MBAs can be expensive, but there are ways to reduce the costs.
According to Walter Simmons, associate dean of the Boler School of Business and professor of economics at John Carroll University in University Heights, and Bill Hauser, assistant dean and director of graduate programs in business at the University of Akron in Akron, students have financial assistance options.
“Most of our MBA students are working, so the most common option is being sponsored by their company,” Hauser said. “It may not be a full amount but there is no standard now because so many companies do different things.”
Hauser said even though the university no longer offers graduate assistantships, Akron is working on getting more university-supplied scholarships for graduate students.
Simmons said his university offers merit-based scholarships, fellowships, graduate assistantships as well as accepting sponsorships from student’s employers. With fellowships, students receive the equivalent of a full ride and with graduate assistantships, students also get full tuition and a stipend.
“There are a lot of incentives for the students,” Simmons said. “We really try to facilitate students with good academic records, but lack the funds. We want everyone to have the opportunity to get an MBA if they can do it.”
Hauser said students also should search for third-party scholarships as well as school-sponsored scholarships.
“What MBA students might want to do is dig around,” he said. “There are a number of scholarships available out there, many of which we don’t even know about. The students just need to do the research.”
Though a lot of work can go into getting accepted for an MBA program as well as finding funding to pay for it, both professionals noted the work is worth it.
“If it’s (your employer) and the company understands you’re using this to advance yourself within the company, they are more likely to help you,” Hauser said. “Most companies I talk to think it’s a good idea. I think it’s just a matter now of what the investment from the company is and how each one does that differently.”
Simmons said, “A lot of students are receiving financial aid for their MBA, so it’s almost more uncommon for students to completely finance their education on their own. Don’t let the price discourage you.”
In terms of how students can find monetary assistance, both universities said research tends to pay off.
“I suggest that students should target the schools they plan to go to and get in touch with the program director of the MBA program,” Simmons said. “Sometimes just going on the website isn’t enough. Most graduate programs are willing to send that information. You should always Google and see what other loans are out there. But, you do get the best financial assistance from schools.”
Hauser said, “The easiest thing for students to do is to call us and talk to us. We can ask them if they’ve looked at different things and we can give them some direction to look outside the normal channels. It does take some research, but if someone wants the money bad enough, they will do the work.”