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George Mason University’s Board of Visitors voted on September 29 to issue credits to in-state undergraduate students in an amount equal to the 3% increase that was approved for the 2022-23 academic year, in effect returning Fiscal Year 2023 tuition levels to 2022 levels.
The total impact on Mason’s budget will be about $5.8 million for this fiscal year. But discussions with state officials during the process led to greater state awareness of the state funding challenges Mason faces compared with its commonwealth peer universities.
When state and tuition funding are combined, Mason is funded nearly $5,000 per in-state student FTE below the mean of five doctoral peer institutions.
“We’ve been told that they’re going to continue to look at the systemic issues that are affecting the campus and are going to look at ways in which they can address them over the coming months,” Mason President Gregory Washington said at the meeting. “I take that as a big win.”
Mason Rector Horace Blackman, a 1993 Mason alum and six-year BOV member, concurred.
“I think the level of engagement we had with the administration has been second to none,” Blackman said. “And I think we are in an appreciably better place today.”
Ken Walsh, Mason vice president for strategic initiatives, provided an update for the BOV on the university’s strategic plan process and said a formal presentation of the plan is scheduled for the December 1 board meeting.
Walsh shared the five priority areas of the plan at the July BOV meeting. Since then, the planning committee has conducted “road-mapping” exercises for each area, identified a series of initiatives and worked with various units across Mason campuses to “lay out a resource-loaded schedule that we’ll be able to follow over the next five years,” Walsh said.
Walsh noted that the roadmap is intended to be “a living document” that will be reviewed on an annual basis.
“We’re developing a series of key performance indicators that we’ll be dashboarding so we’ll be able to provide frequent updates on our overall progress,” Walsh said.
Other items from the BOV meeting:
- BOV members saw the recent PBS NewsHour report that highlighted Mason’s ADVANCE partnership with Northern Virginia Community College.
- Matt Smith, Mason’s director of accreditation, reiterated to the BOV that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges board will vote on reaffirming Mason’s accreditation in December. In April, SACSCOC found the university in compliance with all 72 standards of accreditation.
- Two of the major events coming up at Mason Square: the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Conference: Vision and Action for a New Era on October 24 with keynote speakers President Washington and Gail Christopher, and the Accelerate Investor Conference on November 2-3, which includes a student start-up competition.