First Generation Next Generation Fund

“Providing scholarships and financial assistance for undocumented students at Mason”

History of the Fund 

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. 

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 (see 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 from the First Gen Next Gen Fund:


Student Emergency Fund

Questions? Email:

Funds set aside for Fall 2020 to award funds directly to students applying to and qualifying for the Student Emergency Fund

Link to apply:

Emergency Fund application opens August 17, 2020

Emergency Fund application closes December 11, 2020

Awards distributed Fall 2020

First Gen Next Gen Scholarship

Questions? Email:

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.

Link 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 

DACA Renewal Award

Questions? Email:

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

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


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

Fall 2018Spring 2019Fall 2019Spring 2020Fall 2020Total Awarded to 86 Individuals
21 Scholarship Awards21 Scholarship Awards29 Scholarship Awards22 DACA Renewals37 Scholarship Awards29 Scholarship Awards

Fall 2020 Recipient Reflections

“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.”

“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.”

“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”

“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.”


To donate, visit:

(Search for First Gen Next Gen to ensure your donation is routed correctly to the First Generation Next Generation Fund).

For more information on giving an amount greater than $1,000, please contact: