We receive lots of questions about financing your MBA, so today I’m excited to share insights from Ji Choi and Andy Promsiri, our amazing full-time MBA Financial Aid team. Ji and Andy are committed to helping prospective and current students find the best options to fund your studies and collectively bring many years of financial aid experience and knowledge. Check out their helpful tips below!
Our photogenic financial aid team Andy & Ji
What are some common financial aid mistakes made by applicants?
First off, borrowing too much – just because you qualify for X
amount of loans doesn’t mean you have to take it all! Look at your savings, your budget and the
cost of education to see how much you will need for tuition, books, living
expenses, travel, and “surprise” expenses and borrow accordingly.
Another common mistake we often see is a student borrowing money without doing all the research on the best financing options for you. Every loan has different incentives and drawbacks that affect individual borrowers differently. It’s important to read the fine print to make sure you understand what they are. This site provides a lot of information on private loans and is a good place to start.
What steps can prospective students take now to prepare financially for their MBA?
Start budgeting and saving - earlier the better!
Pay off as much consumer debt as possible (credit card bills, car loans, etc.) prior to starting school.
Domestic students can start filling out the FAFSA now – provisional award letters will be sent to our admitted students beginning in April. We also recommend you check your credit report so there are no surprises if/when you start looking into private loan options. You can check your credit for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.
What should prospective students know about UCLA Anderson’s financial aid office?
We have an open door policy and are happy to answer questions from prospective and admitted students alike! Financing your MBA is an important factor in deciding which program is right for you, and we are here to help add clarity to that process throughout your MBA journey.
What are some financing options available for our full-time MBA students?
All of our admitted students are considered for merit-based fellowships, and we announce awards at the time of admission. Award amounts vary depending on the strength of your entire application relative to the rest of the admit pool. Typically, the top third of our admits will receive some level of fellowship money.
It’s important to note that students who did not receive a fellowship at admission can apply for select 2nd year donor fellowships. Awards are based on first-year grades in the core courses, involvement in the UCLA Anderson community and other criteria set by the donors.
Approximately 20% of 2nd year students take on TA/RA positions as well. Perks include competitive pay, partial tuition remission, and health insurance. These positions aren’t guaranteed since the professors announce and select their TA/RAs, but it’s an option to keep in mind.
What about international students?
We do offer a private loan that does not require a US cosigner, which you can find more information about on our website. Also, International students admitted to our program will need to fill out a Confidential Financial Statement (CFS) as part of the requirement to obtain an I-20, and many admits don't know you can use any grants, fellowships, and loans you receive to meet the CFS threshold.
We highly recommend international students to research other financing options offered by your home country to see if your government provides any incentives for graduate study. For example, some countries provide grants and/or low interest loans to their citizens that can have a significant impact on your MBA investment.
Any final words of wisdom?
Look at the big picture ROI – not just the cost of education but also outcomes like employment statistics and salaries when researching MBA programs.
Put in the time to assemble a strong application – not only will you be a stronger candidate for admissions purposes, you can put yourself in a better position to receive a merit fellowship as well.
If you have ANY financial aid-related questions, don’t be shy - just ask us!