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Financing Your MBA, Part V

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While loans are a necessary fact of life for many MBA students, it pays to investigate the full range of scholarship, fellowship and other programs that can provide additional means of financing your MBA. These options have the significant advantage of not needing to be repaid.

Individual business schools have an array of scholarship programs for applicants, which we’ll address in subsequent posts in this series. For today, we’ll instead highlight non-school-specific private scholarships intended for select groups.

Private Scholarships for Select Groups

There are many scholarship opportunities and organizations committed to supporting those undertaking an advanced business degree. For example, military and volunteer associations such as the Peace Corps and Teach for America have partnered with various business schools to offer financial assistance and fee waivers for veterans and former employees.

There are also organizations dedicated to promoting diversity within business programs that applicants can join prior to applying. Associations such as the Forté Foundation, the Point Foundation and the Toigo Foundation all organize mentoring programs, networking events and tuition assistance for female, LGBT and racial and ethnic minority candidates, respectively. These organizations either offer direct financial aid in the form of fellowships or provide their partner schools with annual funding to distribute at their discretion.

Another notable organization in the MBA application space is the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, a group dedicated to supporting African-Americans, Native Americans and Hispanic Americans in business. Open to anyone who has demonstrated substantial commitment to diversity, the Consortium allows its members to apply to up to six member schools in a single streamlined application. The program also offers its members merit-based fellowships and support from corporate partners and former fellows.

Forté Foundation

Now in its 13th year, the Forté Foundation was organized in 2001 to address the gender imbalance at MBA programs by supporting female applicants. Comprised of a consortium of business schools and corporate sponsors, the foundation offers networking events, career development forums, a career database, mentorship and some scholarships to its members.

One of the foundation’s more prominent offerings is the Forté Fellows Program, which is designed to help women enrolling in MBA programs defray their education costs through full or partial scholarships. Female candidates are automatically considered for the Fellows program upon submitting their applications to the foundation’s member schools, with no additional application required. Candidates chosen for the program receive their fellowship offers alongside their offers of admission. In addition to tuition assistance, fellows are given invitations to attend the Annual MBA Women’s Conference and the Financial Services FAST Track Conference; access to the Forté résumé book; mentorships; and a lifelong premium membership.

The Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program, part of the Post-911 GI Bill, provides veterans attending participating schools with additional financial assistance to cover their tuition and fees. Among other criteria, veterans must have served in the military for at least 36 months and have been honorably discharged in order to qualify. In the program, partner schools offer a set amount of financial aid to military veterans and that amount is matched by the Department of Veterans Affairs. For instance, recipients attending a school that offered $10,000 in aid would receive another $10,000 from the U.S. government.

While by no means an exhaustive list, the above offers a jumping off point for exploring scholarship opportunities available to select groups. As we learn of more, we will share details here on Clear Admit. In upcoming posts in this series, we will begin to drill down into how the financial aid process works at individual business schools, including highlighting school-specific scholarship and fellowship opportunities.