Tuition Breakdown

Attending college is extremely expensive, and students often wonder where their tuition money really goes. George Mason University is a public university with over 34,000 students (About mason, 2017). Students pay a pricey toll each semester to attend college, but do they ever wonder how their tuition money is spent? Mason breaks down their tuition by credit hours, undergraduate vs. graduate, in-state vs. out-of-state, on campus vs. off campus, and extra fees. The George Mason University official websites provide important information on the cost of tuition at Mason, and how it is broken down.


The Student Accounts Office, and especially The Student Accounts Office website is an informative resource that provides information on the tuition and fees at George Mason University. For more information, go to:

The full time undergraduate in-state 2016-2017 tuition rate is about $11,300 per year (Paying for college, 2017). It costs in-state students $5,550 to take 12-16 credits per semester. If the student surpasses 16 credits, then they will be charged $462.50 per credit over 16 (Student accounts office, 2014). The full time undergraduate out-of-state 2016-2017 tuition rate is about $32,582 (Paying for college, 2017). It costs out-of-state students $16,191 to take 12-16 credits per semester. If the student surpasses 16 credits, then they will be charged $1,349.25 per credit over 16 (Student accounts office, 2014). Keep in mind, this does not include extra fees, room and board, estimated transportation, personal costs, and additional costs, such as textbooks. Other extra fees include: course fees, new student fees, distant education fees, late registration fees, late payment fees, return check fees, auxiliary student fees, and collection of accounts fees (Student accounts office, 2014). These fees can add up quickly. Undergraduate students can choose to either live on campus, off campus, or commute from home. It is estimated to cost about $11,678 to live on campus, $12,186 to live off campus, and $4,370 to live at home per year (Paying for college, 2017).

Alongside room and board, students need transportation to get themselves places they need to go. Per year, it is estimated to cost about $1,346 if the student lives on campus, $1,722 if the student lives off campus, and $1,812 if the student lives at home, although these costs can be offset by using Mason’s shuttle system, as well as Fairfax County’s CUE Bus system (Paying for college, 2017). Personal expenses are also a necessity for college students. These expenses can include things like toiletries, groceries, healthcare expenses, etc. It is estimated to cost students on campus about $2,336, students off campus $3,186, and students at home $2,948 for personal expenses each year (Paying for college, 2017). Just when students think they have paid enough, professors require an abundance of textbooks. It is estimated to cost about $1,200 for textbooks per year (Paying for college, 2017).

The full time graduate in-state 2016-2017 tuition rate is about $10,232. The full time graduate out-of-state 2016-2017 tuition rate is about $24,170. Tuition varies depending on the students’ academic program (Paying for college, 2017). Much like undergraduate students, graduate student’s tuition does not include extra fees, room and board, estimated transportation, personal costs, and additional costs, such as textbooks. These extra fees are roughly the same compared to undergraduates. For the exact numbers, visit the George Mason University Admissions Office, Paying for College website mentioned in the caption below.


The Admissions Office, and especially the Admissions Office website is an excellent resource that provides a lot of information about paying for college. For more information, go to:

George Mason University’s tuition is astonishingly different compared to other in-state universities and the average university tuition prices. Like mentioned previously, Mason’s undergraduate in-state tuition rate is $11,300. Radford University’s undergraduate in-state tuition rate is $10,081 (Tuition and fees, 2017). That is only about a thousand-dollar difference between tuition rates. On the contrary, Mason’s undergraduate out-of-state tuition rate is $32,582, and Radford University’s undergraduate out-of-state tuition rate is $22,162 (Tuition and fees, 2017). Mason’s out-of-state tuition rate is more than twice as much as the in-state tuition rate. There is also over a thousand-dollar difference between George Mason University compared to the average tuition rate at a public four-year college or university. The average 2016-2017 tuition at a public four-year college or university is $9,650. For more information, visit:

The cost of attendance at George Mason University, and other universities across America is continually rising. In the year 2000, it cost $3,756 for in-state and $12,516 for out-of-state students. In 2005, it cost $5,448 for in-state and $15,816 for out-of-state students. In 2010, it cost $8,024 for in-state and $24,008 for out-of-state students (College simply: mason tuition & cost guide, 2017). Now, like mentioned previously, it is up to $11,300 for in-state students and $24,170 for out-of-state students, and if it continues on the same path, the cost will most likely continue to rise even more over the years. At the Tuition Tell All seminar, J.J. Davis, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance, and Rose Pascarell, Vice President of University Life communicated that there will be an approximate 5% increase on tuition rates over the course of the next four years (Tuition tell all, 2017). In Virginia alone, tuition at public colleges and universities has increased by $3,808, or 42.4% from 2008-2016. Overall throughout the country, four-year public colleges and universities tuition has risen by $2,333, or 33% since the 2007-2008 school year (Mitchell, M., Leachman, M., & Masterson, K, 2016).

There are many underlying causes why tuition is going up at this rate. Across the country, public colleges and universities have increased tuition to compensate for declining state funding and rising costs. These tuition increases are making college become less affordable. Now, the price to attend a four-year public college or university is growing significantly faster than the median income. Even though federal student aid and tax credits have risen, they are still falling short to cover the tuition increases. Prestige is also a reason for tuition prices to rise. Colleges and universities work like businesses, so they compete with one another to draw as many students to their institution as possible to make the most money (Mitchell, M., Leachman, M., & Masterson, K, 2016). Another reason why tuition is going up at this rate is that students demand more services outside of the classroom, and colleges and universities are providing more amenities to attract applicants. Money spent on student services has grown more than 20% at some of the top public universities (Selingo, J. J, 2016). The more the college attracts students, the more tuition money the college receives. Students are also shouldering much more of the cost of their degree at public colleges and universities. According to the Delta Cost Project, student tuition dollars at public research universities cover nearly 63% of educational costs. For more information, visit:

Since tuition rates are already high, and are continuing to rise, students are starting to raise the question, “Why does college cost so much, and where does our money go?” David Harirman puts together some costs involved in a college or universities budget, and where student’s tuition money is usually spent. Most students assume that it costs the most to employ faculty members, but even though instruction makes up the largest percent of college expenses, it only makes up 27% of costs at colleges and universities (Harriman, D., & Brown, M, 2015). Some of the other costs include: research, hospital services, auxiliary enterprises, institutional support, academic support, public service, operations and maintenance, student services, scholarships and fellowships, depreciation, and independent operations. These are just some of the areas where tuition money is spent, but it depends on the college or university exactly what percentage of the money is spent and where it is spent. For more information, visit:


Even though Mason gives us a simple breakdown of their costs, regarding tuition, room and board, transportation, personal, and books; where the full amount of tuition goes remains a bit of a mystery. As the cost of tuition continues to rise at a speedy rate, more and more students will be asking where their tuition money really goes. The true breakdown of a college or universities spending may be called into question. There are studies and theories that attempt to break down where tuition goes in colleges and universities across the United States, but most colleges and universities will never specifically tell students exactly where their tuition money is spent.


About mason. (2017). Retrieved from

Branstetter, G. (2015, December 11). It’s time for colleges to show students where the money goes. Retrieved from

College simply: mason tuition & cost guide. (2017). Retrieved from

George mason university tuition, costs and financial aid – collegedata college profile. (2016). Retrieved from

Harriman, D., & Brown, M. (2015, February 27). College tuition: where does the money go? Retrieved from

How does gmu rank among america’s best colleges? (2017). Retrieved from

Mitchell, M., Leachman, M., & Masterson, K. (2016, August 15). Funding down, tuition up. Retrieved from

Paying for college. (2017). Retrieved from

Selingo, J. J. (2016, January 22). Why the price tag of a college degree continues to rise. Retrieved from

Student accounts office. (2014). Retrieved from

Tuition, expenses, and financial aid. (2015). Retrieved from – tuit_fees

Tuition tell all. (2017). Seminar. Retrieved from

Tuition and fees. (2017). Retrieved from

Tuition and fees and room and board over time, 1976-77 to 2016-17, selected years. (2017). Retrieved, from

The Effects Technology has on the World

Is your cell phone a need or a want? As technology advances, I personally believe that cell phones are a necessity in this day of time. Nick Dyer-Witheford’s Cyber-Proletariat, and Toby Miller’s Unsustainable Journalism discuss the pros and cons of cell phones, and other technologies as well. Technological advances are positive in regards to job opportunities and convenience, but they are also negative in regards to human health, and the environment.

Dyer-Witheford focuses on job opportunities based around cell phones. Dyer-Witheford says, “…mobiles are also a ‘platform for labour’” (Dyer-Witheford, 2015). Cell phones and other technological devices require a lot of work to extract the sources to make the devices, assemble the devices, sell the products, support the customers, and disassembly after the products have died off. First, we need the materials to produce the devices. The most notorious source to make these devices is coltan, which is short for columbite-tantalite. We get coltan by mining, however, “…mining is an industry known for the danger of its working conditions, industrial conflict, and community and ecological disruption, especially in low-wage, unregulated zones” (Dyer-Witheford, 2015). Although mining brings forth jobs to those in need, it destroys our ecosystem at the same time. Second, the devices need to be made. Most electronic devices, like cell phones are made in factories on assembly lines. The cons of the factories are the low wages, bad working conditions, and toxic waste emitted into the air. The pro of the factories are more job opportunities for those in desperate need of a job to make ends meet for themselves and their families. Third, the mobile devices need to be sold. The pro to sales, is that it also brings in more job opportunities for those in need. In fact, “It is widely reported that mobile phone operators generate a significant number of jobs across the developing world” (Dyer-Witheford, 2015). Fourth, cell phone customers require technical support. This brings in even more jobs to those in need, which is of course another pro. Dyer-Witheford states that “Telecommunications firms are, along with the financial sector, the largest call centre employers in the world” (Dyer-Witheford, 2015). Fifth, once the devices have gone through their life cycle, they need to be disposed of, and “…billions of them swell toxic e-waste dumps…According to a recent UN report, e-waste, including not just mobiles but all computers, monitors, TVs, phones, appliance components and e-toys, is the world’s fastest growing waste stream; by 2017, its annual volume will ‘fill a 15,000-mile line of 40-tonne lorries’” (Dyer-Witheford, 2015). This is definitely a con, because that is a lot of waste taking up our world. Not only are coltan mines, electronics factories, or e-waste dumps bad conditions for humans, but they are also bad for the environment.

Toby Miller focuses on the effects technology, especially digital journalism, has on humans and the environment. Miller says, “Since the development of print and on to the days of mobile telephony, the technologies used by writers and publishers have drawn upon, created, and emitted dangerous substances, generating multi-generational risks for ecosystems and employees alike” (Miller, 2015). Miller calls it “life threatening” and “earth-endangering.” Miller touches base on the human effects. He states, “Telegraphy and telephony involved the first major commercial applications of electricity, through batteries. Then as now, battery workers were exposed to lead and other pathogens that damage the lungs, skin, and nervous system. Today, people manufacturing these and other media technologies, from television sets to printers to cell phones to laptops to tablets, run the risk of brain, liver, kidney, and stomach cancers” (Miller, 2015). These are some serious effects technology has on humans, but the effects on the environment are just as bad. Systematic deforestation, conflict mining, perilous extraction, and unsustainable industrialization all destroy the environment. Most of the technological devices derive their power sources from fossil fuel-driven electricity, which also destroys the environment. Miller says, “…when old and obsolete digital technologies are discarded, they become electronic or e-waste, which is the fastest-growing component of cleanups around the Global North. E-waste generates serious threats to workers’ and residents’ health and safety wherever plastics and wires are burnt, monitors smashed and dismantled, and circuit boards grilled or leached with acid, while the toxic chemicals, noxious gases, and heavy metals that flow from such practices have perilous implications for people, soil, and water both locally and downstream” (Miller, 2015). This demonstrates both a con for human and environmental effects.

Both Dyer-Witheford and Miller touch base on pros and cons of technological devices. Even though mobile devices are really a luxury, most people consider them necessities. With their convenient pleasures and job opportunities, most people do not consider the negative effects it has on our day to day lives. Technology, and mobile devices are slowly destroying our environment, and harming our health. What do you care about the most? Your cell phone and low-wage jobs or the environment and your health? That is a really hard question to answer, because I know I rarely put my cell phone down on a day to day basis.


Dyer-Witheford, N. (2015). Cyber-proletariat: Global labour in the digital vortex. London: PlutoPress.

Miller, T. (2015). Unsustainable Journalism, Digital Journalism, 3:5, 653-663.

Research Post 5: College Data Website

The College Data website has six tabs on George Mason University including an overview, admission, money matters, academics, campus life, and students. The “money matters” tab is perfect to use for my final article since it is on the breakdown of George Mason University’s tuition. It includes information on tuition and expenses and financial aid. The tuition and expenses part is where I need to focus in on. It includes the cost of attendance for in and out-of-state, tuition and fees for in and out-of-state, room and board, books and supplies, other expenses, and payment plans. This shows the difference between in verses out-of-state, which I am planning on incorporating into my final article, as well as the other expenses like room and board, books, and supplies that we might not even take into account, because it depends if the student lives on or off campus. This website may not have a lot of information, but the information it has is very precise and useful for me to use on my final article.

I have attached the link to the college data website below.

Research Post 4: GMU’s Catalog

The George Mason University catalog website allows you to search many things including tuition, expenses, financial aid, and much more. You will find the general tuition and fee guidelines; 2009-10 semester tuition charges and related fees; payment information including payment deadlines, methods of payment, delivery methods, semester payment plan, third-party billing authorizations, penalties, return checks, financial good standing (no holds on records), collections, dropped courses, refund policies, special registration, international student health insurance, music instruction, in-state tuition, domicile change, and tuition surcharge; expenses including housing, dining services, dining plan changes, parking services, financial aid, academic progress standards, aid programs, emergency loan programs, and ROTC scholarships. This website has tons of interesting information that will be very useful for my final article since it is on the breakdown of George Mason University’s tuition. The tuition charges, related fees, expenses and penalties will be especially helpful information to use for my final article.

I have attached the link to the GMU catalog website below.

Photographic Alteration

A picture is worth a thousand words. This is a very common saying used by society, and in my opinion is absolutely true. The articles “Mini Cameras and Maxi Minds” by Gregory Paschalidis, and “News Images on Instagram” by Eddy Borges-Rey cover the basis of digital journalism. Paschalidis goes into the “crisis” of photojournalism due to digital imaging making headlines, and Borges-Rey touches base on Instagram, and how the filters and effects alter photographs. Whether a photograph is taken by a professional photojournalist or a citizen journalist, the photograph still has meaning behind it, but do alterations to photographs make them less meaningful?

With technology advancing, photographs are becoming a lot easier to capture. Apple iPhones now a days have amazing camera quality, which gives professional photojournalists some competition with their extravagant digital cameras. The technology we have today, like the Apple iPhone, allows for everyday citizens to be photojournalists as well. Borges-Rey notes, “As citizens increasingly participate in the process of recording everyday life with the aid of new portable, low-cost, easy-to-use technologies, the very notion of realism that historically shaped contemporary professional photojournalism has come under challenge” (2015). Citizen photojournalism is becoming more and more popular. Paschalidis points out, “The resonance of these white spaces with the present conjuncture made Liberation’s gesture work by default, ensuring its universal appropriation in the cause of “the lost honor” of professional photojournalism. Yet, in the past few years, amateur-made photos have repeatedly featured in the pages of Liberation, most of them bought from Citizenside, a 100,000 strong international community of citizen photographers and video-makers” (2015). Are citizen photojournalists taking over professional photojournalists jobs?

Paschalidis states that “…photography was never free from alteration” (2015). But with all of the new technological advances, photographic editing is becoming extremely popular over time. Instagram is a well-liked mobile photo-sharing application that allows users to edit and share pictures or videos. As Borges-Rey says, “…it aims to determine the extent to which the standardization on the use of predefined filters, post-processing techniques and other photo-retouching options in Instagram enables photojournalists to produce simulations that transform our interpretation of reality to the extent that it creates a hyperreality” (2015). Borges-Rey describes hyperrealy as, “a version of the world that is assumed to be real but is nonetheless distorted and exaggerated to the extent that it becomes hyperreal” (2015). Hipstamatic, Instaplus, Picfx, Adobe Photoshop Express and Camera+ are also prime examples of applications that allow users to “…simulate the look and emulate the techniques of analogue retro photography by cropping, enhancing, blurring, saturating, contrasting, superimposing, balancing or applying filters that simulate cross-processing, high dynamic range (HDR), vignettes, chromatic aberration effects, type of lenses, cameras, films, paper, lens flares, etc” (Borges-Rey, 2015). Instagram is designed to encourage picture alteration as part of the photographic experience. But is hyperreal photojournalism ethically acceptable and authentic?

Photographic alteration will always be a big thing in today’s society, and I believe that some alterations to photos can make them less meaningful, especially if it is a historic photograph or something along those lines. If the photograph is distorted in some way, then the real meaning could be lost. On the contrary, photos for personal use are fun to be edited to enhance their beauty, and may make the photo even more meaningful. Personally, I love using Instagram. I love using the filters to make my photos look better, and posting the photos online for all of my followers to see. I never really thought of myself as a citizen photojournalist until now, but now I realize that with the rise in technology, photo-editing and sharing applications are taking away from professional photojournalists. I also think that hyperreal photos are ethically acceptable, because there is nothing wrong with a little bit of enhancement, but they might not always be authentic. Altering photos can either make or break a photograph.


Borges-Rey, E. (2015). News Images on Instagram. Digital Journalism, 3(4), 571-593. doi:10.1080/21670811.2015.1034526

Paschalidis, G. (2015). Mini Cameras and Maxi Minds. Digital Journalism, 3(4), 634-652. doi:10.1080/21670811.2015.1034529

Research Post 3: GMU’s Admissions Office

The George Mason University-Admissions-Paying for College official website provides a lot of useful information that I can use for my final article, including: George Mason Universities net price calculator, tuition, or cost of attendance for 2016-2017, room and board, estimated transportation, estimated personal expenses, estimated additional costs, international student health insurance, graduate new student fee, education resource fee, and touches base on the application for in-state tuition rates. Compared to George Mason Universities student accounts office website, this has a lot less information, but I like how it includes the estimated transportation, personal, and additional costs. It compares on campus, off campus, and living at home, as well as undergraduate, graduate, and law, which is pretty cool. Even though these are all estimates, it still gives me some shocking information that I would have otherwise never known. The tuition fluctuates so much, that most of the information will be estimated anyways. Since my final article is on the breakdown of George Mason University’s tuition, this is all very interesting and useful information that I can use.

I have attached the link to the GMU Admissions Office website below.

Research Post 2: GMU Student Accounts Office

The George Mason University Student Accounts Office website is a perfect source to use for my individual article, because it provides quality information on tuition and fees. For example, it provides information on: undergraduate and graduate tuition rates, course fees, undergraduate and graduate new student fees, distance education fees, late registration fees, late payment fees, return check fees, auxiliary student fees, etc. for spring 2017, fall 2016, and summer 2016. Since I am focusing on the breakdown of tuition at Mason, this website does a good job of breaking down different costs that goes into the tuition at George Mason University. I would like to compare the costs from different semesters and years; compare the costs from undergraduate to graduate; and compare the cost from in-state too out-of-state. This website will allow me to collect the quantitative data I need to compare these things, while also giving me more interesting information that I did not even know about before I visited the site.

I have attached the link to the GMU Student Accounts Office website below.