This is an archived copy of the 2019-2020 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

General Guidelines

  • Students are responsible for maintaining a current mailing address in their student record on Patriot Web, and for activating and checking their George Mason University e-mail accounts to receive official university communications.
  • All students are required to accept George Mason University's Student Financial Responsibility Agreement prior to registering for classes each semester.  The agreement outlines financial terms and conditions associated with course registration.  Students are responsible for withdrawing from all classes that they do not intend to complete by the deadlines listed in the Semester Calendar. Students must confirm withdrawals and class drops, and full or partial liability may apply. George Mason University does not cancel classes for nonpayment or nonattendance.
  • Refer to the Payment Schedule and the Semester 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 Semester Calendar.
  • Payments are due in the Cashier's Office, Student Union Building I, Room 1501, on or before 4:30 p.m. on due dates, regardless of postmark if mailed. Check and credit card 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 provided electronically only, approximately thirty (30) days prior to the semester start to students and authorized payers. Bills are not provided 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 Cashier's 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 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 disbursed may result in a balance due. Students are responsible for checking their balance after all schedule adjustments.
  • 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 university departments that you are not returning does not withdraw you from the registered courses.
  • 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 online. Students are charged tuition rates for registered courses according to their academic level and program; graduate rates vary by academic program.

Please Note: Many courses require additional course fees and/or lab fees. Refer to the Student Accounts Office website for up-to-date course fee information.

New Student Fees

All new degree seeking students pay a 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 website.

Mandatory Student Fee

This is a mandatory fee based on credit enrollment.  The Mandatory Student Fee supports the maintenance of facilities and buildings, auxiliary services, intercollegiate athletics, campus shuttle, academic services, student activities, and health services.

Payment Information

Payment Deadline

Payment is due the first day of the semester. Payments received at the Cashier's Office by 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday will be considered in that day's business. Check and credit card payments made through the Bill and Payment system 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 Patriot Web.

Methods of Payment


In person at Cashier's window only, Cashier's Office, SUB I, Room 1501


Online, in person, 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

Online only. Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover Card. There is a 2.85 percent convenience fee for credit card payments, which is nonrefundable. A $50 returned item fee will be charged for credit or debit card reversals (charge-backs).

Delivery Methods


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


Cashier's Office, SUB I, Room 1501, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Drop Box (no cash payments)

Adjacent to Cashier's Office, SUB I, hallway outside Room 1501

U.S. Mail

George Mason University, Cashier's 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. The preferred payment method for payment plans is the on-line/electronic check option, which does not charge a convenience fee. The following plans are available for students who need to budget their accounts. 

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.

Deferred tuition options in Fall and Spring are available through two, three and four payment plans. Important deadlines must be followed to take advantage of the four payment plan, which allows charges to be paid in four installments - beginning in July for Fall and December for Spring. The two and three payment plan options begin any time prior to the due date for the semester. All plans require a down payment, which is the first payment plus the $25 contract fee. For more information, call the Student Accounts Office at 703-993-2484 or go online.

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 "Calendars" on the web site for the deadline to submit third party payment authorizations. Students are responsible for any payment default by the sponsoring agency. Call 703-993-2484 for a copy of third-party billing requirements, or check online.


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. Wait-listed classes are not considered class registration. 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 $125 late registration fee. Late class registrations require an account in good standing and prepayment of all charges.

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 or nonattendance. 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 item fee is $50. Repeat returned payments may result in the restriction of the online payment option for future semesters. Payments for past due balances and/or to release holds for registration that are later returned unpaid by a financial institution may result in the immediate suspension of services and 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 cashier's 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 services. Services, including but not limited to transcript issuance, diploma release, class registration (add, drop, withdrawal, etc.), and/or housing and meal plans 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 Student Health charges, fines owed to the Mason or Washington Research Library Consortium libraries, parking and other administrative holds.

Students in noncompliance with payment deadlines as of the end of the semester will be required to submit a financial guarantee or prepayment prior to future registration. The return of the prepayment by a financial institution will result in the immediate suspension of services.


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 up to thirty percent of the past due balance, reasonable attorney fees, and other administrative costs.  Once an account is referred to a collection agency payment must be made to the agency, not the University.

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 Semester Calendar.

Refund Policies

Direct Deposit Refunds

Students may sign up for direct deposit for expedited refunds by completing the form located on the Student Accounts Office website. Direct deposit refunds are sent electronically to the student's bank account. Direct deposit refunds are not available for Parent PLUS loans.

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.  Credit balances are also reviewed and refunds processed throughout the semester, regardless of refund request forms.  NOTE:  Students should not overpay accounts with an expectation a credit balance will pay for future semester charges. 

Refunds will be processed according to the last method of payment received:

  • Cash or Flywire payments are sent via direct deposit or check.
  • Payments made by check require a seven 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.

Note: Check refunds may take up to four weeks for processing and mail delivery. Refund checks are made payable to the student and are mailed to the address listed in the student record. In person check pick up is not available.

Financial Aid Refunds

Credit balances from financial aid awards will automatically generate a refund, which will be sent via direct deposit if authorized by the student. A refund request form is not needed for financial aid disbursement refunds except in cases of schedule adjustments after aid has been posted. Students who do not opt for direct deposit will receive check refunds mailed to the address on file in their student record, which require additional processing time.

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 Office of the University Registrar 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 University Registrar's office will process the registration. Written approval of the student's 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 AP.6 Graduate Policies.

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, refer to the Admission of International Students section.

Music Instruction

Private music instruction is arranged through the School of Music on a fee-paying basis. Refer to the Student Accounts Office web site for up to date fee information. 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.

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.

Students whose appeals are denied have the right to seek further review of their status by the Office of the University Registrar or the Domicile and Tuition Classification 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:

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 Mason Core 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.