Financial Aid and Scholarships

The new Mason Student Services Center, located in SUB I, Suite 1003
Now Open!
Now Open!

The new Mason Student Services Center, located in SUB I, Suite 1003 (Lower-Level Lobby on the Fairfax Campus), will serve as the central resource to assist new and continuing students with questions related to registration and academic records, enrollment, financial aid, billing, and student accounts, eliminating the need for students to visit multiple offices. 

Approximately 75% of Mason students receive some form of financial aid and many are receiving a combination of merit and talent-based scholarships.

Many university resources are available to assist you with obtaining academic scholarships, grants, and loans. In addition, we encourage you to work with our programs directly to learn more about program-specific and talent-based scholarships.

University Scholarships and Financial Aid for Applying Students

Admissions Merit Scholarships

Mason awards millions of dollars in scholarships to incoming freshmen every year. These awards not only recognize strong academic talent and achievement, but also special talents and other personal characteristics, without regard to an applicant’s financial need.

All freshman applicants who apply by November 1 (the Early Action application deadline) will automatically be considered for merit-based scholarships through the Office of Admissions and the Scholarship Committee. Students who apply Early Action are notified of their admissions decisions by mid-December, and the Scholarship Committee notifies students if they were awarded a scholarship no later than February.

University Scholars Awards

The University Scholars are selected from among the most outstanding students invited to the Honors College. This award is the highest academic distinction that Mason offers to undergraduate students and is given annually to top high school seniors admitted to the university. Each year the University Scholars Program enrolls approximately 20 new first-year students, each of whom receives a scholarship covering the full cost of tuition over four years. Students receiving this award have exemplary records of academic achievement, and they have demonstrated intellectual vision and creativity, the potential to solve problems and overcome obstacles, and a commitment to meaningfully contributing to their communities.

Applications must be submitted by November 1 to receive priority consideration for the scholarship. Prospective freshmen should check the appropriate box for "University Scholar" on their applications. For more information, please visit the University Scholars website.

Financial Aid

If you’re interested in applying for financial aid, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it to the federal processor by March 1 of every year. It’s best to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1st of the preceding year because some fund types are limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please visit How to Apply for Financial Aid.

 Visit the university's Office of Student Financial Aid website to learn about available scholarship opportunities.

College of Visual and Performing Arts Scholarships for Returning and Upper Class Students

Undergraduate Scholarships

Alice L. Watts Memorial Scholarship

Alice Watts worked at George Mason University for more than 25 years in a variety of capacities in the arts. Most recently, she served as the College of Visual and Performing Arts' Coordinator for Undergraduate Programs and Advising. In honor of her years of service, her dedication and the impactful contribution she made to our students and the university,  we created the Alice L. Watts Memorial Scholarship in her memory.

This scholarship will be awarded each spring to an undergraduate CVPA major who is committed to building community within the college and the university.

Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts Scholarships

Selection of recipients is determined by the College of Visual and Performing Arts and is based on the completed university application and the audition/portfolio review required for acceptance to the major.

Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts is a collaborative effort between the City of Fairfax, George Mason University and Spotlight.  The mission is focused on enhancing awareness of the cultural arts opportunities available in the Fairfax area and providing scholarships to students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Fairfax County Spotlight on the Arts offers the following endowed scholarships:

Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts – BP Endowed Scholarship in the Arts

A one-time award of $1,500 for a graduating senior from a public or private high school or home-schooled program in Fairfax County or the City of Fairfax.

Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts – Apple Federal Credit Union Endowed Scholarship in the Arts

A one-time award of $1,500 for a graduating senior from a school system serviced by Apple FCU (see for list).

Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts Scholarship – Ruth Haycock Endowed Scholarship in Piano

A one-time award of $1,000 for a graduating senior from a public or private high school or home-schooled program in Fairfax County or the City of Fairfax.

Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts Scholarship in Music for the Mason Community Arts Academy

A one-time award of $1,000.

Graduate Scholarships

Victoria N. Salmon Outstanding Graduate Student Award College of Visual and Performing Arts

Applications are now being accepted for the Victoria N. Salmon Award for distribution in the Fall 2023 term. The application is open until March 1, 2023.

This scholarship is awarded each academic year to a currently registered CVPA graduate student in one of the College’s graduate programs at the Master’s, MFA, or doctoral levels. The recipient of the Victoria N. Salmon Outstanding Graduate Student Award demonstrates thoughtful, artistic reflection while creating high quality work in the arts. The selected graduate student is one whose work advances scholarship in their own discipline and at the same time enhances the understanding of the arts in general.

The award offers up to $5,000 in tuition assistance and may be disbursed over two consecutive semesters. The application for this award opens each Spring semester for tuition assistance beginning the following Fall semester.

Successful applicants must meet the following criteria for consideration:

  • Have completed at least 50% of their coursework for the degree at the time of application;
  • Have earned an overall 3.5 (or better) GPA in coursework;
  • Will be enrolled in the fall award term (Fall 2023) semester but will not be a full-time GTA;
  • Will have completed the CVPA 600 Graduate Proseminar Course by the fall award term (Fall 2023).

Required Application Materials:

  • Completed application form.
  • 500-word essay describing the applicant’s interests, accomplishments, and future plans within their field
  • Name of the student’s selected recommender (graduate program director or faculty member) who will submit a letter and/or statement of recommendation on the student’s behalf. This statement will be fulfilled via a link sent by the Office of Student Affairs to the student’s named faculty member/program director.
  • Submission deadline: March 1, 2023. Essays (PDF) must be submitted to the CVPA Student Affairs.

For further information about this scholarship, please contact CVPA Student Affairs.


Scholarships by Major for Returning and Upper Class Students

School of Art Scholarships

Each year, College of Visual and Performing Arts programs award scholarships to applicants who demonstrate exceptional talent. In addition to the scholarships awarded in the sections above, some scholarships are offered by individual major.

Scholarships awarded by the School of Art are based on the portfolio submitted by the applicant. For further inquiries, please email the School of Art or call 703-993-8898.

Visit School of Art

Arts Management Scholarships

All applicants to the Arts Management Program at Mason are considered for scholarships based on the merit of their academic history and professional promise. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, however to receive priority consideration for scholarships and funding, applications must be submitted by February 15 (Fall) and October 1 (Spring).

There are many different resources for students to use when searching for additional scholarship opportunities. The Arts Management Program offers two individual annual scholarships, the Erin Gaffney Memorial and the Andy Bursten Memorial.

Beyond GI Bill assistance, there are additional education benefits and scholarships available for active military, veterans and their dependents. The Office of Military Services can assist veterans, active duty service members, guardsmen, reservists, and dependents in finding funding for their education at Mason.

Planning on participating in the International Arts Management Study Abroad Course? Find out about funding your trip through Mason Study Abroad.

See the Arts Management website for additional information.

School of Dance Scholarships

Each year, College of Visual and Performing Arts programs award scholarships to applicants who demonstrate exceptional talent. In addition to the scholarships awarded in the sections above, some scholarships are offered by individual major.

Dance Talent Scholarships

Friends of Dance fund one to two scholarships each year, awarded to incoming freshmen who demonstrate outstanding talent at an audition. To renew the scholarship each year, recipients must maintain a 3.0 GPA, participate fully in all department performance activities and be a good university citizen. To be considered for an annual Dance Talent Scholarship, apply to the university by November 1 and audition on one of the dates listed on the School of Dance website.

Harriet Mattusch Special Recognition Award 

A scholarship funded by Dance Council Partnership is awarded by the Dance faculty to a full-time, continuing, undergraduate student who demonstrates consistent hard work and dedication to dance as an art form and who makes positive contributions to School of Dance activities.

Kevin Campbell Summer Scholarships 

Tuition grants to summer dance intensives were established in 1990 to offer dance majors enrichment opportunities that might not be otherwise available. Applicants must demonstrate a serious intent to pursue a personal objective through summer study, make contributions to the Mason Dance Company through choreography, performance and service, and show a need for financial assistance. These awards have given dancers the opportunity to study in the intensives and workshops of Bates Dance Festival, Parsons Dance, Jacob's Pillow, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Alvin Ailey, Gallim Dance, LEVYdance, Complexions, Mark Morris Dance Center, Urban Bush Women Summer Institute, White Mountain Dance Festival, and the Joe Goode Workshop.

Visit School of Dance 

Film and Video Studies Scholarships

Applicants must be seeking a BA in Film and Video Studies. If you're not yet a student at Mason, you must pass the Film and Video Studies portfolio review (under Step Two), intend to declare (or have declared) a Film major, and be accepted to Mason.

Awards and Eligibility

Scholarship recipients must:

  • Remain Film majors to receive the full amount
  • Be enrolled in at least 12 credits of coursework per semester.
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA overall and a 3.0 in Film courses.

Funds will be disbursed when all criteria are met after the add/drop deadline each semester.

Funding is contingent on the program's and college's budget, and is not guaranteed for the entire time a recipient is enrolled at Mason. Award amounts could also change.

Contact Film at Mason if you have questions or for more information about Film scholarships.

Scholarship Application

A committee of Film at Mason faculty and advisory board members will award scholarships based on:

  • Thoughtful presentation of the chosen topic
  • Writing and communication skills (**Please be sure to spell check, grammar check, and proofread your essays. Poorly written essays will be scored accordingly.)
  • Grade point average and demonstration of academic excellence at Mason or other institutions.
  • Demonstration of professional experience or commitment (through internships or other professional contexts).
  • Résumé.

The panel also considers merit in academic and extracurricular activities within College of Visual and Performing Arts courses when reviewing applications from current students. Academic transcripts on record from the last three years of study will be considered.

To apply, submit all required elements by the deadline:

Part 1. Personal Information (includes cumulative GPA, student standing)

Part 2. Three Film essays (each is 50 words or less)

  1. Why do you want to be a media maker? Tell us why you need to tell your stories through the medium of film and video?
  2. What have you worked on? Describe a recent project (script, film in progress, or completed film) in which you were either the writer, director, cinematographer, editor or producer.
  3. What was your takeaway? What was the most important lesson learned while working on this project?

Part 3. Creative Work (based on concentration)

  • Directing / Producing / Cine / Editing-Sound – link to Vimeo or Youtube video. 3-5 minute film reel or clip of the film you just described
  • Screenwriting – 5-8 pages of the script of the film you just described. Descriptive statement (50 words or less): The goals and themes of the selection and its place in the larger piece.

Part 4. One page resume saved as “FULL_NAME_Resume.pdf"


  • College is expensive, and we all need financial assistance. Tell us how this scholarship will alleviate an extraordinary circumstance. (50 words or less)


The application for the Film at Mason Scholarship will open in February 2021.

Visit Film and Video Studies website.

School of Music Scholarships

Each year, College of Visual and Performing Arts programs award scholarships to applicants who demonstrate exceptional talent. 

In addition to the scholarships awarded in the sections above, some scholarships are offered by individual major.

The George Mason School of Music is committed to recognizing talent and potential through merit-based scholarship awards. The school prides itself in offering highly competitive awards to a diverse array of students, based on the quality of the audition and priority needs of the school.

Monson Scholars Program

Peterson Family Scholarship Endowment in the Vocal Arts

School of Theater Scholarships

Each year, College of Visual and Performing Arts programs award scholarships to applicants who demonstrate exceptional talent. 

In addition to the scholarships awarded in the sections above, some scholarships are offered by individual major.

Friends of Theater Scholarships

The deadline for application submission is the Monday before Thanksgiving at 5:00pm EST.

Friends of Theater Scholarships are funded by private donations and ARTS by George!

Friends of Theater Scholarships will be awarded for the following Spring semester to students who excel in one or more of the following areas:

  • Performance (Acting, Directing, Musical Theater)
  • Design, Technical Theater, Stage Management
  • Theater Education, Writing, Dramaturgy or Leadership


  • Eligible applicants must be current full-time Theater Majors or students pursuing the Theater Education Concentration, with a 3.0 GPA minimum, who demonstrate commitment to their craft.
  • A current FAFSA must be on file with Mason’s financial aid office in order to receive scholarship assistance. More information.


Submit your complete application (Parts 1-4) via email to Kevin Murray, with subject line of Friends Scholarship.

Deadline for submission is the Monday before Thanksgiving at 5:00pm. Late applications will not be considered.

Part One: Please include the following information with your scholarship application, and complete Parts 1-3 below:

Concentration of Interest*

* Although you may list more than one area of interest, please submit only one application.

Part Two: Submit an essay. Describe how you demonstrate your personal and professional commitment to the artistic, technical, and/or educational discipline of Theater, as a student and as a member of your community. Cite examples of participation, volunteerism, leadership, and/or outreach, focusing primarily on the past year. Include your plans and intentions for the next several years.

Part Three: Briefly describe your financial need for scholarship consideration.

Part Four: Attach a current resume.

Howard Vincent Kurtz Theater Endowed Scholarship

This scholarship was established by Howard Vincent Kurtz and is awarded to a current full-time student pursuing a degree in theater with a concentration in the areas of design and technical theater within the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The student must be a junior or senior and will qualify on the basis of academic merit and financial need. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed and submitted to the Office of Student Financial Aid by the deadline date in order to determine eligibility for this scholarship. One $1000 award for academic year.

The application includes the following:

  • A one-page essay on the applicant’s post-graduation plans for a career or avocation in the field of technical theater or design for stage or screen;
  • Current contact information, including name, address, phone, email and G#;
  • Current cumulative GPA;
  • A statement of financial need (current FAFSA required to be on file with Mason’s Financial Aid office).     

All applicants must submit scholarship application materials electronically through the Financial Aid system. Applications are available beginning in the Spring Semester via the Financial Aid website.

The Mack and Paulette Miller Theater Scholarship Endowment

The scholarship is for undergraduate students pursuing a degree within the School of Theater. Applicants must demonstrate a contribution to service in and a spirit for improving the School of Theater community. Recipients must be full-time students, may be in-state or out-of-state students, and will qualify on the basis of academic merit and financial need.

Visit School of Theater