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How To Discount the Cost of an MBA

The total cost for an MBA at a top business school can easily cost you over $200,000.

Arlene Weintraub, a contributor at US News, recently shared some ways business students can cut the cost of MBA tuition.

Merit Aid at Your Chosen School

Merit scholarships are one of the best ways to save money without having to pay back expensive loans. According to data from FT’s 2017 ranking, roughly 48% of two-year MBAs received a scholarship. Generally, merit aids are given in regard to an applicant’s profile, whether it’s personal attributes or academic distinction.

In an article for P&Q, Caroline Diarte Edwards, director at Fortuna Admissions, says applicants should start by targeting schools where they think they’d be a good fit.

“It begins with your MBA application—be aware it poses an opportunity to qualify for a merit scholarship, not just admission to the program,” Edwards writes. “All applicants may be automatically considered for merit-based scholarships, and most schools regularly dole out selective fellowships.”

For instance, Edwards says, at INSEAD, “spot scholarships” are awarded to the best candidates upon admission. The bigger the school name, the more award money they have.

“The most selective schools (especially HBS and Stanford GSB) have very deep pockets,” Edwards says. “While there’s often no separate paperwork to be eligible for merit scholarships, you’ll want to submit your MBA application in earlier rounds before scholarships are allocated.”

You Don’t Have to Quit Your Job

Traditionally, those pursuing an MBA would take two-years off from their career to focus directly on their studies. However, the two-year full-time MBA is not what it once was.

A number of b-schools have evolved their full-time MBA programs to offer flexible choices in pursuing a business degree.

At the Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University, students now have the option to enroll in an evening MBA program – a 36-credit program that only takes three semesters to complete. In addition, a number of business schools also offer online programs, so students can attend to their careers and personal lives.

According to US News, a large number of b-schools also offer the option of an accelerated one-year MBA. Schools, such as the University of Notre Dame, Emory University and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, all offer accelerated degrees.
Norean Sharpe is the dean of the Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University. According to Sharpe, the flexibility in MBA options is, for the most part, due to changing demands from students.

“With today’s millennial generation, their No. 1 concern is cost, and their second concern is time,” Sharpe tells US News. “We’re motivated to do anything we can to help those students accomplish their goals.”

Some employers also offer tuition assistance. According to GMAC, over 50% of students in part-time MBA programs in 2017 expected to receive financial assistance from their employers. For online MBA students, it was 38%.

Federal Loans

If students still cannot afford an MBA from merit- scholarships or work opportunities, the last option is to apply for federal loans. However, US News contributor Arlene Weintraub advises students to look at federal loans as a “last resort” option.

“Unlike undergraduate loans, federal loans for graduate students are never subsidized, meaning your interest will start accruing as soon as you take out the loan, rather than being deferred until you finish the program,” Weintraub writes.

With these options, hopefully your cost of tuition won’t deter you from pursuing an MBA. While an expensive degree, the MBA serves as an important investment towards your future.

Sources: US News, Poets & Quants