5 Ways To Fund Your Online MBA

Want to do an Online MBA but unsure how to pay for it? Here are five routes you can take to fund your online degree

Online MBAs are more affordable than in-person programs, with the top-ranked course in the world according to the Financial Times—the Distance Learning MBA at Warwick Business School—costing $47,000. 

But even affordable online MBA programs still represent a significant investment, and you may not have the money set aside for it. 

Here are five available options to fund your Online MBA program.


1. Sponsorships

Many businesses are willing to help their employees finance a degree if it will help them become a better asset to the company.  

Some employers might be more likely to sponsor an Online MBA because of the flexibility of such programs, which allow you to keep working either full-time or part-time during your studies. 

Consulting firms and financial services companies often have tuition reimbursement programs, with funds set aside for employees’ business education. 

Smaller companies that may not have sponsored MBAs before might need a little more convincing, but if you can pitch a sponsorship well they could be motivated to fund your Online MBA.

To increase your chances of success, emphasize the benefits of your chosen Online MBA, such as how the schedule will allow you to juggle both studies and work, and how you’ll be applying the skills you’re learning during the program to your current role.

By helping to finance your studies, your employer is investing in you, so show them the return they can expect.


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2. Loans

The average US MBA student takes out $62,000 in student loans per year, according to loans company Juno, which helps students negotiate bulk deals on student loans. 

Although distance learning is often less expensive than an in-person program, loans are often necessary to fund your Online MBA. 

You can take out a loan either from a bank or through a student loan provider like Prodigy Finance.

Prodigy Finance was founded by three MBAs to make loans more accessible to international students. It allows students to take out loans with no collateral, guarantor, or co-signer, and you only need to start paying back six months after classes end. 


3. Scholarships

Depending on your financial situation and academic record, you could secure a need- or merit-based scholarship that covers part of or the entirety of your tuition fees. 

If you’re from an underrepresented demographic, you can apply for diversity or gender-focused scholarships, aimed at improving gender equity and increasing the representation of students from all backgrounds in the MBA classroom. 

There are thousands of scholarships available, either provided by business schools or by an external organization.

For example, the Forté Foundation, an organization working to increase the number of women applying to and enrolling in MBA programs, offers fellowships to women pursuing an MBA at one of its sponsored schools. 

Meanwhile, IE Business School, which offers one of the best Online MBA programs in the world according to the FT, has launched a scholarship fund with an endowment of two million euros to support students who have been affected by the pandemic. 

Do your research on which scholarships you could be eligible for, and get in touch with former recipients to learn more about the application process, and how a scholarship could potentially help you fund your Online MBA.


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4. Self-funding

Many MBA students tap into their savings to fund their program. The advantage of pursuing an Online MBA is that you can continue to work throughout the program rather than pause your income, making self-funding much easier.

Some students continue to work full-time, choosing to attend their Online MBA courses in the evenings and weekends, while others turn to a part-time schedule. 

In any case, the flexibility of an Online MBA means you don’t have to fully forgo your salary and empty out your personal savings.


5. Crowdfunding

If you’re looking for a more original way to fund your Online MBA, you could consider crowdfunding. 

On sites like GoFundMe or Crowdfunder, you can set up a donation page that allows friends, family, and even strangers to contribute to funding your education. 

In 2019, Sarel van Baalen was able to attend his dream school, Oxford Saïd Business School, thanks to crowdfunding. 

Sarel designed an elaborate rewards-based system, with different donation amounts giving access to different perks. For example, with a £5 donation, you would get a monthly newsletter from Oxford, and with a £1,000 donation, Sarel would help you build a website.

To fund your Online MBA, you may want to get creative, and take a page out of Sarel’s book.

Make sure you consider several different options to finance your degree, and don’t be afraid to mix different approaches so you get the chance to attend your dream Online MBA program.


Next read:

50 Most Popular Online MBA Programs

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