SMU’s increasing student quality helped drive the University’s recent rise in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of the best American universities.

The average SAT scores of entering undergraduate students has risen by nearly 100 points, to 1244, during the last decade, an increase that is directly attributable to an increase in the number of merit-based scholarships offered by the University.

Since the start of The Second Century Campaign, the number of undergraduate scholarships funded through endowed gifts has grown from 500 to more than 700. In addition, more than 125 multiyear annual scholarships are awarded each year, improving the measurable quality of the SMU student body. Merit-based scholarships offered by the University include President’s Scholarships, Hunt Leadership Scholarships and a range of scholarships offered by SMU’s schools.

Scholarship Funding

Scholarships have enabled SMU to recruit a student body that is stronger academically and that features greater racial, ethnic, socio-economic and geographic diversity.

Scholarships and fellowships also are vitally important to recruit outstanding graduate students for each of our Master’s and doctoral degree programs. The amount of these stipends is often the difference in a candidate’s decision to choose SMU to continue his or her academic pursuits.

Top students bring vitality and energy to every aspect of campus and academic life. They enrich the quality of the classroom experience, inspire their peers, challenge their professors and contribute to a university’s academic reputation.

At the same time, scholarships have enabled SMU to attract a student body that features greater racial, ethnic, socio-economic and geographic diversity. In the past 10 years, the percentage of students from outside Texas has increased from 38 percent to 48 percent.

During the same period, the international student population has grown from seven percent to 10 percent, and the minority student population has increased from 19 percent to 26 percent.

This increased diversity has contributed to the creation of an academic community enriched by students with a variety of backgrounds, interests and experiences. This dual combination of academic quality and student diversity makes it possible for SMU to offer an educational experience unique in the Southwest.

“I have never taught a class when I didn’t learn something new and interesting from the bright students attracted to SMU by its scholarship support,” says Professor Miguel A. Quiñones, O. Paul Corley Distinguished Chair in Organizational Behavior in Cox School of Business.

“My SMU scholarships said to me, ‘We’re investing in you because we think you can create change and make an impact,’” says senior Alaa Al-Barghuthi from Plano, Texas, a recipient of multiple scholarships, including a Hunt Leadership Scholarship, who is majoring in business and French. “The wealth of opportunities – from meeting world leaders to serving in student government – is why I’m here.”

To learn more about supporting SMU’s student quality, please contact Pam Conlin, assistant vice president for University Development, at 214-768-3738 or, or visit studentquality.aspx.