BOV wrapup: Applications, enrollment, and research on the rise


An 11% increase in in-state freshman applications and a 37% increase in international freshman applications contributed to George Mason University’s largest freshman enrollment in school history, Mason officials said Thursday, Sept. 28, at the Board of Visitors (BOV) meeting. Those gains helped Mason become the first public university in Virginia history to exceed 40,000 students.

President Washington stands inside a white event tent. The Mason Now logo is projected onto the tent ceiling behind him.
President Washington addressed the faculty, staff and BOV members at the Mason Now kickoff. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Office of University Branding

Vice President for Enrollment Management David Burge and Dean of Admissions Alan Byrd detailed how the university undergraduate population grew this fall by 2.5% to bump enrollment to a record 40,175. In this year’s incoming class, 28% of students have  a 4.0 grade-point average or higher, and 71% have a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Virginia freshman enrollment is up 9.5% and international freshman enrollment is up 32%.

That strong undergraduate showing helped offset declines of 1.7% and 4.4% in graduate and law school enrollment, respectively. Overall, credit hours across the university are up 2% to 441,000, including a 6.8% increase in the College of Engineering and Computing.

Mason’s enrollment has grown from 33,778 in 2014 to 40,175, with small or modest increases each year. The student body this fall is 35% white, 19% Asian, 14% Hispanic, 11% Black, and 11% international. Twenty-eight percent of undergraduates are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, awarded to the most economically challenged students.

Byrd noted that Mason exceeded 45,000 applications for the first time and that a record 16.5% of Virginia high school seniors applied to Mason, even though the number of high school seniors in the state had dipped slightly from the year before.

Mason was also ranked the number 1 school in Virginia for social mobility by U.S. News, the Wall Street Journal, and Washington Monthly. Read more about Mason’s rankings.

Research up 55%

Andre Marshall, vice president for research, innovation, and economic impact, reported to the board that Mason research awards are up 55% from the previous fiscal year, growing from $171 million to $264.8 million. He attributed the increase in part to infectious disease and national security research.

Marshall referenced the more than 100 industry research partners and more than 230 university partners as another indication of Mason’s robust research capabilities.

“We are actively engaged with the leaders in the scientific and corporate communities,” Marshall said. “It's clear institutions, whether they are academics or industry, want to work with us.”

At each BOV research committee meeting, a Mason faculty member and PhD student make a presentation. At this meeting, bioengineering professor Parag Chitnis and doctoral student Erica King presented on wearable ultrasound systems for assessment of musculoskeletal injuries.

Mason Now: Power the Possible update

The university has raised $384 million toward its $1 billion goal for the Mason Now: Power the Possible campaign, Trishana E. Bowden, vice president for advancement and alumni relations, said.

After the BOV meeting, several board members attended a faculty and staff reception on the Merten Hall Lawn on the Fairfax Campus to celebrate the launch of the campaign.

Board approves amended budget, town hall scheduled

The board approved an amended fiscal year 2024 operating and capital budget.

Deb Dickenson, executive vice president for finance and administration, will host a virtual budget town hall from 3-4:15 p.m. on Wednesady, Oct. 4, to share more information.

The campus community is invited to attend on Zoom for a 45-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. A video recording of the town hall will be made available on the Faculty Senate website. 

Ginsberg says goodbye

Mason Executive Vice President and Provost Mark Ginsberg, who after 14 years is leaving Mason this month to become president at Towson (Md.) University, gave his final report to the board and drew appreciation from BOV members and President Washington.

“I deeply love this university,” Ginsberg said. “It is really hard to leave. But it is thrilling to join another great university that sees itself as a university that seeks to become the next George Mason. I want to make other universities just as good and just as important as George Mason has become.”

Washington announced Ginsberg’s pending departure in a letter to the Mason community Aug. 2.

The BOV voted to confer Professor Emeritus of Education status to Ginsberg.


All materials from the BOV meeting, can be accessed here.

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