George Mason University

Mason Merit Scholarships – Incoming, First-Time Freshman Students

Mason awards millions of dollars in scholarships to incoming freshmen every year. These awards not only recognize strong academic talent and achievement, but also special talents and other personal characteristics, without regard to an applicant’s financial need.

All freshman applicants who apply by November 1 (the Early Action application deadline) will automatically be considered for merit-based scholarships through the Office of Admissions and the Scholarship Committee. Students who apply Early Action are notified of their admissions decisions by mid-December, and the Scholarship Committee notifies students if they were awarded a scholarship no later than February.  For more information, visit Incoming Freshman.

All international students can apply for the #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship program at George Mason. The scholarship is open to first-year undergraduate international students of all academic majors and fields of study, and it is applied to tuition costs. To learn more about this opportunity, visit the You Are Welcome Here website.

Mason Foundation Scholarships – Continuing Students

Mason Foundation Scholarships are provided through the generous donations of Mason alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students. Private philanthropy enables the University to recognize students showing academic achievement, financial need and unique interests of those students attending Mason. If you would like to establish a University scholarship or support an existing fund, please visit Campaign for Mason.

The Academic Department for your major may have information about scholarships related to your field of study. Students should contact the college/school and department in which they plan to major for scholarship opportunities.

Questions about athletic scholarships should be directed to the appropriate Intercollegiate Athletic Coaches.

George Mason University Alumni Association (GMUAA) awards five scholarships to undergraduate/graduate students each academic school year. Important Dates and Other Information

Funding Study Abroad there are a number of resources at your disposal. It is important to research carefully and EARLY to secure appropriate funding.

Graduate Fellowships Graduate fellowships are awards that provide support to master's and doctoral students for research, writing, fieldwork, language study, professional development, or independent projects undertaken in conjunction with a degree program.

Renewal of Mason Scholarships

Recipients of most George Mason Scholarships are required to have a cumulative grade point average of at least a 2.75 on a 4.00 grading scale to have the scholarship renewed for the next year. (Please refer to your scholarship letter for specific requirements of your scholarship.)  Information about Mason’s Merit Scholarship Policy. If you have lost your scholarship due to failure to meet GPA standards, you can appeal for reinstatement. Please review the appeal process in the on-line Financial Aid Handbook.

Outside (External) Scholarships - All Students

Outside scholarships are offered through private agencies and organizations such as high schools, community organizations, scholarship foundations, employers and government agencies. Criteria for these scholarships generally include academic performance, financial need, underrepresented groups, volunteerism, heritage, community affiliations or other unique factors important to the sponsoring individual or organization. Students are encouraged to apply to as many external scholarships as possible: Outside Scholarship List.

Reporting Outside Scholarships

Information for Recipients

You may report your outside scholarship by submitting a copy of the official award notification from the donor by emailed to gmusch@gmu.edu, faxed to 703.993.2350 or hand-delivered to the Office of Student Financial Aid located in Student Union Building One (SUB 1). Please be advised letters or certificates should include the following: 

  • Student’s full name
  • Student ID (G#)
  • Amount of the scholarship
  • Organization contact information
  • How the scholarship will disburse - by paper check or electronic transmission of funds (EFT)

Important Steps if Your Organization Requires Documentation

Some scholarships may require completion of certain forms by the university before awards are made or before payment is made to the school. Below are some commonly requested documents.

  • Bill or unofficial transcript: The financial aid office cannot issue official transcripts or enrollment certifications. The information you require may be accessible via our student portal Patriot Web (e.g., financial aid award, tuition bill, unofficial transcript, & class schedule). Student Accounts will provide all semester bills electronically.
  • An official invoice: Public/private sector, military agencies, educational institutions, and international embassies requiring an official invoice must go through the Student Accounts Third Party Billing.
  • Transcripts or certification of enrollment: The Office of the University Registrar provides official verification of enrollment through Patriot Web at no cost by the National Student Clearinghouse. After logging on to Patriot Web, select Student Records and then Order Enrollment Verification.
  • Verification forms: Donors verification forms email to gmusch@gmu.edu or fax to 703.993.2350.

Submitting a Payment to George Mason University

You may submit outside scholarship checks payments to the Cashier’s Office located on the Fairfax Campus; SUB 1, Room 501, Monday - Friday: 9 am - 4:30 pm or mail to the following address:

George Mason University
Cashier’s Office – MS 2E1
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030

Provide the sufficient documentation with the payment or student’s full name and ID (G#) on the face or stub of the check.
Unless the donor has specified, scholarships $1,000 or more will split between the fall and spring semesters. Scholarships less than $1,000 credited to the tuition bill during the semester the check received.

 

How the Process Works

Payment of Outside Scholarships

  • The official award letter allows the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) to post a pending credit (or memo) on the student’s financial aid award.
  • If the donor does not specify which semester the scholarship to be applied, the student may request the scholarship be paid out in its entirety for one semester.* Adjustments may be made to the student’s financial aid package to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations.
  • Outside scholarships are processed in the order in which they are received and follow a numerical sequence (ex. OSCH1, OSCH2, OSCH3…etc.).
  • Students are encouraged to track their scholarship notifications/awards via the student portal Patriot Web under the Financial Aid tab.
  • The OSFA reserves the right to adjust or cancel financial aid awards based on changes in eligibility, funding, enrollment, receipt or non-receipt of outside scholarships. A revised award notice sent to the Mason email.
  • Outside scholarship payments must be received in the Cashier’s Office by the end of October for the fall semester and March for the spring semester or the credit removed from your account.
  • Outside scholarship payments received in the Cashier’s Office are applied within 24-48 hours of receipt. The OSFA will change the scholarship status from “AUTH”, to “PAID” on the student’s financial aid award. During peak times, allow for additional processing time.
  • Scholarship payments can only be applied to educational expenses on your tuition bill.
  • A credit balance from financial aid awards (e.g., grants, loans, scholarships, etc.) paid on the account will automatically generate a refund check.
  • Refunds from credit balances can be used for books and other educational expense. Please be advised that no refunds will be issued on pending financial aid. For more information, please refer to the Office of Student Account's Refund Procedure
  • If you are no longer receiving an outside scholarship you reported to the OSFA, please notify gmusch@gmu.edu.

*Outside scholarship, awards are considered resources for students receiving federal and state financial aid and may reduce the amount of need-based financial aid awarded to the student. If the outside scholarship exceeds a student’s financial need and/or cost of attendance, adjustments may be made to the student’s financial aid package to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations. The OSFA’s policy is to first reduce student loans or Federal Work-Study funds.

Troubleshooting

  • If your donor has sent your outside scholarship check payment to the Cashier’s Office, please be patient at the beginning of the semester. Allow 14 days for delivery, and confirm receipt by accessing Patriot Web or Bill+Payment.
  • If you do not see your outside scholarship check payment, verify with your donor when (date) and where (address) payment sent, and if the payment cleared the donor’s account. If so, provide a copy of the cleared check to gmusch@gmu.edu to resolve the issue.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Merit Scholarships

Q. Do I need to submit a scholarship application for Admissions Merit Scholarships?
A.  No.  All freshman applicants who apply by November 1 (the Early Action application deadline) are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships through the Office of Admissions. Visit Apply for Admission to George Mason University.

Q. How do I apply for a full-tuition scholarship?
A. The University Scholars Award is the highest academic distinction that Mason offers to undergraduate students. The University Scholar Award covers the full cost of tuition over four years. Recipients are selected from the Honors College applicants who apply by the priority deadline, November 1; no other application is necessary.

Q. Are there merit scholarships for international students and how do I apply?
A. All international students can apply for the #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship program at George Mason.

The scholarship is open to first-year undergraduate international students of all academic majors and fields of study, and it is applied to tuition costs. To learn more about this opportunity, visit the You Are Welcome Here website.

Q. How will know I received a merit scholarship?
A. For students offered a merit award, notification is included in their Admission Office acceptance letter or a separate letter after admittance to the University. Recipients are also able to view their merit offer on their Patriot Pass Portal or in their Financial Aid package.

Q.  I believe I meet the requirements for a merit scholarship but was not awarded one whom should I contact?
A. If you have questions about scholarship eligibility, contact your admissions advisor or admissions@gmu.edu.

Q. Can I receive multiple merit scholarships?
A. Most awards can combine with other scholarships and financial aid. However, merit awards may cancel or adjust if an additional aid, scholarship, benefit or resource pay partial or full tuition.

Scholarships and Residency Classification

Q. How is domicile determined?
A. The Office of Admissions initially determines domicile.  If a student fails to submit an Application for In-State rates at the time they apply to Mason, they will automatically be classified as out-of-state.

Q. How does residency affect my scholarship eligibility?
A. Certain scholarship awards are based on residency. Merit awards may be reduced or cancelled if a student’s residency status changes at any point in their academic career.

Q. How do I prove Virginia residency?
A. To be considered for in-state tuition, students must meet the residency requirements set forth by the Code of Virginia. For questions on how domicile is determined for Virginia residences, please visit https://registrar.gmu.edu/students/domicile/.

Maintaining and Receiving Your Merit Scholarship

Q. What do I have to do to continue to receive my merit scholarship?
A. To remain eligible for your scholarship, you must meet the terms and condition of Mason’s Merit Scholarship Policy.

Q. If I do not meet the renewal requirements for my merit award, how will I be notified?
A. A student will receive a loss of scholarship notification from the Scholarship Manager. Please review the Financial Aid Handbook on how to petition for reinstatement.

Q. How is my merit scholarship applied to my student account each semester?
A. Admission Merit scholarships applied directly to tuition & mandatory charges only. Awards not applied to other educational costs.

Q. If I graduate early or do not use all eight semesters of my merit scholarship can I still receive that money?
A. Students who complete their undergraduate program in fewer than eight semesters forfeit the remainder of their scholarship.

Q. Can my merit scholarship be use to cover study abroad courses?
A. Some merit scholarships can be used to study abroad. To determine, please follow the Center for Global Education guidelines and meet with a Financial Aid Counselor. Students must have a cost breakdown or budget sheet for their study abroad program.

Internal Foundation Scholarships

Q. Does the university offer any other scholarships for new or incoming students?
A. Yes.  Some departments award scholarships to incoming students. We encourage students to contact their college or programs directly to learn more about program-specific or talent-based scholarships.

Q. What is the Mason Scholarship Application?
A. It is an online scholarship application for Mason foundation scholarships advertised on the Office of Student Financial Aid scholarship portal. Applicants must be current Mason students.

Q.  Can I apply for Mason Scholarships through the General Application scholarship portal as an incoming freshman?
A.  Incoming freshmen require no application. Awards are open to admitted students who have confirmed their acceptance through a tuition deposit. Students must demonstrate merit and financial need. Financial need scholarships require the student to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year.

Q. If I am not an admitted student can I apply for Mason Scholarships?
A. To apply the applicant must be a continuing undergraduate, admitted transfer or graduate student with a Mason student record.

Q.  Where can I find additional scholarships?
A. The Financial Aid Office’s website is a resource for all students to help find scholarship funding. Please visit http://financialaid.gmu.edu/scholarships/.

Q. Who can apply for Mason Scholarship Application?
A. The online Mason Scholarship Application  is open to all continuing undergraduates, admitted transfers, and graduate students, to review and apply for scholarship opportunities offered through the Office of Student Financial Aid and various departments. Awards are based on your academic record as well as your answers to the questions on the application.

Q. When is the Mason Scholarship Application open for continuing students to apply?
A. The scholarship portal emails applicants with a current drafted or submitted General Application on file when opportunities become available.  Visit Mason Scholarship Application for updates!

Q. Are international students eligible to complete the scholarship application?
A. Yes.  International students are eligible to apply for scholarships that do not require U.S. citizenship or financial need.

Q. Are DACA students eligible to complete the scholarship application?
A. Yes. DACA students must be a Mason student who has completed a minimum of 12 credit hours with a Mason GPA. Students may submit the Alternate Needs Assessment Form by the March 1 (deadline for required documents) but no later than the General Application closing date for some scholarships. 

Q. Should I complete the application each year?
Yes, students must submit the Mason Scholarship Application each year for scholarship consideration.

Q. How will I know if I have received an award?
A. Notification of Mason internal scholarships begins mid-June and continues through August. Students selected for the award will receive an official letter via email or mail from the department or award committee. Recipients may view their awards on Patriot Web in the Financial Aid Awards section.

Q. I am having problems signing in to the Mason Scholarship Application.
A.  If you are having issues logging in with your Mason Net ID (username and password) please visit the Password Management website at password.gmu.edu/PatriotPass.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Payments

Q.  How will my internal scholarship pay?
A.  Unless stated by the department, most scholarship awards are applied towards educational expenses on your student accounts bill.

Q. Whom do I contact if I do not see my outside scholarship payment on my account?
A. Verify with your donor when (date), where (address), and if the payment cleared their account. If so, provide a copy of the cleared check to gmusch@gmu.edu to resolve the issue.

Q. Where can I see a scholarship award or notification posted on my account?
A. Students are encouraged to track their scholarship notifications/awards via the student portal Patriot Web under the Financial Aid tab. George Mason University reserves the right to adjust or cancel financial aid awards based on changes in eligibility, funding, enrollment changes, receipt of outside scholarships, etc. If your award offer changes, you will receive a revised award notice.

Q. How will my outside scholarship show up on my account?
A. Scholarships are processed and posted in the order received and follow a numerical sequence (ex. OSCH1, OSCH2, OSCH3…etc.).

Q. If my outside scholarship is awarded for four years; do I have to report it each year?
A. Yes. To post as a pending credit on your financial aid award renewable scholarships must be reported each year.

Q. How long will a pending outside scholarship credit stay on my account?
A. Outside scholarship pending credits (or memos) are posted once the student provides our office with a copy of the official award letter. If your scholarship check does not arrive to university by the end of October (fall semester) or end of March (spring semester), the pending credits will be removed from your account and you may have a balance due.

Q. My donor paid my outside scholarship to me directly, but I still see a pending credit on my student account. What should I do?
A. Please notify our office immediately so we can cancel the duplicate credit.

Q. I have a credit balance on my account when should I expect a refund?
A.  A credit balance from financial aid awards (e.g., grants, loans, scholarships, etc.) paid on the account will automatically generate a refund check. Please be advised that no refunds will be issued on pending financial aid. For more information, please refer to the Office of Student Account's Refund Procedure

 

Scholarship Questions and Concerns

Contacts for scholarship questions for prospective or incoming students:

  • Admission Merit Scholarships - contact the Office of Admissions, admissions@gmu.edu or call 703-993-2400.
  • Talent Merit Scholarships - contact program (College of Visual and Performing Arts, Debate or Forensic) or Academic Department
  • Athletic scholarships - the appropriate Intercollegiate Athletic Coaches.
  • Graduate students may check within their department regarding assistantships, fellowships and scholarships opportunities. The program makes offers.

Whom do I contact if I have questions about my internal scholarship(s) not reported on my financial aid award for the year or term?

Always refer to the award letter and contact the appropriate office or person noted on your letter. Students are encouraged to contact their department directly. The Financial Aid Office can only give information about awards reported to our office by your department.

  • Incoming Law student - email the Law School.
  • Incoming Graduate student - contact program on the award letter.
  • Current Undergraduate Admission Merit or GMU Foundation - email gmusch@gmu.edu.
  • Current Graduate student with assistantship, grant tuition waiver - email glfinaid@gmu.edu.
  • Athletic Scholarships – email finaidat@gmu.edu.

Please contact Financial Aid Office Scholarships at gmusch@gmu.edu or call 703.993.2353.