Sadly, changes in 403b rules by our very own Fed Gummint are to blame. New requirements calling for FA type services to contributors caused the low cost brokerage houses to drop out of being providers leaving only insurance company/annunity outfits and loaded fund providers.
For example, in DW's school district, until 12-31-2008 you could have your 403b with Vanguard or Fidelity along with the usual cast of insurance company - anuuity houses. Now, Vanguard dropped out all together and Fidelity switched from the Fidelity brokerage house to Fidelity Advisors which offers only load funds complete with a FA to "provide guidance."
Apparently the Fed govt folks felt 403b contributors weren't very smart and were making dumb decisions with their investments so they changed the rules to require that plans offer FA-type services. Therefore the low cost brokerage houses dropped out leaving only insurance-annuity folks and load fund folks.
The only work around we've been able to find is to have DW contribute to Fidelity Advisors and avoid the loads by using only the MM which is load free. She only plans to work 1.5 more years (and even that's part time) and when she's done, she'll roll it to an IRA.
The good news? They now have Roth 403b's. We've never qualified for Roth, so this gives her a chance to do some contributing into that category.
Go here and do some reading......
Particualarly this article.....
New 403(b) Regulations Now