George Mason University’s total student enrollment has surpassed 40,000 this year, a first for the Commonwealth of Virginia, including the largest freshman class in school history with 4,500 students.
Official enrollment figures will soon be released by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), which will reaffirm that Mason is Virginia’s largest public research university. The spike in numbers shows the value of a Mason education at a time when college enrollment numbers are dropping across Virginia and nationally, with competition for high-quality students becoming more acute, particularly in Northern Virginia.
“In a state where higher education has been around for more than 300 years, this is a moment in history of which we are particularly proud. Record students enrolled means record students graduating, record lives transformed, and record opportunity for regional businesses looking to hire our graduates,” said President Gregory Washington. “It is particularly gratifying knowing that we are holding steady on our student-to-faculty ratio and maintaining our overall graduation rates, which are well above the national average.”
Student-faculty ratios remain at 16:1, and Mason’s overall six-year graduation rate of 71 percent is consistently above the national average, with no disparity based on ethnicity or economic status.
Mason also offers a vibrant student experience, with 460 student organizations and significant opportunities for undergraduate world-class research and internships across the university’s Fairfax, Arlington, Manassas, and Mason Korea campuses. Nearly 80 percent of Mason graduates remain in the Commonwealth and Washington, D.C. area following graduation, making the university an essential talent pipeline for the region’s economy.
The 40,000 includes Mason’s anticipated record total of roughly 11,000 new students—with a record 3,500 freshmen from Virginia—as well as the university’s highest total of in-state and international first-year students.
“I think the size acknowledges the growing influence that Mason has in the region, in the commonwealth and, truly, on a global scale as so much of our growth has come from beyond the United States,” said David Burge, Mason’s vice president for enrollment management. “We’re at a moment where opportunity and preparation meet.”
India was again the largest source of new international students, with more than 1,500 of its nationals now having enrolled at Mason over the past three years. Many of them have come seeking degrees in computer engineering or computer science, Burge added.
Mason has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the state’s most diverse and innovative university. Other independent rankings place Mason No. 1 in the nation for veterans and No. 2 among public universities for non-traditional students. Money magazine ranked Mason as one of its Best Colleges in America 2023.