How to Pay for Your Online MBA

While getting an online MBA is generally more affordable than attending a campus school, due in part to the saved costs of relocation, textbooks and campus fees, it can still cost upwards of $30,000 to complete an MBA program online. So how are you going to pay for it? Here are some ideas to get you started on finding your MBA funding.

Uncle Sam: Many online MBA students apply for federal and school-specific financial aid, both merit-based scholarships and student loans. Since 2006, prospective online students have been able to apply for federal aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the same application used by traditional post-secondary students.

Your boss: Another possible way to fund tuition is corporate tuition assistance or sponsorship. Some employers will help pay for continuing education, especially if the employee continues to work full-time while attending. Most companies will give students reimbursement for tuition up to a certain cap each year. They do, however, prefer the degree be relevant to the employee’s current job. Another important thing to remember is that companies will often only reimburse tuition for classes passed with A’s and B’s — thus, if you fail a class, you have to pay for it yourself.

Scholarships, fellowships: Individual schools and organizations offer loans, scholarships and fellowships for MBAs and other students. The National Black MBA Association, Inc, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, and the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management offer scholarship programs for minority business students. There are also many search tools on the Web that let you look for fellowships, grants and scholarships.

The military: Some tuition benefits are available to military personnel, reserves and veterans, since two major groups that attend online colleges are veterans looking to join the workforce and active military preparing to enter the workforce. Financial aid for active military personnel, military reserves and veterans can be explained by representatives of either the military’s Tuition Assistance program, or the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Student loans: A last, well-explored option is taking out a student loan from a lender, though these loans require that the borrower pay it back over time, with interest. This route is a good option to supplement other sources of funding, but is also feasible if no other options apply.

Here is a list of accredited online MBA programs to get you started on your future business career.