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GMAC Launches New Tuition Assistance Tool to Help MBA Applicants Research Financial Aid

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which owns and administers the GMAT entrance exam for business school admissions, has launched a new interactive tool designed to help prospective MBA applicants better understand the types of financial aid and tuition assistance offered by business schools in different regions of the world. GMAC designed the tool using survey data collected from 92 business schools as part of its 2015 Application Trends Survey.

Prospective GMAT test-takers worldwide cite the challenges of financing the MBA as by far the greatest obstacles to pursuing the degree, according to GMAC’s 2015 Prospective Students Survey Report. Nearly half (49 percent) cite the fact that a graduate business degree requires more money than is available as a major reservation, and 44 percent say the same about the prospect of incurring large financial debt as part of obtaining the degree.  

In response, GMAC created this new tool, which allows prospective applicants to indicate the region and type of business school program they are interested in and then serves up a bar chart reflecting what percentage of those programs offer various types of tuition assistance.

“Defined broadly, tuition assistance programs include any kind of initiative undertaken by a graduate business school to help students cover the cost of tuition,” GMAC notes. In response to the survey, business schools reported offering a full spectrum of programs, including merit- and need-based scholarships, fellowships and stipends, and work-study and assistantship opportunities.

Globally, 73 percent of the business school programs surveyed offer some form of merit-based scholarships. Narrow your search terms more, and the results shift. For example, a greater percentage of U.S. two-year MBA programs—94 percent—offer merit-based aid. But among online MBA programs surveyed, only 42 percent do.

gmac tuition tool
In addition to one- and two-year MBA programs, the tool also parses survey data for a range of specialized masters programs, including masters of management, finance, accounting, supply chain management, marketing and data analytics. Global data is also available for part-time, flexible and executive MBA programs.

Of course, the tool provides just a very basic starting point for the investigation of financial aid options for the MBA. “Reach out to the schools you’re interested in and ask them about what kind of assistance is available to you,” GMAC advises. But having this insight into the relative distribution of different types of tuition assistance could help prospective applicants decide where and what types of programs make the most sense for them. It also gives applicants an understanding of the full landscape of tuition assistance available, better equipping them to plan how to pay for school and to fully explore all available options as part of the application process.

Learn more about GMAC’s new interactive tuition assistance tool.