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Frequently Asked Questions  

  • Advance Program Meeting

ADVANCE: Nothing should come between you and a four-year degree.

What is the NOVA/MASON ADVANCE Program?

ADVANCE is an exciting partnership between Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and George Mason University (Mason) that gives NOVA students targeted, personalized support to complete their bachelor's degrees in a timely manner and save money. Admissions guidance is provided for both institutions and on the ADVANCE program. When you meet program requirements, you will be automatically accepted into Mason. You will also be connected to dedicated advisors and success coaches from your first day at NOVA through graduation from Mason.

For more information, visit NOVA’s ADVANCE website and George Mason’s ADVANCE website.

Why should I consider ADVANCE vs. just applying as a transfer student?

ADVANCE offers:

  • Streamlined admissions process, no transfer application required, and access to a dedicated Success Coach
  • Aligned curricular pathways maximizing credits and tuition, so students can earn both an associates and a bachelor’s degree
  • Access to NOVA and Mason resources, student life, and ADVANCE-affinity events

I have international college/university credit. May I still join ADVANCE?

Yes. Students who have earned no more than 30 total college credits at the time of submission of the ADVANCE Declaration may be considered for admission.

What happens if I am not selected to join the ADVANCE program? Can I still transfer to George Mason University? 

Absolutely! Mason enrolls more transfer students annually than all other colleges and universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. If you are not selected for ADVANCE because you have more than 30 earned hours or a grade point average below 2.00, you are encouraged to visit our Office of Transfer Services to discuss your options for either GAA or regular transfer admission. Please see HERE for more information regarding Mason transfer admission requirements, deadlines, and contact information for Mason’s Office of Transfer Services.

I don't see my intended major at MASON on the programs list, can I still join ADVANCE?

No. You may apply for regular transfer admission or GAA (if applicable) to your intended major at Mason. Please note that some majors at Mason have selective admissions requirements. NOVA and Mason are collaborating to add more curricular pathways each academic year. 

Can financial aid awarded at NOVA be used toward Mason educational costs if I am a NOVA/MASON ADVANCE student?

For the purposes of awarding financial aid, NOVA will be the HOME school until the student has completed the associate’s degree and Mason will be the HOST school.

You must submit a NOVA/MASON ADVANCE Co-Enrollment Request Form to notify NOVA’s Financial Aid Office of your intent to enroll at Mason and request credits at both schools be considered for the determination of your financial aid.

Will financial aid cover all of my educational costs at NOVA and Mason?

Financial aid is awarded to help you meet your educational expenses and may not cover all costs.

How will I know if my pending financial aid based on my current enrollment covers my balance at NOVA?

If you are enrolled in less than 12 eligible credits, the financial aid you see offered on your myNOVA account may be reduced after the term census (the last day to drop with a tuition refund for the longest session of the fall, spring, or summer term).

NOTE: If your combined enrollment at both institutions is full-time at the term census date, you will be eligible for the full amount of financial aid viewable on your myNOVA account.

If I am enrolled in a combined total of less than 12 eligible credits at both institutions, how much aid will I receive?

Most types of financial aid require enrollment of at least 6 eligible credits, including student loans, work-study and many types of grants. After the term census date (the last day to drop with a tuition refund for the longest session of the fall, spring, or summer term) aid may be reduced if you are enrolled in less than 12 eligible credits. Review pages 5-9 of the Financial Aid Handbook for information on the requirements associated with each type of aid. If you have questions, please email finaidsupport@nvcc.edu.

When will my financial aid disburse and reduce the Total Due shown on my account at NOVA?

Pending Financial Aid will not be credited to your account or actually reduce the Total Due shown on your account until it is disbursed. This typically occurs approximately 2-3 weeks after the term census if you have attended at least 6 eligible credits past the session census date and you have no holds or incomplete To Do List items on your myNOVA account that prevent disbursement.

Loans accepted for the fall semester will not disburse until a few business days after October 1. At the time of loan disbursement, students must be currently attending at least 6 eligible credits past the session census date or be eligible for disbursement after having already successfully completed at least 6 eligible credits during the term.

Additional information is provided in NOVA’s financial aid tutorials and on our policies and procedures website.

When will my financial aid disburse if I am enrolled at both NOVA and Mason of if I am just enrolled at Mason?

In both cases, you must attend at least 6 eligible credits past the session census dates at both institutions prior to the disbursement of funds. Please review both NOVA’s academic calendar and Mason’s academic calendar.

When will I receive a financial aid refund from NOVA if my financial aid for the term is more than what I owe?

Financial aid is typically disbursed 2-3 weeks after the term census date (the last day to drop with a tuition refund for the longest session of the fall, spring, or summer term). It then takes an additional 1-2 weeks to receive a refund after aid is disbursed, depending on the refund preference selected.

Will I have financial aid to use toward my educational costs at Mason?

Financial aid will disburse at NOVA to cover tuition, fees, books, supplies or a laptop purchase charged against financial aid at NOVA’s bookstores. Any pending financial aid for more than what you owe at NOVA will be refunded to you and can be applied toward costs at Mason.

Will NOVA pay my outstanding balance at Mason?

NOVA will not make any payments to Mason on your behalf. It is your responsibility to contact Mason to satisfy your outstanding balance.

Where do I find my Mason account balance and pay my bill?

Visit the George Mason University Student Account Suite. This service lets students and their families view bills, make payments, and manage their student accounts.

When should I add Mason’s school code (003749) to the FAFSA?

Mason will become your home school once you complete your associate’s degree at NOVA. To be considered for financial aid at Mason your FAFSA must have Mason’s school code (003749) listed for the year Mason becomes your home school. For example, if you are completing your NOVA degree after Spring 2022 or Summer 2022, you would add Mason’s school code when you file your 2022-2023 FAFSA. For more information, please visit Mason’s financial aid website.

For more information, visit the Mason ADVANCE page.