Maximizing Your Chances of Winning Financial Aid

Financial Times 2023 MBA ranking

Maximizing Your Chances of Winning Financial Aid

Graduates of top MBA programs walk away, on average, with debt ranging anywhere from $41,000 to more than $170,000. With the rising costs of an MBA education, it’s more important than ever to find ways to cut down on the price tag.

US News recently offered a few tips on how prospective students can go about finding the right types of scholarships to fund their MBA education.


Before applying for any aid, it’s important to understand the difference between a grant and a scholarship, both of which typically do not need to be paid back.

The main distinction between a grant and a scholarship is that a scholarship is usually merit-based, while a grant is typically awarded based on financial need.

“Scholarships can come in all kinds of amounts and students can apply for several at a time to help cover the cost of tuition,” Suzanne T. Ortega, president of the Council of Graduate Schools, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and advancing graduate education, says.


It’s a good idea to apply to both school and local organization-offered scholarships as a way to maximize your opportunity for landing as much financial aid as you can.

“Most students will have to supplement their financial aid package with student loans (both federal and private), graduate assistantships, or work-study programs,” says Nellie Gaynor, a graduate school and MBA admissions counselor at Ivywise, an educational consulting firm. “With that being said, we have seen an increase in graduate and adult programs therefore leading to an increase in applications for graduate school admissions. Given the competitiveness in this space, schools are using school scholarships as a way to attract talent to their school.”

And be sure to keep an eye on the deadlines for scholarships—many have differing timelines.

“You can apply to scholarships year-round, so always be on the lookout for new ones that pop up,” Ortega says. “Even if you planned to take out a student loan, you can still apply for scholarships to help reduce the amount of loan you need.”


When applying for scholarships, experts recommend speaking to what makes your financial situation worthy of receiving aid.

“Try to be sincere and share what you are going through and how a scholarship would benefit you,” Kari Hooker, director of scholarships in the San Diego State University’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, says. “We have a lot of students that work 20 plus hours a week. They need to let those committees know because those are the students that we want to support.”

Sources: US News, Nerd Wallet

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