Earning your MBA is a great way to help you advance your career. Although it will pay off in the long run, it will leave you with a hole in your wallet when your first start out.

According to U.S News & World Report, tuition for some of the top business schools can cost over $100,000. Plus, when you add up the cost of living expenses, books, transportation, and other expenses, it can be one hefty price to pay.

However, it’s important to know that there are many options available to help you fund your MBA journey. Also keep in mind that although it may seem like a high price to pay now, your return on your investment will make it all worth it in the end.

1. Scholarships

A common way to help you fund your MBA is to apply for scholarships.

Actually, there are a lot of business schools that offer MBA scholarships as a way to entice students to their school. Students have a lot of options to choose from, so offering scholarships is one way to make their MBA program more exclusive. For example, the W.P. Carey School of Business has about $1 million dollars in scholarship funding to award to students.

It’s important to spend time researching the scholarships that are available from the schools you’re applying to.

Another option is to seek external scholarships. Here are some options to consider.

MBA Scholarships Open to All Students

Golden Key Graduate Scholar Award

Amount: $10,000

This scholarship is open to all full and part-time students globally. The student must be pursuing a post-baccalaureate or professional studies degree. However, the applicant must be a Golden Key (largest collegiate honor society) member.

Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

This scholarship is open to all full-time students in the United States who are in an accredited college or university and are majoring in business administration. The minimum GPA requirement to apply to this scholarship is 3.25.

MBA Scholarships for Minorities

The Reaching Out LGBTQ MBA Fellowship

Amount: $10,000 per academic year or $20,000 total

This scholarship is open to all LGBTQ students who are enrolled at one of 40 participating business schools in the U.S.

National Association of Black Accountants Scholarships

Amount: $1,000 to $5,000

The NABA offers plenty of scholarships to students of African-American or African descent. In order to be eligible for this scholarship, students must be currently enrolled or accepted in an MBA program. In addition, applicants must be a member of NABA.

MBA Scholarships for Women

Women’s Independence Scholarship Program

Amount: $250 to $2,000

These various scholarships are open to any woman who has suffered abuse from their partners. The student must be separated from their abuser for a minimum of one year and a maximum of seven years.

Scholarships4mom

Amount: $10,000

Any mother who is planning on using the scholarship for educational purposes such as pursuing an MBA. The scholarship is given to a winner at random draw and must be used to pay off tuition, books, or student debt.

2. Loans

Another option to consider is to take on a student loan. Loans are another main funding source for the majority of MBA students. It’s important to know that although loans do mean you will be taking on debt, it’s a good kind of debt. This means that the career advancement you can get from having an MBA will counterbalance the debt.

It’s important to talk to your school about options as many business schools have made arrangements with banks. So, you might have a better chance to be eligible for a loan through these partner banks.

3. Company Sponsorship

One option that most people don’t consider is company sponsorship. Although this option is only available to a selected few, it doesn’t hurt to ask your current company if they offer sponsorship. It is important to keep in mind that if you accept a sponsorship, most come with an obligation that you will return to the company after you complete your MBA.

If you’re already in an MBA program or have completed an MBA, you may be eligible for reimbursement, depending on the company.

4. Consider using your Retirement Savings

Did you know that according to the IRS guidelines, if you make an early withdrawal from a registered retirement account — such as a 401(k) or IRA Roth account — that goes towards higher education, then you are actually cleared from the 10 percent penalty? So, if you have a retirement account, this might be worth considering.

5. Crowdfunding

A unique way to fund your MBA that is actually becoming more and more popular is crowdfunding. This is where graduate students seek capital from outside sources who are interested in supporting their study of education as an investment. These investors are typically alumni.

One well-known crowdfunding business is CommonBond, which offers prospective students of top-tier MBA programs lower interest loans.

6. Funding from a Family Member or Partner

Do you have a family member or partner who is highly invested in your education?

Well, it doesn’t hurt to let your family or significant other know that you are interested in earning your MBA. Your family member or significant other may be able to lend you a hand such as offering you an interest-free loan.

7. Savings Account

If you’re thinking of getting your MBA, it may be a good idea to start saving.  Even putting away a couple of hundred dollars each month could help to relieve some pressure. Plus, it can help you keep your mind focused on school.

For most people, a savings account won’t cover everything, but it will help in combination with other funding options.

8. Take a Part-Time MBA

If you’re really stretched for cash, you may want to consider taking a part-time MBA. This will allow you to continue to make money while earning your degree. However, this option is not for everyone as it may be harder to stay focused or to network with other MBA students.

9. Choose an Online MBA Degree

Pursuing an MBA online is a great choice for working professionals. Again, it’s a great way to keep your job while earning your degree.

Nowadays, there are many universities and business schools that offer MBAs online. Some of the top schools that offer an online MBAs include the University of Florida (Warrington College of Business), Johns Hopkins University (Johns Hopkins Carey Business School), and Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper Business School), among many others.

10. Graduate Assistantships

One way that you can make great money while earning your MBA is to work as a graduate assistant. The job requires the applicant to work alongside faculty in different roles including research, educational, or administrative.

Just keep in mind that graduate assistantships are usually only offered to full-time graduate students.

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