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Nov 13, 2018

Financing Your MBA

The Tuck MBA is an investment in yourself, and your capacity for wise leadership. The best time to start planning financially for your MBA is before you apply to business school, and after reflecting on your professional and personal aspirations. It’s important to be true to your goals. Why are you getting an MBA?  What tangible skills, intellectual challenges, and personal growth are you looking for? How will earning an MBA help you achieve your vision for a future that makes you excited and proud?

Financial preparedness is a critical component of your MBA application process. Being prepared for the financial commitments of a full-time MBA program means creating a foundation which will allow you to limit student loan debt and attend your top choice school—the program that will be the most transformational experience for you—without cost as the sole driver of your decision.

Before we share tips on what you can do to prepare, we think it’s important to provide some context:

  • Of the total cost of attendance (tuition, fees, living expenses, room, board and books and supplies) each year, Tuck students consistently cover 54 - 56% of those costs with personal resources beyond student loans, scholarships, grants and sponsorship.
  • Typically sixty-six percent of Tuck students receive financial aid in the form of scholarship, fellowship, and/or educational loans.
  • Financing your MBA is not a “one-size-fits-all” proposition. Some students borrow as little as $10,000 to supplement their own contribution to the cost of attendance while others access more aid as their needs dictate.
  • Scholarships range from $10,000 per year to full tuition and the average Tuck scholarship is approximately $27,000 per academic year for the two-year MBA program.

So, let’s talk strategy.

Save, Save, Save! 

Make a budget and stick to it. This means tracking your spending and identifying discretionary and non-discretionary expenses. Remember that discretionary expenses are controlled by you and can be an easy way to reduce spending. Put the money you save into a school savings account. Set financial goals and challenge yourself over short periods of time.

Credit Wellness

Request your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to a free report from each credit bureau annually. Understand how your credit score works. The better your credit score, the lower your interest rates will be on private educational loans. If there are any discrepancies, be sure to resolve them as soon as possible. It could be a lengthy process, so it’s important to make addressing credit discrepancies a priority. 
 
Pay down your consumer debt and keep all of your debt obligations current including student loans. Most student loans can be deferred once you are enrolled as a full-time student. Don’t open any new credit cards or debt obligations and keep long standing ones open.

Determine Your Resources

Take some time to determine whether you have access to alternative financing options. For example, employer assistance might be an option, family could be a source of low interest loans, and there are many outside scholarships that are worth exploring. We have put together a comprehensive guide to help you begin your search. As you explore your financing options keep in mind that scholarships from schools will vary, so you’ll want to plan based on an assumption that scholarships are not guaranteed but rather a bonus if you receive one. Know the details of any scholarship you receive such as GPA requirements, renewability terms, and whether it can be used for any education-related expense or just tuition.

Determine Your Financial Need

Know the educational costs at each school you are considering. Be sure you understand the published budget (cost of attendance) and make an effort to talk to current students. Most school websites publish only the first academic year costs and they are typically subject to change each year. It’s important to note that published costs typically do not include expenses during the summer months and any pre-term costs such as moving and security deposits. Many schools offer a selection of pre-term trips, experiential learning opportunities, and study abroad offerings. Expenses for these may not be included in the educational costs.

Financing Your MBA at Tuck

At Tuck, we have several funding options available for all of our students. We will help you find the best combination of loans for your personal situation whether they are institutional, federal and/or private. We also offer loan options for international students that do not require a cosigner.

The financial aid industry is constantly changing and each student arrives at Tuck with a unique financial situation. We will work with you one-on-one to answer your questions, point you to resources and provide valuable insight as you navigate the financial commitments of your MBA. We also understand that we live in a dynamic global economy and that process of applying to business school can be a financial challenge. Application fee waivers may be available for those facing a financial burden and are granted on a case-by-case basis. If you’d like to request a waiver of the application fee, please submit a copy of your resume with salary information along with a brief explanation as to why you are making this request to Tuck.admissions@tuck.dartmouth.edu.   

As you consider the path you’ll take to financing your MBA, there’s one more important factor to keep in mind: your post-MBA compensation.

Tuck students are in demand! More than 1,000 companies and organizations recruit Tuck students, propelling our graduates to employment levels and compensation rates among the highest of top MBA programs worldwide. As a result, Tuck students who borrow student loans are, on average, able to repay loans in full within three to six years of graduation.

We know that many prospective students wonder about how they’ll afford the cost of a full-time MBA. Our office is your best resource for the most current and comprehensive information to help prepare you financially. We are available anytime to take your calls and also regularly schedule phone appointments and web chats.

We hope your journey to an MBA is a positive one. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have along the way.


Tuck's experienced financial aid team includes director, Diane Bonin, who has been at Tuck for 20 years, associate director, Kristy Snow (22 years), and assistant director, Sandy Baker (16 years). They offer an open-door policy and are happy to help students during the application process and at any point throughout their two years at Tuck. 

Tuck.financial.aid@dartmouth.edu 
Phone:  603-646-9743