Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions 2017-05-25T15:51:52-05:00

General Giving Questions

SMU’s tuition and endowment are so high; why do they need more money? 2017-05-18T16:54:54-05:00

SMU is fortunate to have a substantial endowment, just over $1 billion. However, only about 16% of SMU’s annual budget is obtained from the endowment each year. Also, in order to generate endowment income equal to the 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, securing the finest faculty, improving technology, among other great needs. Regardless of size, your support is important and does make a difference to the students of SMU.

What if I can’t afford to make a large gift this year? Does my gift even make a difference? 2017-05-19T08:56:07-05:00

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.

Why should I give to the SMU Fund? 2017-05-19T08:56:29-05:00

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 71% 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
  • Keep our library up-to-date with the information our students need to support their educational experience
  • Purchase research materials and technologies used by our faculty and students
  • 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.

What is SMU’s annual giving goal? 2017-05-19T08:56:39-05:00

SMU depends on continuing annual support from alumni, parents and friends. To remain competitive among its peer institutions SMU seeks to maintain a rate of 23-24% giving by its alumni every year. Please make your annual gift by May 31, the end of SMU’s fiscal year.

How often does SMU send out solicitations? 2017-05-19T08:57:11-05:00

You can expect to hear from SMU regularly as we continue general fundraising initiatives and begin new projects that enhance the various areas of this great university.

June 1 – May 31: SMU’s fundraising cycle – All alumni are scheduled to receive various mail and email solicitations during a fundraising cycle. Current SMU students also make phone calls through the SMU TelePony program.

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 – SMU Chapters welcome alumni, parents and friends in cities 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.

How can I make a gift? 2017-11-29T10:20:41-06:00

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 223927
Dallas, TX 75222-9972

You may also call SMU’s Office of Annual Giving at 1-800-768-9996.

I work for a matching gift company. How do I secure a matching gift for SMU? 2018-03-21T15:55:09-05:00

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.

Does my gift count toward my reunion? 2017-05-19T08:58:04-05:00

Absolutely. In your reunion year, your gift IS your Reunion Class Gift. In addition to your annual commitment to SMU, we hope that you will make that meaningful “stretch” gift during your reunion year to show how much your SMU experience meant to you. Many alumni choose to make this commitment by setting up a recurring gift that will extend until their next reunion in five years.

What is SMU’s tax ID number? 2018-05-08T15:53:22-05:00

SMU’s tax ID number is 175-0800689-1.

SMU Endowment

How can I establish an endowed fund? 2017-09-21T16:50:33-05:00

Learn about establishing an endowment, and be a part of defining the second century of unbridled achievement at SMU. To make your impact on SMU, you can call 214-768-1911 or e-mail We can answer your questions and provide the next steps.

Can we add to the endowment fund over time? 2017-09-21T16:54:06-05:00

Yes. Gifts to the endowment fund’s principal or operating accounts can be made at any time. The Office of Gift Planning can help direct a gift to the appropriate fund.

Can I give a gift to endowment without establishing an endowment? 2017-05-30T10:00:28-05:00

Yes. Gifts to an endowment fund’s principal or operating accounts can be made by anyone. There are named endowments and more general endowments that support specific schools or priorities. The Office of Planned and Endowment Giving can help direct a gift to the appropriate fund.

If I can receive a higher rate of return, shouldn’t I invest it myself so I can give SMU a larger gift? 2017-05-25T15:46:49-05:00

You may be able to take on more investment risk and thus receive a better return. SMU, on the other hand, has a fiscal responsibility to its students, parents, faculty, and staff to weigh risk carefully, while at the same time investing prudently.

By adding your gift to the SMU Endowment you increase its opportunity for more rapid growth.  The data clearly demonstrate that universities with larger endowments experience faster and greater growth. SMU’s endowment took 80 years to reach $500 million. Reaching that milestone enabled the endowment to double in size to over $1 billion in only 10 years. Your gift not only invests for the future, but it works for SMU today.

Who invests and manages the SMU Endowment? 2017-05-30T10:00:45-05:00

The University’s Chief Investment Officer and an Investment Committee appointed by the Board of Trustees.

How are endowment earnings spent? 2017-05-25T15:47:09-05:00

Endowment earnings are spent according to the purpose and restrictions agreed upon by the donor and University when the endowment was established.

I want to give to the endowment, but I don’t have substantial resources. How can I participate? 2017-09-21T16:55:55-05:00

There are several options. First, remember that gifts of any size to the SMU endowment are welcome and appreciated. Also, you might consider a planned gift, such as a bequest in your will, an insurance policy, or a retirement fund designation. Some donors choose a retained life estate, for a future gift of their home or farm. Other gifts, through an annuity or trust, can provide both life income and support for SMU. Some of these have significant tax benefits to the donor. You can contact the Office of Gift Planning to get more information.

Telepony Student Callers

Why does SMU call me? 2017-11-29T10:18:47-06:00

Our students enjoy sharing their SMU calls to request alumni and parent support for the annual needs of the University, it’s schools, and departments. Some of the most critical needs are scholarships, faculty support, and campus operating costs.

Who is calling me? 2017-11-29T10:18:05-06:00

Our students enjoy sharing their SMU experience with you and hearing about your time on campus. Current SMU students make all calls from the Dallas campus. We call undergraduate and graduate alumni of the University and parents. Other campus organizations, such as the Mustang Club, conduct separate calling campaigns.

When does SMU call? 2017-11-29T10:18:01-06:00

We call on weeknight evenings and weekends. We do not call after 9:00 pm for any time zone. If you would like to schedule a call from a student at a specific time, please email with your request.

What if I do not want to receive any more calls from SMU students? 2017-11-29T10:17:51-06:00

Although our students enjoy speaking to you and greatly appreciate your support, we realize you may not want to receive these types of calls.

To request to be removed from our calling list, you can email or call 1-800-768-9996.

What if I keep missing the call, but want to make a commitment to SMU? 2017-11-29T10:17:20-06:00

Thank you, we appreciate your support of SMU! You can make a credit card gift to SMU using our online giving form or call 1-800-768-9996 to make a gift over the phone. You can also email to request a phone call with a student at a specific time of day.

What if I have a compliment or complaint about my phone call? 2017-11-29T10:17:15-06:00

You can call 1-800-768-9996 or email to communicate your experience directly to the SMU Annual Giving Office. We greatly appreciate your feedback, it helps us to enhance our program, that ultimately benefits SMU!

Is it safe to give my credit card information over the phone to the SMU student? 2017-11-29T10:17:09-06:00

Yes, it is safe and secure. The student will enter your credit card information into our system, it will be processed by SMU the next day. If you are concerned about giving your credit card information over the phone, you can make your credit card payment through our secure online giving form or you can make your contribution by check.

How can I be certain that the person calling is from SMU? 2017-11-29T10:17:03-06:00

If you are concerned about a call you receive, please ask to speak to the call center manager directly. You can also email to verify SMU is calling you. We will respond to your email within 48 hours.