The student body voted to pass an amendment to the SGA constitution last week that will allow 3% of the total budget as well as any surplus to be allocated to the university endowment.
“At its most basic form, this endowment fund is an investment of our money,” said Daniel Sherman, president of SGA and senior business management major from Abilene. “It’s going to have a long term return and it’s going to show us the long term growth in our funds. Ultimately, we decided to do the endowment because it helps secure long term financial success for the Student Government Association.”
Rather than a one-time gift, endowment funds are funds that are invested in private equity, stocks, energy, real estate and other investments in order for the donation to benefit the university in perpetuity.
“The endowment is a really good tool for us that we wanted to invest in because it’s a professionally managed pool of money for ACU that is shown extremely successful results over the past few couple of decades and we wanted to be able to get in on that success, that opportunity,” said Sherman.
According to Sherman, when he became president he inherited a surplus account that had accumulated to fifty thousand dollars.
“This fifty thousand dollars was just sitting there. It was sitting idly by, not being used to make more money. It wasn’t being invested. It wasn’t being used for the student body’s benefit,” said Sherman. “So the question became, how can we leverage this money to benefit students, which then leads into recognizing that the university has one of the top performing endowment funds and with this fifty thousand dollars, we have the opportunity to invest into that and gain from its long term success.”
According to the Endowment Fund Association’s 2014 report of ACU endowment, ACU had the highest return among all university endowments for over ten years, going from $145 million to more than $290 million. Five years later, the endowment has almost doubled, valuing at $460 million last semester.
After voting in the SGA Senate to pass amendments to the bylaws allowing the reallocation of powers surrounding the endowment, the vote turned to the students. The amendment passed with 93% in favor, 5% opposed, and 2% abstaining.
“In the long term, that’s going to serve as a catalyst to its [SGA’s] growth, so I’m really excited to see how quickly it’s going to be able to grow and start providing some substantial amounts back to the student body,” said Sherman.