Mason Merit Scholarship Policy

Award Amount and Period of Award

Merit award amounts are listed on student award letters. The maximum award period for Merit aid is four consecutive years. Awards are applied to tuition over four years of undergraduate study (maximum of eight semesters), beginning with the semester in which the student is admitted. Merit awards do not need to be repaid.

Renewal Criteria

University and Early Identification Scholars must maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA in order to renew their scholarship annually. Renewal of Admission Scholarships requires a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA annually.  Students who fail to meet this requirement will be notified of their award cancellation via email by the financial aid office.

Enrollment Requirements

Awards require full-time enrollment (minimum of 12 credits per semester). Students with a reduced course load (RCL) accommodation from Mason's Disabilities Services must provide a copy of their RCL letter to at the start of the semester to receive full-time status.

Change of Residency

Merit awards may be reduced or cancelled if a student's residency status changes at any point in their academic career.

Transfer of Scholarship

Matriculated students may request deferment of their merit-based admissions scholarship for one semester in the event that:

  • They are enrolled with less than full-time standing; or
  • They are participating in a co-op or internship; or
  • They are taking a leave of absence for any reason other than low academic performance
  • The student must submit a Leave of Absence form and notify upon re-entry

Use of Funds and Combining Additional Scholarships/Resources

Merit awards are designated for tuition only (12-15 credit hours). Merit awards will be cancelled if a student receives any additional aid, scholarship, benefit, or resource that pays full tuition. This applies to the receipt of additional Mason or non-Mason awards. Merit awards may also be reduced if a student receives any additional aid, scholarship, benefit, or resource that specifically pays the difference between resident and non-resident tuition costs. Students should notify the Office of Student Financial Aid if they anticipate receipt of any additional aid or resources.

Virginia Military Survivors & Dependents (VMSDEP)

VMSDEP benefits (tuition and fee exemptions and/or stipends) are considered resources for students receiving federal, state, and institutional financial aid. Application of benefits may reduce the amount of need-based financial aid awarded to the student. If VSMDEP benefits in combination with other financial aid exceed a student’s financial need and/or cost of attendance, adjustments may be made to the student’s financial aid package to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations. Please note that reporting of VMSDEP benefits on the student account may occur after initial awarding and disbursement in the semester.  

Study Abroad

Current scholars who have maintained eligibility may use a merit scholarship for approved study abroad programs. Refer to the links below for more information about Study Abroad.

Withdrawal Policy

Merit recipients who fully withdraw from all courses in a semester are subject to a reduction or cancellation of their merit award for that term.

Cost of Attendance

The Office of Student Financial Aid establishes an estimated cost of attendance for each Mason student. The student’s combined financial aid (including internal and external scholarships, federal and state financial aid and tuition benefit/resources) cannot exceed the established cost of attendance. If a student receives aid that exceed the cost of attendance, the student’s financial aid package, including merit funds, will be revised to stay within the student’s cost of attendance. Every effort is made to first reduce loan funds awarded to the student; however, some revisions of aid will result in a reduction or cancellation of merit or institutional grant funds.

Deferment of Admission

Merit award recipients who wish to defer their admission term should contact the Mason Office of Admissions. Due to residency status changes after deferring admission, merit awards are subject to reduction or cancellation.