Guide to Financial Aid for MBA (FAFSA, Scholarships, Assistantships) and Strategies for Financial Aid in Business School
After the application waiting time is over, it is time to think how to foot the $80K+ tuition bill. Though some schools offer scholarship money or other help for their students, it is usually not very common in the Top 20 to get a full scholarship, but even with a full scholarship, you are still looking into $30-50K in living expenses for two years.
With a few exception, almost every MBA student ends up relying on some form of Financial Aid - to help in this confusing process, GMAT Club assembled a down to earth no-frills Guide to Financial Aid in Business School (FAFSA, Scholarships, Assistantships) and Strategies for Financial Aid:
Step 1: Understand the financial options available to you to finance your education:
Step 2:Visit FAFSA website and explore how much you can borrow from the government and on what terms.
Go to http://www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov/ and work through a few scenarios and see what your Financial Aid will be in the best/worst/most likely case - it is a very user-friendly tool. However, note that this tool was created for 4-year colleges and not Graduate programs, so some tweaking will be required. Visit this source for more information about Expected Family Contribution Calculation. See page 21 if no dependents.
Step 3: Use Strategies to optimize your finances and eligibility for Financial Aid
Step 4: Check with the school to see if they offer private school loans, assistantships, scholarships, or other in-house Financial Aid
As a rule, the school will notify applicants about admission and scholarship or other money offered at the same time, but not assistantships. Many schools offer student assistantship opportunities where one may work with a Finance or Economics professor and get paid $500/week to spend a few hours in discussions, research, or other admin duties. These jobs are usually scarse, but you can secure one early if you check with admissions. Tell them that it is really important for you to have another source of income to make it through both years and you never know what may turn up. You can also call them and ask for other opportunities that may be available - now that you have been admitted (don't call before then), they should be very open. Not all schools have these opportunities, but the ones that do, often give preference to students with high GMAT score or extensive work experience.
Step 5: Apply for FAFSA before the deadline - June 30th, 2009
If you have any questions or suggestions how to improve this guide, post them in the discussion forum.
Special thanks for contributions to this article go to: mbamatric, bostonsparky, ryguy904, GoBruins, solaris1, maverick2011, bball, rca215, Jerz, and many many others.
Updated on 2/23 - thanks to Maverick 2011 for a link to EFC calculation.