How, & Where, Aid Will Slash Your B-School Bills

Let’s not dance around the issue: If you’re planning to attend business school at a major college or university, it’s not going to be cheap. And unless mom and dad are footing the bill or you’re an academic superstar who earned a full ride, you’ll need to secure some aid on your way to getting that BBA.

Fortunately for those determined to take this journey, most schools offer aid — and some schools offer A LOT. We crunched the numbers, analyzing data from the 82 schools in our second annual ranking, and found that 15 schools have total costs of $250,000 or more, ranging as high as Wake Forest University’s $276,520 — but that after available scholarships are applied, only four schools remain in that lofty price range. In addition to Wake Forest ($268,465), they are: Fordham University ($262,158), Providence College ($258,513), and Georgetown University ($250,139).

Don’t get too excited. There are still 30 schools in the ranking where the total cost post-scholarship is $200,000 or more. And within that subset of schools, aid ranges from the tiny — $3,875 for out-of-state students at the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce — to the huge, $40,931 at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. The latter, received by more than half of Tepper undergrads, happens to also be the high-water mark for all school aid averages.

MOST & LEAST EXPENSIVE SCHOOLS, HIGHEST & LOWEST AMOUNT OF AID

A word about methodology. We did not use simple subtraction to arrive at post-scholarship figures. We took into account the percentage of students receiving aid. So that’s why Wake Forest can cost $276,520 before scholarships and $268,465 after, despite the average scholarship amount being $22,375. It’s because only 36% of students actually receive aid, meaning the average of the overall class is actually much less than $22,375 — it’s around $8,000.

Wake Forest is one of several schools with relatively small percentages of students receiving aid. In fact, only 10 schools in our ranking fall below the 40% threshold for students getting assistance, with the lowest being 12% at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, which also boasted the smallest average amount of aid ($1,716). On the flip side, there were four schools with 100% of students getting aid, and another six with nearly 100%.

Post-scholarship, there are 10 schools that fall below the $100,000 threshold. Least expensive of all is the University of Utah’s Eccles School of Business, which comes in with a tally of $82,241, just below Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business ($83,379).

Of course, all of this begs the question: After aid, how much debt are students actually graduating with? Good news: We wrote a whole story exploring that topic!

(See the next pages for a complete list of schools in our 2017 ranking, re-ranked according to total cost and total cost after scholarships.)

  • Sheldon Deng

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the numbers being used are the average need-based aid (scholarship average) and the 4-year tuition cost. Shouldn’t the need-based aid be for all four years, though it would not necessarily 4 times the current number? For example, Cornell awards 30+ thousand to its financial aid applicants each year, which adds up to 120 thousand for all four years.

    • Nathan Allen

      Hi Sheldon, the data is actually total four-year cost, which includes on campus living, food, and estimated living expenses. We take that and subtract the average merit-based scholarship and percentage of students receiving that average. I like your idea of doing four-year scholarship totals, but often times, merit-based scholarships do not carry through the entire four years, so we decided to do just one year for now.