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Potential students tap numerous sources to pay for business school
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22nd Feb, 2010 | Source : Graduate Management Admission Council

If the price tag of an MBA is intimidating, take heart. Cost and potential debt burden have always been big concerns for prospective business school students, but most are able to tap multiple funding sources to pay for school. And new research from the Graduate Management Admission Council suggests that the global economic downturn isn’t radically altering how people plan to pay for b-school. Prospective students’ proposed financing mix in 2009 was nearly identical to that of prospective students two years before.

The 2010 Registrants Survey of 22,111 prospective graduate business students found about half had financial reservations about pursuing a degree. Yet surveyed during the calendar year 2009, three months after they registered on GMAC’s website for prospective students, 97 percent of them were still intent on pursuing the degree.

The survey offers insight into how potential students plan to pay for school:

  • In an overall average breakdown of planned funding sources, loans account for the biggest portion, 26 percent, followed by grants, fellowships, or scholarships, at 21 percent.
  • More than half those who intend to go to business school plan to use grants/fellowships/scholarships (59 percent), loans (also 59 percent), and personal earnings (52 percent) to pay for part of their education. In addition, 49 percent plan to use savings, 38 percent plan to get parental support, and 28 percent plan to use employer reimbursement programs.
  • Men are more likely than women to plan to tap loans, earnings, and savings to pay for part of their education; women are more likely to plan to use grants and spouse/partner support.
  • Younger respondents are more likely than older respondents to plan on using grants; older respondents are more likely to plan on employment reimbursement plans. Those 24 to 30 are more likely than other age groups to count on loans to finance part of their education.

The Graduate Management Admission Council is an organization of leading business schools that administers the Graduate Management Admission Test, used in admissions decisions by approximately 4,750 programs at 1,900 business schools worldwide. For more information on graduate business school and how to pay for it, go to


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