George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) are partnering to create an integrated educational experience for community college students seeking a four-year degree.

Two-year colleges have long been gateways to higher education for diverse student populations seeking flexible and affordable learning options. The current transfer model, however, often fails to successfully lead students toward bachelor degree completion.

Too few students who want a four-year degree end up receiving one. Of those attending NOVA, 80 percent enter saying they want to earn a four-year degree. But only 20 percent of those students achieve that goal after six years. This gap has implications for our regional and national economies.

First cohort of ADVANCE students wearing ADVANCE t-shirts

There are too many transfer obstacles for most community college students. The average student loses 15 credits in transfer. While guaranteed admissions agreements secure college admission, they don’t align curricula or address the lack of clarity around prerequisites. This can lead to wasted credits and money for Virginia’s students.

ADVANCE promises to eliminate obstacles by designing seamless pathways that make it easier for students to earn their degrees. The ADVANCE program will eliminate the aggravations and obstacles of an outdated transfer “process,” and replace it with a new NOVA-Mason experience that leads students through streamlined, guided program pathways toward achievement of their educational goals. ADVANCE students will benefit from:

  • A seamless partnership.
  • Curricula designed to ensure all credits transfer.
  • Advising services that support students at the start of their NOVA career through graduation at Mason.
  • Reduced cost by eliminating extra coursework and reducing application costs.
  • Co-located student services – physically and virtually.
  • Peer-advising for veterans.
  • Better support for active military and veterans

For Partners and Employers

Growing tomorrow’s workforce together

Mason is looking to build innovative partnerships that expand access to an affordable education for a diverse student population. Today more students are the first in their families to go to college, more are minorities; and more are adults and veterans. ADVANCE will leverage the expertise of other higher education institutions, employers, technology companies, and local government to create more opportunities for these students to succeed.

This is important for our regional and national economies: Sixty-five percent of all jobs in the nation and 67 percent of jobs in Virginia in 2020 will require postsecondary education. ADVANCE will increase expand the talent pipeline to regional jobs and prepare students for the growth industries of tomorrow.

This is important for our community: With Mason’s location in the growing Northern Virginia region, our proximity to the nation’s capital, and our ranking as a top-tier research university, it is imperative that we graduate more dynamic, creative, and collaborative thinkers who can contribute to the civic vitality of our community and the world.

The NOVA-Mason Advantage


VA’s Largest

Transfer Pipeline


NOVA to Mason transfers per year


Region Student Pipeline

Interested in making an impact on tomorrow’s workforce? The benefits of collaborating with the ADVANCE program include:

  • Gain direct access to a high demand talent pipeline that is responsive to
  • Gain access to Virgin’s largest transfer pipeline
  • Identify new ways of diversifying the workforce
  • Influence the certifications that matter most to our industry

Contact to start the conversation.

“It is incredible that in such a short time ADVANCE has opened the door for so many students to earn a bachelor’s degree. We aren’t just exceeding our enrollment goals or building a national model, we are changing the lives of real people, families, and their future generations.”

Ashlie Prioleau, Executive Director, ADVANCE
George Mason University

For Faculty and Staff

Serving a diverse student population is not just our priority, it’s our strength.

The ADVANCE program is designed to ensure that every community college student can find a pathway to degree completion. Our faculty and staff are working closely with our NOVA counterparts to ensure that our policies align and every credit counts.

ADVANCE will help students achieve their degree completion goals by providing clear curricular pathways, a Success Coach to guide them through and a supportive community across NOVA and Mason communities.

Helping ADVANCE students navigate through will increase student success, retention and degree completion by:

Find out how does ADVANCE differ from our Guaranteed Admission Agreement and Pathway to the Baccalaureate?

Questions about ADVANCE? Contact our ADVANCE team at

For Students and their Families

Getting your degree just got easier

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and George Mason University (Mason) have created a new, streamlined transfer program that will help NOVA students earn bachelor’s degrees in high demand fields.

ADVANCE makes a promise to students –Our guided program pathways will ensure that all your credits will map to Mason and our Success Coaches will help to reduce the time, money and aggravation that comes with transferring.

  • Mason Academic Advising
  • Libraries/Student Centers
  • Career Events
  • Disability Services
  • Counseling Services
  • Student Engagement Activities
  • Mason Recreation
  • Student Health Insurance

Sign up for ADVANCE today at

Questions? Contact our success coaches at

ADVANCE Resources

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