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Class Gift FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Students pay tuition, so does the law school really need our money?
  2. Why are annual gifts so important to Vanderbilt Law School?
  3. Will our gifts really make a difference?
  4. Are gifts tax deductible?
  5. Will I still receive solicitations from Vanderbilt after I graduate?
  6. Do I have to give to the Public Service Initiative, or can I choose another fund?

1. Students pay tuition, so does the law school really need our money?

Yes! Tuition only covers a portion of what it takes to run the law school on an annual basis. In fact, only 70% of the Law School's annual budget is fullfilled by J.D. tuition. Donations from alumni and friends make up the difference. Without these gifts, the law school would not be able to fund student organizations, keep class sizes down, employ distinguished faculty, offer a wide variety of courses, provide career services, maintain the extensive library or continually upgrade technology. In particular, scholarships and awards enable the school to recruit talented students and to minimize the loan burden.

2. Why are annual gifts so important to Vanderbilt Law School?

Your participation in the 3L Class Gift Program, like annual alumni participation, impacts the reputation of the school, which plays a factor in competitive rankings such as U.S. News and World Report. Alumni partipation is looked at as an indicator of alumni satisfaction. Furthermore, by making your first gift to the law school, you become introduced to the importance of philanthropy and contribute towards the legacy of giving established by the VLS alumni who have come before you. A high alumni giving participation rate shows law firms, foundations and prospective students that alumni truly believe in Vanderbilt Law School, and that their donations are well placed. Last fiscal year, nearly 28% of all Vanderbilt Law alumni gave back to the law school, which compares favorably with other top 20 law schools. As a new member of the alumni community, you have the opportunity to continue the strong tradition of support the law school has celebrated for decades.

3. Will our gifts really make a difference?

Absolutely. However, participation matters most. Gifts of any amount are greatly appreciated. The fact that you give is more important than the amount, and is especially meaningful given the current economic climate and legal employment market. Alumni participation is very compelling - but 3L giving is even more so. Your participation improves the school's ability to leverage major gifts from other alumni, individuals and firms who pay attention to what occurs at Vanderbilt Law School. Your participation translates into an endorsement of support for the law school.

4. Are gifts tax deductible?

Yes. All donations to the Law School are deductible from federal income tax if the donor itemizes deductions when filing his or her tax return. Donors may also be eligible to claim state income tax credit.

6. Will I still receive solicitations from Vanderbilt after graduation?

The Law School's Development & Alumni Relations office sends various communications and solicitations throughout the fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) to alumni and other potential donors. For recent graduates, there is an emphasis on participation rather than the size of the gift. However, a minimum annual gift of $1,000 qualifies recent graduates for membership in the law school's leadership donor society, the Founders Circle.

Because of the strong tradition of alumni support at VLS, there is the possibility that you will be asked by fellow alumni to give back to the school. For example, many law alumni participate in the annual Firm Giving Program campaign. Currently, over 100 VLS alumni at firms and corporations throughout the country and abroad serve as VLS Firm Representatives. They ask other Vandy Law alumni at their firm or company to make an annual gift to the law school so that their firm's name will appear on the 100% Giving Honor Roll, which is published in the Lawyer magazine, online, and displayed in the Law School and Career Services suite during on-campus interviews. To learn more about the Firm Giving program as well as other alumni volunteer opportunites, click here.

7. Do I have to give to the Public Service Initiative or to the Annual Fund? May I choose another fund?

You can choose to support another exisiting law school fund either in addition to or instead of the Annual Fund. Click here to see a list of other popular fund options.

For more information, please contact a class gift committee member, or Rachael Phillips in the Development & Alumni Relations office (322-0814).