A Happy Student Is A Generous Alum


The 25 Business Schools With the Best Financial Aid

No one wants to pay full sticker price. That’s only for suckers and losers. Even if you can afford it, we’re always looking for an incentive. Perhaps it is a goodwill gesture that a brand really cares about it. Or, maybe we want to brag to our friends over how we notched a “win” over that hapless salesperson (who will pay off his mortgage thanks to that fat commission made off his so-called concession).

School is no different. Imagine that you’ve been accepted at Columbia. That’s a huge deal, no doubt, but NYU is $2,500 a year cheaper. Think you wouldn’t ask for a fellowship (or at least a teaching assistantship)?

For some schools, grants or scholarships are a way to close the deal, to induce fence sitters to commit. With schools fiercely competing, you could argue that financial aid is just that newest competitive front (alongside facilities and rankings).

And just how competitive has it become? In a 2014 investigative report, Poets&Quants found that UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, for example, had doubled its scholarship funding in just five years, from $5.8 million to $12.1 million dollars. Head four hours north and Stanford – considered by some to be the nation’s top MBA program – has boosted scholarship funding from $8.7 million dollars to $15.7 million dollars.

Alas, dollars are one thing. Perception is another. This week, Business Insider published data from GraduatePrograms.com on how former students felt about the financial aid they received from their alma mater. Based on online surveys with 10,000 current and former graduate business students, GraduatePrograms.com applied a 1-10 scale (with being the lowest and 10 being the highest) to determine how happy respondents were with their school’s generosity.

And the big surprise? The top two ranked programs – Baylor University and the University of San Diego – didn’t come from the Ivys or Silicon Valley (or even the heartland). Baylor, ranked 58th overall by U.S. News & World Report, offers 65 fellowships and 50 research assistantships to its full-time MBAs (which numbers 87 currently – not counting nearly 300 more executive MBA, online MBA, and business Master’s students). Currently, 75% of Baylor full-time MBAs receive financial awards, covering 25%-100% of tuition according to the school’s website. In fact, the school raised $49 million dollars in 2012-2013 between its graduate and undergraduate alumni. While MBA tuition was middle-of-the-road at $34,480 (excluding fees), only 60% of students left school with debt – and it was a modest $21,480 debt at that.

Two North Carolina programs – Kenan-Flagler and Duke – also cracked GraduatePrograms.com’s top five. Based on Poets&Quants’ research, the schools make $6.8 million and $7.1 million dollars in scholarship dollars available to MBAs annually. Despite this, their students rack up heavy debt with 65% of full-time Fuqua grads averaging $115,201 of debt. However, this is partially offset by a high average starting salary of $114,109, coupled with an 89.3% placement rate after three months (The school’s highest reported base salary for the class of 2014 was $210,000). Conversely, Kenan-Flagler’s full-time MBAs fare a bit better on debt (57% leave with debt at an average of $87,533). However, they are also paid $10,000 less on average ($104,286 overall with the highest base salary recorded for the class of 2014 being $150,000).

According to Poets&Quants, the most generous graduate business schools – dollar-wise – are Harvard ($31.5 million), Wharton ($16.9 million), Booth ($16.3 million), Stanford ($15.7 million), and Ross ($15.4 million). However, none of these schools even registered in the top 25 on GraduateProgram.com’s list (which may also stem from too few survey respondents to even qualify). However, UCLA (9th), HEC Paris (16th), California-Berkeley (21st), IE University (22nd), and INSEAD (23rd) did make that top 25 list.

To see the “real dollars” that schools are giving out to prospective students, click on the “MBA Scholarships at Top Business Schools” link below.

financial aid


Source: Business Insider

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