Stay Mason Student Support Fund – Spring Term 2024

Application open January 9 – May 1

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

You must be enrolled at Mason in Spring Term 2024 in a degree-seeking program at the time you apply for emergency assistance.

Emergency funding is available to students who experience emergencies, unexpected financial challenges, or sudden financial hardships AND meet the eligibility criteria outlined below.

Funding is not guaranteed and is not meant to provide long-term or full tuition relief. This funding is a last resort for students who need it most and should NOT be considered part of a student’s financial planning.

Priority consideration will be given to students whose continued enrollment at George Mason University may be at risk because of unexpected and unforeseen events or expenses.

Emergency funding is made possible through the generous support of George Mason University and donors committed to helping students.

Other Funding Sources

An application for emergency assistance will NOT be considered until you have exhausted all other sources of federal financial assistance, including all subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

If you know you need continued financial assistance, you are encouraged to work with, and will be referred to, the Office of Student Financial Aid to discuss all options available to you.

If you do not qualify for federal financial aid, you are welcome to apply to the Stay Mason Student Support Fund (for example, if you are a student who is undocumented, protected by DACA or TPS, seeking/pending asylum, or are an international student).

APPLICATION PROCESS

Dates: Applications during Spring Term 2024 will be accepted from January 9 at 10:00 AM ET through May 1 at 5:00 PM ET (subject to availability of funds).

Criteria: To qualify for funding consideration through this process, you must meet ALL of the following criteria as of the beginning of Spring Term 2024.

Eligibility Criteria for Spring Term 2024 Stay Mason Student Support Fund

  • Enrolled in at least 1 credit hour during Spring Term 2024 in a degree-seeking program at George Mason University (part-time or full-time and undergraduate, graduate, law or certificate program); and
  • Exhausted all other sources of federal financial assistance, including having a current 2023-2024 FAFSA on file, if eligible to complete a FAFSA, AND accepting and receiving ALL offered subsidized and unsubsidized loans; and
  • For Undergraduate students, completed at least 12 credits of coursework in your current program at Mason prior to Spring Term 2024; and
  • For Graduate students, completed at least 9 credits of coursework in your current program at Mason prior to Spring Term 2024: and
  • For Undergraduate students, have a minimum GPA of 2.00; and
  • For Graduate students, have a minimum GPA of 3.00; and
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as outlined in University policy *; and
  • Experiencing an unexpected financial hardship resulting from emergency or crisis situation; and
  • Provide documentation to support the request as may be required by the Stay Mason Fund committee.

*Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requires that: undergraduate students maintain a 2.00 GPA and a 67% completion rate, and graduate students maintain a 3.00 GPA and a 67% completion rate.

WHAT CAN BE CONSIDERED FOR FUNDING during Spring Term 2024

Examples of expenses incurred during Spring Term 2024 which may be considered:

  • Current emergency medical expenses not covered by insurance
  • Books/course materials for Spring Term 2024
  • Technology/equipment needed to ensure continuity of learning
  • Homelessness or sudden loss of housing
  • Utility bills – must have current date
  • Loss of childcare
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Tuition and fees for current term – only considered on a limited, case-by-case basis
  • Replacement of stolen equipment essential to student’s coursework at Mason (as long as a police report is filed and copy supplied)
  • Other financial needs arising from individual and/or special circumstances to be determined on a case-by-case basis

WHAT CANNOT BE CONSIDERED FOR FUNDING during Spring Term 2024

Examples of expenses claimed during Spring Term 2024 which will NOT be considered:

  • Expenses incurred prior to January 9, 2024 (except books/course materials purchased for Spring Term 2024)
  • Anticipated future expenses related to Spring Term 2024 or past due expenses from prior terms
  • Reimbursement for tuition and fee payments already made by the student, financial aid, or third-party payer
  • Expenses belonging/pertaining to family members, pets or others
  • Student loan expenses and payments
  • Credit card expenses and payments
  • Study abroad costs
  • Legal fines or expenses
  • Non-essential personal bills
  • Parking fees and tickets, library fines or other expenses mistakenly incurred
  • Non-emergency air, train, or other motorized travel expenses
  • Expenses already awarded emergency funding support for in a previous term

COMPUTER/LAPTOP FUNDING

Students will be expected to utilize the computer labs and other computer sources provided on campus by the University. The committee will not consider replacing a computer/laptop without the required documentation.  In order to be considered for computer/laptop funding, you must supply the following documentation with your application:

  • An authentic photo of the current problem with your present computer/laptop; AND
  • A repair cost estimate from a computer repair shop that identifies the problem with your computer and the cost of repair; if the shop says that your computer is not repairable, the estimate must identify that; AND
  • Letter of support signed and currently dated from your professor that identifies that a new computer is needed to perform your current course work; AND
  • A new computer/laptop estimate (current dated vendor estimate or screenshot that describes the item and identifies the cost)

NOTE: Funding for a new laptop/computer is not automatic or guaranteed and will not be considered without the above documentation. Normal wear and tear and age are not considered an emergency and are not sufficient bases for a new computer/laptop.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS TO NOTE    [PLEASE REVIEW CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU APPLY]

  • Students are only eligible to receive funding through this process one time during the Spring Term 2024.
  • Only one application for funding will be considered during Spring Term 2024, and students should not submit multiple applications during the term.
  • If a student who has received funding withdraws during Spring Term 2024, the student must return the award, and a balance in the amount of the award the student received through the emergency funding process will be posted on the student’s account if appropriate.
  • Students who received Stay Mason funding in previous semesters are eligible to request funding again through the Spring Term 2024 application unless they have been funded the maximum of three times; however, previous awards up to the maximum three times funded can be considered by the review committee when making decisions.
  • The review committee will also take into consideration funding for students through third-party payer arrangements and all refunds disbursed by financial aid.
  • Students can be granted assistance through the Stay Mason Student Support Fund process up to a maximum of three times during their entire academic career at Mason. The committee can let students know their number-of-times status upon request.
  • Funds awarded do not need to be repaid unless the student withdraws from enrollment; however, the award may be subject to federal taxes, and the student is responsible for reporting income to the IRS and ensuring that all taxes are paid.
  • Based on the funding source, the award may be disbursed to a student either via check, direct deposit (if it is previously set-up through Student Accounts), or by deposit to a student’s account at George Mason University. You are encouraged to set up a direct deposit through Student Accounts for all non-wage disbursements and to keep a local mailing address current in University records. The University will determine the method of fund delivery, and special requests by students for distribution of funding cannot be considered.
  • Assistance through this process is NOT guaranteed. There is no guarantee that funding will be available for any given semester or term; and the University may discontinue funding at any time. The number of students who can be served and the amounts awarded are subject to the availability of funds.
  • For more information about the process or the status of your application, please contact smfund@gmu.edu.

APPLICATION

Complete and submit the online application below. Applications will be reviewed by the committee. All decisions are final.  The committee will do its best to communicate a decision to you via your Mason email within 21 business days of submission.

DOCUMENTATION

You must submit current documentation to support each item in your request for assistance. Failure to submit proper documentation with your application will delay the response time and may result in a denial of the request.

We ask that you familiarize yourself with the Frequently Asked Questions page to see what documentation is needed before you submit.

We recognize that the documentation you are asked to submit may be of a personal nature. It is important that we receive it to understand your need; however, your information will only be shared with parties that have a legitimate educational need to know and will be stored in a secure manner.

IMPORTANT NOTES

The application process is administered through the Guardian platform. Please follow the below instructions:

  • Access the application via Guardian by clicking “APPLY” below.
  • Application is entitled “George Mason University Incident Reporting Form.”
  • Scroll down and under the Information Tab, you will see ‘Report Type’ and the “Stay Mason Student Support Fund” automatically populated.
  • Scroll further and fill out everything carefully and completely. Identify the amount of your request and check only the items for which you are requesting emergency funding.
  • Supply and upload supporting documentation for each item checked.
  • You can email us at smfund@gmu.edu with any questions.

All application decisions are final.

APPLY