More and more MBA applicants are hoping to fund their degrees with scholarship money from the schools.
Some 61.1% of prospective MBA students expect to help fund their education with a scholarship, up significantly from a low of 45% in 2008, according to a new study of MBA applicants.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, far fewer applicants want to take out loans. The study said that only 13.8% of the MBA candidates expect to rely on loans to fund their MBA, down from 27.4% in 2008 and 14.5% last year.
The numbers come from a newly published study by QS TopMBA.com, an organization that sponsors MBA fairs for business schools. All told, 4,122 applicants responded to the survey from the more than 70,000 applicants who registered for the QSWorld MBA Tour in the spring and fall of 2012, a response rate of 5.9%.
“Since the recession there has been a long-term rise in the proportion of candidates relying on scholarships to fund their MBA,” said the report. “The decrease in the proportion of candidates relying on loans may reflect the tighter credit restrictions that followed the 2008 crash.”
MBA Financing Options
The report found that candidates in the U.S. and Canada are the least likely to rely on scholarships, which the authors said “may be a reflection of the extremely competitive nature of business schools in the region, as well as a greater cultural willingness to incur personal debts during the course of their higher education.” Candidates in the region are by far the most likely to rely on loans, an option chosen by nearly a third of candidates, more than double the proportion of any other region (see table below).
Candidates in Western Europe are the most reliant on personal savings, and the second most reliant on those of family and parents. MBA applicants in Africa and Middle East overwhelming expect to fund their studies through scholarships, with 71% identifying this option compared to 45.8% in US and Canada and 54% in Western Europe. Scholarships are also by far the most popular option on Latin America (69.9%) and Eastern Europe 66.5%.
Regional Comparisons of Financing Options