How do I Pay for an Online MBA?

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The decision to earn an Online Master’s of Business Administration can be life-changing. The experience and depth of knowledge can even be considered priceless. But the reality is that student loan debt can be incredibly overwhelming. Many students have already acquired debt prior to earning their Online MBA, and many of the top-rated programs can cost upwards of $150,000. When we consider that an MBA can result in a 38% to 65% pay raise in some fields, this does show very promising return on investment potential. In fact, in addition to these industry-specific raises, women who complete their Master’s of Business Administration see an average of a 63% increase in pay. With all of that being said, you may be wondering, “How can I pay for an Online MBA?” Lucky for you, your Online MBA Coach is here to help!

Consider Your Budget

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Many times prospective students get the impression that the price of an Online MBA directly correlates to the program’s quality. While there are definitely advantages to degrees from Ivy League Universities and other schools with expensive price tags, there are many exceptional Online MBA degrees offered at price points that don’t break the bank.

It is important to take a look at the accreditation, curriculum, format, alumni network, and career services offered by your prospective universities. From there, you can gauge what investment you are willing to make based on the services rendered. Don’t forget to allow for additional costs such as books, residency weekends, time that may need to be taken off work for studying, and any unexpected fees. Overall the budget that you choose is entirely up to you. For more information on How to Choose an Online MBA, you can check out our guide here

Apply For Financial Aid and Grants

If you filled out the FAFSA form as an undergraduate, the process for applying for government financial aid at the graduate level is the same. Many federal scholarships and grants are available to graduate students based on socio-economic status and financial need.

Luckily for those needing to pay for an Online MBA, there are many other means of collecting financial aid. Many of these opportunities are offered through universities, business schools, and private benefactors. In addition to financial need, non-federal financial aid often considers special circumstances: first-generation students to attend college, professional accomplishments, undergraduate GPA, and more. Many business schools automatically offer aid upon admittance or have specific forms to apply for grant and assistantship opportunities.

When looking for additional ways to pay for an Online MBA, be sure to research using keywords specific to your unique situation. For example, the Forte Foundation specializes in supporting women in business, and the Yellow Ribbon Program is an exceptional resource for veterans earning their degrees at any level. 

Check For Employer Aid Opportunities

Many companies and organizations have funds set aside to support their employees as they work towards earning their degrees. It may seem like a long shot, but some programs will pay up to half of tuition costs, so it is definitely worth making a trip to the Human Resources Division to see what is available. If you enjoy the company you work for and see yourself moving into managerial positions, this is also a great way to put your new education on the radar. In many cases, companies favor in-house applicants, especially those who have worked their way through starting positions and continued to progress.

Joining a company that has tuition reimbursement is also a great idea. According to there are many companies that offer tuition reimbursement. 

Look For Fellowship Opportunities And Be Strategic About Student Loans

Fellowship and teaching assistance opportunities may not be possible for all Online MBA students, but it is a great way to cover the cost of graduate school. Some programs include stipends in addition to significant reductions in tuition costs. In the event that you do need to take out student loans for the remainder of your educational expenses, it is important to be strategic. Applying for federal loans first is always a good idea as they typically offer fixed interest rates, taking the guesswork out of repayment. These loans do have a limit, so it is essential to be smart and look for the lowest interest rates if you take out private loans or other means of payment. 


Action Plans

If you need to look into and apply for alternative funding for your Online MBA, give yourself at least two to three months before you begin your program. This will give you a good idea of what financial support you have access to and potentially keep you from taking out an unnecessarily high amount of student loans. To get you started, here are a few notable grants and scholarships to check out.

American Association of University Women

The American Association of University Women was established in 1888 and is one of the most prominent women’s graduate education founders. This site offers tips for finding current funding for your degree, alumni connections for those who receive aid, and a comprehensive directory of fellowships, scholarships, and grants. In 2020-2021, AAUW awarded nearly four million dollars in fellowships and grants. 

The Consortium

Since 1966, The Consortium has provided more than $456 million in fellowships to some of the brightest MBA students in the country. By applying, students could qualify for full tuition and fees for two years at the top business schools in the nation. Chosen students also get access to corporate partnership connections for jobs and internships. 


The IEFA is a comprehensive scholarship database that allows prospective applicants to sift through thousands of scholarships by keyword and location. These awards range from hundreds of dollars to total tuition costs. 

National Black MBA Association Inc. 

The NBMBAA has a mission to help the black community reach the highest levels of education, increase the lifetime average income potential, and reduce unemployment rates within the black community. This community has over 20,000 members and 40 professional chapters that work to facilitate access and raise awareness about business and graduate education programs in a variety of professional fields. 

In short, the first step to getting started in funding your Online Master’s of Business Administration is deciding on what budget you are comfortable with and can afford. Next, you will want to apply for federal, private, and university grants and scholarships. If possible, check out fellowship opportunities as well. Check to see if your employer offers grad school tuition reimbursement. Then get ready to apply and complete your Online MBA!

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Alternatives to an Online MBA

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