Eligibility and Selection Criteria

The Graduate Inclusion & Access Scholarship seeks to support the growth and development of an inclusive, thriving graduate community across all academic programs at George Mason University. 

At Mason we believe “diversity is our strength.” An inclusive graduate student community is essential to enhance the quality of the intellectual environment for all our students and faculty. 

This scholarship, awarded on a competitive basis, is available to domestic first-generation college students who are incoming fall semester full-time doctoral degree students, are from an underrepresented population within their doctoral field of study at Mason, and have demonstrated financial need. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • First-generation college student, defined as: 

    • an individual, neither of whose parents completed a baccalaureate degree 

    • an individual who, prior to the age of eighteen (18), regularly resided with and received support from only one parent and whose supporting parent did not complete a baccalaureate degree 

    • an individual who, prior to the age of eighteen (18), did not regularly reside with or receive support from a natural or adoptive parent. 

      If your parent(s) and/or guardian(s) attended college but did not receive a bachelor’s degree (i.e., did not graduate), you are considered to be first-generation. 

  • A member of a community that is underrepresented within their doctoral field of study at Mason. 

  • All applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents or have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, asylum status, or Temporary Protective Status (TPS) or be undocumented within the United States. 

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.3 or better (most recent earned degree and any degree in progress). 

  • Applying as a new, incoming Fall 2023 full-time student to a George Mason University doctoral program. However, scholarships will only be awarded to those selected applicants that are offered full admission without provisions or conditions. See below for further information. 

  • Demonstrated financial need, as determined through a timely submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as applicable, or a Statement of Financial Need for those that are not permitted to file a FAFSA. See below for further information. 

Selection Criteria: 

  • Demonstrated record of professional/extra-curricular achievement and/or community involvement. 

  • Submission of an essay that tells us about your aspirational dreams while weaving together:  

    • how your life experiences will be an asset to you as you seek out your future, and  

    • how seeking these opportunities at Mason will position you for your utmost success, while further fostering a culture of inclusion at Mason. 

Scholarship recipients are eligible for up to five (5) years of renewed financial support, dependent upon the student maintaining: (a) full-time enrollment as defined by the University Catalog; (b) good academic standing; and (c) a cumulative GPA of 3.5 for the duration of scholarship eligibility. Recipients will be required to hold a graduate 20 hour per week assistantship within their field of study for the duration of the scholarship. Recipients will be expected to focus on their studies and assistantship, actively engage with faculty mentors and their scholarship cohort, contribute to university-focused services, and participate in professional development activities.  

Awarded financial support includes: 

  • A stipend of $33,000 over 12 months 

    • $25,000 (Academic Year) 

    • $8,000 (Summer) 

  • Tuition support of up to eighteen (18) credits toward their degree per academic year 

  • Subsidized Graduate Health Insurance offered annually 

All applicants must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa) to the federal processor as required or, if an applicant is undocumented or has DACA status, a Statement of Financial Need Form (available from the Office of Graduate Education (geaward@gmu.edu). Those applicants submitting a FAFSA must do so no later than January 15, 2023. You can complete the FAFSA of the preceding year. By filing early, it will give you time to get the Financial Aid Office any additional documents that may be needed to complete your financial aid application by January 15. Those applicants who are undocumented or have DACA status must upload a Statement of Financial Need form as part of the scholarship application. Your scholarship application will not be considered if your FAFSA or Statement of Financial Need is not submitted on time. 

The following materials must be submitted as part of the GIA scholarship application by Feb. 1, 2023: 

  • A complete doctoral program application packet to the Graduate Admissions Office of George Mason University (https://www2.gmu.edu/admissions-aid/apply-now). Follow instructions for a Graduate-Degree Seeking Student for Fall 2023.  

  • As part of your GIA application: 

    • A PDF of your most current Resume or CV (which you will need to provide for your program application). 

    • A PDF of your confirmation screenshot of your timely filed FAFSA submission or, as applicable, uploaded Statement of Financial Need form. 

    • A PDF response to the essay prompt as described above and in the online scholarship application. 

The automated response after submitting your scholarship application will be the only confirmation of receipt you receive. You do not need to have an admission decision for your application to be reviewed. Program admission status will be confirmed with your program prior to any GIA scholarship offer. Once all materials are submitted, applications will be reviewed to confirm that all eligibility criteria and requirements are met. If so, the application will be forwarded to a review committee for further consideration. 

FAFSA submissions, as applicable, due: January 15, 2023 

Scholarship Application Materials including, as applicable, confirmation screenshot of FAFSA submission or Statement of Financial Need due no later than: February 1, 2023 

Scholarship offers expected, but not guaranteed, to be sent to those selected no later then: April 1, 2023.  

Once GIA scholarship offers are accepted, all other applicants will be notified by electronic mail.