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Financing your MBA – How to pay to the B schools

Entering the world of a top MBA program often comes with a big frill attached – the money required to take care of your tuition fee, living expenses, textbooks etc. A somewhat scary fact about MBA is that this amount is by no means small. It is rather fairly significant. But do not let this pause your efforts or desire to pursue MBA as management education is a long term investment.

First of all let’s understand the meaning of Financial aid

Financial aid can be given by the college/ university, banks, organizations and governments in the form of loans, scholarships, grants, sponsorship etc. At least 50% of the MBA students take some sort of financial aid.

Each MBA aspirant should assess the amount of funds required (depending on where one is applying). Subsequently one should subtract the amount of personal funds available to arrive at the additional funds needed. Please note that if you are considered as a ‘dependent’ by the US federal rules, your parents’ income will also be counted to assess fund requirement. However, if you are considered ‘independent’, then only your (and your spouse’s) income will be counted to find the funds needed.

There are various ways in which financial aid can be arranged to fund your education, as described below.

Federal Student aid:

Almost all business schools use FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for application for federal financial aid. The application is submitted online via the website

Please ensure that you complete the forms appropriately and completely. Please note that this form of financial aid is not easily available for international applicants


While there are some scholarships available and aspirants should apply for scholarships, depending on relevance, scholarship is not a very dependable mode of financial aid. Number of scholarships is typically limited and many of them do not cover the full cost of an MBA. Hence, even if you manage to get a scholarship, need for a fund is not satiated.

For scholarship programs of respective b-schools please refer to their financial aid section. It is imperative that you apply early to stand a fair chance.


Loan is the mode on which 50%- 60% of b-school students rely for financial aid. Many loan programs require a US citizen as co-applicant/ cosigner and this condition becomes a problem for many international students. In case you are likely to face this issue, please choose schools which offer guaranteed loans to their students.

Sponsorship by employer:

This is probably, the best way to finance your MBA so far as monetary liability/ dependence is concerned. Your current organizations may fund your education with certain conditions (work with your organization for minimum 3 years post MBA etc.). Even with this condition, sponsorship is a good option to take as a major part of your post MBA expense and mental stress are taken care of.

Make sure that you bargain for a good position/ compensation deal with your employers.


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