Financial concerns are the major reason why students hesitate to enroll in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program. After all, the average total cost for an accredited MBA is around $60,000. Even though an accredited online MBA usually costs a bit less than that, students must still pay thousands of dollars to earn an online accredited MBA. Few people have enough money saved to pay for the tuition themselves. Thus, the prospects of paying for an AACSB accredited online MBA can seem quite daunting for many people.
Fortunately, students need not pay the entire accredited online MBA program cost on their own. There are many financial aid options that can help students by deferring tuition expenses until after graduation or by securing funds from another source to pay the partial or entire cost of an online MBA accredited by the appropriate agency. If you are interested in one of the online MBA programs accredited by a recognized accrediting body, this guide can help you understand how you can fund your participation in one of the many online accredited MBA programs available today.
MBA Online Accredited Degree Funding: The Basics
Funding for an accredited online MBA is generally available from a few major sources including student loans, scholarships, and grants. These loans, scholarships, and grants, in turn, may be awarded through the government or through private institutions. Government assistance almost always requires that the degree-granting institution be accredited by a recognized accrediting agency. Thus, you will likely only be able to use federal student loans to pay for a fully accredited MBA online degree. Private loans, scholarships, and grants, on the other hand, do not necessarily require the school, department, or program that offers the MBA to be accredited. In most cases, however, it will be easier to get private funding for online MBA programs accredited by a recognized agency than it will be to get private funding for non-accredited degree programs.
Students will want to look for an accredited online MBA program that is accredited at least at the institutional level. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes several regional accrediting agencies, and this is the institutional accreditation that you are seeking. It is also wise to enroll in an MBA online accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). This is the main accrediting agency for business schools, departments, and programs.
- Accredited Accounting MBA — Many students decide to use financial aid to pay for an accredited Accounting MBA.
- Accredited Executive MBA — Students who want a career in business leadership should definitely consider using financial aid to pay for an accredited Executive MBA.
- Accredited Green MBA — You can use student financial aid for a Green MBA, one of the new specialty MBA degrees.
Scholarships are perhaps the best source of funding for an AACSB accredited online MBA. Essentially, scholarship money is free money that can be used to pay for an online MBA accredited by the proper agency. To qualify for an MBA scholarship, students must generally demonstrate academic process through a high GPA. Letters of recommendation, evidence of community service, and other requirements are also typically set forth for those who want a scholarship for an MBA online accredited by the proper association. Scholarships for online accredited MBA programs are available both through the institutions themselves and through private associations and groups.
- NBMBAA Scholarships — African American students can qualify for scholarships from the National Black MBA Association.
- Scholarship Search — The College Board sponsors this site to help students find scholarships for many different programs.
Like scholarships, grants are free money that can be used toward accredited MBA online degrees. Unlike scholarships, however, tuition grants for an online accredited MBA are usually based primarily on financial need. This is not to say that academic promise is not taken into account, for many grants that can be used for an AACSB accredited online MBA also take academic achievement into account when evaluating candidates for awards. Nevertheless, one must demonstrate true financial need to qualify for a grant toward an accredited online MBA, whereas need does not need to be demonstrated to qualify for most MBA scholarships.
Students demonstrate their financial need through completing a FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form allows students to report their financial standing, and it is required for any governmental grant or loan. So, filling out this form can never hurt, as institutions take it into account when considering many different types of financial assistance.
- FAFSA — Here is the homepage for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Finally, students may finance online MBA programs accredited by the appropriate agency through privately funded or government-sponsored student loans. With a student loan, you borrow money to pay the tuition costs for an online MBA accredited by the right agency. You then pay back the lender over time. Often, you can defer payment until after you have completed your accredited MBA online. Waiting until then, however, may cause your costs to increase, as interest is often capitalized on the loan balance for those who do not start repaying their loans until after finishing their online accredited MBA programs.
Government-sponsored loans for an MBA online accredited by the proper agency often have lower interest rates than private loans. That does not mean, however, that you should discount private loans for an accredited online MBA. Some students may not qualify for a government loan, but they may qualify for a private loan to pay for an accredited online MBA program.
- Avoiding Deceptive Loan Offers — This PDF has some excellent advice on avoiding deceptive loan offers and practices.