Scholarships play a key role for college students. Whether an undergraduate or graduate student, scholarships aid students in paying for college. Essentially, they are free money given to students; they come in various forms, such as those offered by universities through Academic Departments, alumni, or Athletic Scholarships. At George Mason University, there are a variety of scholarships offered to undergraduate and graduate students each year. On average, the need-based scholarship or grant award at George Mason is $6,367 for undergraduate students. Specifically, according to the George Mason financial aid site, there are scholarships for incoming freshman students called the Mason Merit Scholarship. This is awarded to students with strong academic talent and achievement. Unlike most scholarships that require an application along with an essay to be filled out, incoming freshman who apply by the Early Action application deadline, on November 1, are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships by the Office of Admissions and the Scholarship Committee (gmu.edu). The students are contacted no later than February by the Scholarship Committee notifying them if they were awarded a scholarship and how much, which varies.
Although there are different types of scholarships offered at Mason, there is a standard set of qualifications students must meet. For returning Undergraduate or Admitted Transfer students, they must: have a Mason student ID, in this case, their G number, have a valid Mason e-mail address, maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher, maintain enrollment of at least six credits each semester (for most scholarships), have a FAFSA on file for that school year to be eligible for need-based scholarships, and be currently enrolled in an academic college or school at Mason (gmu.edu). On a side note, for DACA students, they must complete an Alternate Needs Assessment Form for the school year in which they plan to apply for scholarships. As for Admitted Graduate students, these same rules apply. However, these students must also be enrolled in one of the following programs: School of Business, College of Education and Human Development, College of Health and Human Services, College of Humanities and Social Science, and Schar School of Policy and Government (gmu.edu).
In addition to academic scholarships, George Mason University offers numerous scholarships funded by alumni themselves. Specifically, the George Mason University Alumni Association sponsors five student scholarships: The Peter C. Forame Student Leader Scholarship, The George Mason Alumni Association Service Scholarship, Black Scholars Endowed Scholarship, and The John C. and Louise P. Wood Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarship. Each of these scholarships offer the same award of $2,500 each. Among these five scholarships, the John C. and Louise P. Wood Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarship was the first to be established (gmu.edu).
According to the George Mason Alumni page, this scholarship was established in 1975 by John C. Wood, the man who “overcame the challenges of blindness to serve as the mayor of the City of Fairfax from 1952 to 1963 to become the first rector of the George Mason University Board of Visitors” (gmu.edu). In addition, Mr. Wood helped develop George Mason University as an institution of higher learning in Northern Virginia and helped acquire land for the Fairfax Campus and the School of Law. Specifically, the scholarship is awarded to a student that is motivated and has the ability in the pursuit of education and has contributed to the Mason community. To see the qualifications for the John C. and Louise P. Wood undergraduate and graduate scholarship, click here. These qualifications apply for transfer students as well.
In addition to the numerous academic scholarships offered at Mason, there are several offered through the different academic departments. For example, the Antonin Scalia Law School offers an Antonin Scalia Scholarship for students with outstanding academic credentials, or the A. Linwood Holton Jr. Leadership Scholarship for students that have faced setbacks to academic success, showing their leadership qualities or helping others overcome discrimination in any part of their life (gmu.edu). In the College of Health and Human Services, there is a scholarship offered by Bette Burch for full-time undergraduate nursing students who are passionate for their field of work and are committed. Lastly, in the College of Science, Astronomy and Physics faculty member Arthur I. and Helen M. Poland established their own Endowed Scholarship for full-time students pursuing a degree in the College of Science (gmu.edu).
Furthermore, there are scholarships available for studying abroad, such as the Global Perspectives Scholarship. According to the Global Education Office, the scholarship is only available to students participating in a Global Education Office (GEO) summer or winter program. The scholarship awards range from $250 to $750; in addition, the award varies on the student’s application. To qualify for this scholarship, students must have a strong academic record, explain their reason for financial need, and show their passion for the studying abroad and the program they are currently. Click here to see additional requirements.
Aside from Academic Scholarships, George Mason also offers Athletic Scholarships. During an interview with Associate Athletic Director of Compliance Kelly Webb, she elaborates on this topic. As an Associate Athletic Director of Compliance, Webb’s job is to make sure students follow rules with financial aid. Each year she writes out from start to finish, issue aid agreements for student-athletes. As shown in the graph below, as a university, George Mason has a budget of $20 million on Athletics. Of the twenty million, on average, about $6.2 million are spent on athletic scholarships.
Each year, there are about 85 athletic scholarships given and every sport is given a budget. For example, there are the headcount sports, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball that, by NCAA rules, are traditionally given full scholarships. These headcount sports are fully funded and all student-athletes receive a full scholarship. As for the rest of the sports, there are the equivalency sports, such as soccer, baseball, and softball, where only several players are given a full scholarship and the rest are given partial scholarships. For instance, only 9.9 scholarships are given to men’s soccer, and of those 9.9, there are only a certain number of players receiving a full scholarship. According to Webb, the university can only offer the maximum as allowed by the NCAA.
For student-athletes under a full scholarship, they are fully covered for all university fees. Under a full scholarship, student-athletes are given a standard double room at President’s Park with the basic independence 100 meal plan. As for the students under a partial scholarship, their tuition, room, and board are partially paid for.
For example, in the picture above, Trent Lancaster, a junior part of the Track & Field team, is under a half, partial scholarship. Students under partial scholarships can either receive up to three-quarters, half, or a quarter of coverage. Their books are not covered since books are only paid for if the student is under a full scholarship. As for rules, all student-athletes must acquire a 2.0 minimum GPA, lower than the standard GPA of the NCAA. Each coach can regulate their own rules, but are reviewed by the Athletic Director. If a student breaks the rules or the law, then their athletic scholarship is revoked. However, a student can appeal if their aid is pulled. This is handled through the Office of Financial Aid. As for other expenses, if it is related to competition, then student-athletes are covered. To see other rules and guidelines, click here.
George Mason University offers a variety of scholarships. These scholarships range from freshman merit scholarships to academic department scholarships, and even for study abroad programs. Although these scholarships vary in their requirements, students, undergraduate and graduate are offered numerous of opportunities to apply for those they qualify for and are eligible to receive an award for their academic merit as well as their financial need. As for athletic scholarships, they vary on the type of sport a student plays as well as if they are a man or woman. Scholarships aid students in paying for college, helping them reduce their debt and taking out loans. George Mason University is a diverse school filled with opportunities for students to thrive, and it is due to the various scholarships they offer that help students succeed.
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