President Turner Outlines Summer and Fall Plans

Dear SMU Community,

As the semester comes to a close, excitement is building for what lies ahead. We have nearly completed a full school year in the midst of a global pandemic. And we made the most of it – successfully continuing the high-quality education and engaging campus life for which SMU is known.

Now our focus turns toward preparing for a regular semester this fall. In January, we announced our plans to resume normal, in-person instruction by then. During the upcoming weeks and months, you will see modifications in our campus operations as we systematically and carefully make that transition.

This is a good time to move forward. The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center has delivered more than 2,500 vaccinations – the majority of them to students – and will continue to offer first doses with follow-up shots throughout the summer and fall. Anyone who chooses to be vaccinated has the opportunity. Many of you have already received the vaccine through SMU’s health partners or other locations as our community joined in the broader effort to stop the spread of the virus.

The drastic decline in the number of SMU cases demonstrates the current health of our campus. The Mustang Strong COVID-19 dashboard has recorded fewer than a dozen cases a day for the past month, with single-digit numbers of people in quarantine or isolation. Dallas County case numbers also remain very low, as do hospitalizations. While this is a promising trend, we are taking nothing for granted. Along with our reduced restrictions, we are also preparing a contingency plan in case it’s needed.

Over the summer, we will gradually move to normal occupancy limits in all spaces across campus and lessen other restrictions as appropriate while continuing to closely monitor federal and state health recommendations. You can view the full list of changes and their timelines below.

X = activity/procedure will take place

Additional information concerning fall operations will be provided over the summer months.

I hope you are encouraged, as I am, by our University’s campuswide response to this world-changing situation. We worked together and kept going. Now, let’s look forward to a more traditional fall on the Hilltop­­. Pony Up and stay Mustang Strong.

R. Gerald Turner

SMU President

Amazon Gift Card Opportunity from SMU

Update: The offer detailed below expired on Saturday, May 15, 2021. While returning students are still encouraged to voluntarily update their vaccine status through the same portal, the Amazon gift card incentive is no longer available.

April 27, 2021

Dear Mustang,

Greetings from the Office of the Dean of Students! I hope your spring semester is wrapping up successfully and you are looking forward to some well-deserved rest and rejuvenation.

As you know, SMU is reviewing operations and making plans. Having a good understanding of how many members of our campus community have been vaccinated will help inform key operational decisions for the summer and fall terms.

Therefore – and through consultation with SMU CAN, SMU is offering a one-time $10 electronic Amazon gift card to students in appreciation for registering their COVID-19 vaccine status in the self-reporting tool on the Mustang Strong vaccine page.

We appreciate your taking the time to participate. You’ll be asked:

  • if you have received one or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • plan to get the vaccine eventually
  • are undecided
  • do not intend to receive it


Once you have completed the reporting tool, you will receive the e-gift card regardless of your response and vaccine intention. Please watch your SMU email address for an Amazon email with a Mustang Strong logo.

You are also eligible for this thank you gift if you already reported your vaccine status on the Mustang Strong vaccine page. You will receive an email asking if you would like to receive the one-time $10 Amazon e-gift card for your response. Just reply “yes” and watch for it to arrive in your inbox.

SMU is planning for our traditional in-person classes and on-campus activities this fall with a continued commitment to the health and safety of our students and employees. Thank you for doing your part in helping SMU stay Mustang Strong.

Pony Up!

Melinda J. Sutton, Ph.D.

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs

and Dean of Students

Moderna Vaccine Availability at Urgent Care for Kids Clinics for SMU Employees and Dependents

Dear SMU Employees-

Our partners at Urgent Care for Kids have notified us that they are providing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at two of their DFW clinic locations: Plano and Alliance (Ft. Worth).  The Moderna vaccine is approved for individuals who are 18 years of age or older.

SMU employees and their dependents who wish to receive the vaccine should visit the Urgent Care for Kids website to register for an appointment. Book your appointment as soon as possible as vaccine supplies are limited.

If you have already received a partial or full COVID-19 vaccination series, please complete the self-reporting tool on the Mustang Strong’s vaccine page.

Your voluntary submission of this information is critically important to manage the health and safety of the SMU community. This information will be used to assess the quantity of vaccines SMU will request from the State of Texas, and may also help inform decisions about operational changes to the campus.

We express our gratitude to Urgent Care for Kids for providing our employees with another option to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

SMU Human Resources

First-dose Vaccines Still Available to SMU Community

Dear SMU Community,

A limited number of first doses of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine are still available this week at the SMU vaccination site for students, faculty and staff, as well as benefits-eligible spouses and dependents. Retired SMU employees are also now eligible to receive the first dose of the vaccine on campus.

First Dose Scheduling

If you are a current student, faculty or staff member registering for your first dose, please follow this link to reserve a time that will work for your schedule as soon as possible.

Individuals without SMU credentials (SMU ID number), should go to this portal to make an appointment. If you have any difficulties, please contact the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center at 214- 768-2141.

If you will be leaving the campus at the end of the semester, please schedule your appointment as soon as possible to allow time to receive the second dose in three weeks as recommended or make alternative plans to receive it elsewhere.

Second Dose Scheduling

If you got your first vaccine during the initial distribution from March 29­ through April 5, it’s time to schedule your second one. Following the recommended 21-day timing, registration is currently available through April 26 for your second dose. A separate invitation will be sent next week to individuals who received their first dose on or after Friday, April 9.

Appointment Information

Both first and second doses of the vaccine are administered by appointment only at the vaccination site on the northwest side of the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center. Please bring a physical copy of your vaccine record card and a photo ID with you at your scheduled time. More information about your appointment, including parking information, is available on this page.

Vaccine Reporting

Once you are fully vaccinated, please remember to fill out the self-reporting tool on the Mustang Strong vaccine page. Your voluntary submission is critical to helping the University assess campus operational changes and vaccine quantities to request from the state of Texas.

Vaccine Appointments Still Available On Campus

April 12, 2021

Dear SMU Community,

Appointments are still open for current SMU students, faculty, adjunct instructors and staff to receive their COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine at the on-campus vaccination site.

Scheduling is easy through the registration portal, and the vaccination process is fast, with most appointments sailing through in about 20 minutes.

These open slots, primarily available Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week, are for individuals who have not started their vaccine treatment. If you’ve received a first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine elsewhere, please reach out to your initial provider about scheduling your second dose.

Completed your first shot? Fully vaccinated? Remember to fill out the reporting tool to help the University determine how many vaccines to request and make informed decisions about operational changes to the campus.

HEERF II – Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA)

SMU Distributes $2.3 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF II) as authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA)

Direct payments will support low-income undergraduate and graduate students

SMU is directing an additional $2.3 million in funds from the Federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) to support over 1800 undergraduate and graduate students with high financial need.  This money from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II) is the second major financial relief package specifically for high need students facing significant financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Similar to the HEERF I disbursements, this one-time payment of either $1,500 or $1,000 will go to students who have the greatest financial need as demonstrated on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The larger grants will go to those students eligible for the federal Pell Grant or with an equivalent Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

These funds are intended to help SMU’s most financially vulnerable students with expenses associated with disruptions from the pandemic, including expenses resulting from a loss of employment, travel restrictions, and unexpected changes in housing as well as remaining tuition and fee charges.  

Eligible students will receive emails from both SMU and Chase Bank with instructions for using Chase QuickPay® to receive funds. All eligible students with a U.S. bank account can access money through Chase QuickPay® regardless of which bank they use. 

Eligible students must be currently enrolled at SMU as of March 29, 2021, and must have received need-based aid or a Federal/State loan for the Spring 2021 term.  This aid could include need-based grants, federal loans or earnings from the federal or state college work study program. 

SMU recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create a financial burden for the families of many students who do not necessarily qualify for federal aid.  Students with additional needs should complete a request for emergency funding through Caring Community Connections (CCC).

Alumni and friends who wish to donate money to support students impacted by hardships surrounding COVID-19 may give to the Presidential Fund for Immediate Needs.

If you have additional questions about the CRRSAA-HEERF II financial relief package, please see HEERF Frequently Asked Questions page or contact the Division of Enrollment Services at or 214-768-3417.

HEERF Frequently Asked Questions

General HEERF FAQ’s

What does HEERF stand for? 

HEERF is an acronym for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. 

How will I receive the HEERF funds?

HEERF Funds will be distributed directly to students through Chase Bank’s QuickPay®.  Funds will not be disbursed to your SMU student account.  You will be required to set up a Chase QuickPay® account if you have not done so already.  However, you are NOT required to have a valid checking or savings account with Chase Bank in order to use the QuickPay®service.  Anyone with a U.S. bank account can receive money through Chase QuickPay® regardless of which bank they use.  When funds are ready, you will receive an email from SMU and a separate email from Chase with instructions on how to accept the funds.

What is a Federal EFC and where can I find mine? 

Your Federal EFC, or Expected Family Contribution, is calculated as part of the FAFSA process and is used to determine eligibility for need-based federal, state, and institutional aid programs.  The EFC can be found on the Student Aid Report (SAR) that the student receives after filing the FAFSA.  To view your Federal EFC or view your full Student Aid Report, go to the FAFSA website,  

What if I don’t have a U.S. bank account or can’t complete the QuickPay® setup process? 

QuickPay® is the easiest and by far the fastest way to receive your money.  If you don’t have a U.S. bank account or encounter other problems, contact the Division of Enrollment Services at or 214-768-3417.

Can I have the funds applied to the balance on my SMU student account or toward summer/fall tuition?

You will receive the payment directly through Chase QuickPay®.  If you wish, you may then use that money to make a payment to your SMU student account with SMUpay.

I did not qualify for funds under the HEERF I or HEERF II programs, but I still need help with expenses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Are there any other funds available to help people like me? 

SMU recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating a financial burden for many of our students and their families.  There are additional sources of assistance available to students who did not necessarily qualify for HEERF assistance, but continue to experience financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Student’s with additional needs should contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine eligibility for emergency assistance from programs that are not funded through HEERF.

In addition, the Office of Student Support is also accepting requests for emergency funds though the Caring Community Connections (CCC) program. 

Are HEERF grants considered to be taxable income?

It is our understanding that HEERF funds are not counted as Estimated Financial Assistance, taxable income, or untaxed income.  However, students should refer to for guidance and latest information on emergency relief given through educational institutions. 

Who do I contact with additional questions about the HEERF funding? 

Questions related to HEERF funding should be directed to the Division of Enrollment Services at

More Vaccines Coming to SMU Vaccination Site

SMU is receiving another round of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine for distribution to our University community through the vaccination site near the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center. Once again, all SMU faculty, staff and students are eligible.

Vaccination appointments are by appointment only on a first-come, first-serve basis. Online registration is now open to schedule vaccinations beginning on Friday, April 9.

This additional supply, a transfer allotment from Dallas County, is 1,170 “first doses” of the Pfizer vaccine, along with an equal number of “second doses” to provide required follow-up shots in 21 days.

Please use this registration link to schedule a vaccination appointment. The registration button is also on the Mustang Strong vaccine page along with information about what to expect on the day of your appointment. If you have trouble registering, reach out to the Help Desk at 8-HELP (4357). Here is some additional information for your consideration:

  • Students who are planning to leave at the end of the semester should make their first dose appointment by April 16 in order to receive a second dose on campus at (or by the CDC recommended follow-up date).
  • If you have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at SMU’s vaccination site, you’ll be contacted soon to schedule your second dose.
  • SMU does not currently have second-dose vaccines available for individuals who have already received their first shot at another location. If your first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine was administered elsewhere, please reach out to your initial vaccine provider to complete your treatment.
  • Spouses and dependents of SMU employees are not currently eligible to register but will have an opportunity at a later date

In addition to the on-campus vaccination site, all SMU students, staff and faculty may also register for the vaccine through the Methodist Health System. Once you receive your vaccine, remember to fill out the reporting tool, which will help the University determine how many vaccines to request and inform decisions about operational changes to the campus.

Even if you have received a vaccine, please continue to follow all safety measures as you finish out the spring semester. Wear your mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands often. Pony up and Stay Mustang Safe.

SMU Connected: Enrollment Begins Next Week

It’s time to plan for the upcoming May, summer and fall terms at SMU. Enrollment begins next week as we work to safely transition over the summer to a more normal semester this fall with in-person classes and more campus events and activities.  Here’s what you need to know to get started:

Fall 2021 Enrollment

  • Make sure to clear your holds to make sure you don’t face any obstacles to enrollment.
  • Confirm your enrollment appointments in my.smu.
  • Use the new Schedule Builder feature in the Student Dashboard to design the best schedule for you. Check out this quick video for a peek at what you can expect. For detailed instructions for your important tasks, you can visit our Student Essentials page at
  • Spring 2021 remote student status ends on May 14.
  • More information about Fall 2021 remote status­–for a small number of students under certain circumstances, such as barriers to international travel– will be forthcoming as we receive more guidance from the Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control, and local health authorities.

May and All Summer 2021 Enrollment

Virtual and SMUFlex classes

  • Courses are identified in as “Virtual” because they have a facility ID of “Virtual” assigned to them and as “SMUFlex” because they have a room assigned to them.
  • Students can choose to enroll in any combination of Virtual and SMUFlex classes for all summer sessions. (Note: For May-term, students can only enroll in one class.)
  • Students are expected to attend every class meeting regardless of Virtual or SMUFlex modality. Students who need to miss class for COVID-related reasons will be able to access recorded lectures within 48 hours.

Virtual classes.

  • Virtual classes will continue to be held with the same guidelines as in the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, including at least 2/3 of the contact hours to be delivered synchronously.
  • All students and faculty are in a virtual environment.

SMUFlex classes.

  • Remote status. Students who do not wish to attend in person must notify SMU that they want to be “Remote” for the summer on or before the week prior to the first day of classes. Reasons for requesting “remote” status can include COVID-related concerns as well as non-COVID reasons (e.g., geographic flexibility, pursuing internships, etc.). We will provide a notification link to those enrolled in May and summer courses at the end of April and students will be able to update their status during the summer.
  • Students’ status as “Remote” will be available on the course rosters and faculty will expect you to attend via Zoom with your screens on.
  • Faculty can require that students who are not coded as “Remote” to attend in person unless they have specific documentation that they are absent for COVID-related reasons (quarantine or isolation).
  • Red/blue split. Many courses will have classrooms large enough to accommodate all students with safe social distancing. Information about the red/blue split will be available after the enrollment period begins.
  • Synchronous class time. SMUFlex classes are required to meet synchronously for all scheduled contact hours.

In-person only.

  • Only a very small number of courses in the Meadows School of the Arts require in-person attendance for all courses. Students should contact the department chair for questions related to these courses.