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Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 1pm

MBA Scholarships and MBA Cost Control

Keeping the MBA cost under control and budgeting

MBA tuition seems to be getting more and more costly, and the top business schools are certainly not immune to this increasing cost of attendance. According to Bloomberg, tuition rose by between 2 and 10% for the academic year, 2015/16. Despite this, MBA programs continue to see a steady flow of applicants and the qualification continues to be one of the top graduate degrees in terms of pay-off after graduation. Of course, MBA tuition is more expensive than undergraduate tuition yet, other than student loans, graduate programs tend not to have as much financial aid funding as undergraduate programs. To keep your MBA cost and student loan debt to a minimum here are some things to keep in mind before enrolling in a program:

  • Plan your budget early: Your MBA cost does not just start to accumulate from the first day of school. It begins when you decide to pursue your degree. Students should, at the very least, calculate the cost of their MBA tuition months before applying to an MBA program. You should also factor in the costs of applying, such as the actual application fee, exam fees, travel expenses for visiting schools, and other expenses you might incur before you gain admission to a program. Part of being successful in an MBA program is building good habits for budgeting and organization early on.
  • Calculate hidden costs: Thinking about MBA tuition and books is just the beginning of budgeting effectively. The true MBA cost includes more than just academic spending. Housing, transportation and living expenses need to be calculated into the budget as well. Joining clubs or organizations on campus can also add to your expenditure as many will ask students to pay membership fees, or will host events for which you might need to pay to participate.
  • Take a financial literacy workshop: Many schools host financial literacy workshops for their students on the subject of budgeting techniques and how to be more conscious of their expenses. Attending even one financial literacy workshop can help students understand how to manage their money while in business school.
  • Apply to MBA scholarships: Some students overlook trying to search for MBA scholarships because of the application process, believing they might not win the award, or simply because they feel overwhelmed by the numerous scholarships available. However, MBA scholarships are a prime source of financial assistance for postgraduate business students and can often help as motivation tools for being successful in the program. Indeed, some MBA scholarships require students to perform successfully in their courses in order to remain qualified for the funds awarded to them. Others aimed at MBA students, meanwhile, might offer funding for those with specific career goals in mind.
  • Explore your options: While MBA scholarships and student loans are the most common sources of financial aid, you should always try to explore alternative forms of funding. It might be worth meeting with a financial counselor either in the school or an independent advisor to figure out all the options available. One further option, for example, is whether the company or business you currently work for can sponsor or fund your degree. In today’s highly competitive business world, many companies mot only seek employees who have higher degrees, but might also encourage existing employees to pursue more advanced degrees. Even if there is not an established program for MBA financial aid in a company, it may be worth asking if there is any opportunity to receive support. In addition, a paid internship might provide a good way to earn some extra money while in business school as well as offering experience in a field of interest.

Of course, the top MBA programs around the world combine coursework with real-world work experience garnered from internships and/or mentorship programs. So, while MBA programs can be a costly investment, most graduates find it to be worthy of the investment.

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Vera Marie Reed is a professional writer for mbainsight.com and a stay-at-home mom living in Glendale, California. She loves writing about parenting and educational topics that engage readers. She’s the mother of two young daughters and loves to spend time reading, writing, going to museums and doing craft projects with her children.