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Five Places to Get the Executive MBA Funding You Need

Five Places to Get the Executive MBA Funding You Need  main image

If you’ve decided to pursue an executive MBA, there remains one big question to deal with: how are you going to pay for it? You may have already been saving up for this crucial step, but you’ll probably still need help covering the cost of this investment in your education.

Fortunately for you, financial assistance for the EMBA degree can be found in both expected and unexpected places.  The key is to look into all of your options and then choose the combination of possibilities that works best for you.  Here are five executive MBA funding sources to get you started:

Get your employer involved

The executive MBA program was first offered in 1943 with the idea that employers could help their top managers get the additional learning they needed to move into the C-suite. However, with fewer executives staying in the same company over their entire career, employer funding for this prestigious degree has dropped over the years.

While it’s still a very viable option for getting at least some of the support you need, a fully funded degree is much less likely.  A recent Executive MBA Council survey shows that employer participation, either full or partial, is trending around 58 percent.  In other words, over half of the current EMBA participants are receiving some level of sponsorship from their companies.

Of course, there’s no guarantee your employer will participate in paying your higher education bill, but it’s a great place to start your search.     

Check scholarships and grants

Scholarships and grants aren’t just limited to undergraduate studies, as increasing amounts of money is being offered at the graduate level. Scholarships can come from organizations specializing in your field of study, local community groups or even individuals who are interested in supporting outstanding people seeking advanced degrees.

The EMBA funding awarded is typically based around various criteria:  merit, need, diversity, location, career etc. This means you have multiple avenues available to you. Start with a simple Google search for EMBA scholarships or grants and see what’s currently on offer. 

Look at your taxes

Yes, you read that right, your taxes might actually be able to help you pay for your executive MBA degree.  There are tax breaks for pursuing further education and you may qualify for them. Talk to your accountant and see what he or she may recommend.

If you don’t have an accountant, get one. It will definitely be worth the comparatively small expense.  They know the most up-to-date laws and financial parameters and can help you find a scenario that’s best for you and that could help fund your education. 

Set an appointment with your banker

Though banks can offer you a classic loan to finance your studies, there are also other options that may be able to help. For instance, there are retirement funds that allow you to use money you’ve already put away towards furthering your education.  There are also lower interest loans available when the money is being used for education purposes.

Your banker may also be able to help you qualify for a low interest, money back credit card.  You can then use this bank card to pay for all your EMBA expenses, so that you’re actually earning credits for every bit of money you spend.   

Talk to the school’s financial aid officer

The financial aid office is open to all university attendees and can become an essential partner in getting the funds you need to pursue your executive MBA.  They can help you in getting support from your employer, but they’re also privy to other resources you may not have known about. 

One available option may be to delay your payments until after graduation.  Additionally, the financial aid office has its own school-based scholarships and finance packages available for qualified participants who need a helping hand meeting their school expenses.

With so many options for your Executive MBA funding, there’s no reason to let money hold you back. Seek out the solutions mentioned above but also start asking around to find out how other people managed their finances. Alumni from your chosen program may be able to offer some additional tips. The EMBA price tag may look daunting at first, but if you’re willing to put in the work and the research time, you can find the resources you need.

Written by Dawn Bournand

Dawn Z Bournand is associate director of the Executive MBA department at QS and handles editorial content for the department which includes serving as editor-in-chief of the QS TopExecutive Guide. Along with two of her QS colleagues, she recently wrote the book, QS TopExecutive Passport - Your essential document for entry into the world of Executive MBAs.  One of her favorite parts of the job is serving as an MBA/EMBA expert on webinars and panels, at conferences and in the media.

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