The Top 5 Best MBA Schools (and How to Afford Them) | 04.07.10

Posted in Graduate Loans By Evan Jacobs

If you are considering attending graduate school for an MBA program, there are a lot of factors to consider. If you haven’t already seen my blog on MBAs, it has a wealth of information and useful tips toward making the process more simple.

According to the Princeton Review’s 2009 Best Business School Rankings, here are the top five MBA schools in the USA:

  1. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor — Ross School of Business
  2. Northwestern University — Kellogg School of Management
  3. Harvard University — Harvard Business School
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Sloan School of Management
  5. University of Pennsylvania — The Wharton School

I took this from the “Best Career Prospects” list, because let’s face it, that’s really the main reason for going for an MBA degree. You can talk up the name of a school, but in the end, whether or not it will prepare you adequately for bigger and better things in business is what is truly vital.

Great, now how do I pay for it?

To show an example, I’ll use the financial aid breakdown provided by Princeton Review for the Ross School:

2010 Tuition: $45,379 (in-state), $50,379 (out-of-state)
2010 Books + Fees + Estimated Personal Expenses = $8,423
2010 Housing: $12,338

2010 Estimated Cost of Attendance = $66,140 to $71,140

Average Annual Award Package: $62,343.00, of that,

  • $17,224 is scholarships and/or grants,
  • $33,778 is loans, and
  • $11,331 is other or miscategorized.

These amounts can vary based on financial need, academic status (and GPA), and what type of program you are enrolled in. For instance, a part-time MBA would obviously receive less aid than a full-time one, etc.

Wait a second, what do I do about the gap?

Based on the information above, the average student is looking at a financial aid gap of between roughly $4,000 and $9,000. This extra money can come from a variety of different sources, but the first I’d recommend is outside scholarships and/or grants. Websites such as ScholarshipPoints.com and StudentScholarshipSearch.com are excellent resources to find free money for school that doesn’t need to be paid back. Considering the debt you likely will be in from going to grad school, this route of financing really is the best case scenario.

If you aren’t able to find enough scholarships, a private student loan or Grad PLUS loan are supplemental options that are credit-based and are flexible enough to cover your extra expenses.

Image Credit to SCSSAPICS on Flickr

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