Both sponsors and participants of 403(b) retirement plans increased their contribution levels in 2012, according to the fifth annual benchmarking survey by the Plan Sponsor Council of America. The survey found that 82.3 percent of the nonprofit organizations, public schools, colleges and universities that offer 403(b) plans contributed to their plans last year, with the average contribution being nearly 10 percent higher than in 2011. The percentage of participants contributing to plans increased to 66.2 percent in 2012 from 64.3 percent in 2011. Average deferral rates also ticked higher to 5.7 percent from 5.4 percent in 2011. More highlights of the survey, which is sponsored by Des Moines-based Principal Financial Group Inc., can be viewed here.