How to Afford an MBA


A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is a valuable credential that can set you apart as a business leader and job candidate. But many programs are costly in both time and money. If you want to acquire an MBA in the most affordable way possible, there are 7 steps you can take that might be of value to you:

Fill Out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Form

You probably remember filling out FAFSA for your undergrad work, but did you know you might also be able to receive financial aid for graduate studies? More than half of graduate students receive some kind of financial aid and while much of that aid comes in the form of loans, not all does. More than a quarter of graduate students received grants and the average amount is more than $10,000. And if you do need to take out loans, student loans may provide lower interest rates with more favorable terms than private loans. Filling out FAFSA may also open you up to other grants and loans, including those provided by your institution or by other businesses and foundations. It’s important to note that when you were an undergrad student, the income considered for eligibility was likely your parents’ but now that you’re an adult, it will be your earnings that will help determine whether you are eligible for aid. FAFSA also gives the colleges you apply to information for them to decide who will receive other scholarships. You should talk to financial aid officers at the schools you consider as there may be many additional funding sources available to pay for tuition.

Compare Tuition Rates

The most obvious way to save money on your MBA is to choose a program with a tuition you can afford. Tuition per credit hour can cost more than $1,000 at some schools. But some smaller institutions and online universities that are eager to recruit new students may offer reduced tuition costs. Other colleges will freeze the tuition rate for the entire program, or, as National American University does, reduce the rate as you complete a certain number of credit hours. Compare tuition rates and choose a college that offers you the program you want at a price you can afford.

Choose an Online College

Among the costs that can determine whether graduate school is affordable or out of reach, are your living expenses. Living on or near campus while you earn your MBA can come at a considerable cost. Even commuting can be moderately expensive if you also factor in the cost of your time. An online university not only eliminates those costs; the convenience makes it easier for you to continue earning while you’re learning.

Choose a School with a Generous Transfer Policy

All colleges are not the same when it comes to accepting credits from a previous college you attended. Some schools will give you credit for work experience, certifications you received, or national exams that you passed. These might include the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), Joint Service Transcripts (JST),or Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). Some colleges significantly limit how many transfer credits you can bring in, but universities such as National American allow up to 75 percent of your credits to be earned through transfer.

Consider an Accelerated MBA Program

If time is money, then the more quickly you can complete your program, the more money you might save. Especially if your reason to attain your MBA is to advance in your own company, the faster you achieve the degree, the more likely you might be noticed by your supervisors and able to accelerate your upward trajectory. Many schools also raise tuition every year. If prices aren’t locked in and are subject to inflation, sooner-rather-than-later may be a sound approach to save money. Choose an accelerated program to complete your MBA in one year instead of two. But be sure to compare credit hours and program specifics. Not all shorter programs are less expensive.

Use Your GI Bill Benefits

If you are a Veteran, be sure to explore and determine if you may qualify for college tuition, housing, and books and supplies benefits. The amount will depend on the length of your active-duty service.

Take Advantage of Employer Tuition Benefits

Many companies encourage employee development and career advancement by offering tuition assistance as a benefit. You may be required to pay tuition upfront and wait for reimbursement, but it’s a perk you’ll want to investigate. Just be aware that companies also often have limits as to how much you can take in a given year so you may not be able to choose an accelerated program with this arrangement.

At National American University, we offer an online accelerated MBA program as well as an accelerated Master of Management (MM) degree. Regularly-paced MBA and MM degrees are also offered. Do you already have some experience or a certificate in a business or finance related field? You may be able to transfer those credits to your preferred degree program so you can finish more quickly and save more money. Call 800-209-0182 to speak to a counselor or click learn more now.


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