund a completed application with your initial investment. To open an account online or download an application to mail to the Fund, please visit the TIAA-CREF Web Center at www.tiaa-cref.org and click on Mutual Funds. At the Web Center, you can establish an individual, joint or custodial (UGMA/UTMA) account. If you have any questions or need help obtaining or completing the application, call the Fund at 800 223-1200. If you currently hold or in the future intend to hold your Retail Class shares indirectly through a financial intermediary, please contact the intermediary about initiating or making additional purchases of Retail Class shares.

How to open an account—Institutional Class

Direct Purchasers interested in opening an account to hold Institutional Class shares should request an application from their Relationship Manager, who can answer any questions or help complete the application. The application will need to be submitted directly either to a Relationship Manager or to the Fund via mail. Confirmation that the account has been established will be delivered to the applicant or can be obtained by calling the Fund.

Minimum initial and subsequent investment

The minimum initial investment for Retail Class shares in Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and Coverdell accounts is $2,000 per Fund account. The minimum initial investment for Retail Class shares in all other accounts is $2,500 per Fund account. For Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class shares, the minimum initial investment is $10,000,000 per Fund account. The Fund can only accept payment

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     25


to establish a new account if the check presented for deposit into the new account is drawn against an account registered in the same name as the prospective investor.

Subsequent investments into the Retail Class for all account types must be at least $100 per Fund account. Subsequent investments into the Institutional Class for all account types must be at least $1,000 per Fund account. Financial intermediaries may enforce their own initial and subsequent investment minimums.

All Retail Class shareholders automatically have the right to buy shares by telephone or through the TIAA-CREF Web Center as long as bank account information and a voided check were provided at the time the account was established. If you do not want the telephone/web purchase option, you can indicate this on the application or call the Fund at 800 223-1200 anytime after opening your account. You may add this privilege after the account has been established by completing an Account Services Form, which you can request by calling 800 223-1200, or you may download it from the Fund’s website. The Retail Class imposes a $100,000 per fund per day limit on telephone and web purchases.

Transaction methods for purchases

Over the Internet: With TIAA-CREF’s Web Center, you can make electronic withdrawals from your designated bank account to buy additional Retail Class shares over the Internet. TIAA-CREF’s Web Center can be accessed through TIAA-CREF’s homepage at www.tiaa-cref.org.

By telephone: You can request electronic withdrawals from your designated bank account to buy additional Retail Class shares of the Fund by calling 800 223-1200. You can request electronic withdrawals from your designated bank account to buy additional Institutional Class shares by calling your Relationship Manager.

Purchasing via mail: Send a check to either of the addresses listed below with an investment coupon from a previous confirmation statement. If you do not have an investment coupon, use a separate piece of paper including your name, address, Fund account number, the Fund and class you want to invest in and the amount to be invested in the Fund.

Make checks payable to “The TIAA-CREF Funds.”

First-Class Mail:

The TIAA-CREF Funds—(specify either: “Retail Class” or “Institutional Class”)

c/o Boston Financial Data Services

P.O. Box 55081

Boston, MA 02205-5081

26     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


Overnight Mail:

The TIAA-CREF Funds—(specify either: “Retail Class” or “Institutional Class”)

c/o Boston Financial Data Services

30 Dan Road

Canton, MA 02021-2809

Purchasing via wire: See the section entitled “Transaction methods for purchases” below.

Purchasing via Automatic Investment Plan for Retail Class shares: You can make subsequent investments into Retail Class shares automatically by electing to utilize the Fund’s automatic investment plan (“Automatic Investment Plan”) on your initial application or later upon request. By electing this option you authorize the Fund to take regular, automatic withdrawals from your bank account. To begin this service, send the Fund a voided checking or savings account investment slip. It will take the Fund up to 10 days from the time it is received to set up your Automatic Investment Plan. You can make automatic investments semi-monthly or monthly (on the 1st and 15th of each month or on the next business day if those days are not business days). Investments must be made for at least $100 per Fund account. You can change the date or amount of your investment, or terminate the Automatic Investment Plan, at any time by letter or by telephone or over the Internet. The change will take effect approximately five business days after the Fund receives your request. As used herein, the term “business day” means any day that the NYSE is open for trading.

In-kind purchases of shares: Advisors, at its sole discretion, may allow the purchase of shares with investment securities (instead of cash), if: (1) Advisors believes the securities are appropriate investments for the Fund; (2) the securities offered to the Fund are not subject to any restrictions upon their sale by the Fund under the Securities Act of 1933, or otherwise; and (3) the securities are permissible holdings under the Fund’s investment policies and restrictions. If the Fund accepts the securities, the shareholder’s account will be credited with shares equal in NAV to the market value of the securities received. Shareholders investing through a financial intermediary or Benefit Plan who are interested in making in-kind purchases should contact their intermediary or Benefit Plan sponsor directly. Otherwise, shareholders interested in making in-kind purchases should contact either their Relationship Manager or the Fund directly.

Payment limitations: Generally, for Retail Class shareholders and Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class shares, the Fund will not accept payment in the following forms (exceptions may apply):

· checks made out to you or other parties and signed over to the Fund;

· corporate checks for investment into non-corporate accounts;

· third-party checks except in limited circumstances with regard to subsequent investments (any check not made payable directly to TIAA-CREF Funds will be considered a third-party check); or

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     27


· travelers’ checks, money orders, credit card convenience checks, cash, counter checks or starter checks.

Stopped checks: If your purchase check does not clear or payment on it is stopped, or if the Fund does not receive good funds through wire transfer or electronic funds transfer, the Fund will treat this as a redemption of the shares purchased when your check or electronic funds were received. You will be responsible for any resulting loss incurred by the Fund or Advisors and you may be subject to investment losses and tax consequences on such a redemption. If you are already a shareholder, the Fund can redeem shares from any of your account(s) as reimbursement for all losses. The Fund also reserves the right to restrict you from making future purchases in the Fund or any other series of the Trust. There is a $25 fee for all returned items, including checks and electronic funds transfers. Please note that there is a 10 calendar day hold on all purchases by check, or through electronic funds transfer.

For Eligible Investors in Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares and their clients

For Participants in a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF

How to open an account

You should first contact your employer to learn important details necessary to facilitate enrollment in a Benefit Plan. Your employer must notify TIAA-CREF that you are eligible to enroll. In many cases, you will be able to use the TIAA-CREF Web Center’s online enrollment feature at www.tiaa-cref.org. Some plans allow submission of a hard-copy application for a new account; this form can be returned to your human resources (HR) office, a TIAA-CREF Relationship Manager or to either of the addresses below:

First-Class or Standard Mail:

TIAA-CREF

PO Box 1259

Charlotte, NC 28262

Overnight Mail:

TIAA-CREF

8500 Andrew Carnegie Blvd

Charlotte, NC 28262

You may allocate single or ongoing contributions by selecting the Fund and the amounts you wish to contribute to the Fund.

Subject to the terms of your plan, you may be eligible to roll over or transfer in balances from other eligible accounts as determined by the Code.

28     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


The Fund may suspend or terminate the offering of Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares to your employer’s plan. You may be able to change your allocation for future contributions by:

· writing to TIAA-CREF at P.O. Box 1259, Charlotte, NC 28201;

· calling our Automated Telephone Service (24 hours a day) at 800 842-2252; or

· using the TIAA-CREF website’s account access feature at www.tiaa-cref.org.

For Participants in a Benefit Plan or other account not administered by TIAA-CREF

How to open an account

You should first contact your employer to learn important details necessary to facilitate enrollment in a Benefit Plan. If you are investing through a financial intermediary, you will need to follow the instructions and procedures provided by the intermediary.

Other information for Benefit Plans

As a participant in a Benefit Plan, the Fund imposes no minimum investment. The Fund does not currently restrict the frequency of investments made in the Fund by participant accounts through Benefit Plans, although the Fund reserves the right to impose such restrictions in the future. If you are investing in the Fund through a Benefit Plan, your employer’s plan may limit the amount and available methods to invest in your participant account. Additionally, the Code limits total annual contributions to most types of Benefit Plans.

Other information for Eligible Investors

Investors purchasing shares through Eligible Investors may purchase shares only in accordance with instructions and limitations pertaining to their account with the Eligible Investor. These Eligible Investors may set different minimum investment requirements for their customers’ investments. Please contact your financial intermediary or Benefit Plan sponsor for more information.

Transaction methods for purchases

Purchasing via wire: You may remit initial or subsequent deposits into your account via wire. To open an account by wire please send a completed and signed application by mail as instructed above and then follow the wiring instructions below once you have confirmed the account is open and have the account number.

State Street Bank and Trust Company

One Lincoln Street

Boston, MA 02111

ABA Number (all classes) 011000028

DDA Number

   
 

Retail Class:

99052771

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     29


   
 

All other classes:

99054546

Specify on the wire:

· “The TIAA-CREF Funds—” and the “Share Class” being purchased. For example, a proper set of wire instructions for an initial or subsequent investment into the Institutional Class would read as follows: “The TIAA-CREF Funds—Institutional Class”;

· Account registration (names of registered owners), address and Social Security number or taxpayer identification number;

· The Fund account number; and

· The Fund and amount to be invested.

Points to remember for all purchases

The Fund considers all purchase requests to be received when they are received in “good order” as determined by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent). (See the section entitled “Important transaction information—Good Order” below.) Your investment must be for a specified dollar amount. The Fund cannot accept purchase requests specifying a certain price, date, or number of shares. These types of requests will be deemed to be not in “good order” and the money you sent will be returned to you. If you hold your shares through a financial intermediary, such intermediary may have its own independent “good order” and eligibility requirements.

Your ability to purchase shares may be restricted due to limitations on purchases or exchanges. If you hold your shares through a financial intermediary, it may charge you additional fees. Contact your financial intermediary to find out if it imposes any other conditions on your transactions, such as a different minimum investment requirement.

Federal law requires the Fund to obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. Until the Fund receives such information, it may not be able to open an account or effect transactions for you. Furthermore, if the Fund is unable to verify your identity, or that of another person authorized to act on your behalf, or if it is believed potential criminal activity has been identified, the Fund reserves the right to take such action as deemed appropriate, which may include closing your account.

Before you can use TIAA-CREF’s Web Center, you must enter your Social Security number, date of birth and active account number. You will then be given an opportunity to create a user name and password. TIAA-CREF’s Web Center will lead you through the transaction process, and the Fund will use reasonable procedures to confirm that the instructions given are genuine. All transactions over TIAA-CREF’s Web Center are recorded electronically.

All purchases must be in U.S. dollars and all checks must be drawn on U.S. banks. The Fund will only accept accounts with a U.S. address of record. The Fund will not accept a P.O. Box as the address of record. For payments made by check, the Fund can only accept payment to establish a new account if the check

30     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


presented for deposit into the new account is drawn against an account registered in the same name as the prospective investor.

If your purchase check does not clear or payment on it is stopped, or if the Fund does not receive good funds through wire transfer or electronic funds transfer, the Fund will treat this as a redemption of the shares purchased when your check or electronic funds were received. You will be responsible for any resulting loss incurred by the Fund or Advisors and you may be subject to investment losses and tax consequences on such a redemption. If you are already a shareholder, the Fund can redeem shares from any of your account(s) as reimbursement for all losses. The Fund also reserves the right to restrict you from making future purchases in the Fund or any other series of the Trust. There is a $25 fee for all returned items, including checks and electronic funds transfers. Please note that there is a 10 calendar day hold on all purchases by check, or through electronic funds transfer.

There may be circumstances when the Fund will not accept new investments. The Fund reserves the right to suspend or terminate the offering of its shares at any time without prior notice. The Fund also reserves the right to restrict you from making future purchases in the Fund or any other series of the Trust. In addition, the Fund reserves the right to reject any application or investment or any other specific purchase request.

Redeeming shares

All share classes

You can redeem (sell) your shares on any business day. If you hold your Fund shares through a financial intermediary, please contact the intermediary to sell your shares. Your financial intermediary may have different requirements and restrictions on redemptions than the Fund. If you hold your Fund shares through a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF, the Benefit Plan or other account may impose further restrictions on the sale of Fund shares.

You may be required to complete and return certain forms to effect your redemption. Before you complete your redemption request, please make sure you understand the possible federal and other income tax consequences of a redemption. Neither the Fund nor its transfer agent can process redemption requests that specify a certain price or date; these requests will be deemed not in “good order” and will be returned. (See the section entitled “Important transaction information—Good Order” below.)

Usually, the Fund sends redemption proceeds on the next business day after the Fund receives a redemption request in “good order” as determined by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent), but not later than seven days afterwards.

If a redemption is requested after a recent purchase of shares, the Fund may delay payment of the redemption proceeds until the check or an electronic funds transfer transaction clears. This can take up to 10 days. There is a 10 calendar

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     31


day hold from the date of purchase to the first available redemption for all Direct Purchasers redeeming through the TIAA-CREF Web Center.

If you request a redemption, we will send the proceeds by check to the address of record, or by electronic funds transfer to the bank account on file. A letter of instruction with a bank Medallion Signature Guarantee of all owners exactly as registered on the account is required if the redemption is sent to (i) a bank account not on file, (ii) an address other than the address of record, or (iii) an address of record that has been changed within the last 30 calendar days. You may obtain a Medallion Signature Guarantee from some commercial or savings banks, credit unions, trust companies or member firms of a U.S. stock exchange. A notary public cannot provide a Medallion Signature Guarantee.

The Fund can postpone payment if: (a) the NYSE is closed for other than usual holidays or weekends, or trading on the NYSE is restricted; (b) an emergency exists as defined by the SEC, or when the SEC requires that trading be restricted; or (c) the SEC permits a delay for the protection of investors.

The Fund reserves the right to require a Medallion Signature Guarantee for a redemption of any class. The Fund can suspend or terminate your ability to transact by telephone, Internet, or by fax at any time, for any reason.

Once mailed to the Fund, your redemption request is irrevocable and cannot be modified or canceled.

For participants holding shares through a Benefit Plan (Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares)

A redemption can be part of an exchange into (1) another fund available through your Benefit Plan or, (2) another account or IRA.

If you are married, and all or part of your investment is attributable to purchases made under either (i) an employer plan subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) or (ii) an employer plan that provides for spousal rights to benefits, then to the extent required by the Code or ERISA or the terms of your employer plan, your rights to make certain redemptions may be restricted by the rights of your spouse to such benefits.

For Direct Purchasers, Eligible Investors and their clients (Retail and Institutional Class shares)

Requests must include: account number, transaction amount (in dollars or shares), signatures of all owners exactly as registered on the account, Medallion Signature Guarantees (if required), and any other required supporting legal documentation. All other requests, including those specifying a certain price or date will not be deemed to be in “good order” and will be returned. (See the section entitled “Important transaction information—Good Order” below.)

Transaction methods for redemptions

If your shares are held through a financial intermediary, please contact the intermediary for redemption requirements.

32     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


By mail: Send your written request to the appropriate address as described in the section entitled “Purchasing shares” above.

Over the Internet: With TIAA-CREF’s Web Center, Direct Purchasers of Retail Class shares can redeem their shares over the Internet although there is a limit on Internet redemptions. Investors in the Retail Class shares are limited to Internet redemptions of up to $100,000 per fund per day. Internet redemptions are not available for self-directed IRA accounts and Coverdell education savings accounts held by Direct Purchasers. Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares held through a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF are limited to a maximum cumulative Internet redemption of $50,000 on a rolling 12 month basis. TIAA-CREF’s Web Center can be accessed through TIAA-CREF’s homepage at www.tiaa-cref.org. Before you can use the Web Center, you must enter your Social Security number, date of birth and active account number. The Fund will use reasonable procedures to confirm that the instructions given are genuine. All transactions over the Web Center are recorded electronically.

By telephone: Call the appropriate number provided in the section entitled “Purchasing shares” above. All shareholders with telephone redemption options automatically receive the Internet redemption option. If you do not want to be able to redeem by telephone or Internet, indicate this on your application or call the Fund anytime after opening your account. Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class shares wishing to make redemption orders by telephone should call their Relationship Manager.

· Direct Purchasers of Retail Class shares can redeem amounts up to $100,000 per fund per day by phone.

· Participants holding Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares through a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF can redeem up to $50,000 every seven days by phone or any greater amount as approved by the Fund from time to time.

By systematic redemption plan: For Retail Class shares, you can elect this feature only for accounts with balances of at least $5,000. The Fund will automatically redeem the requested dollar amount or number of shares for Retail Class each month or quarter on the 1st or 15th of the month or for Retirement, Premier and Institutional Classes held in a Benefit Plan or other account administered by TIAA-CREF on any business day between the 1st and 28th of the month. For all share classes, if the days selected are not business days, shares will be redeemed on the following business day. Redemptions will be made via check or electronic transfer to your bank.

If you are a Direct Purchaser of Retail Class shares in the Fund and want to set up a systematic redemption plan, contact the Fund and it will send the necessary forms to you or you may enroll online through the TIAA-CREF Web Center. All owners of an account must sign the systematic redemption plan request. Similarly, all owners must sign any request to increase the amount or frequency of the systematic redemptions or a request for payments to be sent to an address other than the address of record. A Medallion Signature Guarantee is

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     33


required for this address change. The Fund can terminate the systematic redemption plan option at any time, although the Fund will notify you if this occurs. You can terminate the plan or reduce the amount or frequency of the redemptions by writing or by calling the Fund or through the TIAA-CREF Web Center. Requests to establish, terminate, or change the amount or frequency of redemptions will become effective within five days after the Fund receives your instructions.

In-kind redemptions of shares: Certain large redemptions of Fund shares may be detrimental to the Fund’s other shareholders because such redemptions can adversely affect a portfolio manager’s ability to implement the Fund’s investment strategy by causing premature sale of portfolio securities that would otherwise be held. Consequently, if, in any 90 day period, an investor redeems (sells) shares in an amount that exceeds the lesser of (i) $250,000 or (ii) 1% of the Fund’s assets, then the Fund, at its sole discretion, has the right (without prior notice) to satisfy the difference between the redemption amount and the lesser of the two previously mentioned figures with securities from the Fund’s portfolio instead of cash. This is referred to as a “distribution in-kind” redemption and the securities you receive in this manner represent a portion of the Fund’s entire portfolio. The securities you receive will be selected by the Fund in its discretion. The investor receiving the securities will be responsible for disposing of the securities and bearing any associated costs.

Exchanging shares

Overview

An exchange is a simultaneous redemption of shares in the Fund and a purchase of shares in another fund or series of the Trust. Investors can exchange shares on any business day subject to limitations (i) imposed by your financial intermediary or (ii) any limitations under your employer’s plan. Shareholders who own shares through an Eligible Investor such as a Benefit Plan or Financial Intermediary Account should contact the Eligible Investor for exchange requests.

Exchanges between accounts can be made only if the accounts are registered in the same name(s), address and Social Security number or taxpayer identification number. Because restrictions may apply to certain accounts or plans, you should contact your financial intermediary or plan representative for further information. An exchange is considered a sale of securities and therefore may be a taxable event.

For Retail Class shareholders and Direct Purchasers of Institutional Class Shares, an exchange into a fund in which you already own shares must be for at least $50 ($1,000 for Institutional) and an exchange to a new fund account must meet the account minimums as stated by account type above (i.e., for Retail Class shares, $2,000 per fund account for IRAs or Coverdell accounts and $2,500 per fund account for all other account types, including custodial (UGMA/UTMA) accounts). For Retirement, Premier and Institutional Class shares

34     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


held through a plan, exchanges must generally be for at least $1,000 (except for systematic exchanges, which must be for at least $100) or your entire balance, if it is less.

Make sure you understand the investment objective, policies, strategies and risks disclosed in the prospectus of the fund into which you exchange shares. The exchange option is not designed to allow you to time the market. It gives you a convenient way to adjust the balance of your account so that it more closely matches your overall investment objectives and risk tolerance level.

The Fund reserves the right to reject any exchange request and to modify or terminate the exchange option at any time without prior notice to shareholders. The Fund may do this, in particular, when your transaction activity is deemed to be harmful to the Fund.

Once made, an exchange request by mail cannot be modified or cancelled.

Transaction methods for exchanges

Over the Internet: You can exchange shares using TIAA-CREF’s Web Center, which can be accessed through TIAA-CREF’s homepage at www.tiaa-cref.org.

By mail: Send your written request to the appropriate address as described in the section entitled “Purchasing shares” above. The letter must include your name, address, and the funds and accounts you want to exchange between.

By telephone: For Direct Purchasers of Retail Class shares, please call 800 223-1200. If you are a Direct Purchaser of Institutional Class shares, please call your Relationship Manager. For share classes held under Benefit Plans or other accounts administered by TIAA-CREF, please call 800 842-2252. For share classes held under Benefit Plans or other accounts not administered by TIAA-CREF, please contact your financial intermediary for exchange requirements.

By systematic exchange: Under this feature, TIAA-CREF automatically redeems shares in the Fund and purchases shares in another fund or series of the Trust as specified by the applicable agreement. However, the Fund does not offer systematic exchanges for Direct Purchasers in the Institutional Class shares. In addition, for Retail Class shares, you can only elect this feature if the balance of the Fund account from which you are transferring shares is at least $5,000. Retail Class systematic exchanges can occur on the 1st or 15th day of the month or on the following business day if those days are not business days. For all systematic exchanges, you must specify the dollar amount and the funds involved in the exchange. If you want to set up a systematic exchange, contact TIAA-CREF. You can terminate the plan or change the amount or frequency of the exchanges by writing or calling the number identified in the section entitled “Purchasing shares” above. Requests to establish, terminate, or change the amount or frequency of exchanges will become effective within five days after the Fund receives your instructions. All account owners must sign the systematic exchange request. Similarly, all account owners must sign any request to increase the amount or frequency of systematic exchanges.

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     35


Conversion of shares—applicable to all investors

A share conversion is a transaction where shares of one class of the Fund are exchanged for shares of another class of the Fund. Share conversions can occur between each share class of the Fund. Generally, share conversions occur where a shareholder becomes eligible for another share class of the Fund or no longer meets the eligibility of the share class they own (and another class exists for which they would be eligible). Please note that a share conversion is generally a non-taxable event, but please consult with your personal tax advisor on your particular circumstances.

A request for a share conversion will not be processed until it is received in “good order” (as defined below) by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent). Conversion requests received in “good order” prior to the close of the NYSE (generally 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time) on a day the NYSE is open will receive the NAV of the new class calculated that day. Please note that, because the NAV of each class of the Fund will generally vary from the NAVs of the other classes due to differences in expenses, you will receive a different number of shares in the new class than you held in the old class, but the total value of your holdings will remain the same.

If you hold your shares through an Eligible Investor like an intermediary or plan sponsor, please contact the Eligible Investor for more information on share conversions. Please note that certain intermediaries or plan sponsors may not permit all types of share conversions. The Fund reserves the right to terminate, suspend or modify the share conversion privilege for any shareholder or group of shareholders.

Voluntary conversions

If you believe that you are eligible to convert your Fund shares to another class, you may place an order for a share conversion by contacting your Relationship Manager. If you hold your shares through an Eligible Investor like a plan or intermediary, please contact the Eligible Investor regarding conversions. Please be sure to read the applicable sections of the prospectus for the new class in which you wish to convert prior to such a conversion in order to learn more about its different features, performance and expenses. Neither the Fund nor Advisors has any responsibility for reviewing accounts and/or contacting shareholders to apprise them that they may qualify to request a voluntary conversion. Some Eligible Investors may not allow investors who own Fund shares through them to make share conversions.

Mandatory conversions

The Fund reserves the right to automatically convert shareholders from one class to another if they no longer qualify as eligible for their existing class or if they become eligible for another class. Such mandatory conversions may be as a result of a change in value of an account due to market movements, exchanges

36     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


or redemptions. The Fund will notify affected shareholders in writing prior to any mandatory conversion.

Important transaction information

Good Order. Purchase, redemption and exchange requests are not processed until received in good order by the Fund’s transfer agent at its processing center (or by another authorized Fund agent). “Good order” means actual receipt of the order along with all information and supporting legal documentation necessary to effect the transaction by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent). This information and documentation generally includes the Fund account number, the transaction amount (in dollars or shares), signatures of all account owners exactly as registered on the account and any other information or supporting documentation as the Fund, its transfer agent or other authorized Fund agent may require. With respect to purchase requests, “good order” also generally includes receipt of sufficient funds by the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent) to effect the purchase. The Fund, its transfer agent or any other authorized Fund agent may, in their sole discretion, determine whether any particular transaction request is in good order and reserve the right to change or waive any good order requirement at any time.

Financial intermediaries or plan sponsors may have their own requirements for considering transaction requests to be in “good order.” If you hold your shares through a financial intermediary or plan sponsor, please contact them for their specific “good order” requirements.

Share Price. If the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent) receives an order to purchase, redeem or exchange shares that is in good order anytime before close of regular trading on the NYSE (usually 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time), the transaction price will be the NAV per share for that day. If the Fund’s transfer agent (or other authorized Fund agent) receives an order to purchase, redeem or exchange shares that is in good order anytime after the NYSE closes, the transaction price will be the NAV per share calculated the next business day.

If you hold Retirement, Premier or Institutional Class shares through an Eligible Investor, or if you hold Retail Class shares through a financial intermediary, the Eligible Investor or financial intermediary, as applicable, may require you to communicate to it any purchase, redemption or exchange request by a specified deadline earlier than 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time in order to receive that day’s NAV per share as the transaction price.

Large Redemptions—Applicable to All Investors. Please contact the Fund before attempting to redeem a large dollar amount of shares (including exchange requests since they include redemption transactions). Large redemptions of Fund shares may be detrimental to the Fund’s other shareholders because such transactions can adversely affect a portfolio manager’s ability to efficiently manage the Fund. By contacting the Fund before you attempt to redeem a large dollar amount, you may avoid in-kind payment of your request.

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     37


Minimum Account Size.

· Retail Class. Due to the relatively high cost of maintaining smaller accounts, the Fund reserves the right to redeem shares in any account if the value of that account drops below $1,500. You will be allowed at least 60 days, after written notice, to make an additional investment to bring your account value up to at least the specified minimum before the redemption is processed. The Fund reserves the right to waive or reduce the minimum account size for the Fund’s account at any time. Additionally, the Fund may increase, terminate or revise the terms of the minimum account size requirements at any time without advance notice to shareholders.

· Premier and Retirement Class. There is currently no minimum account size for Premier or Retirement Class shares. The Fund reserves the right, without prior notice, to establish a minimum amount required to open, maintain or add to an account.

· Institutional Class. While there is currently no minimum account size for maintaining an Institutional Class account, the Fund reserves the right, without prior notice, to establish a minimum amount required to maintain an account.

Small Account Maintenance Fee—Retail Class. The Fund charges an annual Small Account Maintenance Fee of $15.00 per Retail Class account (applicable to both retirement and non-retirement accounts) in order to allocate shareholder servicing costs equitably if your Fund balance falls below $2,000 (for any reason, including a decrease in market value). Investors cannot pay this fee by any other means besides an automatic deduction of the fee from their account.

The annual Small Account Maintenance Fee will not apply to the following types of Retail Class Fund accounts: accounts held through retirement or employee benefit plans; accounts held through intermediaries and their supermarkets and platforms (i.e., omnibus accounts); accounts that are registered under a taxpayer identification number (or Social Security number) that have aggregated non-retirement or non-employee benefit plan assets held in accounts for the Fund or other series of the Trust of $25,000 or more; accounts currently enrolled in the Fund’s Automatic Investment Plan; and accounts held through tuition (529) plan programs. However, the annual Small Account Maintenance Fee will apply to IRAs and Coverdell education savings accounts. The Fund reserves the right to waive or reduce the annual Small Account Maintenance Fee for any Fund account at any time. Additionally, the Fund may increase, terminate or revise the terms of the annual Small Account Maintenance Fee at any time without advance notice to shareholders.

Taxpayer Identification Number. Regardless of whether you hold your Fund shares directly or through a financial intermediary, you must give the Fund your taxpayer identification number (which, for most individuals, is your Social Security number) and tell the Fund whether or not you are subject to backup withholding. If you do not furnish your taxpayer identification number, redemptions or exchanges of shares, as well as dividends and capital gains distributions, will be

38     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


subject to backup tax withholding. In addition, if you hold Fund shares directly and do not furnish your taxpayer identification number, then your account application will be rejected and returned.

Changing Your Address.

· Retail Class. To change the address on your account, please call the Fund or send the Fund a written notification signed by all registered owners of your account. If you hold your shares through a financial intermediary, please contact the intermediary to change your address.

· Premier and Retirement Class. To change the address on an Eligible Investor account, please send the Fund a written notification.

· Institutional Class. To change the address on an account, please contact your Relationship Manager (for Direct Purchasers) or send the Fund a written notification.

Medallion Signature Guarantee. For some transaction requests (for example, when you are redeeming shares within 30 days (for direct investors) or 14 days (for participants holding shares through a plan or account administered by TIAA-CREF) of changing your address, bank or bank account or adding certain new services to an existing account), the Fund may require a Medallion Signature Guarantee of each owner of record of an account. This requirement is designed to protect you and the Fund from fraud, and to comply with rules on stock transfers. A Medallion Signature Guarantee is a written endorsement from an eligible guarantor institution that the signature(s) on the written request is (are) valid. Certain commercial banks, trust companies, savings associations, credit unions and members of U.S. stock exchanges participate in the Medallion Signature Guarantee program. No other form of signature verification will be accepted. A notary public cannot provide a signature guarantee. For more information about when a Medallion Signature Guarantee may be required, please contact the Fund or your Relationship Manager (for Direct Purchasers).

Transferring Shares. For certain share classes, you can transfer ownership of your account to another person or organization that also qualifies to own the class of shares or change the name on your account by sending the Fund written instructions. Generally, each registered owner of the account must sign the request and provide Medallion Signature Guarantees. When you change the name on an account, shares in that account are transferred to a new account.

Limitations. Federal laws designed to counter terrorism and prevent money laundering might, in certain circumstances, require the Fund to block an account owner’s ability to make certain transactions and thereby refuse to accept a purchase order or any request for transfers or withdrawals, until instructions are received from the appropriate regulator. The Fund may also be required to provide additional information about you and your account to government regulators.

Advice About Your Account—Direct Purchasers Only. TPIS, a TIAA subsidiary, is the principal underwriter for the Fund, and Services, a TIAA subsidiary, has entered into an agreement with TPIS to sell Fund shares. TPIS

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     39


representatives are only authorized to recommend securities of investment companies or other pooled investment vehicles managed by TIAA or its affiliates. Neither TPIS nor Services receives commissions for these recommendations.

Customer Complaints. Customer complaints may be directed to TIAA-CREF Funds, 730 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017-3206, Mail Stop 730/07/01, Attention: Director, Distribution Operation Services.

Transfer On Death—Retail Class. If you live in certain states and hold Retail Class shares, you can designate one or more persons (“beneficiaries”) to whom your Fund shares can be transferred upon death. You can set up your account with a Transfer On Death (“TOD”) registration upon request. (Call us to get the necessary forms.) A TOD registration avoids probate if the beneficiary(ies) survives all shareholders. You maintain total control over your account during your lifetime.

TIAA-CREF Web Center and Telephone Transactions. The Fund is not liable for losses from unauthorized TIAA-CREF Web Center and telephone transactions so long as reasonable procedures designed to verify the identity of the person effecting the transaction are followed. The Fund requires the use of personal identification numbers, codes and other procedures designed to reasonably confirm that instructions given through TIAA-CREF’s Web Center or by telephone are genuine. The Fund also tape records telephone instructions and provides written confirmations of such instructions. The Fund accepts all telephone instructions that are reasonably believed to be genuine and accurate. However, you should verify the accuracy of your confirmation statements immediately after you receive them. The Fund may suspend or terminate Internet or telephone transaction facilities at any time, for any reason. If you do not want to be able to effect transactions over the telephone, call the Fund for instructions.

Market timing/excessive trading policy

The Fund anticipates that shareholders will purchase and sell shares of the Fund frequently because the Fund is generally designed to offer investors a somewhat more liquid investment. For this reason, the Board of Trustees has determined that it is not necessary to adopt policies and procedures designed to detect and deter frequent trading and market-timing in Fund shares.

Electronic prospectuses

If you received this Prospectus electronically and would like a paper copy, please contact the Fund and one will be sent to you.

Glossary

Code: The Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, including any applicable regulations and Revenue Rulings.

Duration: Duration is a measure of volatility in the price of a bond in response to a change in prevailing interest rates, with a longer duration indicating more

40     Prospectus    TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund


volatility. It can be understood as the weighted average of the time to each coupon and principal payment of such a security. For an investment portfolio of fixed-income securities, duration is the weighted average of each security’s duration. For example, the price of a bond with a duration of two years will rise (fall) two percent for every one percent decrease (increase) in its interest rate.

Equity Investments: Primarily, common stock, preferred stock and securities convertible or exchangeable into common stock, including convertible debt securities, convertible preferred stock and warrants or rights to acquire common stock.

Fixed-Income or Fixed-Income Investments: Primarily, bonds and notes (such as corporate and government debt obligations), mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities, and structured securities that generally pay fixed or variable rates of interest; debt obligations issued at a discount from face value (i.e., that have an imputed rate of interest); non-interest-bearing debt securities (i.e., zero coupon bonds); and other non-equity securities that pay dividends.

Investment-Grade: A fixed-income security is investment-grade if it is rated in the four highest categories by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”) or an unrated security that Advisors determines is of comparable quality.

U.S. Government Securities: Securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities.

Financial highlights

Because the Fund is newly operational, no financial highlights information is currently available.

TIAA-CREF Short-Term Bond Index Fund    Prospectus     41


For more information about TIAA-CREF Funds

Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”). The Fund’s SAI contains more information about certain aspects of the Fund. A current SAI has been filed with the SEC and is incorporated into this Prospectus by reference. This means that the Fund’s SAI is legally a part of the Prospectus.

Annual and Semiannual Reports. The Fund’s annual and semiannual reports provide additional information about the Fund’s investments. In the Fund’s annual report (once available), you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected the Fund’s performance during the preceding fiscal year.

Requesting documents. You can request a copy of the Fund’s SAI or these reports (once available) without charge, or contact the Fund for any other purpose, in any of the following ways:

By telephone:

Call 877 518-9161

In writing:

TIAA-CREF Funds
P.O. Box 1259
Charlotte, NC 28201

Over the Internet:

www.tiaa-cref.org

Information about the Trust (including the Fund’s SAI) can be reviewed and copied at the SEC’s public reference room (202 551-8090) in Washington, DC. The reports and other information are also available through the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s Internet website at www.sec.gov. Copies of the information can also be obtained, upon payment of a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov, or by writing the SEC’s Public Reference Section, Washington, DC 20549.

To lower costs and eliminate duplicate documents sent to your home, the Fund may mail only one copy of the Fund’s Prospectus, prospectus supplements, annual and semiannual reports, or any other required documents, to your household, even if more than one shareholder lives there. If you would prefer to continue receiving your own copy of any of these documents, you may call the Fund toll-free or write to the Fund as follows:

By telephone:

Call 877 518-9161

In writing:

TIAA-CREF Funds
P.O. Box 1259
Charlotte, NC 28201

Important Information about procedures for opening a new account

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions, including the Fund, to obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account.

What this means for you: When you open an account, the Fund will ask for your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other information that will allow the Fund to identify you, such as your home telephone number. Until you provide the Fund with the information it needs, the Fund may not be able to open an account or effect any transactions for you.

  

1940 Act File No. 811-9301

Atk (__/15)

 

PRELIMINARY STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SUBJECT TO COMPLETION ON OR AFTER [____________], 2015. THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS NOT COMPLETE AND MAY BE CHANGED. SHARES OF THE SOCIAL CHOICE INTERNATIONAL EQUITY, SOCIAL CHOICE LOW CARBON EQUITY AND SHORT-TERM BOND INDEX FUNDS MAY NOT BE SOLD UNTIL THE FUNDS’ REGISTRATION STATEMENT FILED WITH THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION IS EFFECTIVE. THIS STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS NOT AN OFFER TO SELL THE SOCIAL CHOICE INTERNATIONAL EQUITY, SOCIAL CHOICE LOW CARBON EQUITY AND SHORT-TERM BOND INDEX FUNDS’ SECURITIES AND IT IS NOT SOLICITING AN OFFER TO BUY THE SOCIAL CHOICE INTERNATIONAL EQUITY, SOCIAL CHOICE LOW CARBON EQUITY AND SHORT-TERM BOND INDEX FUNDS’ SECURITIES IN ANY STATE WHERE THE OFFER OR SALE IS NOT PERMITTED.

Statement of Additional Information

TIAA-CREF Funds

[________________], 2015 (with respect to the Social Choice International Equity Fund, the Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund, the Short-Term Bond Index Fund, all other Fixed-Income Funds, other than the Emerging Markets Debt Fund and the Real Estate Securities Fund)

MARCH 1, 2015, AS SUPPLEMENTED [________________], 2015 (with respect to all other Equity Funds and the Emerging Markets Debt Fund)

             
  

Tickers by Class

   

Tickers by Class

  

Retail

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Retail

Retirement

Premier

Institutional

Equity Funds

 

 

 

 

 

       

Emerging Markets Equity Fund

 

TEMRX

TEMSX

TEMPX

TEMLX

 

Social Choice International Equity Fund

 

[—---]

[—---]

[—---]

[—---]

Emerging Markets Equity Index

      

Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund

 

[—---]

[—---]

[—---]

[—---]

Fund

 

TEQKX

TEQSX

TEQPX

TEQLX

 

S&P 500 Index Fund

 

TRSPX

TISPX

Enhanced International Equity Index Fund

 

TFIIX

       

Enhanced Large-Cap Growth Index Fund

 

TLIIX

 

Fixed-Income Funds

 

 

 

 

 

Enhanced Large-Cap Value Index Fund

 

TEVIX

 

Bond Fund

 

TIORX

TIDRX

TIDPX

TIBDX

Equity Index Fund

 

TINRX

TIQRX

TCEPX

TIEIX

 

Bond Index Fund

 

TBILX

TBIRX

TBIPX

TBIIX

Global Natural Resources Fund

 

TNRLX

TNRRX

TNRPX

TNRIX

 

Bond Plus Fund

 

TCBPX

TCBRX

TBPPX

TIBFX

Growth & Income Fund

 

TIIRX

TRGIX

TRPGX

TIGRX

 

High-Yield Fund

 

TIYRX

TIHRX

TIHPX

TIHYX

International Equity Fund

 

TIERX

TRERX

TREPX

TIIEX

 

Inflation-Linked Bond Fund

 

TCILX

TIKRX

TIKPX

TIILX

International Equity Index Fund

 

TRIEX

TRIPX

TCIEX

 

Short-Term Bond Fund

 

TCTRX

TISRX

TSTPX

TISIX

International Opportunities Fund

 

TIOSX

TIOTX

TIOPX

TIOIX

 

Social Choice Bond Fund

 

TSBRX

TSBBX

TSBPX

TSBIX

Large-Cap Growth Fund

 

TIRTX

TILRX

TILPX

TILGX

 

Short-Term Bond Index Fund

 

[—---]

[—---]

[—---]

[—---]

Large-Cap Growth Index Fund

 

TRIRX

TILIX

 

Tax-Exempt Bond Fund

 

TIXRX

TITIX

Large-Cap Value Fund

 

TCLCX

TRLCX

TRCPX

TRLIX

 

Emerging Markets Debt Fund

 

TEDLX

TEDTX

TEDPX

TEDNX

Large-Cap Value Index Fund

 

TRCVX

TILVX

 

Money Market Fund

 

TIRXX

TIEXX

TPPXX

TCIXX

Mid-Cap Growth Fund

 

TCMGX

TRGMX

TRGPX

TRPWX

  

 

    

Mid-Cap Value Fund

 

TCMVX

TRVRX

TRVPX

TIMVX

 

Real Estate Securities Fund

 

 

 

 

 

Small-Cap Blend Index Fund

 

TRBIX

TISBX

 

Real Estate Securities Fund

 

TCREX

TRRSX

TRRPX

TIREX

Small-Cap Equity Fund

 

TCSEX

TRSEX

TSRPX

TISEX

  

 

    

Social Choice Equity Fund

 

TICRX

TRSCX

TRPSX

TISCX

       
             

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) contains additional information that you should consider before investing in any of the above-listed series, which are investment portfolios or “Funds’’ of the TIAA-CREF Funds (the “Trust”). The SAI is not a prospectus, but is incorporated by reference into and made a part of the (i) TIAA-CREF Funds’ prospectuses dated [________, 2015], as subsequently supplemented, (with respect to the Social Choice International Equity Fund, the Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund, all other Fixed-Income Funds, other than the Emerging Markets Debt Fund, and the Real Estate Securities Fund); and (ii) TIAA-CREF prospectuses, dated March 1, 2015, as subsequently supplemented (with respect to the Equity Funds, other than the Social Choice International Equity Fund, the Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund, and the Emerging Markets Debt Fund) (each, a “Prospectus”). The SAI should be read carefully in conjunction with the Prospectuses. The Prospectuses may be obtained, without charge, by writing the Funds at TIAA-CREF Funds, 730 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017–3206 or by calling 877 518–9161.

This SAI describes 35 Funds. Each Fund offers Institutional Class shares. Certain of the Funds also offer other share classes, such as Retail Class, Retirement Class and/or Premier Class shares.

Capitalized terms used, but not defined, herein have the same meaning as in the Prospectuses. The audited financial statements of the Trust for the Funds covered by this SAI for the fiscal periods ended


October 31, 2014 (with respect to the Equity Funds, other than the Social Choice International Equity Fund, the Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Fund, and the Emerging Markets Debt Fund) and March 31, 2015 (with respect to the Fixed-Income Funds other than the Emerging Markets Debt Fund and the Short-Term Bond Index Fund, and the Real Estate Securities Fund), are incorporated into this SAI by reference to the TIAA-CREF Funds’ Annual Reports to shareholders dated October 31, 2014 and March 31, 2015. The Funds will furnish you, without charge, a copy of the Annual Reports on request by calling (877) 518-9161.


Table of contents

   

Investment objectives, policies and restrictions 4

Disclosure of portfolio holdings 27

Management of the Trust 29

Proxy voting policies 38

Principal holders of securities 40

Investment advisory and other services 54

Underwriter and other service providers 58

Personal trading policy 58

Information about the Funds’ portfolio management 58

 

About the Trust and the shares 63

Pricing of shares 68

Tax status 69

Brokerage allocation 75

Legal matters 80

Experts 80

Financial statements 80

Appendix A: TIAA-CREF policy statement on corporate governance 81

TIAA-CREF Funds    Statement of Additional Information     3


Investment objectives, policies and restrictions

The following discussion of investment policies and restrictions supplements the Prospectus descriptions of the investment objective and principal investment strategies of the 35 Funds of the Trust described in this SAI.

Under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”), any fundamental policy of a registered investment company may not be changed without the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of that series. However, except for the Tax-Exempt Bond Fund, the investment objective of each Fund as described in its Prospectus, and its non-fundamental investment restrictions as described in “Investment Policies” below, may be changed by the Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board of Trustees” or the “Board”) at any time without shareholder approval. The Trust is an open-end management investment company.

Each Fund, other than the Global Natural Resources Fund and the Emerging Markets Debt Fund, is classified as “diversified” within the meaning of the 1940 Act, as set forth in Restriction #8 below. Investment in a “non-diversified” fund, such as the Global Natural Resources Fund and the Emerging Markets Debt Fund, may involve greater risk than investment in a diversified fund because losses resulting from an investment in a single issuer may represent a larger portion of the total assets of a non-diversified fund. In addition, each Fund intends to meet the diversification requirements of Subchapter M of Chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).

Unless otherwise noted, each of the following investment policies and risk considerations applies to each Fund.

Fundamental policies

Except as noted, the following restrictions are fundamental policies of each Fund:

1.    The Fund will not issue senior securities except as permitted by law.

2.    The Fund will not borrow money, except: (a) each Fund may purchase securities on margin, as described in Restriction #7 below; and (b) from banks (only in amounts not in excess of 331/3% of the market value of that Fund’s assets at the time of borrowing), and, from other sources, for temporary purposes (only in amounts not exceeding 5%, or such greater amount as may be permitted by law, of that Fund’s total assets taken at market value at the time of borrowing).

3.    The Fund will not underwrite the securities of other companies, except to the extent that it may be deemed an underwriter in connection with the disposition of securities from its portfolio.

4.    The Fund will not purchase real estate or mortgages directly.

5.    The Fund (other than the Global Natural Resources Fund) will not purchase commodities or commodities contracts, except to the extent futures are purchased as described herein. The Global Natural Resources Fund will invest in commodities and commodities-related instruments as permitted under applicable securities, commodities and tax regulations.

6.    The Fund will not lend any security or make any other loan if, as a result, more than 331/3% of its total assets would be lent to other parties, but this limit does not apply to repurchase agreements.

7.    The Fund will not purchase any security on margin except that the Fund may obtain such short-term credit as may be necessary for the clearance of purchases and sales of portfolio securities.

  Restriction #8 is a fundamental policy of each Fund other than the Global Natural Resources Fund and the Emerging Markets Debt Fund:

8.    The Fund will not, with respect to at least 75% of the value of its total assets, invest more than 5% of its total assets in the securities of any one issuer, other than securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities, or hold more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of any one issuer.

  Restrictions #9 and #10 are fundamental policies of the Tax-Exempt Bond Fund only:

9.    The Fund may invest more than 25% of its assets in tax-exempt securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities, or by any state or local government or a political subdivision of any of the foregoing; the Fund will not otherwise invest in any industry if after giving effect to that investment the Fund’s holding in that industry would exceed 25% of its total assets.

10.  Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its assets in tax-exempt bonds, a type of municipal security, the interest on which is exempt from federal income tax, including federal alternative minimum tax.

11.  The Fund (other than the Real Estate Securities and Global Natural Resources Funds) will not invest 25% or more of its total assets in the securities of one or more issuers conducting their principal business activities in the same industry (excluding the U.S. Government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities). The Real Estate Securities Fund has a policy of investing more than 25% of its total assets in securities of issuers in the real estate sector. The Global Natural Resources Fund has a policy of investing more than 25% of its total assets in securities of issuers in the natural resources industry.

With the exception of percentage restrictions relating to borrowings, if a percentage restriction is adhered to at the time of investment, a later increase or decrease in percentage beyond the specified limit resulting from a change in values of portfolio securities will not be considered a violation by the Fund.

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Investment policies

The following policies and restrictions are non-fundamental policies of each Fund. These restrictions may be changed by the Board without the approval of Fund shareholders.

Non-Equity Investments of the Equity and Real Estate Securities Funds. The Equity Funds and the Real Estate Securities Fund can, in addition to stocks, hold other types of securities with equity characteristics, such as convertible bonds, preferred stock, warrants and depository receipts or rights for such securities. Pending more permanent investments or to use cash balances effectively, these Funds may hold the same types of money market instruments as the Money Market Fund invests in (as described in its Prospectus), as well as other short-term instruments. These other instruments are the same type of instruments the Money Market Fund may hold, but they have longer maturities than the instruments allowed in the Money Market Fund, or else do not meet the requirements for “First Tier Securities.”

When market conditions warrant, the Equity Funds and the Real Estate Securities Fund may invest directly in debt securities similar to those the Bond Fund may invest in. The Equity Funds and the Real Estate Securities Fund may also hold debt securities that they acquire because of mergers, recapitalizations or otherwise.

The Equity Funds and the Real Estate Securities Fund also may invest in options and futures, as well as newly developed financial instruments, such as equity swaps and equity-linked fixed-income securities, so long as these are consistent with their investment objectives and regulatory requirements.

These investments and other Fund investment strategies are discussed in detail below.

Temporary Defensive Positions. During periods when Teachers Advisors, Inc. (“Advisors”), the investment adviser for the Funds, believes there are unstable market, economic, political or currency conditions domestically or abroad, Advisors may assume, on behalf of a Fund, a temporary defensive posture and (1) without limitation, hold cash and/or invest in money market instruments, or (2) restrict the securities markets in which the Fund’s assets will be invested by investing those assets in securities markets deemed by Advisors to be conservative in light of the Fund’s investment objective and policies. Under normal circumstances, each Fund may invest a portion of its total assets in cash or money market instruments for cash management purposes, pending investment in accordance with the Fund’s investment objective and policies and to meet operating expenses. To the extent that a Fund holds cash or invests in money market instruments, it may not achieve its investment objective.

Credit Facility. Many of the Funds participate in an unsecured revolving credit facility for temporary or emergency purposes, including, without limitation, funding of shareholder redemptions that otherwise might require the untimely disposition of securities. Certain accounts or series of the College Retirement Equities Fund (“CREF”), TIAA-CREF Life Funds (“TCLF”) and TIAA Separate Account VA-1 (“VA-1”), as well as certain other series of the Trust, each of which is managed by Advisors or an affiliate of Advisors, also participate in this credit facility. An annual commitment fee for the credit facility is borne by the participating Funds. Interest associated with any borrowing under the facility will be charged to the borrowing Funds at rates that are based on a specified rate of interest.

If a Fund borrows money, it could leverage its portfolio by keeping securities it might otherwise have had to sell. Leveraging exposes a Fund to special risks, including greater fluctuations in net asset value in response to market changes.

Taxable Securities Purchased by the Tax-Exempt Bond Fund. Under normal conditions, the Tax-Exempt Bond Fund intends to invest only in securities that are tax-exempt for federal income tax purposes. However, the Fund may invest on a temporary basis in taxable securities. In that case, the investments would be limited to securities that the Fund determines to be high quality, such as those issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government.

Instability in the financial markets during and after the 2008–09 financial downturn has led the U.S. Government to take a number of unprecedented actions designed to support certain financial institutions and segments of the financial markets that have experienced extreme volatility, and in some cases a lack of liquidity. Most significantly, the U.S. Government has enacted a broad-reaching new regulatory framework over the financial services industry and consumer credit markets, the potential impact of which on the value of portfolio holdings of a Fund, the Trust or TIAA (or their affiliates) is unknown. Federal, state, and other governments, their regulatory agencies, or self-regulatory organizations may take actions that affect the regulation of certain portfolio holdings of a Fund, the issuers thereof, the Trust or TIAA (or their affiliates) in ways that are unforeseeable. Legislation or regulation may also change the way in which a Fund itself is regulated. Such legislation or regulation could limit or preclude a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.

Governments or their agencies may also acquire distressed assets from financial institutions and acquire ownership interests in those institutions. The implications of government ownership and disposition of these assets are unclear, and such a program may have positive or negative effects on the liquidity, valuation and performance of a Fund’s portfolio holdings. Furthermore, volatile financial markets can expose a Fund to greater market and liquidity risk and potential difficulty in valuing portfolio holdings. Advisors will monitor developments and seek to manage each Fund in a manner consistent with achieving its investment objective, but there can be no assurance that Advisors will be successful in doing so.

The value of a Fund’s holdings is also generally subject to the risk of future local, national, or global economic disturbances based on unknown weaknesses in the markets in which a Fund invests. In the event of such a disturbance, issuers of securities

TIAA-CREF Funds    Statement of Additional Information     5


held by a Fund may experience significant declines in the value of their assets and even cease operations, or may receive government assistance accompanied by increased restrictions on their business operations or other government intervention. In addition, it is not certain that the U.S. Government will intervene in response to a future market disturbance and the effect of any such future intervention cannot be predicted. It is difficult for issuers to prepare for the impact of future financial downturns, although companies can seek to identify and manage future uncertainties through risk management programs.

Illiquid Investments. The Board of Trustees has delegated responsibility to Advisors for determining the value and liquidity of investments held by each Fund. The Funds may invest up to 15% (5% in the case of the Money Market Fund) of their net assets (taken at current value) in investments that may not be readily marketable. Investments may be illiquid because of the absence of a trading market, making it difficult to value them or dispose of them promptly at an acceptable price. Investment in illiquid securities poses risks of potential delays in resale. Limitations on or delays in resale may have an adverse effect on the marketability of portfolio securities, and it may be difficult for the Funds to dispose of illiquid securities promptly or to sell such securities for their fair market value.

Lower-Quality Municipal Securities. Because the market for certain municipal securities is thin, the Tax-Exempt Bond Fund may encounter difficulties in disposing of lower-quality securities. At the Fund’s option, it may pursue litigation or other remedies in order to protect the Fund’s interests.

Municipal Market Disruption Risk. The value of municipal securities may be adversely affected by legal uncertainties regarding legislative proposals involving the taxation of municipal securities or rights of securities holders in the event of bankruptcy. From time to time, these uncertainties may affect the municipal securities market or certain parts thereof, having a significant impact on the prices of securities in the Tax-Exempt Bond Fund.

Restricted Securities. The Funds may invest in restricted securities. A restricted security is one that has a contractual restriction on resale or cannot be resold publicly until it is registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”). From time to time, restricted securities can be considered illiquid. For example, they may be considered illiquid if they are not eligible for sale to qualified institutional purchasers in reliance upon Rule 144A under the 1933 Act. However, purchases by a Fund of securities of foreign issuers offered and sold outside the United States may be considered liquid even though they are restricted. The Board of Trustees has delegated responsibility to Advisors for determining the value and liquidity of restricted securities and other investments held by each Fund.

Preferred Stock. The Funds (other than the Money Market Fund) can invest in preferred stock consistent with their investment objectives. Preferred stock pays dividends at a specified rate and generally has preference over common stock in the payment of dividends and the liquidation of the issuer’s assets but is junior to the debt securities of the issuer in those same respects. Unlike interest payments on debt securities, dividends on preferred stock are generally payable at the discretion of the issuer’s board of directors, and shareholders may suffer a loss of value if dividends are not paid. Preferred shareholders generally have no legal recourse against the issuer if dividends are not paid. The market prices of preferred stocks are subject to changes in interest rates and are more sensitive to changes in the issuer’s creditworthiness than are the prices of debt securities. Under ordinary circumstances, preferred stock does not carry voting rights.

Options and Futures. Each of the Funds (other than the Money Market Fund) may engage in options (puts and calls) and futures strategies to the extent permitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”). Advisors intends to use options and future contracts for a variety of purposes. These purposes include the following: (i) hedging; (ii) cash management; (iii) risk management; (iv) seeking to stay fully invested; (v) seeking to increase total return; (vi) seeking to reduce transaction costs; (vii) seeking to simulate an investment in equity or debt securities or other investments; (viii) seeking to add value by using derivatives to more efficiently implement portfolio positions when derivatives are favorably priced relative to equity or debt securities or other investments; and (ix) for other purposes.

Options and futures transactions may increase a Fund’s transaction costs and portfolio turnover rate and will be initiated only when consistent with the Fund’s investment objective.

Options. Option-related activities could include: (1) the sale of covered call option contracts and the purchase of call option contracts, including for the purpose of closing a purchase transaction; (2) buying covered put option contracts and selling put option contracts, including to close out a position acquired through the purchase of such options; and (3) selling call option contracts or buying put option contracts on groups of securities and on futures on groups of securities, and buying similar call option contracts or selling put option contracts, including to close out a position acquired through a sale of such options. This list of options-related activities is not intended to be exclusive, and the Funds may engage in other types of options transactions consistent with their investment objectives and policies and applicable law.

A call option is a short-term contract (generally for nine months or less) that gives the purchaser of the option the right but not the obligation to purchase the underlying security at a fixed exercise price at any time (American style) or at a set time (European style) prior to the expiration of the option regardless of the market price of the security during the option period. As consideration for the call option, the purchaser pays the seller a premium, which the seller retains whether or not the option is exercised. The seller of a call option has the obligation, upon the exercise of the option by the purchaser, to sell the underlying security at the exercise price. Selling a call option would benefit the seller if, over the option period, the underlying security declines in value or does not appreciate above the aggregate of the exercise price and the premium. However, the seller risks

6     Statement of Additional Information    TIAA-CREF Funds


an “opportunity loss” of profits if the underlying security appreciates above the aggregate value of the exercise price and the premium.

A Fund may close out a position acquired through selling a call option by buying a call option on the same security with the same exercise price and expiration date as the call option that it had previously sold on that security. Depending on the premium for the call option purchased by a Fund, the Fund will realize a profit or loss on the transaction on that security.

A put option is a similar short-term contract that gives the purchaser of the option the right to sell the underlying security at a fixed exercise price at any time prior to the expiration of the option regardless of the market price of the security during the option period. As consideration for the put option, the purchaser pays the seller a premium which the seller retains whether or not the option is exercised. The seller of a put option has the obligation, upon the exercise of the option by the purchaser, to purchase the underlying security at the exercise price. The buying of a covered put contract limits the downside exposure for the investment in the underlying security. The risk of purchasing a put is that the market price of the underlying stock prevailing on the expiration date may be above the option’s exercise price. In that case, the option would expire worthless and the entire premium would be lost.

A Fund may close out a position acquired through buying a put option by selling an identical put option on the same security with the same exercise price and expiration date as the put option that it had previously bought on the security. Depending on the premium for the put option purchased by a Fund, the Fund would realize a profit or loss on the transaction.

In addition to options (both calls and puts) on individual securities, there are also options on groups of securities, such as the options on the Standard & Poor’s 100 Index, which are traded on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. There are also options on the futures of groups of securities such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the New York Stock Exchange Composite Index. The selling of such calls can be used in anticipation of, or in, a general market or market sector decline that may adversely affect the market value of a Fund’s portfolio of securities. To the extent that a Fund’s portfolio of securities changes in value in correlation with a given stock index, the sale of call options on the futures of that index would substantially reduce the risk to the portfolio of a market decline, and, by so doing, provides an alternative to the liquidation of securities positions in the portfolio with resultant transaction costs. A risk in all options, particularly the relatively new options on groups of securities and on the futures on groups of securities, is a possible lack of liquidity. This will be a major consideration of Advisors before it deals in any option on behalf of a Fund.

There is another risk in connection with selling a call option on a group of securities or on the futures of groups of securities. This arises because of the imperfect correlation between movements in the price of the call option on a particular group of securities and the price of the underlying securities held in the portfolio. Unlike a covered call on an individual security, where a large movement on the upside for the call option will be offset by a similar move on the underlying stock, a move in the price of a call option on a group of securities may not be offset by a similar move in the price of securities held due to the difference in the composition of the particular group and the portfolio itself.

Futures. To the extent permitted by applicable regulatory authorities, the Funds may purchase and sell futures contracts on securities or other instruments, or on groups or indices of securities or other instruments. The Global Natural Resources Fund may also purchase and sell futures contracts on natural resources or other commodities. The purpose of hedging techniques using financial futures is to protect the principal value of the Fund against adverse changes in the market value of securities or instruments in its portfolio, and to obtain better returns on investments than available in the cash market. Since these are hedging techniques, the gains or losses on the futures contract normally will be offset by losses or gains, respectively, on the hedged investment. Futures contracts also may be offset prior to the future date by executing an opposite futures contract transaction.

A futures contract on an investment is a binding contractual commitment which, if held to maturity, generally will result in an obligation to make or accept delivery, during a particular future month, of the securities or instrument underlying the contract.

By purchasing a futures contract—assuming a “long” position—Advisors will legally obligate a Fund to accept the future delivery of the underlying security or instrument and pay the agreed price. By selling a futures contract—assuming a “short” position—Advisors will legally obligate a Fund to make the future delivery of the security or instrument against payment of the agreed price.

Positions taken in the futures markets are not normally held to maturity, but are instead liquidated through offsetting transactions that may result in a profit or a loss. While futures positions taken by a Fund usually will be liquidated in this manner, a Fund may instead make or take delivery of the underlying securities or instruments whenever it appears economically advantageous to a Fund to do so. A clearing corporation associated with the exchange on which futures are traded assumes responsibility for closing out positions and guarantees that the sale and purchase obligations will be performed with regard to all positions that remain open at the termination of the contract.

A stock index futures contract, unlike a contract on a specific security, does not provide for the physical delivery of securities, but merely provides for profits and losses resulting from changes in the market value of the contract to be credited or debited at the close of each trading day to the respective accounts of the parties to the contract. On the contract’s expiration date, a final

TIAA-CREF Funds    Statement of Additional Information     7


cash settlement occurs and the futures positions are closed out. Changes in the market value of a particular stock index futures contract reflect changes in the specified index of equity securities on which the future is based.

Stock index futures may be used to hedge the equity investments of the Funds with regard to market (systematic) risk (involving the market’s assessment of overall economic prospects), as distinguished from stock specific risk (involving the market’s evaluation of the merits of the issuer of a particular security). By establishing an appropriate “short” position in stock index futures, Advisors may seek to protect the value of a Fund’s securities portfolio against an overall decline in the market for equity securities. Alternatively, in anticipation of a generally rising market, Advisors can seek to avoid losing the benefit of apparently low current prices by establishing a “long” position in stock index futures and later liquidating that position as particular equity securities are in fact acquired. To the extent that these hedging strategies are successful, the Fund will be affected to a lesser degree by adverse overall market price movements, unrelated to the merits of specific portfolio equity securities, than would otherwise be the case.

Unlike the purchase or sale of a security, no price is paid or received by a Fund upon the purchase or sale of a futures contract. Initially, a Fund will be required to deposit in a segregated account with the broker (futures commission merchant) carrying the futures account on behalf of the Fund an amount of cash, U.S. Treasury securities, or other permissible assets equal to approximately 5% of the contract amount. This amount is known as “initial margin.” The nature of initial margin in futures transactions is different from that of margin in security transactions in that futures contract margin does not involve the borrowing of funds by the customer to finance the transactions. Rather, the initial margin is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the contract that is returned to a Fund upon termination of the futures contract assuming all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Subsequent payments to and from the broker, called “variation margin,” will be made on a daily basis as the price of the underlying stock index fluctuates, making the long and short positions in the futures contract more or less valuable, a process known as “marking to the market.”

For example, when a Fund has purchased a stock index futures contract and the price of the underlying stock index has risen, that position will have increased in value, and the Fund will receive from the broker a variation margin payment equal to that increase in value. Conversely, where a Fund has purchased a stock index futures contract and the price of the underlying stock index has declined, the position would be less valuable and the Fund would be required to make a variation margin payment to the broker. At any time prior to expiration of the futures contract, the Fund may elect to close the position by taking an opposite position that will operate to terminate the Fund’s position in the futures contract. A final determination of variation margin is then made, additional cash is required to be paid by or released to the Fund, and the Fund realizes a loss or a gain.

There are several risks in connection with the use of a futures contract as a hedging device. One risk arises because of the imperfect correlation between movements in the prices of the futures contracts and movements in the securities or instruments that are the subject of the hedge. Advisors, on behalf of a Fund, will attempt to reduce this risk by engaging in futures transactions, to the extent possible, where, in Advisors’ judgment, there is a significant correlation between changes in the prices of the futures contracts and the prices of the Fund’s portfolio securities or instruments sought to be hedged.

Successful use of futures contracts for hedging purposes also is subject to Advisor’s ability to correctly predict movements in the direction of the market. For example, it is possible that where a Fund has sold futures to hedge its portfolio against declines in the market, the index on which the futures are written may advance and the values of securities or instruments held in the Fund’s portfolio may decline. If this occurred, the Fund would lose money on the futures and also experience a decline in value in its portfolio investments. However, Advisors believes that over time the value of a Fund’s portfolio will tend to move in the same direction as the market indices that are intended to correlate to the price movements of the portfolio securities or instruments sought to be hedged.

It also is possible that, for example, if a Fund has hedged against the possibility of a decline in the market adversely affecting stocks held in its portfolio and stock prices increased instead, the Fund will lose part or all of the benefit of increased value of those stocks that it has hedged because it will have offsetting losses in its futures positions. In addition, in such situations, if a Fund has insufficient cash, it may have to sell securities or instruments to meet daily variation margin requirements. Such sales may be, but will not necessarily be, at increased prices that reflect the rising market. The Fund may have to sell securities or instruments at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so.

In addition to the possibility that there may be an imperfect correlation, or no correlation at all, between movements in the futures contracts and the portion of the portfolio being hedged, the prices of futures contracts may not correlate perfectly with movements in the underlying security or instrument due to certain market distortions. First, all transactions in the futures market are subject to margin deposit and maintenance requirements. Rather than meeting additional margin deposit requirements, investors may close futures contracts through offsetting transactions that could distort the normal relationship between the index and futures markets. Second, the margin requirements in the futures market are less onerous than margin requirements in the securities market, and as a result the futures market may attract more speculators than the securities market does. Increased participation by speculators in the futures market also may cause temporary price distortions. Due to the possibility of price distortion in the futures market and also because of the imperfect correlation between movements in the futures contracts and the portion of the portfolio being hedged, even a correct forecast of general market trends by Advisors still may not result in a successful hedging transaction over a very short time period.

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The Funds (other than the Money Market Fund) may also use futures contracts and options on futures contracts to manage their cash flow more effectively. To the extent that a Fund enters into non-hedging positions, it will do so only in accordance with certain CFTC exemptive provisions that permit the Fund and/or Advisors to claim an exclusion from the definition of a “commodity pool operator” under the Commodity Exchange Act. The Funds and/or Advisors have claimed an exclusion from the definition of the terms “commodity pool operator” and “commodity pool” under the Commodity Exchange Act and the regulations thereunder and, therefore, are not currently subject to registration or regulation as commodity pool operators or pools.

Firm Commitment Agreements and Purchase of “When-Issued” Securities. The Funds can enter into firm commitment agreements for the purchase of securities on a specified future date. Thus, the Funds may purchase, for example, issues of fixed-income instruments on a “when issued” basis, whereby the payment obligation, or yield to maturity, or coupon rate on the instruments may not be fixed at the time of the transaction. In addition, the Funds may invest in asset-backed securities on a delayed delivery basis. This reduces a Fund’s risk of early repayment of principal, but exposes the Funds to some additional risk that the transaction will not be consummated.

When a Fund enters into a firm commitment agreement, liability for the purchase price—and the rights and risks of ownership of the securities—accrues to the Fund at the time it becomes obligated to purchase such securities, although delivery and payment occur at a later date. Accordingly, if the market price of the security should decline, the effect of the agreement would be to obligate the Fund to purchase the security at a price above the current market price on the date of delivery and payment. During the time the Fund is obligated to purchase such securities, it will be required to segregate assets. See “Segregated Accounts” below.

Debt instruments generally

A debt instrument held by a Fund will be affected by general changes in interest rates that will, in turn, result in increases or decreases in the market value of the instrument. The market value of non-convertible debt instruments (particularly fixed-income instruments) in a Fund’s portfolio can be expected to vary inversely to changes in prevailing interest rates. In periods of declining interest rates, the yield of a Fund holding a significant amount of debt instruments will tend to be somewhat higher than prevailing market rates, and in periods of rising interest rates, the Fund’s yield will tend to be somewhat lower. In addition, when interest rates are falling, money received by such a Fund from the continuous sale of its shares will likely be invested in portfolio instruments producing lower yields than the balance of its portfolio, thereby reducing the Fund’s current yield. In periods of rising interest rates, the opposite result can be expected to occur. Interest rate risk is generally heightened during periods when prevailing interest rates are low or negative and during such periods, a Fund may not be able to maintain a positive yield or yields on par with historical levels.

Ratings as Investment Criteria. Nationally Recognized Statistical Ratings Organization (“NRSRO”) ratings represent the opinions of those organizations as to the quality of securities that they rate. Although these ratings, which are relative and subjective and are not absolute standards of quality, are used by Advisors as one of many criteria for the selection of portfolio securities on behalf of the Funds, Advisors also relies upon its own analysis to evaluate potential investments.

Subsequent to its purchase by a Fund, an issue of securities may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below the minimum required for purchase by the Fund. These events will not require the sale of the securities by a Fund. However, Advisors will consider the event in its determination of whether the Fund should continue to hold the securities. To the extent that a NRSRO’s rating changes as a result of a change in the NRSRO or its rating system, Advisors will attempt to use comparable ratings as standards for their investments in accordance with their investment objectives and policies.

The Money Market Fund utilizes short-term credit ratings of the following designated NRSROs to help determine whether a security is eligible for purchase by the Fund under applicable securities laws. The Board of Trustees has designated the following four NRSROs as the designated NRSROs of the Money Market Fund: (1) Moody’s Investors Service Inc. (“Moody’s”), (2) Standard & Poor’s, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (“S&P”), (3) Fitch Ratings, and (4) Dominion Bond Rating Service, Ltd.

Certain Investment-Grade Debt Obligations. Although obligations rated Baa by Moody’s or BBB by S&P are considered investment-grade, they may be viewed as being subject to greater risks than other investment-grade obligations. Obligations rated Baa by Moody’s are considered medium-grade obligations that lack outstanding investment characteristics and have speculative characteristics as well, while obligations rated BBB by S&P are regarded as having only an adequate capacity to pay principal and interest.

U.S. Government Debt Securities. Some of the Funds may invest in U.S. Government securities. These include: debt obligations of varying maturities issued by the U.S. Treasury or issued or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, Farmers Home Administration, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Small Business Administration, Government National Mortgage Association (“GNMA”), General Services Administration, any of the various institutions that previously were, or currently are, part of the Farm Credit System, including the National Bank for Cooperatives, the Farm Credit Banks and the Banks for Cooperatives, Federal Home Loan Banks, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“FHLMC”), Federal Intermediate

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Credit Banks, Federal Land Banks, Federal National Mortgage Association (“FNMA”), Maritime Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority and District of Columbia Armory Board. Direct obligations of the U.S. Treasury include a variety of securities that differ in their interest rates, maturities and issue dates. Certain of the foregoing U.S. Government securities are supported by the full faith and credit of the United States, whereas others are supported by the right of the agency or instrumentality to borrow an amount limited to a specific line of credit from the U.S. Treasury or by the discretionary authority of the U.S. Government or GNMA to purchase financial obligations of the agency or instrumentality. In contrast, certain of the foregoing U.S. Government securities are only supported by the credit of the issuing agency or instrumentality (e.g., GNMA). Because the U.S. Government is not obligated by law to support an agency or instrumentality that it sponsors, or its securities, a Fund only invests in U.S. Government securities when Advisors determines that the credit risk associated with the obligation is suitable for the Fund.

In September 2008, FNMA and FHLMC were placed under the conservatorship of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”). As the conservator, FHFA succeeded to all rights, titles, powers and privileges, as well as assets, of FNMA and FHLMC, although each of FNMA and FHLMC have continued to operate as going concerns while in conservatorship.

Although the U.S. Treasury Department subsequently announced several additional steps to enhance FNMA’s and FHLMC’s ability to meet their respective obligations, certain of these additional steps—a liquidity backstop and the mortgage-backed securities purchase program—expired in December 2009. In addition, under the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008 (the “Reform Act”), FHFA has the power, as conservator or receiver, to repudiate any contract entered into by FNMA or FHLMC prior to FHFA’s appointment under certain conditions. Therefore, the uncertainty surrounding the guaranty obligations of FNMA and FHLMC with respect to mortgage-backed securities, combined with the broad power of the FHFA to potentially cancel these guaranty obligations, could adversely impact the value of certain FNMA- and FHLM-guaranteed mortgage-backed securities held by the Funds.

Risks of Lower-Rated, Lower-Quality Debt Instruments. Lower-rated debt securities (i.e., those rated Ba or lower by Moody’s or BB or lower by S&P) are sometimes referred to as “high-yield” or “junk” bonds. Each of the Funds (except for the Money Market Fund) may invest in lower-rated debt securities. In particular, under normal market conditions, the High-Yield Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets in below investment-grade securities. These securities are considered, on balance, as predominantly speculative with respect to capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the obligation and will generally involve more credit risk than securities in the higher-rated categories. Reliance on credit ratings entails greater risks with regard to lower-rated securities than it does with regard to higher-rated securities, and Advisors’ success is more dependent upon its own credit analysis with regard to lower-rated securities than is the case with regard to higher-rated securities. The market values of such securities tend to reflect individual corporate developments to a greater extent than do higher-rated securities, which react primarily to fluctuations in the general level of interest rates. Such lower-rated securities also tend to be more sensitive to economic conditions than are higher-rated securities. Adverse publicity and investor perceptions, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, regarding lower-rated bonds may depress prices and liquidity for such securities. To the extent a Fund invests in these securities, factors adversely affecting the market value of lower-rated securities will adversely affect the Fund’s net asset value (“NAV”). In addition, a Fund may incur additional expenses to the extent it is required to seek recovery upon a default in the payment of principal or interest on its portfolio holdings.

A Fund may have difficulty disposing of certain lower-rated securities for which there is a thin trading market. Because not all dealers maintain markets in lower-rated securities, there is no established retail secondary market for many of these securities, and Advisors anticipates that they could be sold only to a limited number of dealers or institutional investors. To the extent there is a secondary trading market for lower-rated securities, it is generally not as liquid as that for higher-rated securities. The lack of a liquid secondary market for certain securities may make it more difficult for the Funds to obtain accurate market quotations for purposes of valuing their assets. Market quotations are generally available on many lower-rated issues only from a limited number of dealers and may not necessarily represent firm bids of such dealers or prices for actual sales. When market quotations are not readily available, lower-rated securities must be fair valued using procedures approved by the Board of Trustees. This valuation is more difficult and judgment plays a greater role in such valuation when there are less reliable objective data available.

Any debt instrument, no matter its initial rating, may after purchase by a Fund have its rating lowered due to the deterioration of the issuer’s financial position. Advisors may determine that an unrated security is of comparable quality to securities with a particular rating. Such unrated securities are treated as if they carried the rating of securities with which Advisors compares them.

Lower-rated debt securities may be issued by corporations in the growth stage of their development. They may also be issued in connection with a corporate reorganization or as part of a corporate takeover. Companies that issue such lower-rated securities are often highly leveraged and may not have available to them more traditional methods of financing. Therefore, the risk associated with acquiring the securities of such issuers is greater than is the case with higher-rated securities. For example, during an economic downturn or a sustained period of rising interest rates, highly leveraged issuers of lower-rated securities may experience financial stress. During such periods, such issuers may not have sufficient revenues to meet their interest payment obligations. The issuer’s ability to service its debt obligations may also be adversely affected

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by specific corporate developments, the issuer’s inability to meet specific projected business forecasts or the unavailability of additional financing.

The risk of loss due to default by the issuer is significantly greater for the holders of lower-rated securities because such securities are generally unsecured and are often subordinated to other creditors of the issuer.

It is possible that a major economic recession could adversely affect the market for lower-rated securities. Any such recession might severely affect the market for and the values of such securities, as well as the ability of the issuers of such securities to repay principal and pay interest thereon.

The Funds may acquire lower-rated securities that are sold without registration under the federal securities laws and therefore carry restrictions on resale. These Funds may incur special costs in disposing of such securities, but will generally incur no costs when the issuer is responsible for registering the securities.

The Funds may also acquire lower-rated securities during an initial underwriting. Such securities involve special risks because they are new issues. The Funds have no arrangement with any person concerning the acquisition of such securities, and Advisors will carefully review the credit and other characteristics pertinent to such new issues. A Fund may from time to time participate on committees formed by creditors to negotiate with the management of financially troubled issuers of securities held by the Fund. Such participation may subject the Fund to expenses such as legal fees and may make the Fund an “insider” of the issuer for purposes of the federal securities laws, and therefore may restrict the Fund’s ability to trade in or acquire additional positions in a particular security when it might otherwise desire to do so. Participation by the Fund on such committees also may expose the Fund to potential liabilities under the federal bankruptcy laws or other laws governing the rights of creditors and debtors. The Fund would participate on such committees only when Advisors believes that such participation is necessary or desirable to enforce the Fund’s rights as a creditor or to protect the value of securities held by the Fund.

Although most of the Funds can invest a percentage of their assets in lower-rated securities, the High-Yield Fund can invest up to 100% of its assets in debt instruments that are unrated or rated lower than the four highest rating categories assigned by Moody’s or S&P. Up to 20% of the High-Yield Fund’s assets may be invested in securities rated lower than B– or its equivalent by at least two rating agencies. Thus, the preceding information about lower-rated securities is especially applicable to the High-Yield Fund.

Corporate Debt Securities. A Fund may invest in corporate debt securities of U.S. and foreign issuers and/or hold its assets in these securities for cash management purposes. The investment return of corporate debt securities reflects interest earnings and changes in the market value of the security. The market value of a corporate debt obligation may be expected to rise and fall inversely with interest rates generally. There also exists the risk that the issuers of the securities may not be able to meet their obligations on interest or principal payments at the time called for by an instrument.

Zero Coupon Obligations. Some of the Funds may invest in zero coupon obligations. Zero coupon securities generally pay no cash interest (or dividends in the case of preferred stock) to their holders prior to maturity. Accordingly, such securities usually are issued and traded at a deep discount from their face or par value and generally are subject to greater fluctuations of market value in response to changing interest rates than securities of comparable maturities and credit quality that pay cash interest (or dividends in the case of preferred stock) on a current basis. Although a Fund will receive no payments on its zero coupon securities prior to their maturity or disposition, it will be required for federal income tax purposes generally to include in its dividends to shareholders each year an amount equal to the annual income that accrues on its zero coupon securities. Such dividends will be paid from the cash assets of the Fund, from borrowings or by liquidation of portfolio securities, if necessary, at a time that the Fund otherwise would not have done so. To the extent a Fund is required to liquidate thinly traded securities, the Fund may be able to sell such securities only at prices lower than if such securities were more widely traded. The risks associated with holding securities that are not readily marketable may be accentuated at such time. To the extent the proceeds from any such dispositions are used by a Fund to pay distributions, the Fund will not be able to purchase additional income-producing securities with such proceeds, and as a result its current income ultimately may be reduced.

Floating and Variable Rate Instruments. Variable and floating rate securities provide for a periodic adjustment in the interest rate paid on the obligations. The terms of such obligations provide that interest rates are adjusted periodically based upon an interest rate adjustment index as provided in the respective obligations. The adjustment intervals may be regular, and range from daily up to annually, or may be event based, such as based on a change in the prime rate. The interest rate on a floater is a variable rate which is tied to another interest rate, such as a money-market index or U.S. Treasury bill rate. The interest rate on a floater resets periodically, typically every 1–3 months. Some of the Funds may invest in floating and variable rate instruments. Income securities may provide for floating or variable rate interest or dividend payments. The floating or variable rate may be determined by reference to a known lending rate, such as a bank’s prime rate, a certificate of deposit rate or the London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Alternatively, the rate may be determined through an auction or remarketing process. The rate also may be indexed to changes in the values of the interest rate of securities indexed, currency exchange rate or other commodities. Variable and floating rate securities tend to be less sensitive than fixed-rate securities to interest rate changes and to have higher yields when interest rates increase. However, during rising interest rates, changes in the interest rate of an adjustable rate security may lag changes in market rates. The amount by which the rates are paid on an income security may

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increase or decrease and may be subject to periodic or lifetime caps. Fluctuations in interest rates above these caps could cause adjustable rate securities to behave more like fixed-rate securities in response to extreme movements in interest rates.

A Fund (except for the Money Market Fund) may also invest in inverse floating rate debt instruments (“inverse floaters”). The interest rate on an inverse floater resets in the opposite direction from the market rate of interest to which the inverse floater is indexed. An inverse floating rate security may exhibit greater price volatility than a fixed-rate obligation of similar credit quality. Such securities may also pay a rate of interest determined by applying a multiple to the variable rate. The extent of increases and decreases in the value of securities whose rates vary inversely with changes in market rates of interest generally will be larger than comparable changes in the value of an equal principal amount of a fixed-rate security having similar credit quality redemption provisions and maturity.

Foreign Debt Obligations. The debt obligations of foreign governments and entities may or may not be supported by the full faith and credit of the foreign government. A Fund may buy securities issued by certain “supra-national” entities, which include entities designated or supported by governments to promote economic reconstruction or development, international banking organizations and related government agencies. Examples are the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (more commonly known as the “World Bank”), the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

The governmental members of these supra-national entities are “stockholders” that typically make capital contributions and may be committed to make additional capital contributions if the entity is unable to repay its borrowings. A supra-national entity’s lending activities may be limited to a percentage of its total capital, reserves and net income. There can be no assurance that the constituent foreign governments will continue to be able or willing to honor their capitalization commitments for those entities.

Structured or Indexed Securities (including Exchange-Traded Notes, Equity-Linked Notes and Inflation-Indexed Bonds). Some of the Funds may invest in structured or indexed securities. The value of the principal of and/or interest on such securities is based on a reference such as a specific currency, interest rate, commodity, index or other financial indicator (the “Reference”) or the relative change in two or more References. The interest rate or the principal amount payable upon maturity or redemption may be increased or decreased depending upon changes in the applicable Reference. The terms of the structured or indexed securities may provide that in certain circumstances no principal is due at maturity and, therefore, may result in a loss of the Fund’s investment. Structured or indexed securities may be positively or negatively indexed, so that appreciation of the Reference may produce an increase or a decrease in the interest rate or value of the security at maturity. In addition, changes in interest rates or the value of the security at maturity may be some multiple of the change in the value of the Reference. Consequently, structured or indexed securities may entail a greater degree of market risk than other types of debt securities. Structured or indexed securities may also be more volatile, less liquid and more difficult to accurately price than less complex securities. Structured and indexed securities are generally subject to the same risks as other fixed-income securities in addition to the special risks associated with linking the payment of principal and/or interest payments (or other payable amounts) to the performance of a Reference.

A Fund may also invest in inflation-indexed bonds. Inflation-indexed bonds are fixed-income securities whose principal value is periodically adjusted according to the rate of inflation. Two structures are common. The U.S. Treasury and some other issuers use a structure that accrues inflation into the principal value of the bond. Most other issuers pay out the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) accruals as part of a semiannual coupon.

If the periodic adjustment rate measuring inflation falls, the principal value of inflation-indexed bonds will be adjusted downward, and consequently the interest payable on these securities (calculated with respect to a smaller principal amount) will be reduced. Repayment of the original bond principal upon maturity (as adjusted for inflation) is guaranteed in the case of a U.S. Treasury inflation-indexed bond, even during a period of deflation, although the inflation-adjusted principal received could be less than the inflation-adjusted principal that had accrued to the bond at the time of purchase. However, the current market value of the bonds is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. A Fund may also invest in other inflation-related bonds which may or may not provide a similar guarantee. If a guarantee of principal is not provided, the adjusted principal value of the bond repaid at maturity may be less than the original principal.

The value of inflation-indexed bonds is expected to change in response to changes in real interest rates. Real interest rates in turn are tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. Therefore, if the rate of inflation rises at a faster rate than nominal interest rates, real interest rates might decline, leading to an increase in value of inflation-indexed bonds. In contrast, if nominal interest rates increase at a faster rate than inflation, real interest rates might rise, leading to a decrease in value of inflation-indexed bonds.

While these securities are expected to be protected from long-term inflationary trends, short-term increases in inflation may lead to a decline in value. If interest rates rise due to reasons other than inflation (for example, due to changes in currency exchange rates), investors in these securities may not be protected to the extent that the increase is not reflected in the bond’s inflation measure.

The periodic adjustment of U.S. inflation-indexed bonds is tied to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“CPI-U”), which is not seasonally adjusted and which is calculated monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-U is a measurement of changes in the cost of living, made up of components such as housing, food, transportation and energy.

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Inflation-indexed bonds issued by a foreign government are generally adjusted to reflect a comparable inflation index calculated by that government. There can be no assurance that the CPI-U or any foreign inflation index will accurately measure the real rate of inflation in the prices of goods and services. Moreover, there can be no assurance that the rate of inflation in a foreign country will be correlated to the rate of inflation in the United States.

Money Market Fund Reform. The SEC recently adopted changes to the rules that govern money market funds. These changes will: (1) permit, subject to the discretion of the board of trustees, money market funds to impose a “liquidity fee” (up to 2%) and/or “gates” that temporarily restrict redemptions from the money market fund, if weekly liquidity levels fall below the required regulatory threshold; and (2) require “institutional” money market funds to operate with a floating NAV rounded to the fourth decimal place. “Government money market funds,” which are money market funds that invest in cash, U.S. Government securities, and/or repurchase agreements that are collateralized fully, are exempt from these requirements. These changes may affect a money market fund’s investment strategies, operations and/or return potential. As of the date of this SAI, Advisors is evaluating the potential impact of these changes, which have a phase-in compliance period ranging from July 2015 through October 2016.

Mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities

Mortgage-Backed and Asset-Backed Securities Generally. Some of the Funds may invest in mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, which represent direct or indirect participation in, or are collateralized by and payable from, mortgage loans secured by real property or instruments derived from such loans. Mortgage-backed securities include various types of mortgage-related securities such as government stripped mortgage-related securities, adjustable-rate mortgage-related securities and collateralized mortgage obligations. Some of the Funds may also invest in asset-backed securities, which represent participation in, or are secured by and payable from, assets such as motor vehicle installment sales contracts, installment loan contracts, leases of various types of real and personal property, receivables from revolving credit (i.e., credit card) agreements and other categories of receivables. These assets are typically pooled and securitized by governmental, government-related or private organizations through the use of trusts and special purpose entities established specifically to hold assets and to issue debt obligations backed by those assets. Asset-backed or mortgage-backed securities are normally created or “sponsored” by banks or other financial institutions or by certain government-sponsored enterprises such as FNMA or FHLMC.

Payments or distributions of principal and interest may be guaranteed up to certain amounts and for certain time periods by letters of credit or pool insurance policies issued by a financial institution unaffiliated with the trust or corporation. Other credit enhancements also may exist.

With respect to the Social Choice Bond Fund, Social Choice Equity Fund and Social Choice Bond Index Fund, Advisors does not take into consideration whether the sponsor of an asset-backed security in which a Fund invests meets the Fund’s screening criteria. That is because asset-backed securities represent interests in pools of loans, and not of the ongoing business enterprise of the sponsor. It is therefore possible that the Fund could invest in an asset-backed or mortgage-backed security sponsored by a bank or other financial institution in which the Fund could not invest directly.

Mortgage Pass-Through Securities. Mortgage-related securities represent pools of mortgage loans assembled for sale to investors by various governmental agencies, such as GNMA, by government related organizations, such as FNMA and FHLMC, as well as by private issuers, such as commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, mortgage bankers and private mortgage insurance companies.

Interests in pools of mortgage-related securities differ from other forms of debt securities, which normally provide for periodic payment of interest in fixed amounts with principal payments at maturity or specified call dates. Instead, these securities provide a monthly payment which consists of both interest and principal payments. In effect, these payments are a “pass-through” of the monthly payments made by the individual borrowers on their residential or commercial mortgage loans, net of any fees paid to the issuer or guarantor of such securities. Additional payments are caused by repayments of principal resulting from the sale of the underlying property, refinancing or foreclosure, net of fees or costs which may be incurred. Some mortgage-related securities are described as “modified pass-through.” These securities entitle the holder to receive all interest and principal payments owed on the mortgage pool, net of certain fees, at the scheduled payment dates regardless of whether or not the mortgagor actually makes the payment.

Commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers also create pass-through pools of conventional residential mortgage loans. Such issuers may, in addition, be the originators and/or servicers of the underlying mortgage loans as well as the guarantors of the mortgage-related securities. Pools created by such non-governmental issuers generally offer a higher rate of interest than government and government-related pools because there are no direct or indirect government or agency guarantees of payments in the former pools. However, timely payment of interest and principal of these pools may be supported by various forms of insurance or guarantees, including individual loan, title, pool and hazard insurance and letters of credit, which may be issued by governmental entities, private insurers or the mortgage poolers. The insurance and guarantees are issued by governmental entities, private insurers and the mortgage poolers. Such insurance and guarantees, and the creditworthiness of the issuers thereof, will be considered in determining whether a mortgage-related security meets a Fund’s investment quality standards.

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There can be no assurance that the private insurers or guarantors can meet their obligations under the insurance policies or guarantee arrangements. A Fund may buy mortgage-related securities without insurance or guarantees if, through an examination of the loan experience and practices of the originator/servicers and poolers, Advisors determines that the securities meet the Fund’s quality standards. Although the market for such securities is becoming increasingly liquid, securities issued by certain private organizations may not be readily marketable, especially in the current financial environment. In addition, recent developments in the fixed-income and credit markets may have an adverse impact on the liquidity of mortgage-related securities.

Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (“CMOs”). CMOs are structured into multiple classes, each bearing a different stated maturity. Similar to a bond, interest and prepaid principal is paid, in most cases, on a monthly basis. Actual maturity and average life will depend upon the prepayment experience of the collateral. CMOs provide for a modified form of call protection through a de facto breakdown of the underlying pool of mortgages according to how quickly the loans are repaid. Monthly payment of principal received from the pool of underlying mortgages, including prepayments, is first returned to investors holding the shortest maturity class. Investors holding the longer maturity classes receive principal only after the first class has been retired. An investor is partially guarded against a sooner than desired return of principal because of the sequential payments.

In a typical CMO transaction, a corporation (“issuer”) issues multiple series (e.g., A, B, C, Z) of CMO bonds (“Bonds”). Proceeds of the Bond offering are used to purchase mortgages or mortgage pass-through certificates (“Collateral”). The Collateral is pledged to a third party trustee as security for the Bonds.

Principal and interest payments from the Collateral are used to pay principal on the Bonds in the order A, B, C, Z. The Series A, B, and C Bonds all bear current interest. Interest on the Series Z Bond is accrued and added to principal and a like amount is paid as principal on the Series A, B, or C Bond currently being paid off. When the Series A, B, and C Bonds are paid in full, interest and principal on the Series Z Bond begin to be paid currently. With some CMOs, the issuer serves as a conduit to allow loan originators (primarily builders or savings and loan associations) to borrow against their loan portfolios.

The average maturity of pass-through pools of mortgage-related securities in which some of the Funds may invest varies with the maturities of the underlying mortgage instruments. In addition, a pool’s stated maturity may be shortened by unscheduled payments on the underlying mortgages. Factors affecting mortgage prepayments include the level of interest rates, general economic and social conditions, location of the mortgaged property and age of the mortgage. For example, in periods of falling interest rates, the rate of prepayment tends to increase, thereby shortening the actual average life of the mortgage-related security. Conversely, when interest rates are rising, the rate of prepayment tends to decrease, thereby lengthening the actual average life of the mortgage-related security. Accordingly, it is not possible to accurately predict the average life of a particular pool. Reinvestment of prepayments may occur at higher or lower rates than originally expected. Therefore, the actual maturity and realized yield on pass-through or modified pass-through mortgage-related securities will vary based upon the prepayment experience of the underlying pool of mortgages. For purposes of calculating the average life of the assets of the relevant Fund, the maturity of each of these securities will be the average life of such securities based on the most recent estimated annual prepayment rate.

Asset-Backed Securities Unrelated to Mortgage Loans. Some of the Funds may invest in asset-backed securities that are unrelated to mortgage loans. These include, but are not limited to, credit card securitizations, auto and equipment lease and loan securitizations and rate reduction bonds. In the case of credit card securitizations, it is typical to have a revolving master trust issue “soft bullet” maturities representing a fractional interest in trusts whose assets consist of revolving credit card receivables. Auto and equipment lease and loan securitizations reference specific static asset pools whereby monthly payments of principal and interest are passed through directly to certificate holders typically in order of seniority. The ultimate performance of these securities is a function of both the creditworthiness of the borrowers as well as recovery obtained on collateral foreclosed upon by the respective trust(s). Rate reduction bonds represent a secured interest in future rate recovery on stranded utility assets that may result from, for example, storm damages or environmental costs. Typically these costs are recouped over time from a broad rate payer base. The performance of these securities would depend primarily upon a continuance of sufficient rate base to repay the notes in the specified time frame and a stable regulatory environment.

Mortgage Dollar Rolls. Some of the Funds may enter into mortgage “dollar rolls” in which the Fund sells securities for delivery in the current month and simultaneously contracts with a counterparty to repurchase either similar or substantially identical securities on a specified future date. To be considered “substantially identical,” the securities returned to a Fund generally must: (1) be collateralized by the same types of underlying mortgages; (2) be issued by the same agency and be part of the same program; (3) have the same original stated maturity; (4) have identical net coupon rates; (5) have identical form and type so as to provide the same risks and rights; and (6) satisfy “good delivery” requirements, meaning that the aggregate principal amounts of the securities delivered and received back must be within 2.5% of the initial amount delivered. The Fund loses the right to receive principal and interest paid on the securities sold. However, the Fund would benefit to the extent of any price received for the securities sold and the lower forward price for the future purchase (often referred to as the “drop”) plus the interest earned on the short-term investment awaiting the settlement date of the forward purchase. Unless such benefits exceed the income and gain or loss due to mortgage repayments that would have been realized on the securities sold as part of

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the mortgage dollar roll, the use of this technique will diminish the investment performance of the Fund compared with what such performance would have been without the use of mortgage dollar rolls. The Fund will hold and maintain in a segregated account until the settlement date cash or liquid assets in an amount equal to the forward purchase price. The benefits derived from the use of mortgage dollar rolls may depend upon Advisors’ ability to predict correctly mortgage prepayments and interest rates. There is no assurance that mortgage dollar rolls can be successfully employed. In connection with mortgage dollar roll transactions, a Fund could receive securities with investment characteristics that are different than those originally sold by the Fund, which may adversely affect the sensitivity of the Fund to changes in interest rates.

Securities Lending. Subject to the Funds’ fundamental investment policies relating to loans of portfolio securities set forth above, each Fund may lend its securities to brokers and dealers that are not affiliated with Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (“TIAA”), are registered with the SEC and are members of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), and also to certain other financial institutions. All loans will be fully collateralized. In connection with the lending of its securities, a Fund will receive as collateral cash, securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government (e.g., Treasury securities), or other collateral permitted by applicable law, which at all times while the loan is outstanding will be maintained in amounts equal to at least 102% of the current market value of the outstanding loaned securities, or such lesser percentage as may be permitted by the SEC (including a decline in the value of the collateral) (not to fall below 100% of the market value of the loaned securities), as reviewed daily. Cash collateral received by a Fund will generally be invested in high-quality short-term instruments, or in one or more funds maintained by the securities lending agent for the purpose of investing cash collateral. During the term of the loan, a Fund will continue to have investment risks with respect to the securities being loaned, as well as risk with respect to the investment of the cash collateral, and a Fund may lose money as a result of the investment of such collateral. In addition, a Fund could suffer loss if the loan terminates and the Fund is forced to liquidate investments at a loss in order to return the cash collateral to the buyer.

By lending its securities, a Fund will receive amounts equal to the interest or dividends paid on the securities loaned and, in addition, will expect to receive a portion of the income generated by the short-term investment of cash received as collateral or, alternatively, where securities or letter of credit are used as collateral, a lending fee paid directly to the Fund by the borrower of the securities. Under certain circumstances, a portion of the lending fee may be paid or rebated to the borrower by the Fund. Such loans will be terminable by the Fund at any time and will not be made to affiliates of TIAA. A Fund may terminate a loan of securities in order to regain record ownership of, and to exercise beneficial rights related to, the loaned securities, including, but not necessarily limited to, voting or subscription rights, and Advisors may, in the exercise of its fiduciary duties, terminate a loan in the event that a vote of holders of those securities is required on a material matter. A Fund may pay reasonable fees to persons unaffiliated with the Fund for services, or for arranging such loans, or for acting as securities lending agent (each an “Agent”). Loans of securities will be made only to firms deemed creditworthy. In lending its securities, a Fund bears the market risk with respect to the investment of collateral and the risk the borrower or Agent may default on its contractual obligations to the Fund. Each Agent bears the risk that the borrower may default on its obligation to return the loaned securities as the Agent is contractually obligated to indemnify the Fund if at the time of a default by a borrower some or all of the loaned securities have not been returned.

Repurchase Agreements. Repurchase agreements are one of several short-term vehicles the Funds can use to manage cash balances effectively. In a repurchase agreement, the Funds buy an underlying debt instrument on the condition that the seller agrees to buy it back at a fixed price and time (usually no more than a week and never more than a year). Repurchase agreements have the characteristics of loans, and will be fully collateralized (either with physical securities or evidence of book entry transfer to the account of the custodian bank) at all times. During the term of the repurchase agreement, the Fund entering into the agreement retains the security subject to the repurchase agreement as collateral securing the seller’s repurchase obligation, continually monitors the market value of the security subject to the agreement, and requires the Fund’s seller to deposit with the Fund additional collateral equal to any amount by which the market value of the security subject to the repurchase agreement falls below the resale amount provided under the repurchase agreement. Each Fund will enter into repurchase agreements only with member banks of the Federal Reserve System, or with primary dealers in U.S. Government securities or their wholly owned subsidiaries whose creditworthiness has been reviewed and found satisfactory by Advisors and who have, therefore, been determined to present minimal credit risk.

Securities underlying repurchase agreements will be limited to certificates of deposit, commercial paper, bankers’ acceptances, or obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities, in which the Fund entering into the agreement may otherwise invest.

If a seller of a repurchase agreement defaults and does not repurchase the security subject to the agreement, the Fund entering into the agreement would look to the collateral underlying the seller’s repurchase agreement, including the securities subject to the repurchase agreement, for satisfaction of the seller’s obligation to the Fund. In such event, the Fund might incur disposition costs in liquidating the collateral and might suffer a loss if the value of the collateral declines. In addition, if bankruptcy proceedings are instituted against a seller of a repurchase agreement, realization upon the collateral may be delayed or limited.

TIAA-CREF Funds    Statement of Additional Information     15


Swap Transactions. Each Fund (other than the Money Market Fund) may, to the extent permitted by the applicable regulatory authorities, enter into privately negotiated “swap” transactions with other financial institutions in order to take advantage of investment opportunities generally not available in public markets. In general, these transactions involve “swapping” a return based on certain securities, instruments, or financial indices with another party, such as a commercial bank, in exchange for a return based on different securities, instruments, or financial indices. The Global Natural Resources Fund may also engage in swaps based on natural resources or other commodities.

By entering into a swap transaction, a Fund may be able to protect the value of a portion of its portfolio against declines in market value. Each Fund may also enter into swap transactions to facilitate implementation of allocation strategies between different market segments or countries or to take advantage of market opportunities that may arise from time to time. A Fund may be able to enhance its overall performance if the return offered by the other party to the swap transaction exceeds the return swapped by the Fund. However, there can be no assurance that the return a Fund receives from the counterparty to the swap transaction will exceed the return it swaps to that party.

While the Funds will only enter into swap transactions with counterparties considered creditworthy (and will monitor the creditworthiness of parties with which they enter into swap transactions), a risk inherent in swap transactions is that the other party to the transaction may default on its obligations under the swap agreement. In times of general market turmoil, the creditworthiness of even large, well-established counterparties may decline rapidly. If the other party to the swap transaction defaults on its obligations, the Fund entering into the agreement would be limited to the agreement’s contractual remedies. There can be no assurance that a Fund will succeed when pursuing its contractual remedies. To minimize a Fund’s exposure in the event of default, it will usually enter into swap transactions on a net basis (i.e., the parties to the transaction will net the payments payable to each other before such payments are made). When a Fund enters into swap transactions on a net basis, the net amount of the excess, if any, of the Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each such swap agreement will be accrued on a daily basis and an amount of liquid assets having an aggregate market value at least equal to the accrued excess will be segregated by the Fund’s custodian. To the extent a Fund enters into swap transactions other than on a net basis, the amount segregated will be the full amount of the Fund’s obligations, if any, with respect to each such swap agreement, accrued on a daily basis. See “Segregated Accounts,” below.

In addition to other swap transactions, certain Funds may purchase and sell Contracts for Difference (“CFDs”). A CFD is a form of equity swap in which its value is based on the fluctuating value of some underlying asset (e.g., shares of a particular stock or a stock index). A CFD is a contract between two parties, buyer and seller, stipulating that the seller will pay to the buyer the difference between the nominal value of the underlying stock at the opening of the contract and the stock’s value at the close of the contract. The size of the contract and the contract’s expiration date are typically negotiated by the parties to the CFD transaction. CFDs enable a Fund to take short or long positions on an underlying stock and thus potentially capture gains on movements in the share prices of the stock without the need to own the underlying stock.

By entering into a CFD transaction, a Fund could incur losses because it would face many of the same types of risks as owning the underlying equity security directly. For example, a Fund might buy a sh