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 of our students and faculty. This scholarship, awarded on a competitive basis, is available to first-generation college students who are incoming fall semester 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; or
    • an individual who, prior to the age of 18, regularly resided with and received support from only one parent and whose supporting parent did not complete a baccalaureate degree; or
    • an individual who, prior to the age of 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).
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.3 or better (most recent earned degree and any degree in progress).
  • Applying as a new, incoming Fall 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, by January 15, 2022, of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or an Alternate Needs Assessment Form (available in Financial Aid).

Selection Criteria:

  • Demonstrated record of professional/extra-curricular achievement and/or community involvement.
  • Essay which clearly demonstrates the applicant’s ability to make connections between their personal experience as a first-generation college student from an underrepresented population to:
    • their overcoming obstacles/challenges,
    • the doctoral program they are applying to at Mason, and
    • their commitment to the issues of inclusion and access

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 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 $32,000 over 12 months

    • $25,000 (Academic Year)
    • $7,000 (Summer)
  • Tuition support of up to 18 credits per academic year
  • Subsidized Graduate Health Insurance offered annually

Students who are found to be potentially eligible for the scholarship after submission of a fall doctoral program application will be invited by email to learn more about the scholarship and then apply online if all eligibility criteria are met. All applicants must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa) to the federal processor as required or an Alternative Needs Assessment Form (at https://www2.gmu.edu/admissions-aid/financial-aid/forms ) to the Financial Aid Office no later than January 15th, 2022. You can complete the FAFSA as early as October 1 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. Your scholarship application will not be considered if your FAFSA or Alternative Needs Assessment Form is not submitted on time.

The following materials must also be submitted as part of the scholarship application by Feb. 1, 2022:

  • 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 2022.
  • Response to essay prompt as described 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 in order 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 due: January 15, 2022

Scholarship Application Materials due: February 1, 2022

Scholarship offers expected, but not guaranteed, to be sent to those selected by: March 7, 2022. Once offers are accepted, all other applicants will be notified by electronic mail