Did you know that U.S. student loan debt exceeded $1.3 trillion in 2015? Business school is an expensive investment, and it’s never too early to start figuring out how you will pay for it. Interestingly enough, more than 50% of business school applicants said they would attend a less desirable program if awarded a scholarship, according to SBC’s 2016 annual survey of MBA applicants.
An MBA must be seen as a long-term investment, and fortunately, schools are committed to working with students to find a solution to financing school through a combination of loans and scholarships.
While MBA programs typically offer fewer scholarships and other types of “free” money than the non-professional forms of graduate education, many online resources can help you to search for a scholarship or fellowship that fits your background and needs.
MBA applicants interested in checking out a variety of potential financial aid options should take a look at ScholarshipOwl, a new platform designed to increase students’ access to scholarships and make the scholarship market more efficient.
The goal of ScholarshipOwl is to provide direct access to the scholarships and create the best opportunities to help students graduate debt-free. The company already has 450,000 users, matching each to 60-70 scholarships on average. In addition, every month the company gives out its own $1,000 scholarship.
One of the ScholarshipOwl’s main advantages is that it matches the student’s profile to the available scholarships, saving time spent sorting through the eligibility requirements. While some scholarships in their system are limited for students accepted into a B.A. program, many are open to enrolled college students and graduate students.
There are many different application processes for financial aid, from demonstrating need to demonstrating merit. Organize the deadlines and submission guidelines to make sure you have a plan to complete the applications, and carefully follow the directions of each scholarship, fellowship or loan you are applying for.
Here are a few tips for individuals planning to attend business school in the near future:
- Get your finances in order first
- Think about living slightly below your means before school
- Save as much as possible
- Avoid credit card debt
- Scale back on things you don’t need (including big things like a car if you don’t really need one)
Starting early – about three months before applying – is also really helpful if you’re pursuing scholarships, fellowships or grants. Since scholarships are free money, competition can be fierce, and you’ll benefit from having the extra time to create strong scholarship applications and from knowing the key deadlines so that opportunities don’t pass you by.