Just like many other educational pursuits, business school can be a bit pricey. That’s why students seek out financial aid. They often seek grants in particular because they do not have to be paid back and thus make financial sense both immediately and long term.
Are there grants available to help students going to business school? The answer is yes. Let’s take a look at some of the options as far as business school grants go, and how to find and take advantage of them.
One of the the most important considerations when seeking a grant is the educational level of the student. There are different sorts of grants depending mainly on whether one is studying business at an undergraduate or graduate level.
Undergraduate grants from the federal and state governments
There are broad based grants available from the federal government for undergraduates studying business as well as many other academic fields. Three of the most well known of these grants include the Pell grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG).
The Pell grant is a long standing and popular grant that helps undergraduates in many different courses of study afford college costs. These grants are awarded mainly on the basis of financial need. Students in business school programs, especially Bachelor’s degree programs at traditional colleges, are usually eligible for these grants.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
This grant is similar to the Pell grant except for the fact that the school one is attending contributes part of the money and the rest comes from the federal government. The school contributes 25% of the funds and the government offers the rest. Again, it is common for undergraduate students in business education programs to receive these business school grants.
Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACG)
The ACG is based mostly on academic performance. A business school student must have higher than a 3.0 academic average in order to qualify. There are a few other stipulations and requirements based on income and other factors, but academics is the salient feature in qualification.
The way a student applies for these three grants is by filling out a Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form and submitting it to the federal government. You should also consult with the financial aid departments of the schools to which you are applying as to what federal grants may be available.
There are also often state grants available to undergrads for business school. These differ from state to state. The best approach to finding these is general to ask financial aid advisors and/or your local education department.
Undergraduate business school grants from private sources
In addition to grants from the federal and state governments. Private foundations often offer scholarships and grants to undergraduate business majors. These grants vary in scope and amount and can be found by searching online as well as consulting with financial aid advisors.
Business school grants for graduates
Many business students are pursuing MBA (Master of Business Administration) degrees. These degrees qualify an individual for more lucrative and supervisory positions in the business world. This is a graduate level degree however and so the grant opportunities are somewhat different.
The majority of grants given at this level are scholarships and fellowships given by business schools and private foundations. Some of these are more competitive than others. There are a huge variety of business school grants available at the MBA level from private sources and colleges. Ask your financial aid advisor about these grants and do your own research online. A simple Google search on “MBA grants” or “grants for MBA students” will bring up many results.
Consider employer based funding
In addition to the above, a strategy to consider when looking for business school grants is asking a prospective employer to assist with educational expenses or even carry them entirely. Many business students plan on going to work for banks, financial corporations, industrial concerns, and so on. These employers need qualified financial personnel so the are often willing to contribute to the education of a future employee. These companies may even let an individual begin working for them for a period of time to accumulate practical experience. They are willing to help out because they are getting more of a guarantee of qualified professionals to draw from when they do hire. They may offer arrangements whereby an individual contracts to work for a company for a certain period of time after graduation if the company contributes to education costs. This, incidentally, can be true of both graduate and undergraduate courses. The way to go about getting these grants is simply to contact employers and discuss options with them. They will be able to tell you about the grant/employment programs they offer.
It doesn’t hurt to apply for a lot of grants. You have nothing to lose, and the more grants you apply for, the better your chances of being approved and receiving assistance. A good strategy is to list all the grants from government and private sources (including the business schools themselves) for which you may be eligible and work on getting applications into all of them. Stick at it and the chances of receiving free money for business school are good, especially if you have shown good academic performance and have genuine financial need.