What Are the Different Types of Financial Aid for an MBA?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Getting a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree can be a great way to launch a business career, but paying for the education can be a challenge. Luckily, there are many different types of financial aid for an MBA degree, including grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs. In certain regions, financial aid for an MBA can also be obtained through somewhat alternative routes, such as taking advantage of student service programs and tax credits.

Scholarships are one form of financial aid.
Scholarships are one form of financial aid.

Grants and scholarships are some of the best sources of financial aid for an MBA program. Grants, which may also be called fellowships or scholarships, are monetary awards based on financial need or merit. Unlike student loans, these awards do not need to be repaid, and can significantly reduce the financial burden of an MBA program. Once a student is admitted to an MBA program, it is important to immediately contact the financial office at the school to inquire about in-school financial aid opportunities for the MBA student. Even before admission is determined, it is often possible to apply for grants from private foundations that award money to students pursuing an MBA or any general graduate degree.

Student loans are a common way to finance an MBA education. Generally offered by the government, loans are granted based on financial need and the tuition and costs associated with a particular school program. While loans can sometimes be used as the sole source of financial aid for an MBA program, it is important to remember that they must be repaid following graduation. With interest and extended repayment plans, students may end up repaying significantly more than they initially borrow. Nevertheless, student loans may be the only viable source of funding for some students, and can be worth their cost if they result in a viable education and career.

Work-study programs allow a student to reduce tuition expenses or earn income by working at an in-school job. In large universities, work-study jobs are available throughout the entire university system, meaning that an MBA student might find a position as a librarian, office worker, or even as a teaching assistant in a completely different subject. One of the benefits to a work-study job is that bosses are often sensitive to the busy schedule of students, and may be more understanding than an outside employer about scheduling and time needed to study for tests and finals. While a work-study program will usually not provide enough income to serve as the only source of financial aid for an MBA candidate, it can help make ends meet.

Crafty students may be able to provide their own financial aid for an MBA program. Admission to a university often includes opportunities to take advantage of discount student services, such as reduced cost housing, free gym memberships, lowered public transportation fees, and even free entertainment. Making the most of student services can help reduce living costs and thus reduce reliance on other sources of financial aid. Students may also be eligible for tax credits in certain years, which can result in higher tax returns from both federal and state governments. Keeping track of current tax credits available to students can provide a significant boost to funds every year.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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