SMU Giving

Frequently Asked Questions

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1. SMU's tuition and endowment are so high; why do they need more money?

SMU is fortunate to have a substantial endowment, just over $1 billion. However, only about 5% of SMU's annual budget is obtained from the endowment each year as much of this money is held in restricted trusts or reserved for specific accounts. Also, in order to generate the same amount raised by annual funds last year, the endowment would have needed to grow an additional $42 million.

Annual giving dollars go immediately back to the students by providing scholarships, improving technology, among other great needs. Regardless of size, your support is important and does make a difference to the students of SMU.

2. What if I can't afford to make a large gift this year? Does my gift even make a difference?

Every tax-deductible gift makes a difference to SMU. Your gift sends a powerful message that you support this institution and its educational mission, and it has made a difference in your life. Gifts of all sizes make an impact. Some foundations and other grant-making organizations look at the number of gifts rather than total amounts when determining grant requests. Your gift, viewed as a vote of confidence, could help SMU secure thousands of dollars in funding.

3. Why should I give to the SMU Fund?

    Tuition, fees, and endowment income don't cover the total cost of what it takes to provide an SMU education each year. In fact, tuition covers only about 75% of the entire cost of an SMU degree. Many people don't realize that alumni have always supported the SMU Fund to help defray the cost of rising tuition.

    Alumni, parents, and friends contribute to the SMU Fund each year and help meet the University's ongoing need for flexible, unrestricted income to support our academic missions.

Last year alone, thousands of donors provided significant support to the SMU Fund that helped the University:

  • Attract and maintain world-class faculty in each department
  • Continue its commitment to need-based financial aid
  • Renew subscriptions to scholarly journals and keep our library up-to-date with the information our students need to support their educational experience
  • Purchase needed materials and technologies used by our faculty members
  • Provide support for every facet of the student experience

Simply put, as an SMU Fund participant, you help SMU continue to grow as an incomparable place of higher learning.

4. What is SMU’s annual giving goal?

SMU's goal is to increase our annual participation to 25% by 2015. In order to reach this goal, SMU depends on continuing annual support from alumni, parents and friends. Please make your annual gift by May 31, the end of SMU's fiscal year.

5. How often does SMU send out solicitations?

You can expect to hear from SMU regularly as we continue fundraising initiatives and begin new projects. Here is a detailed list of communications you can expect from us throughout the year.

June 1 – May 31: SMU’s fundraising cycle – All alumni are scheduled to receive each of the following solicitations during a fundraising cycle.

    General communications alumni can expect to receive from SMU:

    SMU Magazine: Comprehensive SMU coverage – Stay connected with SMU through human interest stories about other alumni, faculty and students. Read class notes to keep in touch with your peers and see the accomplishments of others. Let others know what you’ve been up to as well. Receive one issue each fall and one each spring.

    SMU Update: Electronic newsletter – Keep up with current news from the Hilltop, test your knowledge of SMU’s history and post photos of you and your family through this interactive e-newsletter. You will receive one every month.

    Event Invitations: SMU in your backyard – Chapters of alumni exist all over the country. Events are held periodically to unite area alumni through their common SMU connection. Invitations for these events are sent through the mail and via email using the contact information you provide us.

    Solicitations to expect in the fall:

    SMU Mailing Labels: Personalized return address labels – These labels are sent with a solicitation letter to all alumni who have not made a gift since June 1. A follow-up letter is sent two weeks later as a reminder.

    Tax Deadline Reminder: Tax deductible gifts – Many donors make their gifts to SMU prior to December 31 in order to receive the tax benefits for that calendar year. This letter is sent to alumni who have not yet made their gift in the current fundraising cycle. A follow-up email is sent as a reminder for alumni who prefer the convenience of making a gift online.

    SMU Student Phone Call: TelePony – Alumni who have not made a gift in the current fundraising cycle will receive a phone call from a current SMU student. These students and alumni enjoy connecting over a variety of topics and experiences – campus activities, sports, favorite professors, etc.

    Solicitations to expect in the spring:

    Letter from your school’s dean: Each school’s dean sends a solicitation letter to alumni who have not yet made their gift in the current fundraising cycle. The letter highlights information about school initiatives and special projects that may be of interest. A follow-up letter from the dean is sent two weeks later as a reminder.

    SMU Student Phone Call: TelePony – Alumni who have not made a gift in the current fundraising cycle will receive a phone call from a current SMU student.

    SMU E-mail: Near the end of the fundraising cycle, an e-mail is sent as a reminder to alumni who have not made a gift during the current fundraising cycle and who prefer the convenience of making a gift online.

6. What's the difference between restricted and unrestricted gifts?

Unrestricted gifts vs. endowment gifts: Money generated by the SMU endowment is allocated in advance for specific uses. Money from the SMU Fund, in contrast, is unrestricted, meaning that it is disbursed on a current-use basis to meet some of the University's most pressing needs.

7. Does my gift count toward my reunion?

Absolutely. In your reunion year, your gift IS your Reunion Class Gift. Every five years during a reunion celebration, we hope that you will make that meaningful "stretch" gift to show how much your SMU experience meant to you.

8. I work for a matching gift company. How do I secure a matching gift for SMU?

Thanks for designating your company's matching gifts to SMU. If you or your spouse work for a matching gift company, and you direct it to SMU along with your gift, you will be given credit for the total amount. In order to complete the transaction, you must request the paperwork from your company's human resources department and send the form to SMU with your gift. We then complete our portion and return it to your company.

If you don’t know if your company matches charitable donations, search our matching gifts database to find out.

9. How can I make a gift?

There are several ways for you to make your gift to SMU:

  • Make a credit card gift online now. Our online gift form is the easiest and quickest way to make your contribution! We currently accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
  • You can make a gift by simply writing a check payable to "SMU” and sending it to:

  • SMU
    Gift Administration
    PO Box 750402
    Dallas, TX 75275-0402
  • You may also call SMU’s Office of Annual Giving at 800-768-9996 to make a gift or to ask a question about making a gift to SMU.