Financial Aid Tips
The money that is reserved for awarding financial aid packages varies significantly by each program. There are many drivers that determine the amount of funds the school has available to them (e.g. private vs. public institution, endowments, ranking). Despite this, we always encourage applicants to negotiate. Often the initial package you receive is not the final offer. Admissions Committees prepare their budgeting and award strategy with this concept in mind. Do not be too aggressive, demanding, or rude. Poor behavior could significantly hurt your negotiations.
2. Build Your Case
Basically, we want you to do your homework. Do not ask for more money just because you want it. You need to put together a strong case for it. Gather all the data you need to make your point and build your case. Please be aware that many of the applicants are in the same financial situation. Therefore, a strong case would not include common concerns such as international travel, dreams of attending a particular school, personal obstacles, family tradition, etc. Stick to the financial facts.
3. Be Open With the Admissions Committee
If you have a better financial aid package from another school, be open and tell the Admissions Committee. Be prepared to submit proof. "Showing your cards" may sway the admissions committee to either match or beat your existing financial aid package. Before considering this strategy, you must consider your competitiveness at each school. If the better financial aid package is from a Tier II business school, then it is unlikely that utilizing this strategy will help improve your financial aid package at a Tier I business school. Use your common sense because you do not want to aggravate the committee.
4. Consider Your Competitiveness at Each School
If receiving financial aid is the only way you can go to business school, then you definitely need to consider your competitiveness at each school. If you are a strong candidate, either academically or via your fit with the particular program, your chances of receiving financial aid are significantly improved.
5. Seek Out Scholarships of All Types
Many organizations, corporations,and social networks hand out money every year for top MBA students. Do your research and dedicate time to these efforts. Many of the scholarships are not only based on need, but require additional efforts such as interviews and essays. Any money you receive via an outside scholarship will be factored into your overall financial aid package from the school. What does this mean? While you may get an outside scholarship, it could reduce the aid package you receive from the school.
6. Start the Process Early
What more can we say? The earlier you start, the better prepared you will be. Not only does it take time to understand all the sources of financial aid, but much of the aid is given out on a first-come-first-serve basis. Start early!