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Funding Opportunities for Undocumented Students

**If you are a student whose immigration status (Eligible Students: undocumented, protected by DACA, or protected by TPS) prevents you from accessing federal financial aid and you are in need of EMERGENCY FUNDING, please submit an application. Click here to apply.

History of the Scholarship

Overview
The First Gen, Next Gen scholarship fund was established in 2016 through student advocacy and a consortium of donors in order to provide scholarships and financial assistance for first-generation college students, including students whose immigration status might otherwise hinder them from accessing higher education. Awards may be based on merit as well as financial need. Students must have a minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA for the semester prior (ex.: GPA is checked for Fall 2020 before final approval of the Spring 2021 award.). Both in-state and out-of-state students may qualify, as may both documented and undocumented immigrant students, regardless of their Visa, DACA and/or TPS status. 

Purpose
The First Gen Next Gen scholarship is designed to provide temporary, short-term, financial assistance to degree-seeking first generation undergraduate and graduate students.  The scholarship has a special focus on students struggling with financial obstacles due to barriers from immigration status. This scholarship is not intended to provide ongoing relief for recurring expenses. Financial assistance from the First Gen Next Gen Scholarship does not need to be repaid. In order to be considered for this scholarship the following criteria must apply:

Eligibility Criteria

Qualifying Criteria
In order to be considered for the First Gen Next Gen scholarship you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a student whose immigration status prevents access to federal financial aid, specifically if you identify as undocumented, have DACA, or have TPS.
  • Be a first generation college student. Mason defines first generation as the first in your family to attend college, or the first in your family to attend college in the United States. Please note that if you have an older sibling who has attended college, all children from your generation/sibling group are all considered first generation.
  • Be eligible to be enrolled during the semester for which the funding is requested (no academic or conduct suspensions).
  • Be enrolled at George Mason University as an undergraduate or graduate student for the semester funds are awarded.
  • Be pursuing your intended degree for the first time (e.g. first Bachelor’s degree, first Master’s degree)
  • Have unmet financial need, as described in your scholarship essays and through an alternate needs assessment form with your Financial Aid Counselor (Click here for a listing of Financial Aid Counselors assigned by your last name).

Award Funding Cap

A total of $6,000 is the maximum total each individual student can receive over the course of *each* degree program. In the event that a student reaches $6,000 during their bachelor’s degree, and continues at Mason for their graduate degree, they will then have a new maximum of $6,000.

Students must reapply each semester to receive an award between $500-$2,000. Summer awards are considered with the Spring application cycle.

Awards Available:

First Gen Next Gen Scholarship

Students apply each semester for the following semester. As an example, a student will apply in Fall 2020 for a Spring 2021 award. Awards are between $500-$2,000 and decided based on need of individual student. Click here to apply.

Students will submit a General Application and the supplemental essay

  • Scholarship application opens October 1, 2020
  • Scholarship application closes December 1, 2020

Awards posted to Spring 2021 student accounts. 

Questions? Email: fgng@gmu.edu

 

DACA Renewal Award

In the event that a student faces a financial hardship related to the renewal of their DACA paperwork, they can receive $495 to renew their application.

Application will be available on an ongoing basis starting October 1, 2020 through June 1, 2021 and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Students must request the application by emailing the Fund Director at fgng@gmu.edu.

Award is posted through a check issued to USCIS with the recipient name as the reference.

Questions? Email: fgng@gmu.edu

Awarded Funds (Fall 2018 – Fall 2020) *as of 9/8/2020

Fall 2018 Spring 2019 Fall 2019  Spring 2020 Fall 2020Total Awarded to 86 Individuals
21 Scholarships Awards21 Scholarships Awards29 Scholarships Awards22 DACA Renewals37 Scholarships Awards29 Scholarships Awards
$31,500 $24,000 $34,500 $10,890 $20,700 $37,500 $159,090

Fall 2020 Recipient Reflections

“I am a student with DACA and after graduating high school I went straight into the workforce because I couldn't afford college. Thanks to you, I am able to continue on my goal of becoming an engineer. With this scholarship, you have reduced the financial burden of paying tuition and it has allowed me to focus more on school rather than on how to pay for school. In addition, your generosity has inspired me to help others in financial need. Once I begin my career, I plan to help students achieve their goal of college just like you have helped me.”

“I would like to sincerely thank you for choosing me as one of the award winners for the First Gen Next Gen Scholarship. It means a lot to me and my family that I can be awarded for doing something many students can’t say they have done.”

“As I finally complete my degree at George Mason I will always keep in mind this scholarship and the donors who have made all this possible. Not only has this scholarship allowed me to continue my education but it also has allowed me to shift my focus from worrying on how I will manage to pay for tuition , to concentrating on my studies and completing my classes.”

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“I knew from early on that my parents wouldn’t be able to help me pay my way through school. Although it’s something they’ve always wanted to do, there were always bills and other situations to take care of. When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I could see that possibility of school becoming a slimmer chance. I’ve been grateful enough to have been given academic scholarships to help me pay my way through school. I’ve been able to work full-time to help support my parents and pursue my dreams”

“This scholarship helps me pay extra fees and sometimes an extra credit per semester for my graduate degree.”

“Due to my DACA status, I am limited in the scholarships I can apply to and I do not qualify for federal or state aid. I know that this scholarship has helped others in the same situation as I, and for that I, again, say thank you. I hope that this scholarship will continue to be around to help those like me.”

Donate to the Scholarship

If you are interested in making a gift to the First Generation, Next Generation Scholarship (which supports undocumented, DACA, and TPS students), please click the button below and designate your gift to the “First Gen, Next Gen Scholarship”.  If you have questions related to making a gift, please contact Kaitlin Cicchetti, Director of Advancement for University Life at koyler@gmu.edu