Student Life and Support at Mason Fairfax
Housing and Meal Plans
Your choice of housing will be one of the most important decisions you make as you prepare to travel to Fairfax. On-campus housing offers the greatest opportunity for making friends and becoming active on campus. The Office of Housing and Residence Life manages all on-campus housing and provides a number of important services and benefits designed to help you make the most of your Mason Fairfax experience.
- Guaranteed: As a Mason Korea student, you are guaranteed a place in on-campus housing, as long as you follow the established procedure for reserving a space and paying the cost.
- Options and variety: Review the Student Housing Options sheet in Appendix A or visit the Student Housing website (housing.gmu.edu/halls/) to see the different types of housing options that are available. While single bedrooms may be an option during selection, they are not guaranteed and are available on a first come, first served basis.
- Roommates: The Office of Housing and Residence Life makes roommate assignments. You may share a room or suite/apartment with a U.S. Mason student or with another international student from a different culture from your own. Many alumni (graduates) continue their friendships with roommates throughout their lives. Living on-campus is one of the best ways to meet friends and become active and knowledgeable at the University.
- Housing Costs and Charges: Housing cost is determined by location and type of room. All housing charges will be billed per semester to your George Mason University student account.
- Securing a Space (April 1st – 15th): If you wish to secure on-campus housing, complete an online process including a housing application, self-selecting a bed space, and completing an on-campus housing agreement for fall 2015 and spring 2016. No housing deposit is required. The housing application process is available online through the eLiving website (myhousing.gmu.edu/eLiving/login.asp ).
- You must be enrolled as a full-time student to live in campus housing.
If you prefer to live off campus, you are responsible for your own accommodations and transportation. Here are some of the issues you should think about if you are considering off-campus housing:
Locating safe and affordable housing:
- It is difficult to evaluate a housing opportunity without meeting the landlord and seeing the place. Other international students have experienced unpleasant surprises upon arrival at a housing location that they reserved sight unseen.
- Many off-campus landlords require a US Social Security Number and/or credit history in the US. Renters who are unable to provide these may be unable to find housing or may be charged higher rent and fees.
- Most off-campus housing requires payment of a deposit for first and last months rent, as well as the charges for utilities (electricity, cable, etc.) and other amenities. In addition, the rental period is often for twelve, rather than nine, months.
- Once you sign the lease, you are legally obligated to make the payments.
- Transportation: Public transportation is available in Fairfax, but it is much more limited than in most major cities, and severely limited at night and on weekends. In addition to the distance, consider the time; local traffic at certain times of day can double the time of your commute. Before you reserve housing off-campus, review carefully the transportation available to you. These include Mason Shuttle, Cue Bus, and Metro.
- Meeting friends and being involved: On-campus housing is the best way to meet people and learn about activities and opportunities on campus. While living off-campus may seem exciting, students often tire of the many details involved in maintaining their housing, traveling to and from campus, and making the effort to learn about and participate in campus activities. Living in an on-campus residence hall makes it much easier to balance your academic obligations and your social life.
- Some students have friends and family in or near Fairfax, and they expect to commute to campus. As long as you have a reliable plan for transportation, this can work successfully. You will still need to think about making friends and participating in evening and weekend activities on campus.
On-campus students will be required to participate in Anytime Dining, with the exception of students living in campus residences with full kitchens. Anytime Dining plans can be accessed 24 hours a day on the Fairfax campus in three student dining locations. For more information visit the Meal Plans tab on the Mason Card Office website: http://masonid.gmu.edu/mealplans/
Tuition Payment Information
Payments received at the Cashier’s Office http://cashiersoffice.gmu.edu/ by 4:30 PM on any business day will be considered as that day’s business. Payments may be made online using Bill+Payment https://secure.touchnet.com/C20788_tsa/web/login.jsp until 10:30 PM. Please see Patriot Web http://patriotweb.gmu.edu, to confirm receipt of payment and balance due. Payment is due the first day of the semester (see Important Dates for more information http://studentaccounts.gmu.edu/calendars/ ).
Methods of Payment
- For payment instruction, visit http://studentaccounts.gmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/PaymentInstructions.pdf
- Cash: At Cashier’s Office http://cashiersoffice.gmu.edu/ window only.
- Check: Web, window, mail, or drop box. Make payable to GMU, student G# written on front. Third-party checks not accepted. Must be payable in US dollars. For each check returned by the bank unpaid, a $50 return check fee will be charged.
- Online payments are made using Bill+Payment (https://secure.touchnet.com/C20788_tsa/web/login.jsp ). This system allows students to manage their account activity online, view bills, make payments, and set up authorized users (parents, employers, etc). Authorized users have account management access only; academic information is not available through this system. Payment plans are also available to pay your balance in installments. Click the following link for additional information (http://studentaccounts.gmu.edu/bill-and-payment-system-information/)
- Credit Card (subject to credit card approval): Web only. VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover Card. There is a 2.75 percent convenience fee for credit card payments. This fee is nonrefundable.
- International students may email the Student Accounts Office from their Mason email address and request wire payment information, which is only an option for students coming from overseas. Students should self identify as a student coming from Korea, and should allow extra time for processing (up to 14 days).
- For more information, visit Student Accounts Office, http://studentaccounts.gmu.edu.
Money and Banking
Personal Bank Account
You will open a personal checking account with Apple Federal Credit Union during the orientation week at Mason Fairfax. You will use personal funds for miscellaneous personal expenses, textbooks, and other fees. Please note that your Mason Fairfax ID card is NOT a bank card.
Mason Money is a prepaid debit program that provides a fast, safe and convenient way to make dining and retail purchases on and off campus. For more information, visit Mason Money, http://masonid.gmu.edu/masonmoney/
- As an F-1 student, you may work on campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full time during winter, spring, and summer break. You can find opportunities for on campus employment by creating a Hire Mason Account on the Career Services website at https://gmu-csm.symplicity.com/
- If you are working for the first time in the United States you will have to complete forms with the employer and OIPS, apply for a Social Security Number, and schedule an appointment with an International Tax advisor. Once you have found an on campus job, you will visit OIPS with a completed On Campus Employment Certification and be given instructions and a checklist for applying for a Social Security Number and scheduling a tax appointment:
- As a F-1 student, you may request Curricular Practical Training (CPT) after you have maintained full-time status for one academic year (fall and spring semesters). Curricular Practical Training is designed for Internship experiences and cooperative education that are part of the established curriculum in your major field of study. If you qualify, you may apply for written authorization from a Designated School Official in the Office of International Programs and Services. Details about CPT and other types of employment both on- and off-campus are provided during OIPS international student orientation.
Auto and Travel
Auto (International Students)
- As a full-time student, you are permitted to drive with your out-of-state (or international) driver’s license. You may also apply for a Virginia Driver’s License. If you have a car, even if it is owned by someone else, you must register it in Virginia.
- For more information, visit http://www.dmv.state.va.us/drivers/#eligibility.asp.
Local Transportation. George Mason University is located in Fairfax, Virginia, where there is easy access to shopping and entertainment within walking distance of campus. Public transportation is available from campus to nearby large shopping centers and into Washington, D.C.
For more information about things to do and see in Fairfax, visit http://www.fxva.com.
Mason Shuttle Service: For Mason shuttle schedule, visit http://shuttle.gmu.edu. More information on local transportation options is on p. 23 in the Community Resources section of this Guide.
International Travel. If you return to Korea or travel outside of the U.S. during school breaks you must have valid visa to re-enter the US. If your F-1 visa has expired, you must apply for a new one at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside of the United States. Never enter on a tourist visa if you plan to study.
You must also have a valid I-20 with a travel endorsement on the third page. You can request a travel endorsement at OIPS, at least thirty days before you plan to leave the US. The date of the travel endorsement must be within one year of the date you re-enter the US.
If you plan to travel outside of the U.S., please report to the Office of Global Strategy prior to your trip
International Student Health
- George Mason University requires J-1 and F-1 visa status students to have health insurance coverage under University Policy #6002. Therefore, the Insurance Office will automatically enroll F-1 visa students into the school selected health plan.
- Visit http://shs.gmu.edu/insurance/international/ for more information.
- You must provide proof of compliance with immunization requirements mandated by the Commonwealth of Virginia and George Mason University. For more details, visit http://shs.gmu.edu/immunizations/immunization-requirements/