Bucking a statewide trend of declining college enrollment, George Mason University, a top 10 public university for diversity, innovation, and cybersecurity, welcomed its largest and most diverse freshman class in school history for the Fall 2022 semester.
Enrollment figures released by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) reaffirm Mason’s status as Virginia’s largest public university, with 39,510 students enrolling at Mason, an overall increase of 368 students. Statewide, public university student enrollment dropped slightly from 221,946 in the fall of 2021 to 220,466 in fall 2022.
Mason’s nearly 7,000 total new undergraduate students included 4,156 first-time freshmen and 2,781 transfer students. They collectively accounted for a 3.5% increase in freshmen students, a .9% increase in undergraduate enrollment overall. Mason also saw a 1.1% increase in graduate enrollment from the previous year, with 3,502 new graduate students.
More than 63% of incoming freshmen identify as being of a racial or ethnic minority or an international student, up from 57% from a year ago.
The top majors for the incoming freshmen included computer science, business, cybersecurity, information technology, and nursing.
The increase shows the value of a Mason education at a time when college enrollment numbers are dropping across Virginia and nationally. Mason has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the state’s most diverse and innovative university. Other rankings rank Mason No. 1 in the nation for veterans and No. 2 among public universities for nontraditional students.
“This record enrollment is not new for us. In the last 20 years, Mason has grown its enrollment every year except for two,” said David Burge, Mason’s vice president for enrollment management. “Despite this growth, the Mason Virginia Promise, now needed more than ever, is helping ensure families access to education and future career successes, especially the nearly one-third of Mason’s incoming class who are first-generation college students.”
Mason’s freshman Class of 2026 accounted for the highest averages in terms of GPA and SAT scores (3.8 GPA, 1240 SAT) and represented 45 different states and U.S. territories and 48 countries. The majority of incoming freshmen were students of color, with Asian students accounting for nearly 25% of the class, followed by Hispanic students (14.1%) and Black students (13.8%). Nearly half (48%) of Mason’s incoming freshmen are females.
Editor's note: The numbers in this story have been updated.