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George Mason University
2002-03 University Catalog

Admissions

Admission of International Students

General Requirements

Application for admission to the university by international students holding or seeking F-1 or J-1 visas should be made directly to the Admissions Office before February 1 for the fall semester or October 1 for the spring semester. The deadline is enforced to ensure adequate time to process applications and prepare immigration documents. All international applications must be accompanied by a nonrefundable $75 application fee.

Applications from international students are reviewed with all other applications. Admission to the university is competitive; therefore, while minimum standards ensure that an application will be considered, they do not guarantee admission. The number of applicants, the qualifications of the applicant pool, and the amount of available space determine the number of offers of admission that the university can make. In addition to overall admission requirements, some schools and colleges have individual requirements for acceptance into the major. (See school or college admission requirements.)

Applicants who are accepted to a program will receive a written offer of admission. If the documentation submitted is satisfactory, the University will issue an immigration document (Form I-20 for F-1 status or IAP-66/DS2019 for J-1 status) and mail it to the address indicated on the application. Most students come to the U.S. on an F-1 visa, but students who are sponsored by the U.S. government or their home government may be required to enter the United States on an Exchange Visitor's Visa (J-1). The student will be notified if financial documents are not complete. International students outside the United States must take the immigration document to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and apply for a student visa (F-1 or J-1). A letter of admission, evidence of financial support, an immigration document, a valid passport, and proof of strong ties to the home country are the basic requirements for obtaining a student visa. For more information about the visa application process, check with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, or visit the Department of State's web site: www.state.gov.

Students in a nonimmigrant category other than F-1 or J-1 should also submit the International Student Information Form, indicating their immigration status, but they do not need to attach financial support documents. The Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) should be contacted at 703 993-2970 for all questions pertaining to immigration status. Additional information is available on the OIPS web site at www.gmu.edu/student/oips.

Freshman and Transfer Requirements

Note: A transfer student is a student who has completed course work at a college or university after graduating from high school. In addition to the requirements defined for all transfer applicants, international transfer students must meet the standards listed below:

  • Freshman applicants must submit certified copies of all secondary/high school transcripts in the original language along with an English translation (if applicable). Results of any exit certificates or university entrance examinations also must be submitted.

  • All freshman applicants are required to submit satisfactory scores on the Scholastic Assessment Test I (SAT I) or the American College Test (ACT).

  • Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 230 on the computer-based TOEFL or 570 on the paper-based TOEFL and 4.5 on the TOEFL essay are required for an applicant to be considered for admission. Official test scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service. Information concerning the time and place of the TOEFL can be obtained from TOEFL, Educational Testing Service, CN 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, USA. Phone: (609) 921-9000; web site: www.toefl.org, or by contacting the George Mason Testing Center; web site: www.admissions.gmu.edu/testing/asp.

  • All transcripts from colleges or universities outside the United States must be translated into English, and evaluated by an accredited U.S. evaluation service before an admission decision can be made. The applicant is responsible for the timely translation and evaluation of documents and for all costs and fees associated with these services. A list of suggested evaluation agencies is available in the Admissions Office or at www.naces.org.

  • International students already in the U.S. in F-1 status must complete immigration transfer procedures no later than two weeks after classes begin in their first semester at George Mason University. Contact OIPS for additional information at (703) 993-2970 or www.gmu.edu/student/oips.

Graduate Requirements

International students interested in pursuing graduate study must meet the following requirements:

  • Students must complete the Application for U.S. Graduate Study.

  • Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 230 on the computer-based TOEFL or 575 on the paper-based TOEFL and 4.5 on the TOEFL Test of Written English (essay) are required for an applicant to be considered for admission. A TOEFL score of at least 250 (computer-based) or 600 (paper-based) is required to qualify for a teaching or research assistantship. Official test scores must be sent to the Admissions Office directly from the Educational Testing Service. Information concerning the time and place of the TOEFL can be obtained from TOEFL, Educational Testing Service, CN 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, USA. Phone: (609) 921-9000; web site: www.toefl.org, or by contacting the George Mason Testing Center; web site: www.admisions.gmu.edu/testing/asp.

  • All transcripts from colleges or universities outside the United States must be translated into English, and evaluated by an accredited U.S. evaluation service before an admission decision can be made. The applicant is responsible for the timely translation and evaluation of documents and for all costs and fees associated with these services. A list of suggested evaluation agencies is available in the Admissions Office or at www.naces.org.

  • Graduate students' documents should show the award of either a bachelor's degree or equivalent, or a graduate degree.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

In addition to the academic requirements mentioned above, international students must meet the following conditions:

  • Students enrolled at the university in F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status must maintain full-time enrollment each semester (12 credits for undergraduate, normally 9 credits for graduate), excluding Summer Term. Because of this requirement, F-1 or J-1 international students do not qualify for part-time programs.

  • A prospective student seeking to enter the United States in F-1 or J-1 visa status (or, if already in the United States, seeking to transfer to Mason) must complete the International Student Information Form (which can be downloaded from http://admissions.gmu.edu). The form and financial support documents must be submitted along with the Application to the Admissions Office.

  • In order to be issued an immigration document, sufficient evidence of financial support (original bank statement, scholarship letter, sponsor's salary statement, graduate assistantship offer letter, for example), must be provided to cover the first year of study. Students must also demonstrate the source of financial support for all the subsequent year(s) of the program. The International Student Information Form gives an estimate of annual expenses, which includes tuition, living expenses, and health insurance.

  • All new students at the university must submit an Immunization Requirements Card signed by a health professional. The form must verify that the student's immunizations are current. The immunizations required are measles/mumps/rubella, and tetanus/diphtheria. A tuberculosis screening, hepatitis B (series of three) and meningococcal vaccines are also encouraged.

  • Financial sponsors who wish to be billed directly must provide a U.S. billing address. It is the students' responsibility to make sure tuition and fees are paid on time.

Health Insurance for International Students

  • George Mason University policy requires all students on an F-1 or J-1 visa to have health insurance that is valid through August 18 of the following year. The plan must include coverage for health-care expenses of at least $50,000 per year and the deductible amount must not exceed $500. (The deductible amount is the sum of money that must be paid by the person enrolled in the health-care plan before the insurance company will start to pay any of the bills.)

  • Special Note for J-1 Visa Holders: Federal law requires all students on a J-1 visa to have health insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation. The plan also must include costs associated with medical evacuation up to the amount of $10,000 and cost associated with repatriation up to the amount of $7,500. (Medical evacuation coverage pays for costs associated with returning a student who becomes seriously ill to his/her home country and repatriation coverage pays for costs associated with returning the student's remains to his/her home country.)

  • George Mason University offers health-care insurance coverage that meets the requirements for students on J-1 and F-1 visas. When international students register for classes, the cost of this coverage is automatically billed to their accounts by the Office of Student Accounts and is due with the tuition payment. Failure to pay or obtain an exemption results in cancellation of class registration and/or financial suspension. Late fees may be assessed if charges are not paid by the date established by the Cash Office.

  • International students are required to purchase insurance for the entire year, but if a student graduates or terminates attendance before the end of the insurance year, the student may submit a written request with proof of return to the home country for a prorated refund.

  • Insurance coverage derived from unauthorized employment will not be accepted.

Exemptions from Health Insurance

Exemptions from health insurance requirements for international students are granted by the University's Student Health Insurance Office. Conditions under which exemptions may be granted include:

  • Students with the following sponsored foreign government plans are automatically eligible for exemptions: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Hariri Foundation, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Malaysia (MSD or MARA plans only).

  • Students with evidence of an alternative insurance policy that meets the requirements for coverage may be eligible for exemptions

  • If a student believes he/she qualifies, it is his/her responsibility to apply for an exemption. An exemption must be obtained from the university's Student Health Insurance Office no later than one week after the last day to add classes of the student's first semester at the university. A continuing student is required to establish eligibility for an exemption no later than one week after the last day to add classes of each fall semester. Information regarding due dates and hours for the Student Health Insurance Office is available by calling (703) 993-2827.