MBA Grants for Women | Financial Aid Opportunities to Further Your Education


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Pursuing an MBA can be an excellent way for women to advance their careers and earning potential. However, the cost of an MBA can be prohibitive. Fortunately, there are grants, fellowships, and scholarships available specifically for women seeking to earn an MBA degree. These funding sources can make achieving an MBA more affordable.

Why Seek an MBA?

Earning an MBA provides numerous benefits for women looking to level up in their careers. An MBA imparts essential business skills such as financial analysis, marketing, operations management, and leadership. This versatile graduate degree qualifies recipients for a wide range of management and executive positions across industries.

Additionally, an MBA boosts earning power. On average, MBAs make nearly $30,000 more in starting salary compared to those with only a bachelor’s degree. Over the course of a career, the typical MBA graduate will earn over $1 million more in cumulative wages. For women seeking to close the gender pay gap, pursuing an advanced business degree can lead to higher salaries.

Beyond the hard skills and salary potential, an MBA also expands networks. MBA students spend multiple years building relationships with classmates, professors, guest lecturers, and alumni. These connections provide value throughout their careers through business partnerships, mentoring opportunities, professional references, and more.

An MBA degree signals to employers that candidates not only possess critical business acumen but also have the dedication and work ethic needed to complete a rigorous graduate program. In competitive job markets, MBA credentials can differentiate female applicants and position them for leadership roles.

The Cost of Earning an MBA

While advantageous for career and earnings growth, tuition for MBA programs can be steep. The top 25 full-time MBA programs in the U.S. cost over $100,000 on average just for tuition and fees. When you factor in lost income from leaving the workforce to attend school full-time, the total cost rises even higher.

Such high costs can deter qualified candidates from applying to MBA programs. For women who already face disadvantages related to the gender pay gap, finding ways to fund an MBA is essential. Scholarships, grants, and fellowships earmarked for female applicants can provide the financial assistance needed.

Some women considering an MBA may have employers willing to cover or assist with tuition through firm-sponsored programs. However, these programs often require a post-graduation commitment to the company for a defined period. Candidates must weigh the benefits and drawbacks of this path.

If employer assistance is not an option, researching alternative funding options early is necessary. Out-of-pocket costs for an MBA can be in excess of $200,000 in total. Taking on this level of debt can negatively impact finances for decades.

Top Funding Sources for Women Pursuing an MBA

Fortunately, many organizations recognize the importance of empowering more women to pursue leadership roles in business. As a result, numerous grant and scholarship opportunities exist to help finance an MBA specifically for female applicants.

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Here are some of the top MBA funding programs that women should consider:

Forté Foundation Fellowship

The Forté Foundation aims to launch women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education. As part of this mission, the foundation offers funding to female candidates striving for an MBA degree. The fellowship program awards $10,000 scholarships to women accepted into a full-time MBA program. Applicants must possess a strong academic background and demonstrate leadership qualities.

Over the last 20 years, the foundation has provided over $200 million in scholarships to over 6,000 MBA students. The application requires essays, resumes, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and an optional video component. Fellows selected also gain access to networking, mentoring, and career development opportunities through the foundation.

SallieMae Fund MBA Scholarship

Sallie Mae provides multiple scholarship and grant options for graduate students, including the MBA Scholarship. Female candidates enrolled at least half-time in an eligible MBA program can qualify. Applicants are evaluated based on academic merit, leadership skills, and financial need. Selected recipients get up to $15,000 in scholarship funding.

To apply, women must submit information on their academic and professional background, extracurricular activities, honors, financial status, and goals. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required. Sallie Mae also offers a variety of other scholarships that MBA hopefuls can check into as well.

Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund Grants

The Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund awards five to six $12,000 grants each year to women from developing nations pursuing graduate education in the U.S. or Canada. This includes women seeking an MBA degree. Ideal candidates demonstrate a commitment to improving the lives of women and children in their home countries.

Applicants should highlight any study or work experience related to advocating for women and children as well as their motivation for earning an advanced degree. Financial needs, leadership, public service, and academic achievement are also considered during the competitive selection process. Grants may be renewable for a second year.

Firm-Sponsored Tuition Assistance

Many companies looking to develop female executive talent offer MBA sponsorship opportunities. Recipients receive full or partial coverage of tuition and fees in return for committing to the company for a set time period post-graduation. Consulting firms, investment banks, and Fortune 500 corporations commonly provide this incentive for promising employees.

For example, Deloitte offers up to $25,000 annually for women in the company accepted into accredited MBA programs as part of its Graduate School Assistance Program. Google also reimburses up to $12,000 per year in tuition for employees furthering their formal education. Women should research company policies to find potential MBA sponsorship programs.

School Scholarships and Fellowships

Individual business schools may offer varying scholarships, grants, or fellowships reserved for their female MBA candidates. These programs are funded by the school’s endowments, foundations, corporations, and individual donors. Applicants should thoroughly research what options are available through their target B-schools.

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For instance, the Forte Foundation recently partnered with the University of Michigan Ross School of Business to provide full-tuition scholarships for up to ten women per year. The London Business School, Fuqua School of Business, and Kelley School of Business also offer awards specifically for incoming female MBA students.

Professional Associations

Many professional groups and associations provide scholarships and grants both for MBAs generally and women specifically. Here are some top organizations offering funding:

  • National Association of Women MBAs: Offers merit-based scholarships between $2,000-$10,000 for women MBA students who are members of the organization.
  • American Association of University Women: Provides fellowships and grants to women pursuing graduate or postdoctoral study. Award amounts range from $5,000-$35,000.
  • Executive Women International: Awards $2,000-$10,000 in scholarships each year for women pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees.
  • Forté Foundation Oxygen Awards: $5,000 grants for MBA students who have overcome disadvantages or challenges in their careers. Open to Forté Fellows only.
  • Society of Women Engineers: Offers varying awards and scholarships for women studying engineering or business at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Financial Institutions

Banks and credit unions sometimes provide financial assistance for graduate school through low-interest student loans or scholarships. For example:

  • PNC Financial Services: Women who are PNC customers can apply for a $5,000 merit-based MBA Scholarship.
  • Graduate Funding: This financial services company offers loans, lending plans, and consolidation specifically for graduate students, including those in MBA programs.
  • Wells Fargo: The Wells Fargo Scholarship Program provides scholarships between $3,000-$15,000 for graduate students in select fields of study, including business.

Researching scholarships offered directly through banks, credit unions, or other lending institutions may uncover additional options for MBA funding support.

Other National and Global Scholarship Programs

Here are some other scholarship programs open to women MBA candidates:

  • Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship: Provides financial assistance to women pursuing graduate degrees in fields like business, computer science, and engineering.
  • Cartier Women’s Initiative: Annual global entrepreneurship contest offering a $100,000 grant for one female MBA graduate looking to launch a business venture.
  • Fort Valley State University Graduate Studies Scholarship: Awards scholarships between $500-$5,000 to women pursuing advanced degrees in business administration or public administration.
  • Margaret Raley New Venture Challenge: Grants $50,000 in seed funding to a female MBA graduate starting a new business. Administered by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
  • PepsiCo Women’s Scholarship: Supports women in undergraduate and graduate programs related to business, law, engineering, and technology. Awards up to $20,000 in financial assistance.
  • Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards: Provides scholarships between $1,000-$10,000 to women primarily supporting families pursuing vocational or undergraduate education. Some MBA students may qualify.
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Tips for Securing MBA Funding

With many organizations hoping to empower female business leaders, funding opportunities exist for women pursuing an MBA. Here are some tips to help secure grants, scholarships, or fellowships:

  • Start researching funding options early, at least 6 months before submitting MBA applications. Deadlines, requirements, and award amounts can vary greatly.
  • Thoroughly complete scholarship applications and provide all required information. Follow instructions carefully.
  • Highlight professional and academic achievements in your application. Quantify accomplishments with metrics or data whenever possible.
  • Emphasize contributions to community service, women’s advocacy groups, or mentoring/leadership programs. Share related accomplishments.
  • Ask managers, professors, or leaders familiar with your work to provide letters of recommendation highlighting your skills, commitment, and potential.
  • For scholarships with an interview component, prepare stories and examples that illustrate your qualifications. Practice interviewing.
  • Apply to multiple aid opportunities instead of just one or two. Having several options maximizes your chances.
  • Reapply for funding each academic year since awards are not always renewable. Your eligibility may differ year-to-year.
  • Follow up on applications and check in on status when possible to show ongoing interest. Be sure your contact information stays current.
  • If not selected for a scholarship, ask for feedback on your application. Learn what areas could be strengthened in the future.
  • Publicize receiving a grant or scholarship award on social media and your resume. Being a scholarship recipient can support future aid opportunities.
  • For more details visit their Official Website

Make an MBA Attainable with the Right Funding

The programs highlighted here are just a sample of the many grants and scholarships open to women pursuing an MBA today. There are opportunities available through corporate partners, universities, foundations, government agencies, professional organizations, financial institutions, and more. With help from aid like these, female applicants can make advanced business education a reality despite financial obstacles.

Any woman wishing to ascend into executive leadership, launch an entrepreneurial venture, or achieve greater career success would benefit immensely from MBA-level skills and knowledge. An MBA not only imparts business acumen and management expertise but also grows networks and opens doors. The investment in yourself will pay dividends across your career.

The key is finding ways to fund your MBA through scholarships, grants, fellowships, or sponsorships rather than entirely self-funding. Do not let tuition costs deter you from enrolling in an MBA program and gaining the experience needed to accomplish your professional goals. Take time to research all your options. Then complete targeted, high-quality applications for financial aid to make an MBA affordable and within reach. With dedication and proper funding, you can earn your MBA and become a woman business leader in your industry.

Hello, my name is Joseph Samaritan and I am a blogger who writes about various topics of interest, I have a passion for learning and sharing knowledge through my blog, I welcome feedback and comments on my posts and I look forward to engaging with you, thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you enjoy reading it.


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