MBA Grants

MBA Financial Aid

Remember Pell Grants from your undergraduate days?  Those were the grants from the federal government that a lot of us relied on to get through college.  I have good news and bad news for you about Pell Grants.  The good news is that they still exist.  The bad news is that you’re no longer eligible for them.  Pell Grants are only for undergrads, as are “FSEOP” Grants.  In fact, there are no broad category grants available for MBA students from the federal government.

That doesn’t mean there is no free money out there though.  There is a surprising amount of grant and fellowship money available from your business school.  You just need to know how to find it.

School-Based Grants and Fellowships

The amount of free money available from business schools varies significantly. Some schools have a large fund every year and hand out grants without the students even having to ask (Haas and the Anderson School are good examples) while other schools are pretty stingy. It’s clear that financial aid isn’t a priority at those programs.

How Do You Get the Grant Money?

As soon as you’ve been admitted to a program you need to contact the school’s financial aid office and ask about grant money or fellowships (or whatever your school wants to call free money that doesn’t have to be repaid). Such money is almost never advertised openly and is nearly always given out on a first-come, first-served basis. That’s another reason why it’s important to apply to schools as early as possible.

A portion of your school’s grant and fellowship money is reserved for people in need, so if you’ve been working in a relatively low paying field or if you have significant debts or other financial responsibilities that you will have to meet it’s a good idea to let the admissions office know about your situation. The process of handing out grant money at B-school is often very subjective, so be nice on the phone and you might get what you’re looking for.

Can I Play One School's Financial Aid Offer Off Against Another School?

I see that done successfully all the time. “I’ve been admitted to both Michigan and Chicago. Michigan has offered me $10K in tuition breaks, but I’d really like to come to Chicago. Can you match Michigan’s offer?”

Maybe, maybe not. Just be tactful and don’t propose an ultimatum you’re not willing to live with.

NEXT > MBA Loans

Six Types of Financial Aid

MBA Financial Aid
Meet Thurston, the MBA financial aid dog. Financial aid is available to almost everyone in B-school, whether you need it or not.

Of course, most of it is loans, but that's better than riding your desk for another year.

MBA Financial Aid Links