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How to pay for business school

Getting your MBA could cost over $200K, but there are ways to cover expenses.

Business students have a wide range of options when it comes to paying for b-school. From finding a job that will pay your way to fellowships and graduate assistant positions, in some cases you might not have to go into debt at all. And when free aid doesn’t cover everything, you can look to federal and private student loans to pick up the slack.

6 ways to finance business school

You might want to take advantage of some or all of these options when applying for financial aid for business school. Be sure to get started as soon as possible to take advantage of the best deals available to you.

Compare 4 private student loans for business students

LenderVariable APRFixed APRLoan termsEligibility requirements
CommonBond5.2% to 6.91%5.37% to 7.2%10 or 15 years
  • Meet credit criteria
  • Enrolled at least half time at a qualifying school
  • US citizen or permanent resident
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Citizens Bank3.17% to 9.9%4.45% to 10.59%5, 10 or 15 years
  • Good credit or qualified cosigner
  • Enrolled at least half time in degree-granting program
  • US citizen, permanent resident or international student with a cosigner
  • Age of majority in your state or have a cosigner
  • No previous defaults on student loans
Read review
Discover3.99% to 11.87%4.99% to 12.24%20 years
  • Meet credit criteria
  • Enrolled at least half time in degree-granting program
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • US citizen, permanent resident or international student with a cosigner
  • At least 16 years old
Read review
Sallie Mae4.25% to 9.87%5.5% to 10.23%Up to 15 years
  • Meet credit criteria
  • Enrolled in degree-granting MBA program
  • US citizen, permanent resident or noncitizen with creditworthy cosigner
Read review

How much does an MBA cost?

The average tuition for an MBA program is around $60,000 a year. When you factor in fees, housing and other school-related expenses, the total cost of attendance can easily top $100,000 a year — that’s $200,000 for a two-year program.

Cost of attendance at 5 top business schools

Here’s how much it costs per year to attend some of the top business schools in the country:

SchoolAnnual cost of attendance
MIT Sloan School$118,818
University of Chicago Booth School of Business$108,822
Columbia Business School$114,309
Northwestern Kellogg$105,610 to $140,366
UC Berkeley Haas$99,332 to $101,538

4 ways to make your MBA worth it

A business degree is one of the most expensive graduate degrees you can get outside of medicine. These tips can help you get the biggest bang for your buck.

  • Make connections. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to network with professors and other students. Knowing the right people can help you land your dream job in the future.
  • Challenge the way you think about business. Going to school allows you to take a step back, reevaluate what you want to do and take a fresh approach. Don’t ignore your instincts to go off in a different direction — you could end up doing something more excited than you’d planned.
  • Don’t settle for a lower salary after you graduate. Companies tend offer higher starting salaries to business-degree holders — sometimes twice as high as their counterparts with bachelor’s degrees. Don’t settle for a salary you could have earned before.
  • Ask for raises. In addition to higher salaries, MBA holders are often eligible for higher raises. But they aren’t always handed to you. Sometimes all you need to do is ask.

Compare more private student loans

Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
4.092% to 8.609% with autopay
$1,000 - $200,000
7 to 20 years
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
CommonBond Private Student Loans
3.74% to 10.74%
$5,000 - $500,000
5 to 15 years
Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
Edvisors Private Student Loan Marketplace
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
Credible Labs Inc. (Student Loan Platform)
Starting at 1.24% with autopay
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $1,000
5 to 20 years
Get prequalified rates from private lenders offering student loans with no origination or prepayment fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Going to business school is expensive enough to make free financial aid a necessity. Without it, you can easily meet your Direct Unsubsidized Loan limit in just two semesters. But there are several options to pay for your degree, from employer-sponsored programs to scholarships and grants.

Explore even more ways to fund your MBA with our guide to student loans.

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