2011-2012 University Catalog 
2011-2012 University Catalog

Tuition, Expenses, and Financial Aid


Tuition and Fees


4400 University Drive, MS 2E2
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-993-2484
Fax: 703-993-2490

General Guidelines

  • Students are responsible for maintaining a current mailing address in their student record on Patriot Web (patriotweb.gmu.edu), and for activating and checking their George Mason University e-mail accounts to receive official university communications.
  • By registering for classes, students accept responsibility for the semester charges. Students are responsible for withdrawing from all classes that they do not intend to complete by the deadlines listed in the Academic Calendar.  Full or partial tuition liability may apply. George Mason University does not cancel classes for nonpayment.
  • Refer to the Payment Schedule and the Academic Calendar on the Student Accounts Office web site for payment due dates and tuition penalties for dropping classes after the start of the semester. Classes that do not meet for the full semester have non-standard liability deadlines, which can be found on the part-of-term chart of the Academic Calendar.   
  • Payments are due in the Cash Office, Student Union Building I, Room 104, on or before 4:30 p.m. on due dates, regardless of postmark if mailed. Check and credit payments made through the Bill and Payment System must be completed by 10:30 p.m. to be considered in that day’s business.
  • Bills are mailed approximately thirty (30) days prior to the semester start. All subsequent bills are sent electronically. Bills are not mailed for individual class registration and schedule adjustments. Students must check Patriot Web for balance due, verify registration, and pay through the Bill and Payment System or at the Cash Office by the due date. Failure to receive a reminder bill confirming charges does not waive the requirement for payment when due.
  • Students who have not completed the financial aid process must be prepared to pay for their courses by the tuition due date or a late payment fee will be charged. The amount of financial aid accepted and processed will be reflected in your account balance. If the amount of aid awarded is less than the charges, the difference must be paid by the tuition due date. Federal loan borrowers must submit a completed promissory note at least four weeks before the payment due date to the Financial Aid Office for these funds to be considered in your balance. Federal work-study awards cannot be deducted from your balance. Financial aid recipients must also notify their financial aid counselor if they drop courses below the minimum required credits for their financial aid award. Class registrations or schedule adjustments after financial aid has been disbursed may result in a balance due. Students are responsible for checking their balance after all schedule adjustments. 
  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974  (FERPA) limits the release of student information to parents or other third parties without the student’s written consent. Students may set up authorized users in the Bill and Payment System to meet this requirement. Authorized users will receive electronic bill notifications and financial activity access only. 
  • Out-of-state students with pending domicile requests are responsible for payment at the out-of-state rate. Students who are later determined to be in-state can request reimbursement for the difference in tuition rates. 
  • Non-returning students are responsible for withdrawing from their courses for the semester and ensuring they do not have an outstanding balance on their account. Any documentation or intent made to the Admissions Office that you are not returning does not withdraw you from the registered courses. 
  • Students enrolling in Mason off-campus courses are assessed tuition and fees at the same rates as those for on-campus courses.
  • Students who add their first class on the first day of the semester or after are assessed a $125 late registration fee. The fee does not apply to students already registered prior to the start of classes who make schedule adjustments. Wait-listed classes are not considered class registration.
  • Some Mason degree programs include academic credits that students must earn at other academic institutions. Students enrolling for such credits assume all financial responsibility with the other institutions.

Semester Tuition Charges and Related Fees

Approved tuition rates and fees are available June 1. For more information, call the Student Accounts Office at 703-993-2484 or go to studentaccounts.gmu.edu. Students are charged tuition rates for registered courses according to their academic level and program; graduate rates vary by academic program.

Orientation/New Student Fees:  All new degree seeking students pay an Orientation/New Student Fee. The fee is a mandatory, nonrefundable, one-time charge that is assessed when a new student registers for classes, regardless of orientation attendance or future enrollment status. The current fee amount is listed on the Student Accounts Office web site: studentaccounts.gmu.edu

Educational Resource Fee: All students are charged a mandatory per-semester fee, $100 for more than six credits, and $60 for six or fewer credits, which allows Mason to maintain essential support services for both full and part-time students.

Please Note: Many courses require additional course fees and/or lab fees. Refer to the Student Accounts Office web site for up to date course fee information: studentaccounts.gmu.edu/tuition.html 

Payment Information

Payment Deadline

Payment is due the first day of the semester. Payments received at the Cash Office by 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday will be considered in that day’s business. Check and credit payments made on Patriot Web must be completed by 10:30 p.m. to be considered in that day’s business. To confirm receipt of payment and balance due on account, go to patriotweb.gmu.edu.

Methods of Payment

Cash: At window only, Cash Office, SUB I, Room 104

Check: Web, window, mail or drop box. Make check payable to George Mason University, with student ID number written on front. Third-party checks are not accepted. Checks must be payable in U.S. dollars. A $50 return check fee will be charged for checks returned unpaid by the bank for any reason.

Credit Card: (subject to credit approval) Web only. MasterCard, American Express or Discover Card.  There is a 2.75 percent convenience fee for credit card payments, which is nonrefundable.

Delivery Methods

Web: Bill and Payment system, on-line checks or credit cards

Window: Cash Office, SUB I, Room 104, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Drop Box (no cash payments): Outside Cash Office, SUB I, Room 104

U.S. Mail: George Mason University, Cash Office, 4400 University Drive, MS 2E1, Fairfax, VA 22030. Allow 10 business days for delivery by the due date, and postmarks are not considered a receipt of payment.

Semester Payment Plan

Mason payment plans are available on-line only, and the following plans are available for students who need to budget their accounts. All payment plans require a $25 contract fee, which is nonrefundable. Please note: The preferred payment method for payment plans is the on-line/electronic check option, which does not charge a convenience fee.  

The Summer term offers a two payment plan only. The plan begins with a down payment of 50% and the $25 contract fee, and defers the second payment until mid June.

In Fall and Spring there are two options available. One plan splits the balance into two payments of 50% each and the other splits the balance into four payments of 25% each. Both plans require a down payment, which is the first payment plus the $25 contract fee. Important deadlines must be followed to take advantage of the four payment plan. For more information, call the Student Accounts Office at 703-993-2484 or go to studentaccounts.gmu.edu

Study Abroad/Global Education and International Student Health Insurance fee payments cannot be deferred. Failure to pay the deferred balance by the due date will result in a financial hold, a late fee of 10% (up to $125), collection activity, and may prevent future eligibility of the payment plan.

Third-Party Billing Authorizations

Students using a third-party billing authorization will be charged a $25 processing fee. Students may receive an individual billing statement. Students must provide the third-party authorization or government training voucher to the Student Accounts Office, or fax it to 703-993-2460 before the student’s individual due date, which is based on their registration date. Check “Important Dates” on the web site for the deadline to submit third party payment authorizations. Students are ultimately responsible for any defaults in payments by the sponsoring agency. Call 703-993-2484 for a copy of third-party billing requirements, or check the web at studentaccounts.gmu.edu/thirdparty/


A late registration fee of $125 is automatically assessed to students who add their first class on the first day of the semester or after. It does not apply to students already enrolled prior to the start of the semester who make schedule adjustments. Late registration fees are nonrefundable and will not be removed, regardless of enrollment status.

Any class registration after the deadline to add classes, if approved by the academic department, is subject to a late registration fee of up to $125.

Past due balances are subject to a late payment fee that is 10 percent of the balance due, up to $125.

Registrations will not be canceled for nonpayment. Students must withdraw from all classes that they do not plan to complete by the payment due date to avoid the late payment fee on those classes. 

Returned Checks

Per Commonwealth of Virginia statute, the return check fee is $50. Repeat return checks may result in the restriction of this payment option for future semesters. Checks used to pay past due balances and/or to release holds for registration that are later returned unpaid by a financial institution may result in the cancellation of classes. Returned checks that create a balance will be sent a written or electronic notice, and a financial hold will be placed on the account until the balance is paid in full. Certified fund payments such as cash or cashiers check are required for immediate hold release. Waiting periods will apply for other payment methods.

Financial Good Standing; No Holds on Record

Financial good standing and a university record clear of holds are required for students to receive academic services. Services, including but not limited to transcript issuance, diploma release, and class registration (add, drop, withdrawal, etc.) will not be provided to students with a financial balance due or a hold of any kind on their record. Holds are based on outstanding obligations and may be financial. Examples include unpaid telephone charges, fines owed to the Mason or Washington Research Library Consortium libraries, and other administrative holds.


Failure to meet financial obligations to the university will result in other collection procedures, which include account referral to credit reporting bureaus, private collection agencies, the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Taxation, and the Office of the Attorney General. Past due accounts are subject to garnishments, liens, and judgments and the withholding of money from tax refunds. In addition to late fees and interest, delinquent accounts will be assessed additional collection costs equal to thirty percent of the past due balance, reasonable attorney fees, and other administrative costs. 

Course Withdrawals

Students are required to pay full or partial tuition for courses they withdraw from after the last day to drop with full tuition refund, including withdrawals to change from one section of a course to another section. For more information, see the tuition liability dates in the Academic Calendar.

Refund Policies


Refund for Credit Balances

In cases where tuition charges are less than the payments on the student’s account, a refund of the overpayment may be requested. To initiate the refund process, a Refund Request form is completed and submitted to the Student Accounts Office.  Refund will be processed according to the method of payment received:

  • Cash payments are sent in the form of a check, without a waiting period.
  • Payments made by check require a five day waiting period. The waiting period may be waived if proof of check clearance is presented, such as a canceled check copy or bank statement showing that the check cleared the account.
  • Credit card payments are credited back to the credit card that was most recently used for payment.

Refund checks are made payable to the student and are mailed to the address listed in the student record. Check pick up in person is not available due to negotiable item security and the large number of checks processed.

Direct Deposit Refunds

The option to have check refunds sent electronically is available by submitting a Direct Deposit Authorization form, which can be found on the Student Accounts Office web site. A checking account is necessary for this refund option. Direct deposit refunds are not available for Parent PLUS loans.

Financial Aid Refunds

Credit balances from financial aid awards will automatically generate a refund check, which will be mailed to the address on file with the university or sent via direct deposit if authorized by the student. A refund request form is not needed for financial aid disbursement refunds.

Special Registration

Students not enrolled in a credit-bearing course, but whose academic department certifies that they are pursuing an activity related to Mason matriculation, can retain active status by having the Registrar’s Office process a registration for the Special Registration course (ZREG 200). A $45 fee is charged for this course, and students must pay this fee before the Registrar’s Office will process the registration. Written approval of the student’s advisor or instructor and the academic department chair is required. This special registration allows students to retain their library and computer privileges, receive a student ID, and buy a parking decal. Students must have active status to apply for or receive a degree, take an exam, or participate in cooperative education. Students pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree must maintain continuous enrollment. For more information, see the Graduate Policies  section.

International Student Health Insurance

Health insurance is required for all F-1 and J-1 visa holders, and nonpayment may result in class cancellation. The health insurance fee is deducted from all payments received by the university before funds are applied to tuition or other charges. For more information, see the Admission of International Students section in the Admission  chapter.

Music Instruction

Private music instruction is arranged through the School of Music on a fee-paying basis. The per semester charge for a half-hour lesson (1 credit) is $164.50; an hour lesson (2 or 3 credits) is $329. Note that this fee is subject to change. This fee is non-refundable.

In-State Tuition

To be eligible for in-state tuition, a student must have been domiciled in Virginia for at least one full year before the semester for which in-state tuition is sought, or qualify through statutory exception. A person establishes domicile by demonstrating physical presence and the intention to remain indefinitely in accordance with the Code of Virginia and the domicile guidelines. Copies of the guidelines and other applicable state laws are available from the Office of the University Registrar or at registrar.gmu.edu/students/domicile.

Domicile Change

Domicile classification is determined at the time of a student’s admission. To be considered for in-state status when applying to the university, students must file an application for in-state rates.

New and currently enrolled students classified as out-of-state who believe they qualify for in-state tuition after being admitted must file a domicile appeal form with the Office of the University Registrar no later than the first day of classes for the semester in which in-state rates are sought. Appeal forms are available from the Office of the University Registrar and at registrar.gmu.edu/students/domicile.

Students whose appeals are denied have the right to seek further review of their status by the Office of the University Registrar or the Third Level Domicile Appeals Committee. These requests must be filed in the manner articulated in denial letters. Forms are available from the Office of the University Registrar and the web site. In addition, students should be aware that university procedures for appealing domicile decisions have been established pursuant to state law and are subject to change. Out-of-state students with an appeal pending at the time of tuition billing are responsible for payment of tuition at that rate. Students subsequently determined to be in-state may request reimbursement of overpayment from the Office of Student Accounts. Also, any student who fraudulently or knowingly provides false information in an attempt to evade payment of out-of-state tuition will be charged out-of-state tuition for each term or semester attended and may be subject to dismissal from the institution.

For more information regarding in-state eligibility, contact the Domicile Appeals Administration in the Office of the University Registrar in Student Union Building I, Suite 2101; phone: 703-993-2464; e-mail: domicile@gmu.edu.

Tuition Surcharge: 125 Percent of Degree

Undergraduate students who have established Virginia domicile and eligibility for in-state tuition will be subject to a surcharge if they exceed 125 percent of the credits required to complete a degree. The surcharge will be determined by the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia.

The following courses and credit hours shall be excluded in calculating the 125 percent credit threshold: remedial courses; transfer credits from another college or university that do not meet degree requirements for general education courses or the student’s chosen program of study; advanced placement or international baccalaureate credits that were obtained while in high school or another secondary school program; and dual enrollment, college-level credits obtained by the student prior to receiving a high school diploma.




Office of Housing and Residence Life
Ground floor of Potomac Heights
Phone: 703-993-2720
Web: housing.gmu.edu

The university offers a variety of housing options to meet the diverse needs of students living on campus. Upper-class students may choose from suites, suites with kitchens, and townhouses. Most freshmen live in traditional-style residence hall rooms that accommodate two, three, and four students. Room rates are subject to approval on an annual basis by the Board of Visitors. Rates for the 2011–12 academic year have been established.  Please refer to the Housing and Residence Life web site for rate information. All students in housing must provide a prepayment, which gets applied to the fall semester rent. Housing assignments, including single rooms, are made on a priority and space-available basis. The web site provides extensive information about housing programs and services and includes floor plans for most student rooms.

Students living on campus are required to sign an academic year contract. Releases from the contract are generally granted only in cases of hardship and involve a financial penalty. For more information, contact the Office of Housing and Residence Life.

Mason Dining

Mason Dining
Southside Dining Hall, First Floor
Phone: 703-993-3300
Web: dining.gmu.edu

Mason Dining is proud to serve the Mason community with over 27 restaurants, kiosks and carts among the Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William campuses. Southside, located on the Fairfax campus, offers extensive menus with the highest quality ingredients and seasonal produce. Mason Dining is committed to nutrition, wellness, and sustainability. 

Meal Plans and Mason Money

Meal Plan & Mason Money Office
Center for Student Engagement (SUB II), Lower level
Phone: 703-993-2870
Web: mealplans.gmu.eduor masonmoney.gmu.edu

Both resident meal plans and patriot meal plans are available for students to purchase whether staying in campus housing or not. These plans are billed to the student account. Most students living on campus are required to participate in the resident meal plan program. Detailed information is available on the web site.

Mason Money, accepted with the Mason ID, is accepted at various venues on campus and also with participating merchants off campus. Funds can be deposited at the Mason Money office or online at masonmoneyonline.gmu.edu

Parking Services

Fairfax Campus, Sandy Creek Parking Office
Phone: 703-993-2710

Arlington Campus, 219 Founders Hall
Phone: 703-993-8146

Prince William Campus, 112 Occoquan Building Office
Phone: 703-993-4808

Web: parking.gmu.edu

Students who park their vehicles on university property must register them with Parking Services and pay a fee for a parking permit. Permits are available on an annual, semester, or summer basis. For permit sales, fine payments, special requests, or problems, go to any Parking Services Office. Some services are available on-line at parking.gmu.edu. The Fairfax Campus Sandy Creek Parking Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. For more information, read the Parking Policy section in the General Policies  chapter of this catalog, or go to parking.gmu.edu for current information and rates.

Financial Aid


Office of Student Financial Aid
SUB I, first floor
E-mail: finaid@gmu.edu
Phone: 703-993-2353
Fax: 703-993-2350
Web: financialaid.gmu.edu

The Office of Student Financial Aid provides a variety of services to help students finance their education. They include counseling, referral and information resources, and financial assistance. Student financial aid awards consist of grants, loans, and work-study. Awards are based primarily on financial need, although there are some alternative resources available for those who may not qualify for need-based aid.

The office has a comprehensive listing of various scholarship opportunities for students to research on the Student Financial Aid web page. Students are encouraged to review the scholarship information early and frequently to meet deadlines since the listings are updated often.

Located in Student Union Building I, the office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Financial aid counselors are assigned to students alphabetically based on students’ last names and are available daily by appointment.

To apply for financial aid, each year new and currently enrolled students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). George Mason’s federal school code for the FAFSA is 003749. Priority consideration for all sources of financial aid is given to those students whose financial aid applications are on file with the Office of Student Financial Aid by March 1. To meet this priority filing date, students should file the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1. The FAFSA can be filed on-line at www.fafsa.ed.gov, or a paper copy can be obtained from the office.

Financial aid for summer is generally limited to students who have remaining Federal Pell Grant or federal loan eligibility. Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for specifics regarding eligibility. The summer aid application is available on-line and in the office on April 1.

All students receiving financial aid must be enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program for at least half time in any given semester; maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the Office of Student Financial Aid, in accordance with federal guidelines (see below); and be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen as defined by the U.S. Department of Education.

All aid recipients are responsible for becoming familiar and complying with applicable federal and state laws, university regulations, Mason student aid information resources, and the student aid satisfactory academic progress policy. This policy is detailed in the glossary section of the home page of the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Academic Progress Standards

Federal legislation governing the administration of federal programs requires colleges and universities to define and enforce standards of progress for students receiving or applying for financial aid. To comply with this legislation, the Office of Student Financial Aid has established a formal satisfactory academic progress policy. For detailed information, go to the Student Financial Aid home page at financialaid.gmu.edu or contact the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Aid Programs

The university administers the following federal, state, and other aid programs:

  • Federal programs: These include the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS), Federal Perkins Loan Program, Federal Subsidized Stafford Loans, Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, and Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (FPLUS). For more information, refer to the Student Guide for Federal Financial Aid, which is available in the Office of Student Financial Aid, or go to the Student Financial Aid home page at financialaid.gmu.edu.
  • State programs for undergraduate Virginia residents: Eligibility for all state programs is based on results received from the FAFSA. State grant funds are limited, so adherence to the March 1 priority filing date is critical.
  • Virginia Commonwealth Award: This program is open to undergraduate students who have demonstrated financial need, are enrolled at least half time, and are domiciliary residents of Virginia.
  • Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP): This program is a component of the Virginia Commonwealth Award Program that is open to students who demonstrated academic achievement in high school. VGAP awards are renewable for up to four years.
  • College Scholarship Assistance Program (CSAP) Grant: This program uses a combination of federal and state funds to provide additional assistance to students who are enrolled at least half time, are Virginia residents, and who demonstrate significant financial need.
  • Graduate student assistance: Assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships exclusive of the federal financial aid programs identified earlier are administered by the individual graduate programs. Students interested in pursuing graduate assistantships, fellowships, or scholarships should contact their graduate program.

Emergency Loan Programs

  • Mary E. Ferguson Emergency Loan Program: Currently enrolled students may borrow funds for legitimate emergencies, excluding tuition, fees, books, and supplies. Emergency loans must be repaid within 30 days; overdue payments result in a late charge of $5 for each 30 days past due. Failure to repay the loan within 30 days without requesting an extension for a reasonable justification will result in financial suspension. Students financially suspended for nonpayment of an emergency loan are ineligible for any future emergency loans. Application is made through the Office of Student Financial Aid.
  • Doug Beaman Emergency Loan Program: The George Mason University Alumni Association established an emergency loan fund through which students may borrow up to $100 with repayment due within 30 days. The program is available to all students, with priority given to children of alumni. Application is made through the Office of Student Financial Aid.
  • Lisa Kenaga Memorial Student Emergency Loan Fund: The Office of Student Financial Aid has established an emergency loan fund through which currently enrolled students may borrow funds for legitimate emergencies, excluding tuition and fees. Emergency loans must be repaid within 30 days with a $10 processing fee; overdue payment results in a late charge of $5 for each 30 days past due. Failure to repay the loan within 30 days without requesting an extension for a reasonable justification results in financial suspension. Students financially suspended for nonpayment of an emergency loan are ineligible for future emergency loans. Application is made through the Office of Student Financial Aid.

ROTC Scholarships

Please see the Reserve Officer Training Corps section in the University Academic Programs and Resources  chapter.