2015 was a great year for many and 2016 promises to be an even better year for most—especially students that made a resolution to begin earning their MBA after ringing in the new year. Why? Because in 2016 students that never thought they could afford an MBA program actually can. A number of schools announced last year that they would reset tuition rates and devise other plans to help cut costs for students beginning in 2016. One business school, the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University (ASU), took cost cutting to another level by charging students an unheard of $0.00 for its Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.
All accepted students entering the W.P. Carey MBA program in Fall 2016 will receive full scholarships through the school’s Forward Focus MBA Scholarship program. According to the schools website, the program is designed to provide access to all qualified students, regardless of their ability to pay. The program represents an investment in students and in the future, says the school, and it is funded “through the generosity” of the school’s donors, in addition to support from the school’s namesake, the late William Polk Carey who donated $50 million to the school in 2003. Forward Focus allows the W.P. Carey School of Business “to ensure opportunity for exceptional Full-time MBA students who exhibit creativity, ingenuity, intellect, and innate leadership capabilities.”
In addition, the support has enabled the school “to design a groundbreaking interdisciplinary MBA curriculum that truly represents business without borders. By utilizing expertise in other colleges across Arizona State University, Full-time MBA students will apply business concepts across industries while learning from and with professionals in other fields, seeking answers to burning questions the rest of the world has yet to ask.” The school has also added a specialization that focuses on the booming healthcare sector.
Forward Focus scholarship amounts will vary based on residence status, but these full-tuition awards will be worth between $54,000 and $90,000. The scholarships are available for up to 120 students entering in Fall 2016. However, according to the school, typical class sizes are 70 to 80 students.
Although the lucky students entering in Fall 2016 are guaranteed a free ride, W.P. Carey School of Business was considered one of the nation’s most affordable schools. While tuition and fees for prestigious private b-schools are often $70,000 or more per academic year, full-time tuition and fees for W.P. Carey students attending during the 2014-2015 academic year were $39,726 for residents and $55,598 for non-residents and international students.
In addition to W.P. Carey’s program, students can find a number of schools that offer free MBA courses online such as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. However, no other school in the U.S. offers an entire MBA free of charge. Fortunately, America’s colleges and universities seem to be making significant progress when it comes to cost cutting. In fact, some schools have cut tuition costs overall by more than 40 percent. Rosemont College (Rosemont, PA) slashed tuition by 43 percent from $31,250 to $18,500 for “every Rosemont student,” while Utica College (Utica, NY) cut tuition from $33,946 to $19,446. Room and board at both schools was also reduced by 14 percent.
A number of other schools such as Converse College (Spartanburg, SC), Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ), Ashland University (Ashland, OH), Ohio Northern University (Ada, OH), and Alaska Pacific University (Anchorage, AK) have followed suit, while others have created plans that allow students to graduate debt-free. The University of Chicago, for example, allows Chicago residents who attend high school in the city, and are admitted for undergraduate studies, to attend without receiving any loans in their financial aid packages. Through the university’s UChicago Promise program, student loans have been replaced by grants, which do not have to be repaid.
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