Financing Your Business School Degree: Finding the Combination for Success
Apr 25, 2017
Admissions Process, B-School, Choosing the Right School, Financial Aid, MBA
Submitted by Kelly Sugrue, Director of Admissions, Brandeis International Business School.
If you’re considering a graduate business degree, you probably have a lot on your mind. Questions like “What school will be best for me?” and “Will I get admitted there?” are obviously at the forefront, but another important question that is never too early to consider is: “How will I pay for it?”
If you’re worried about how to fund your degree, you’re not alone. Here at Brandeis International Business School (IBS), we attract students from all over the world, but the questions we receive from prospective students about financing graduate business degrees are universally similar. As you think about your own financial situation and the cost of the programs you are considering, keep in mind the six funding sources below. Most students will employ a combination of these sources so take some time to figure out the mix that’s right for you.
- Merit Scholarships: These are awarded to top applicants each year and are based on several factors. Some schools require separate applications to be considered for these scholarships or that you apply by an early deadline, so be sure to review each school’s webpage for its specific scholarship process.
- Assistantships: These come in various forms depending on the school. Graduate Assistantships are often included in a student’s admission offer and require you to work in a particular role at the school during your program. Other Assistantships, such as Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant positions, may be jobs that you can apply for once enrolled at the school. Graduate Assistantships typically provide tuition assistance while other positions may provide you an hourly wage that you can then choose to use toward tuition, housing or other expenses.
- Federal Loans: U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents can apply for federal loans by completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The Stafford loan is unsubsidized but offers a fixed interest rate. Another federal loan available is the Graduate PLUS loan. This loan is credit based but students can use this loan to borrow up to the cost of a program’s attendance (minus any other scholarships or loans received).
- Private Loans: Other private loans are available and these will be credit based. As you consider private loan options, be sure to ask if the interest rate is fixed or variable, what fees are associated with the loan and what are the repayment options.
- Outside Scholarships: Outside organizations’ scholarships may be based on a number of different criteria including a student’s undergraduate major, academic area of interest, gender and/or any professional organizations in which you may be involved.
- Personal Funds: Consider any personal or family funds you are able to use toward your business education. If you are thinking about starting a graduate degree a few years in the future, start saving now.
Talk with the schools you’re considering to learn more about their particular funding opportunities. Schools welcome the opportunity to speak with prospective students about funding options that may work best for them and how they can potentially partner with them to assist with the cost of our programs.
How to pay for a graduate business degree may be a daunting question but, with planning, you can find the right program fit and make the right investment for success.