How to Pay For Your MBA

You're about to pony up for one of the most costly investments of your life at exactly the same moment you must bid adios to your (hopefully) substantial annual salary for up to two years

It's that time of year again"applicants are experiencing the euphoria of acceptance at the b-school of their dreams, only to be jarred by the reality that they've now got to come up with the money to pay for it. Popular M.B.A. applicant blogger Richard Battle-Baxter says he nearly fainted when he received his initial loan award notification. "I knew that would be coming but it was like looking at an employment offer! I mean actually... [one] year's tuition is definitely someone's yearly salary!"

Tuition at the top programs can soar well over $100,000, and tangential academic and living expenses will also set you back a pretty penny if you're planning on earning your M.B.A. degree in a metropolis such as New York, Boston, or Los Angeles. You're about to pony up for one of the most costly investments of your life at exactly the same moment you must bid adios to your (hopefully) substantial annual salary for up to two years. For many, that's a sobering realization.

Finding the money: Even in these strained economic times, American banks know that M.B.A. graduates with a decent credit history are a sound investment when they start work, according to Ross Geraghty's recent article on M.B.A. loans published by QS Top M.B.A.

While scholarships and other types of "free" money are available at fewer M.B.A. programs than non-professional forms of graduate education, there are many resources available for a scholarship or fellowship that fits your background and needs.

The first stop is your target program. Many schools have comprehensive websites on the topic, including this prolific resource on outside funding from Harvard Business School. If you've already been admitted, your school will present you with a package of information about public and private loans and scholarships. The program may have access to loans or lines of credit for both domestic and international M.B.A. students and will sometimes act as the guarantor for private loans.

Alexis Mellon of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University tells Top M.B.A., "We have ensured that the Duke M.B.A. loan program has always been accessible to international applicants on the same terms as it is for our domestic applicants."

Mellon adds, "Duke University agreed to underwrite the loan"effectively acting as a co-signer"so that any student admitted to any of our M.B.A. programs was automatically eligible for our loan program, which covers up to 100 percent of tuition. This way we have been able to protect our international applicants and afford them the same opportunities as our domestic applicants."...


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