Graduate Management News

September 2014

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

Trends in Paying for Business School

Few things in life have a greater payoff than an investment in education in terms of the opportunity it provides to acquire skills, build a career, boost income, and fulfill personal goals.


But increases in tuition and other costs associated with earning an MBA or Master’s, as well as changes in the economy, may impact a prospective student’s decision to enroll in a graduate business program.

See the SlideShare highlighting key findings from the recently published report in the GMAC Data-to-Go Series, Paying for Business School, which spotlights examples in the five-year data from the Prospective Students Survey on how students plan to pay for business school. This short publication is a companion report for the interactive report, How Do I Pay for School?, that prospective students can use to see how people in their situation plan to pay for school.

Five years of data collected in the Prospective Students Survey (2009 to 2013) show trends in the expected financial mix that prospective students plan to use to pay for their graduate management education.

Key Findings

  • Globally, the percentage of prospective students citing cost and potential debt as reservations about attending business school has dropped below 50 percent. 
  • Meanwhile, the percentage of those citing "no reservations" has moved from 13% in 2009 to 18% in this survey. Cost and debt do remain the most common concerns prospective graduate management students have, but how they will address those concerns to back their investment is shifting. 
  • Prospective students worldwide considering all program types in 2013 expected to borrow less in the form of student loans and instead turn to their parents for a greater share of the in-vestment in a graduate management degree than did prospective students in 2009. 
  • US citizens considering full-time 2-year MBA programs in the US in 2013 expected to use personal funds, employers, and parents for more of the cost, relying less on loans than in 2009. 
  • Indian citizens considering full-time 2-year MBA programs abroad in 2013 depended heavily on loans but expected support from parents to make up for a loss in grants or scholarships as compared with 2009. 
  • European citizens considering full-time 1-year MBAs in 2013 expected less of the cost to be covered by grants/scholarships, and more investment from parents to meet costs than peers in 2009.

Explore More to Prepare for Conversations with Applicants

An interactive report helps admissions professionals and school recruiters prepare for student funding conversations around the world and see data that is most meaningful to your candidate’s options, filtered by:

  • Citizenship
  • Domestic or international study destination
  • Type of graduate management program considered
  • Gender
  • Age group