Part-time, online MBA programs are an excellent way to earn a master’s degree in business while defraying costs compared to enrolling in a full-time graduate program. While part-time MBA programs and online MBA programs seldom cost less than traditional Master of Business Administration programs, they confer several financial advantages.
For example, students in part-time, online MBA programs can continue working full-time and do not have to sacrifice income (or opportunities for professional advancement) to pursue a graduate degree. Some students pursuing MBAs while working pay for their degrees partially out of pocket, allowing them to take out fewer student loans. The full tuition of online MBA programs may not be lower, but students in part-time programs often pay less per semester. Additionally, distance learners do not have to pay commuting costs or relocate to attend a prestigious program.
More importantly, students pursuing MBAs online in flexible programs can apply what they learn in the classroom in their full-time jobs, thus increasing the value of their in-school work experience.
However, these and other benefits to studying part-time cannot entirely negate the challenges of paying for an MBA. Enrolling in a graduate business degree program involves making a significant financial investment that is daunting for many people. Fortunately, students in part-time MBA programs and online MBA programs can tap into the same financial aid available to students on campus and apply for scholarships. This guide digs deeper into part-time and online MBA scholarships: what they are, where to find them, and how to apply.
Types of MBA scholarships
Most universities have graduate scholarship programs funded by endowments, individual donors, businesses, and private organizations. The availability of internal part-time and online MBA scholarships varies by institution. Some business schools automatically consider full-time graduate students and part-time graduate students for internal MBA scholarships. Others require full-time and part-time MBA candidates to apply for internal funding. In that case, students should submit their MBA scholarship applications soon rather than later because there is often a limited amount of money in scholarship funds.
Part-time and online Master of Business Administration candidates at Howard are eligible for several internal scholarships, including:
Howard School of Business Endowed Scholarships: HU awards Howard School of Business Endowed Scholarships based on need, academic excellence, test scores, MBA essays, and applicants’ contributions to their field of study.
Howard University Donor Scholarships: MBA candidates in good standing who submit the Donor Scholarship application may qualify for multiple donor-funded scholarships.
At Howard, admissions officers review all online MBA applications to determine if applicants’ backgrounds and circumstances align with current scholarship opportunities. Internal scholarship recipients are usually notified of their awards in their acceptance letters or when they receive financial aid.
External scholarships are funds for business school students awarded by businesses, professional groups, nonprofit organizations, religious institutions, special interest groups, political organizations, and other funders not directly associated with a university. Typically, students must submit applications to access these scholarships, which may be granted based on financial need, area of study, professional accomplishments, race or ethnicity, national origin, or religion.
Specific scholarships open to students pursuing MBAs at Howard include:
- National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) member scholarships, which include two $10,000 awards and one $5,000 award earmarked for current members.
- The Hennesey Fellows scholarship, which grants high-achieving graduate students from HBCUs up to $20,000 per academic year for up to two years plus a one-time $10,000 stipend.
While researching additional scholarship awards, prospective students should consider awards of all sizes. Most scholarships open to part-time and online graduate students do not cover full tuition, but even small MBA scholarships can add up to cover a large portion of the cost of an MBA.
How to find part-time MBA scholarships
Entire websites exist to help students find scholarships, including BigFuture, Fastweb, and Scholarships.com. MBA candidates can also research funders directly. For instance, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) teams up with corporate and nonprofit partners to offer merit and need-based scholarships to students attending TMCF member-schools, and students can apply for scholarships right on the site.
Funding an MBA with external scholarships is often challenging because scholarships for graduate students are less common than scholarships for undergraduates. Howard School of Business Enrollment Advisors and financial aid advisors help part-time and online MBA students find business scholarships that do not make it onto scholarship aggregator sites.
Some partial and full tuition scholarships for MBA degree candidates are earmarked for active duty service members and their families. Military veterans can also use GI Bill benefits to pay for graduate school, though these benefits seldom cover the entire cost of an MBA. Howard University is veteran-friendly, meaning it is an approved institution where service members can use their education benefits. MBA candidates can contact the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-888-442-4551 or visit the VA website at gibill.va.gov to learn more about eligibility.
Other ways to pay for a part-time online MBA
Many employers offer education benefits, including business school tuition reimbursement, that can cover some or all of the cost of an MBA. Some organizations have official tuition assistance policies and an application process, while others fund professional development such as MBA programs on a case-by-case basis.
To find out whether your employer will cover some or all of the cost of an MBA program, reach out to the human resources department. Be aware that tuition assistance is frequently conditional. Companies usually require that MBA graduates who receive funding commit to staying with the organization for a specific period after graduation—often one to two years.
MBA students can apply for federal financial aid, including grants and student loans. Like undergraduates, graduates must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year to access available funds. Most grants are awarded based on financial need. Student loan eligibility varies by loan type. MBA candidates can tap into two kinds of federal student loans: lower-interest-rate Direct Unsubsidized Loans and no-limit Graduate PLUS loans. Students can fund up to $20,500 of educational expenses annually using Direct loans, regardless of financial need. Graduate PLUS loans have no borrowing limit, but the interest rates associated with these loans are generally higher.
Don’t underestimate the time it takes to apply for scholarships
MBA scholarships are an attractive form of financial support because there are no strings attached. MBA graduates do not need to pay back scholarship funds awarded and typically do not have to meet post-graduation obligations. However, applying for scholarships can take a great deal of time and effort. Scholarship applications vary in complexity. Many require applicants to submit detailed personal essays.
If your goal is to fund as much of your MBA tuition as possible with scholarships, organization is crucial. Set aside time in your schedule to research MBA scholarships and make a list of the best options that includes application requirements and deadlines. Start working on essays and applications immediately so you can approach each application with care and do not feel rushed. The key to winning as much MBA funding as possible is to treat applying for scholarships like a second job—one that can help you graduate with less or even no student debt.
The power of an online MBA from Howard University School of Business
The ROI of a Master of Business Administration from Howard’s business school is substantial. Students receive not only an exceptional education in advanced management fundamentals but also robust career support, professional connections, and access to an engaged global alumni network. Howard’s reputation is also an asset graduates can leverage in their post-MBA careers. Howard ranks #2 among Historically Black Colleges and Universities and is the only HBCU ranked in Bloomberg Businessweek’s top U.S. Schools. It is one of the best U.S. business schools and offers more support for minority students than any other institution in the nation.
The student experience at Howard is second to none, whether you enroll in the traditional full-time MBA program or you pursue an MBA online. The value of an MBA is about more than skill-building and academic achievement. The business school professors are accessible to remote graduate students, and small class sizes foster a close-knit virtual environment. The Career Center at Howard University’s School of Business has an exceptional track record of job placement for MBA students, whether full-time or part-time. Recruiters from leading corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations hire Howard MBA graduates, and the university’s relationships with employers help students launch more lucrative careers.
Are you ready to explore how higher education can help you achieve your career goals? Don’t let your concerns about paying for an MBA hold you back. If you have a bachelor’s degree, two years of professional work experience, and qualifying GMAT scores, Howard University’s online MBA program is an affordable option. Scholarships can make paying for a Howard MBA even easier. Start your application online today.