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Scholarships & Financial Aid for MBA Students

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

Going for your MBA? Not sure how you will afford it? Most business schools offer financial aid packages to MBA students. To find what is available at your school, speak with staff from financial aid as well as the business school. MBA financial aid typically includes grants, fellowships, assistantships, work-study programs, loans, and scholarships. Aid options are based on merit, need, or both.

Federal Financial Aid Options for MBA Students

Although MBA students fall into the graduate student category, schools still have several federal financial aid options to offer. To be considered, however, a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required. The FAFSA website can be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov/ where students may apply directly online. The deadline to submit the FAFSA is usually June 30. This form helps the federal government calculate your financial need.

Some MBA federal financial aid options include college work-study and federal loans. Students who are eligible for work-study can seek part-time jobs on-campus. The money earned can help defray the MBA program costs. Typically the campus jobs offered to MBA students are within the School of Business. These are great opportunities for earning money and gaining valuable work experience.

Students who qualify for federal loans can expect to choose among the Federal Stafford Student Loans (subsidized or unsubsidized), the Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan, or the Graduate Perkins Loan.

Other Loan Options

Some institutions offer their own loan program for MBA students. The financial aid office can confirm that information. If all else fails, there are alternative loans for MBA students, also known as private loans. Some private lenders to consider include: GreenNote, Sallie Mae, Chase, and MBA Loans. Private loans should be considered as a last resort. Interest rates and loan terms are typically better at the federal and school level.

What Business Schools Offer as Aid to MBA Students

Every business school offers their own financial aid package. Included in most school financial aid packages are some or all of these: grants, scholarships, work-study, fellowships, and assistantships, and loans.

However, most colleges and universities will require completing FAFSA information to determine the MBA student’s financial need. In turn, that information can also be used to determine university scholarships, or grants. Therefore, it is important to complete and submit the FAFSA anytime after January 1. For faster FAFSA approval, it is recommended to apply online.

Here is an example of what the Indiana University—Bloomington Kelley School of Business offers full-time MBA students:

Kelley School of Business (KSB) awards merit-based scholarships, as well as assistantships. Scholarships are awarded based on academic record, GMAT scores, application strength, and professional experience. These criteria are considered with no regard to financial need. In addition, this business school offers three fellowships and an assistantship for MBA students. The Dean’s Fellowship is awarded to students with an exceptional profile. The Forte Fellowships award full or half tuition fellowships for each of the two years a student is enrolled at KSB. A Merit Fellowship is awarded to students with high academic and professional achievements for up to $20,000 per academic year. And finally, KSB offers a graduate assistantship program in which MBA students work up to 12 hours a week with professors and staff. Assistantships usually include a stipend and other aid options in exchange for working. These are great opportunities for MBA students, providing them valuable experience and helping them financially.

Since most of the university school programs are not heavily promoted it is the student’s responsibility to seek these out. Speaking to financial aid staff and business school staff will help direct students to other MBA financial aid options.

Outside Scholarships for MBA Students

Although outside awards and scholarships are great ways to defray the cost of attending business school, there are far and few for MBA students. However, it does not hurt to try. Local organizations, like banks, and churches are a good place to start. Contact local businesses and organizations to find out if they offer graduate scholarships, grants, or awards.

Key Points about MBA Financial Aid and Scholarships

  • Complete a FAFSA anytime after January 1. And apply online for faster approval. The sooner you begin the financial aid process, the better your chances of higher rewards.
  • Probe the school of business about financial aid options. Speak with financial aid staff and business school staff to make sure you didn’t miss any financial aid options.
  • Seek outside scholarships and awards to help pay for your MBA. Although they are limited, you may find an one with great rewards.

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