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Cost is often a limiting factor when it comes to online MBA degrees. Students who opt to join the best programs are met with crippling price tags with some of the best online MBA programs costing as much as $100,000; sometimes even more. These figures often force students to compromise on their education because of financing problems. Luckily, there are plenty of venues for funding to consider for someone who has just received a letter of acceptance from a prestigious online MBA school, and is facing difficulties with paying the fees.
How Much Does an Online MBA Cost
The cost on an online MBA degree varies according to several factors like accreditation, school reputation and ranking.
- An Ivy League program could cost up to $100,000. An example would be University of North Carolina costing $96,000.
- AACSB accredited programs can fall anywhere between $10,000 and $40,000. An example would be Southern Illinois University-Carbondale costing $36,000.
- Regionally accredited programs cost considerably less coming between $7,000 and $25,000. An example would be Southern New Hampshire University costing $24,454.
- Cheap options can cost as low as $6000.
What are Financing Options for Online MBA
The shaky economic conditions notwithstanding, banks, particularly those in the US, still have faith in the MBA profession. This is why they are still agreeable to lending money to those online MBA students who have a sound credit history – because they view them as a future investment.
With typical annual earnings of around $75,000, an online MBA graduate can easily pay back their loans. Even after deducting taxes and miscellaneous expenses, an online MBA graduate’s job will enable them to save some $10,000 to $15,000 annually – enough to pay off their debts in around two or three years.
An example of a reasonable MBA financing loan is the one offered by Citizens Bank – it gives students the choice of opting for fixed or variable interest rates, as well as providing them with a deferment for up to eight years while they complete their program. Wells Fargo and Citibank also offer similar student loan programs that you may find helpful.
Loan Forgiveness and Merit Scholarships
Some institutions may offer to write off your loans depending on your career field of choice after graduation. For instance, Stanford Graduate School of Business has create a program that writes off loans for graduates who hope to work in the public service or non-profit sectors, in order to reduce the financial burden of their degrees. Be sure to check with your institution about programs such as this when applying for an online program.
If you are able to demonstrate excellence in various domains such as studies, leadership, extracurricular activities or work experience, your online MBA fee may also be alleviated by your school through merit scholarships. However, you need to keep in mind that these scholarships, in spite of being spread out throughout the program, will require you to maintain the level of excellence demonstrated in your original application in order to remain eligible.
When applying for financial assistance from the business school you are planning to attend, you need to be thorough and careful with your application, no matter how exhaustive it is. You should answer the questions in your application essay while keeping a focus on how the scholarship will be of assistance in your particular case.
The distinction between need-based and merit-based financial aid should also be clear in your mind: emphasize on one or the other based on how strong a case you can make with the facts and achievements in your life. For instance, need based aid can only be acquired if you can provide considerable evidence of financial struggles in the past, and how you managed to achieve key goals in spite of this hurdle; you should explain how your financial struggles have rendered you unable to pay for your online MBA program by yourself. A merit based MBA should be chosen by those who have a decorated record in their academic / professional career – think of the application as a job interview where you have to sell yourself based on your achievements and qualifications.
With the recessive economic conditions that are prevalent today, it may be difficult to obtain complete financial support for an online MBA program from the company one works at. They may agree to pay part of the fee, but the rest has to come from the students own wallet. A strong reason behind corporations’ adoption of this conservative policy is to ensure that the employee pursuing the online degree fully appreciates the responsibility that comes with this step, and is as much invested in the successful completion of the degree as the company is. To get financial help one of the other from your company, you can resort to one or more of the following approaches:
- Tuition compensation: According to statistics presented by tuitionhelp.com, about 80 percent of the employers surveyed had some sort of tuition reimbursement mechanism in place. The amount may be modest – averaging around $5000, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but when paying a hefty tuition fee, you’ll need all the financial aid you can get.
You should check with your company’s Human Resource department about the possibility of getting tuition reimbursement, and if yes, what is the amount they offer. Don’t shy away from checking even if there is no official policy at your company; you should still consult your manager about this matter.
Remember that companies only invest in something when there is a good chance that they will benefit from the venture. Your online MBA program will be no different to them, which is why you need to prepare a comprehensive business case to convince them that supporting your online MBA degree financially will be worth the worthwhile in terms of enhancing your skills to make the company more money.
- Paid vacation days: If you find that your online MBA program offers classes during weekdays, you may want to apply for paid leaves from your company. This will only be possible if you are able to convince your employer of your program’s worth in relation to the company’s profits. Paid vacations will ensure that your program does not conflict with your salary – all of which you will need to deal with the study loans you take to finance your online MBA degree.
- Retroactive payment: A number of employers offer to pay “backend load” finances to MBA students. This means that you will be paid, beforehand, part of the salary, bonuses and benefits from the job you’ll be getting after you have completed your degree. This can be a tough sell for most online MBA candidates, but if you can pull it off, you’ll be able to pay a considerable portion of your study loans.
The payment options for an online MBA tuition fees are just diverse, just like the employment options you will have after completing your degree. From expensive programs that are on par with most prestigious regular MBA degrees to less costlier alternatives, you will be able to find multiple ways to finance your online MBA degree – all you need is tenacity, dedication and careful planning.
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