Mason proposes no tuition increase for undergraduate students for 2021-22 academic year


In recognition of the continuing financial difficulties facing students and families, George Mason University will not increase undergraduate tuition for the upcoming academic year, according to the proposed budget outlined at Thursday’s Board of Visitors meeting.

A $441 across-the-board increase in graduate tuition is proposed. This represents a 2% increase for in-state law students and a 1% increase for out-of-state law students. It’s a 3.5% increase for in-state graduate students and a 1% increase for out-of-state graduate students. Carol Dillon Kissal, senior vice president of administration and finance, noted that much of those funds will go toward graduate stipends.

Mandatory student fees will increase 3%, or $150 for most students, $77 for law students, to support continued investment in technology, career readiness, student mental health services and student organizations.

The proposed budget also includes a 4.5% increase in room and board for residential students.

At the same time, in line with allocations from the Commonwealth of Virginia, faculty and staff will see raises this summer.

“We are happy the commonwealth is recognizing the hard work of our employees over the last year and recommending a 5% average salary adjustment based on performance and other employment-related factors. More detailed information and guidance will be forthcoming from Human Resources,” Kissal said.

Mason has been allocated $31 million in new base funding, a 20% increase, moving the university closer to being on par with its peer institutions across Virginia. Board members praised President Gregory Washington’s outreach to the legislature during the pandemic and said the university community is benefiting from the leadership team’s hard work.

“When you can say no [undergraduate] tuition increase and increase the salaries by 5%, that is making a big statement,” Visitor Jon Peterson said. “We are in a position to do that and send a message that we are healthy as an institution.”

Washington said the budget shows how Mason is being transformed to meet post-pandemic needs, while maintaining a student-centric culture with support and recognition for faculty and staff.

“We are moving from an exclusion framework to an inclusive framework where everybody is included in our success, and more importantly, everybody is included as it relates to opportunity,” Washington said. “That is the direction we are going, and I am really excited to see our future.”

Washington also took the opportunity to highlight Mason’s ongoing vaccination efforts at EagleBank Arena and with mobile clinics launching this weekend.

“We have helped vaccinate more than 33,000 individuals in our community,” Washington said. “We figured out ways to make ourselves not just a part of this community, but integral to its success and safety.”

No members of the public registered to make public comments during the meeting. The board meets May 6 to vote on the budget. The meeting will be broadcast on GMU TV.