How to Pay for Your MBA

Some ways to pay for your MBA tuition include student loans, fellowships, scholarships, student loans, employer sponsorships, and assistantships.

If you’re a working professional who wants to accelerate your career development, an MBA degree is a great way to establish credibility and demonstrate exceptional knowledge and skills to current and future employers.

However, MBA programs can be quite costly, especially if you’re planning to pay for your tuition in cash.

Continue reading to learn how to pay for MBA without breaking the bank for it.

How to Pay for MBA Tuition

Here are some ways to cover your MBA tuition while also keeping your finances in check:

Employer-Sponsored Tuition: How to Get Employer to Pay for MBA

If you’re working at a company, you can inquire whether an employer-sponsored tuition opportunity is available for you.

In many cases, the employer wouldn’t mind sponsoring your MBA program, either in the form of discounts, installments that are subtracted from your monthly paychecks, or even a full fund.

If you’re wondering how to get your company to pay for your MBA, the best way is to write down a formal request that demonstrates how an MBA degree can help you in the job and how that will benefit the company in the short and long-term.

Learn how to develop the most in-demand skills for your future career!

Discover how you can acquire the most in-demand skills with our free report, and open the doors to a successful career. 

Download the free report today!

Government Funded Student Loans

Getting a student loan is yet another way to pay for your MBA tuition. Basically, you’ll apply for a government-funded student loan to be able to get your degree, and once you graduate and a minimum of 6 months have passed, you’ll start repaying that loan in the long term.

This approach will keep you in debt for quite a while, though, but since the average salary of an MBA holder is relatively high, you should be able to repay the loan easily. You can inquire about federal student loans from the school’s financial aid department.

The interest rates vary depending on when you apply for the loan. Currently, the Federal Stafford Loan in the USA has a fixed interest of 6.6% and a loan fee of 1.062%.

However, the maximum borrowing amount is $20,500, so if your tuition fees per year are significantly higher than that, you can consider the Graduate PLUS Loan. This loan has a 7.6% interest rate, which is 1% higher than the Federal Stafford Loan. In addition, the loan fee is 4.248%.

Compared to the Federal Stafford Loan, the Graduate Plus Loan in the USA is more flexible when it comes to the annual borrowed amount. We recommend you check out all options available to you in your country.

Private Student Loans

Applying for a private student loan is yet another effective way to cover your MBA tuition fees. The only problem is that private student loans are more strict when it comes to having a solid credit history.

Research the lending companies that offer MBA tuition loans, get some quotes and choose the loan terms and conditions that work best for you.

Private student loans either have fixed or variable interest rates.

Along with your credit score, other variables that can help you get a more competitive interest rate include high monthly income, employment, and savings.

The Federal Work-Study Program 

If you are based in the USA, and have to quit your job to pursue an MBA program, consider applying for the Federal Work-Study Program. This program allows you to work as a part-time employee during your MBA program. This way, you’ll be able to make some money to pay for some of the school’s tuition fees.

The Work-Study Program also provides enrollees with spending money.

School/Private Scholarships and Fellowships

Many business schools offer scholarships based on merit. If your application stands out, you might be eligible for a scholarship if you were able to maintain a solid performance throughout the program’s duration.

For example, applicants with high GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) scores are more likely to be offered a scholarship than other applicants. However, it’s important that you research which schools have scholarships before applying. In addition, familiarizing yourself with the scholarship criteria will give you a better idea of how to prepare.

Other than school-sponsored scholarships, there are private scholarships that you can apply to.

There are also scholarships that are related to specific industries. For example, if you want to work in the field of accounting, you can research what type of accounting MBA scholarships are available. These specialized scholarships also make it more likely for you to get a job in your preferred industry.


An assistantship allows you to work in the school as a graduate assistant in exchange for reduced tuition fees.

A grad assistant’s duty often includes working in administrative, educational, or research roles. Some grad assistants even work alongside faculty.

Professionals eligible for assistantships typically have limited work experience.

Individual Retirement Accounts

Do you have an Individual retirement account? Consider making an early withdrawal to pay for your MBA tuition fees.

When you make an early withdrawal from your retirement account for the purpose of education, you automatically become eligible for exemption from the 10% penalty that’s typically charged to people who make early withdrawals.

However, keep in mind that the money you get from your retirement account is taxable since it’s treated as your income tax.

Government Grants

Government grants are available for international students seeking to become MBA holders. For example, the Fullbright Business Grant enables overseas students from countries like Taiwan, Spain, and Finland to enroll in MBA programs at subsidized fees.

Pay Monthly

Some online universities, like Nexford University, allow you to pay for your tuition in monthly installments.

So, instead of paying for your tuition upfront, you’ll just have to pay a flat monthly fee. If you’re a working professional, this option would be an excellent choice for you. Instead of saving for your tuition and delaying your MBA enrollment, you can apply right now and pay for tuition from your monthly salary.

Not to mention, universities that use this payment option often let students decide how often they can make installments. This means that you don’t have to make the installments monthly. Quarterly and semi-annual payments are also an option.

Of course, you can cancel your payment cycle if you wish, but you have to review the university’s cancellation policy first.

How Much Does an MBA Typically Cost?

The cost of an MBA program varies depending on the school’s reputation and location, as well as the program’s format.

Ivy-league universities in the U.S will typically have more expensive MBA programs than most other universities and schools. For example, an MBA degree from Stanford University can cost you as much as $250,000. This includes the cost of tuition, transportation, housing, medical insurance, and other factors.

Moreover, accredited MBA programs will also cost more since they hold more value compared to non-accredited programs. You can learn whether a particular MBA program is accredited or not by searching the databases of the following accreditation bodies:

On the other hand, an MBA program from Central Michigan University will cost you less than $30,000 (but of course, this is still a significant outlay).

It’s also worth noting that online MBA programs often cost less than on-campus programs, especially for international students.

For example, an online MBA program from Nexford University costs as little as $3,600.

What to do After You Complete Your MBA Program

If you have debt from your undergraduate student loans, you can defer the payments during your MBA program. It’s important that you talk about this with your lender, regardless if it’s a government or private loan.

However, we strongly suggest that you only opt for a postgraduate degree after you’re done with your undergraduate loan payments to avoid debt accumulation.

After graduating from business school and earning your MBA degree, look for options to refinance your student loans at a reduced rate.

The government also offers income-based repayment for those who’ve taken out federal student loans for their undergraduate or postgraduate studies.

No matter what your financial condition is, it’s important that you start applying for new jobs as soon as you graduate. This way, you’ll be able to pay whatever debts you have quickly.

Are you ready to take your career to the next level?

Nexford's Career Path Planner takes into account your experience and interests to provide you with a customized roadmap to success.

Receive personalized advice on the skills and qualifications you need to get ahead in areas like finance, marketing, management and entrepreneurship.

Take the quiz to get started now!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an MBA Be Done for Free?

Yes, you can enroll in some MBA programs for free using government or university-aided scholarships.

If that’s not available or you don’t meet the scholarship criteria, and you don’t care much about the official certification, you can tailor your own MBA program by taking many of the courses found in a typical MBA program online for free.

Is an Online MBA Degree Worth It?


Yes, online MBA programs are definitely worth it. They’re usually cheaper than traditional MBA programs due to not having to incur campus costs, making them a more favorable option for those with tight finances.


Alright, so that was a quick overview of all the ways you can pay for your MBA degree.

Scholarships, fellowships, federal/private loans, employer sponsorship, and assistantships are all ways to pay for your MBA program.

If you don’t want your MBA degree to have a significant impact on your financial status, consider opting for an online MBA program from Nexford University.

The program is more affordable than most other MBA programs, costing just $3,600 for the full program. And thanks to the online format, international students won’t have to quit their jobs or pay for travel visas.

In addition, Nexford University offers a “Pay Monthly” payment option that makes it easier for students to pay for their tuition. What’s great about this option is that the faster you finish your tuition, the less you’ll have to pay. Check out Nexford’s tuition costs here.

Currently, Nexford’s Pay-Monthly payment program is priced at $200/month (on average), which is a very reasonable price compared to other universities.

Finishing the MBA program in the standard 18-month interval means that you’ll pay a total of $3,600 for tuition, divided into $200 monthly installments. Alternatively, you can make recurring payments over two, three or six-month periods.

You can pay using PayPal, credit cards, debit cards, or bank wire transfer. Nexford University is also one of the few online universities that accept cryptocurrency as a payment option.

Ready to take the next step and discover how affordable an American MBA from Nexford MBA could be? Download our brochure or book a call with our Nexford Advisors!

About the author
Joe McGoldrick
Joe McGoldrick

Known for strategy and attention to detail

Joe has more than 10 years of marketing experience, working within the public sector, client-side, and agency side.

He is passionate about using data and customer insights to improve marketing performance.

Join our newsletter and be the first to receive news about our programs, events and articles.