Employer Funding for Professional MBAs Holds Steady in 2016

Bucking the long-term trend, some professional MBA programs report a growing percentage of students receiving employer funding this year.

Oct 18, 2016

Prospective Students

Professional MBA student studies

For as long as professional MBA programs have existed, employer funding has been a significant factor in making the cost calculus work for a large number of their students. More than one in three prospective students considering professional MBA programs (36%) anticipate funding a portion of their graduate business education through contributions from their employer, according to data from the 2016 mba.com Prospective Students Survey

Unfortunately, the percentage of professional MBA alumni that actually received financial support from their employers has steadily declined over the past 20 graduation years, leaving students with a greater overall cost burden to pursue their degree. Counter to this long-term trend, the results of GMAC’s 2016 Application Trends Survey indicate that some professional MBA programs, notably executive MBA and part-time MBA, anticipate increases in the percentage of incoming students receiving some level of employer funding in 2016, compared with last year, even though the majority (59%)  of professional MBA programs report employer funding is expected to remain the same compared with last year. 

Employer funding for professional MBAs

More than a quarter of executive MBA (27%) and part-time MBA (26%) programs anticipate that more students this year will receive employer funding compared with last year. This is a notable change from 2015 when only 11 percent of executive MBA programs and 16 percent of part-time MBA programs reported an increase in the percentage of students with employer funding. Only nine percent of flexible MBA programs anticipate growing numbers of students with employer support compared with last year; 84 percent of programs say they expect the share of students receiving employer funding will remain the same as 2015.

For more about employer funding trends—as well as trends in application volumes, recruitment and outreach strategies, and tuition assistance—download the 2016 Application Trends Survey Report at gmac.com/applicationtrends