Family FAQs

New Student and Family Programs is the centralized resource on campus for families of George Mason University students. Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions on a variety of topics. Clicking on a topic reveals frequently asked questions pertaining to that topic. If you have other questions or need additional information, call 703-993-2475 or email


Where can my student purchase textbooks?
Textbooks can be purchased online or in person through George Mason University’s Bookstore located in the Johnson Center on the Fairfax campus. Textbooks ordered online through the bookstore can be shipped to your student directly or can be picked up in the bookstore on campus. Please note, in some cases specific textbooks may only be available at the Science and Technology Campus.

My student is not doing well academically. What academic support services are available?
Mason offers a number of academic support services that are free to students. Learning Services provides a variety of resources to help students explore a wide range of academic concerns. Services include study skills workshops, individual academic skills counseling, online media offerings, a tutor referral service and the Academic Skills Certification program.

Some academic programs offer additional tutoring through individual departments (i.e. chemistry, foreign languages, etc.). Encourage your student to speak with his or her professor or academic advisor for information on departmental-specific tutoring services.

Also, refer your student to the Writing Center or the Undergraduate Math Tutoring Center (link “Math Tutoring” to for assistance in these specific areas.

Who is my student’s academic advisor?
Professional staff at the Academic Advising and Transfer Center advise undergraduate students in the following categories:
• Those with majors listed as Undeclared-no preference
• Those who are considering changing their major
• Undergraduate non-degree seeking students
• Those seeking information concerning health related professional programs, i.e. pre-med, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, pre-physical therapy, pre-veterinary, and physician assistants (does not include nursing)
• Any transfer student who has applied for admission to Mason

Students who have declared a major are advised in their department. Your student can find more information on their advisor by using the Academic Advisor Locator . How can my student view his or her transfer student credit evaluation? Your student’s transfer student credit evaluation can be viewed on Patriot Web under the Student Services tab once his or her final transcripts have been received and processed through the Admissions Office and the Office of the Registrar.


I have a specific question about fees and fee payment.
Visit the Student Accounts Office website for a list of current tuition rates and related fees, information on fee payment and a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions to help you navigate the fees and fee payment process at Mason.

What is the deadline for my student to pay his or her fees for the semester?
The deadline for tuition and University fees is the first day of class for each semester (unless otherwise noted). Your student can view his or her account balance on Patriot Web or on the online bill and payment system.

Payments can be made online through the bill and payment system, in person at the Cashier’s Office located on the ground floor of Student Union Building I, or by mail to:
George Mason University
Cashier’s Office, MSN 2E1
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030

For more information regarding fee deadlines and payments, visit the Student Accounts Office.

How can my student apply for financial aid?
Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Renewal FAFSA to determine their financial aid eligibility at George Mason University. In order to be considered for the maximum amount of financial aid, students must complete the FAFSA before March 1 of the calendar year for which they are applying for aid. Applications received by the processing center after March 1 or considered late and will not be given priority consideration, but will be reviewed for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Stafford Loans, and Federal Parent PLUS Loans.

For more information, please visit the Financial Aid Office.


Are on-campus housing facilities open during holiday breaks (Thanksgiving, Winter Break, Spring Break, etc.)?
All residence halls are open during Thanksgiving and Spring Breaks since the amount of time during these two breaks may not be enough time for some students to go home. Select residence halls are open during Winter Break. Students hoping to stay on-campus for Winter Break should indicate so on their housing application and fill out the proper paperwork when it is made available during the Fall Semester. For more information, please visit the Office of Housing and Residence Life.

Can my student live on-campus while enrolled in summer school?
Housing is available during the summer for students taking classes at George Mason however, summer housing does require a separate application and has its own fees in addition to summer tuition. For more information, please visit the Office of Housing and Residence Life website.

My student is looking for off-campus housing. Are there any resources available to help him/her find housing?
Off-Campus Student Programs and Services offers an Off-campus housing locator to help make the housing search process easier for students. In addition to helping students locate off-campus housing, the locator also offers a tool for students looking to find roommates.

Grades and Records

Can I obtain a copy of my student’s grades?
The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), only permits students to direct access to their grades on Patriot Web. Students are welcome to share their grades with their family if they so choose.

Family members can be given access to their student’s records if the student gives permission and fills out and files the proper paperwork with the Office of the University Registrar.

Where do I get proof of my student’s enrollment and grade point average for my insurance company?
The university’s official verification of enrollment is provided to students at no cost by the National Student Clearinghouse. Students can print an enrollment verification form from Patriot Web by clicking the “Order Enrollment Verification” link under the Student Records tab. Verifications can be used for insurance companies, scholarships, military identification cards, prospective employment, student housing, and all other services that require proof of being enrolled at Mason.

How can my student change his/her permanent address on file with the university?
Students may change their permanent address through their Patriot Web account. After logging in, your student can click the “Personal Information” tab and select the “Update Phone and Address(es)” link.

Students may also change their address in person by visiting the Office of the University Registrar in Student Union Building I on the Fairfax campus.

Health and Wellness

My student was sick and had to miss several classes. What should he/she do?
Your student should contact his/her instructor and let them know about absences due to illness. Every instructor has a specific attendance policy which can be found on the class syllabus. If your student is going to be out for an extended period of time, he/she can contact the Dean of Students Office at 703-993-2884.

Does Student Health Services accept insurance?
No, Student Health Services does not accept insurance. However, if your student is covered by health insurance it may help to cover outside lab fees that might be incurred, so encourage your student to bring his/her insurance card to all appointments. Student Health Services offers its own student insurance through Aetna Student Health that can be purchased.

What does my student do if they become very sick at night or on weekends?
If Student Health Services is closed and your student has a medical emergency, he/she may contact the free after-hours nurse advice line operated by Sirona Health at 703.993.2831. Your student may also visit an urgent care facility or call 911 if he/she is having a life-threatening emergency.

Each student should have a copy of their insurance card in case they have to receive medical care at a facility other than Student Health Services at George Mason University.

My student is feeling anxious/ stressed/ depressed. Where can he/she go for help?
Students are encouraged to contact Counseling and Psychological Services at 703-993-2380 for information on services available and how to set-up an appointment. Their offices are located in Student Union Building 1 (SUB 1) room 3129.

If your student is experiencing a crisis at times when university offices are not open, he/she can contact the University Police at 703.993.2810. The Police will work with your student to contact Counseling and Psychological Services when it would be helpful to your student. If your student lives on campus, he/she can contact the on-call housing staff member for assistance. For life threatening emergencies, your student should call 911 immediately.

Campus Life

My student lives off-campus. Can he/she purchase an on-campus meal plan?
Yes. Dining Services offers a variety of meal plans for students living off-campus to purchase. Voluntary meal plans are billed to your student’s account and can be purchased be emailing the Mason ID office at

What is Mason Money and where can my students use it?
Mason Money is a prepaid debit program that provides a fast, safe and convenient way to make purchases on and off campus at participating locations. A list of participating on-campus locations and off-campus locations can be found on the Mason Money web site.

How can I add Mason Money to my student’s Mason ID?
Deposits can be made in one of the following ways –
• Online with a Visa or MasterCard
• At the Mason Money Office located in The Hub, room 1103 using Visa, MasterCard, Cash or Check
• At the Card Management Centers located in each of the libraries, accepting cash
• At Mason Money Stations, located next to the Mason Money Office, accepting Visa of MasterCard. New locations are being added on campus.
• Using the free Mason Card iPhone app (version 4.3)
Funds are available for immediate use once deposited.

My student wants to get involved on campus in a club or organization. Where can he/she go for more information?
There are hundreds of registered student organizations your student can join at Mason. If a club or organization that your student is interested in joining does not exist, he/she can start a new organization easily! Encourage your student to visit for a list of clubs, contact information, and others events hosted by Student Involvement.

I would like to send my student a care package / birthday cake / etc. Does the university offer any service that would help me with this?
Mason Dining offers personalized cakes and cookie baskets for any special occasion that can be ordered online and picked up by your student.
Care packages sent to Mason students living on campus can be picked up at the Package Office located on the ground floor of The Hub.

Where can my student find information about on- and off-campus jobs?
Career Services offers access to Handshake, an online resource that connects students and employers. Students can use Handshake for free as a way to apply for internships, full-time, part-time or on-campus jobs. Students can also publish their resumes in a Resume Book for employers to search.

How does my student sign up to receive Mason Alerts to their phone in case of emergency?
Students and families are encouraged to register for the Mason Alert notification system in order to receive messages and updates in case of emergency. Messages and notifications can be sent to e-mail, cell phones or other electronic devices.

To register, visit the Mason Alert home page and click on the registration link. On the registration page you can customize how you would like to receive alerts and the type of alerts you would like to receive.


My student will be living on campus. Does he/she need a car?
Although all students are allowed to have a car on campus, it is not a requirement that all students have a car. Mason offers six free methods of transportation for students:
• Free use of the Fairfax county bus system (CUE bus) with a Mason ID (including access to the Vienna Metro station),
• The Mason-to-Metro shuttle,
• The West Campus shuttle, which provides service for the West Campus and Field House parking lots,
• Gunston’s Go-Bus, a shuttle that provides service to Fair Oaks mall and other shopping locations in the Fairfax area,
• The Prince William shuttle, which provides service between the Fairfax and Science and Technology campuses Monday through Friday, including stops at the Manassas Mall, and
• The Campus Circulator, which provides continuous service around the Fairfax campus.

How does my student purchase a parking pass?
Parking passes can be purchased online or at the Parking Services Office located by the Shenandoah Parking Deck on the Fairfax campus. A variety of pass options are available to suit your student’s individual needs.


My student is graduating. How does he/she order announcements, cap/gown, etc.?
Caps and gowns, announcements, and other commencement supplies may be purchased at the University Bookstore.

Where can I find information on my student’s graduation ceremony (date/time/place)?
Commencement is held each May at EagleBank Arena on the Fairfax campus. For specific information regarding event times, visit the Commencement site for more information.

Do family members and guests need tickets or invitations to attend Commencement?
Yes. Due to our large number of graduates, all graduates except doctoral candidates will be permitted a maximum of four guest tickets. Graduating students do not need a ticket. All tickets are free and are general admission. Additional tickets will be available only if students turn in unneeded tickets to the EagleBank Arena box office.

For ticket pick-up times and locations, visit the Commencement site hosted by the Office of Events Management.

Visiting Campus

How can I arrange a campus tour?
Campus tours are conducted throughout the year, Monday–Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Schedule your tour by visiting the Office of Admissions or by calling 703.993.2400. Tours can be scheduled up to three months in advance.

Where can I park when visiting campus?
Fairfax Campus
All visitors to the Fairfax campus are strongly encouraged to park in the Visitor Parking at either the Mason Pond, Shenandoah, or Rappahannock River Parking Decks. Visitors may also park at parking meters located around campus. If you are planning to visit for longer than a day, there are also temporary parking permits available for purchase online at and in the Parking Services office at Shenandoah Parking Deck. Visitors must always display a valid temporary permit on their vehicle when parked in a non-metered area of surface parking lots.

Science and Technology Campus
Visitors to the Science and Technology Campus will be instructed by signage to take note of the parking space number and follow instructions to pay at the electronic parking meter located at the front of Occoquan Lot.

Arlington Campus
Visitor parking is available in the Founders Hall garage at the posted hourly rate, with a $14/daily maximum Monday-Friday. Weekend parking is available at the flat rate of $7/day. Four short-term meters are also available on the top level of the Truland parking garage.