President's Blog

Helping Virginia become the best-educated state

George Mason University last year accounted for 57 percent of the four-year public university undergraduate enrollment growth in the commonwealth according to a new report from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). In addition, U.S. News & World Report recently cited Mason as one of the top 25 colleges nationally in operating efficiency. In other words, we are the largest public university in the state, we continue to serve more students every year and we serve them well according to national standards.

SCHEV’s strategic plan seeks to make Virginia the best-educated state by 2030. This requires that we increase significantly the number of degrees and certificates awarded by our universities and colleges.

The new SCHEV report shows that Mason accounted for 1,072 of the 1,879 increase in state four-year public university undergraduate enrollment. Mason’s enrollment grew 5.4 percent; in all, state enrollment grew 1.4 percent. Mason already had accounted for nearly half of student growth in the state in the past decade.

In the U.S. News & World Report efficiency rankings, Mason is one of three Virginia universities cited, the other two being William and Mary and Virginia Tech (also a fast-growing institution). No other state has more than two institutions on the list of 25 schools, which speaks volumes of the work being done in Virginia.

As with any rankings, methodology can be subjective. This one looks at how much money a university spends per student per point in the U.S. News & World Report overall ranking. In other words, how much ranking bang you get for the buck. Assuming you believe U.S. News is a fair measure of quality, Mason and other Virginia schools appear to be providing great value to the students and families we serve, given the investment of public funds and tuition dollars at our disposal.