Getting into business school is hard; paying for it should not be. There are many things to consider when planning your journey to business school. Whether you plan to use savings, scholarship or a loan to afford school, understanding your budget for the upcoming year(s) is crucial to an education free of financial pain.
What you should include in your budget:
It’s important to consider the total cost of your business school experience. The following costs may apply to you:
• Flights to campus
• Visa documentation
• University fees
• Books and other academic materials
• Living Expenses
• Social and academic club fees
Furthermore, there are a number of ways to pay for these costs. The following are types of funds that students often use:
• Personal Savings
• Company sponsorship
• Zero-interest gift from friends or family
• Line of Credit
You’ll need to create a budget based on your understand of all costs associated with the degree, and then assess your personal finances to see if you need outside help to afford the costs.
Resources for planning your budget:
1. Talk to current students. Pro tip: When trying to understand all upcoming costs for your business school experience, reach out to a current international student at the school. They will be able to share advice on transportation to campus as well as how much you should anticipate for cost of living, social events, and trips.
2. Understand the Cost of Attendance for your school. For the other expenses, each school publishes an official figure, called Cost of Attendance, which consists of all tuition, fees/books and expected living expenses. Cost of Attendance is important in a number of ways.
Firstly, this figure will be used on your I-20 visa application, on which you will have to prove you have sufficient funds to afford the costs of your program while in the United States.
Secondly, Cost of Attendance plays a large role if you plan to use a scholarship, company sponsorship, or a loan during your studies. Schools will only allow you to use these three types of financing up to the amount of Cost of Attendance. For example, if Cost of Attendance for your first year is $100k and you are awarded $30k in scholarship and $30k in company sponsorship, the maximum allowable loan you could use to finance your first year would be $40k. The school’s Office of Financial Aid will not allow any combination of those funds above the Cost of Attendance figure.
What does COA include?
Unfortunately, Cost of Attendance figures can be conservative estimates of living costs on campus. If you expect a more expensive cost of living, or you have dependent family members, please consult the school’s Office of Financial Aid. You may be able to formally request an increased Cost of Attendance.
In addition, Cost of Attendance does not include social events and trips. As a result, if these social activities are important to you, it is prudent to ensure you have additional savings available to pay for these activities.
The total cost of business school can be daunting. However, if you take the time to break down the costs and use information from both the Office of Financial Aid and current students, you will be able to better understand the full costs. Once you have this information, you can feel comfortable knowing exactly how much money will need to afford an enjoyable business school experience.
If you decide that you need a financial assistance, Prodigy Finance can help with affordable, no-cosigner loans specifically designed for international students.
Zack Hirschfeld is Prodigy Finance’s Student Relations Manager (North America). He was born in San Francisco, and having explored 35 countries across 5 continents, now lives in New York. Given his extensive travels, it should come as no surprise that he has a degree in International Relations from Bucknell University. Zack loves his job, and believes it’s a great privilege to speak with students from around the world, helping them to reach their goals.
* This blog post is sponsored by our friends at Prodigy Finance