Can Online MBA Students use FAFSA?


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Pursuing an Online MBA comes with many questions, and one of those big questions is how will I pay for this? While many students go through the FAFSA process from the high school to undergraduate transition, some aren’t sure if it is available for graduates. Let’s dig in!

The Online MBA and Financial Aid

money for college

Along with figuring out a day-to-day schedule with your family and work now, the added worry of figuring out how to pay for your Online MBA creeps into your thought process. What are the steps to take? Can I pay for my Online MBA with financial aid? Can my current employer assist with tuition? The answers are yes! The idea that financial aid for online degree programs is less plentiful than traditional programs is an outdated but persistent myth. However, universities follow the same structure regarding financial assistance for online and distance learners.

Due to its affordability, online learning is popular among students. However, those who study online can still require financial assistance. Students may be able to finance their degrees with financial aid from online universities. Loans, grants, and scholarships are a few alternatives.

The Options

Examining online universities that accept FAFSA results can help online students get the financial assistance process started. The federal government, states, colleges, and many other private institutions use the FAFSA to determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid.

There are numerous processes involved in locating financial aid for online institutions. The federal government offers the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. These credits will reduce federal tax obligations for students by up to $2,000 per year as of October 2021. Students must enroll in a program that is recognized. Additionally, they must earn less than the program’s income thresholds.

Students should routinely search for scholarships. Scholarship opportunities abound for returning students. Some only accept applications from juniors or seniors. To find the most current opportunities, students might search internet scholarship databases. Information on scholarships can also be found via financial assistance offices at schools.

Keep in Mind…


Even though many prospective Online MBA students intend to continue working while pursuing their degree, minimum enrollment requirements may disqualify them from receiving certain types of financial aid. Adult students pursuing an online degree should be aware that their income may impact their eligibility for financial aid, though this is not always a problem.

It is advisable for all students to submit the FAFSA so that a student can determine their eligibility for the many types of aid they will be suitable for. They should also get in touch with the institution they intend to attend to determine if they qualify and what assistance is offered; they shouldn’t just assume they are ineligible or that no aid is available.

Take your time filling out the FAFSA! Rely on tools like the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This handy tool enables students to automatically share tax information with the Department of Education. Take your time, carefully read the instructions, and complete the form. Don’t hesitate to ask the Financial Aid Office at your school questions during this process. They can be a great help.

How much will students need?

Prices for online MBA programs vary greatly. For instance, the University of Florida’s Warrington Business School provides a prestigious program for less than $60,000. A Carnegie Mellon or UNC’s Kenan-Flagler program will cost over $100,000. The U.S. News and World Report noted for 2022, two of the top three programs are among the most expensive.

But on the other side of the spectrum, you can find the Wisconsin MBA Consortium and the Questrom School of Business at Boston University. These are two reasonably priced online MBA programs. Wisconsin charges roughly $30,000 for its degree, while Boston University charges less than $30,000 for its online MBA. These excellent programs are some of the very best.


Future online MBA candidates should look into career progression, starting salaries, and pay increases when considering programs. The quality and diversity of the cohort, as well as the program leadership’s expertise in teaching and research, are other criteria to take into account. Although uncertain, lower tuition costs might boost the program’s return on investment. ROI is computed by subtracting the tuition expense from the median salary reported by graduates and divide by the tuition. Over time, the quantity will rise.

Take Action

go for it

You must ensure that you have picked an accredited institution that accepts federal financial aid. Now that you have done that, you must stay on top of all financial aid deadlines. The FAFSA deadline is June 30 of the academic year or the last day of enrollment (the last day of the academic year), whichever occurs first, at midnight Central Time (CT). After the FAFSA closes, you can still make changes, but you must do so by mid-September, or around two and a half months after the June 30 deadline. Here are some things to keep in mind while a student evaluates their financial assistance choices for online courses:

  • Verify an institution’s accreditation.
  • To qualify for federal aid and work-study, complete the FAFSA each year.
  • Be aware of the deadlines for financial help and apply early.
  • Examine other help options, such as scholarships, or speak with financial aid offices.

Proper preparation is critical. We always say that you should prepare for war in a time of peace. Life has its ups and downs, and many circumstances can change your plans.

If the FAFSA doesn’t work for you, there are other options. Look to see if your job has employer tuition assistance. When a business offers a tuition aid program, they frequently cover all of the team member’s books, lab fees, and tuition expenses. Others cover a portion of the worker’s tuition costs. Employers mandate a class typically foot the entire bill and frequently provide mileage reimbursement. Remember, there is more than one way to do things, and finding financial assistance to further education is doable. Good luck!

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