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"What the heck. Here's my check."

Utah State University officials are hoping their catchy fund-raising slogan will convince USUalumni to donate their state income tax rebates when they start arriving Tuesday.The USU Alumni Association has sent out 30,000 letters to the university's friends in the past three days asking that they sign over their rebate checks to USU.

"I know that your tax rebate is more than just pocket change. But -for probably the only time ever -you have the chance to donate to USU, without taking money from your existing budget," the letter reads.

Alumni President Cathy Van Skyhawk, Class of 1963, said even if alumni aren't willing to hand over the entire rebate check, she hopes "they'll be willing to give us a few dollars."

The USU Alumni Association is usually more involved in boosting Aggie spirit, but alumni leaders saw the rebates as an opportunity to raise funds for the university, which suffered a 6 percent cutback last year, she said.

Contributors can donate to a specific USU department, or the donation will be used in the area of greatest need as determined by USU President Stanford Cazier.

Van Skyhawk's letter tells alumni they can simply endorse their rebate checks "payable to Utah State University" and send it to the school.

But Lee Shaw, State Tax Commission spokesman, warned that if alumni simply endorse the check, they need to make certain they receive and keep a receipt, if they plan to claim the donation as tax deductible.

A better way to make a contribution might be to deposit the check in a bank account and then write a personal check, Shaw said. He also said the federal government may consider the rebates as income for those who itemize deductions.

Van Skyhawk said it's still too early to know if alumni will donate their rebates.

But just to make certain alumni get the message, USU plans a press conference, featuring prominent graduates and a follow-up letter asking for funds.