The University of Dallas’ historic endowment: what a student should know

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Photo by Francesca Norman

65 years since its founding, the University of Dallas celebrates the momentous accomplishment of an endowment of $100 million. This achievement is credited to generous donations and the tireless fundraising efforts of the university’s Board of Trustees. 

In the fiscal year of 2021, ranging from June 1, 2020, to May 31, 2021, around $1.49 million were given to the university in philanthropy towards the institution’s endowments — around a whopping 30% of the year’s philanthropic contributions. 

Endowment contributions have increased over the past three years: $71,973 in the fiscal year 2018, $292,596 in the fiscal year 2019, and $872,739 in the fiscal year 2020. 

UD has faced several obstacles trying to make ends meet. In the past two years, COVID-19 has forced the university to focus on more immediate needs such as student financial aid and scholarship support.

When explaining the connection between this historic endowment and student financial assistance, Kris Munoz Vetter, the vice president for advancement, said “Approximately $13.7 million of our endowment — which serves as a permanent assets of the university — is specifically restricted to scholarship support.”

“Each year the payout from the endowment is computed based on [the] current approved spending rate of 5.5% and averaging the endowment values over 12 quarters. Ultimately, the payout from endowment to the university on [an] annual basis is currently less than $1 million,” Vetter said.

As reported by the Office of the Chief Financial Officer based on data in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, UD’s endowment value per full-time equivalent student is $37,207 per year, slightly below the median of $38,291 among its competitors: other Catholic and private universities. 

Comparatively to institutions of similar sizes on this list, such as Ave Maria University and the Franciscan University of Steubenville, with an endowment value per FTE student of $4,028 and $23,428, respectively, UD statistically leaves them far behind. Another interesting note to add is that this historic endowment will also allow for the university’s growth in a direction of excellence. 

“This 100 million dollar level, which is something that the University of Dallas prides itself in,” said Tan Parker, a member of the Texas House of Representatives for District 63 and UD’s Board of Trustees,  “will now allow the University of Dallas to attract the best and brightest students and the most phenomenal faculty. It’s an incredible accomplishment in the development of the institution’s maturity and will help the university to continue to grow in its selectivity.”

As UD continues forward, it is likely that with endowments such as these, it will retain its unofficial title as “The Most Generous Option” among its many competitors in America.

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