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WCU Endowments

An endowment is created through the establishment of a permanent fund that is invested and managed. A portion of the annual earnings of the endowment are used to carry out the fund's designated purpose.  This portion is determined on an annual basis by the WCU Foundation Board. WCU's advancement staff work with our donor to create endowments which further the educational mission of the university.

Endowments create financial stability, allowing Western Carolina to be less dependent on unpredictable sources of revenue, such as state appropriations. Endowments allow for a rich variety of activities, including scholarships and fellowships for talented students; support for distinguished and dedicated faculty members through professorships, or chairs; and support for research and other programs.

Outright gifts and planned gifts such as charitable trusts and bequests are popular ways to fund the initial endowment or add to it in later years. Donors may fund endowments with a single gift or multiple gifts spread over time.


Endowments Frequently Asked Questions

An endowed scholarship fund is a permanent fund with the WCU Foundation. Scholarship gifts for the University's endowment are never spent. Instead, they are prudently invested according to the University's Endowment Investment Policy. Every year, a percentage of each scholarship fund's market value is awarded to students according to WCU Foundation Board spending policy and the fund's designated purpose..

Your endowed fund is created by you to name as you wish. Often it is named in honor or in memory of someone of importance in the donor's life. Whatever name you choose, the scholarship can reach the student(s) that you feel are most critical to reach.
Criteria may include:

  • Graduates of a particular high school, undergraduate or graduate students
  • In-state or anywhere in the United States
  • Whether or not financial need is considered
  • Cumulative GPA
  • College Major
  • Activities
  • Community Service
  • Merit based consideration
  • Athletic consideration

No Fund may discriminate among applicants on the basis of race, gender, religious preference, citizenship or ethnic origin. Each fund name nad criteria must be approved by the University Scholarship Office.

Donors work with WCU's development staff to understand the ultimate goal of what the donor is hoping to accomplish with his or her gift. The current endowment threshold is $25,000.

The WCU Foundation board of directors approved an endowment spending policy recommended by the investment committee. The spending policy is based on a total return approach to maintain stable cash flow over an extended period of time, to protect endowment funds against inflation, and to preserve and grow the purchasing power of the endowment. The current spending policy of the foundation is 4.75% percent of the endowment pool's twelve quarter rolling average market value, discarding the highest and lowest quarter's value as determined on June 30th.

A 1% fee is charged to the Fund annually. This is assessed on the fair market value of the fund on June 30 of each year. No administrative fee is charged until the Fund reaches the endowment threshold.

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