An article on the site Poets & Quants evaluated the number of scholarships offered by the top MBA programs and how they are distributed among candidates. Though the amount of scholarships offered by a school is usually considered confidential, the more generous schools are generally happy to reveal the information, while the more “stingy” programs will effort to hide the data.
The Poets & Quants study gathered data from schools and students, and revealed that the top 25 programs dole out scholarships with a total sum of $232.7 million each year. The most generous school is Jones with a scholarship budget of $6.7 million comprising 59% of the school’s tuition revenues. The school’s class includes 216 students, 94% of whom receive scholarships of an average $33,320 a year. Additional schools considered relatively generous are Washington University, Notre Dame University, Indiana University, and Vanderbilt University, where the scholarship budgets make up a third of the tuition earnings.
Other schools have increased their scholarship budgets in the last five years, including UCLA who raised their budget from $5.8 million to $12.1 million, Berkeley rose from $3.2 to $5.8 million, Stanford from $8.7 to $15.7 million, and Olin raised its average scholarship for a student from $26,200 to $31,328. The average scholarship offered to a student at Stanford this year is $35,830, higher than at any other school.
The wealthiest school with the highest scholarship budget is Harvard, with a budget of $31.5 million, making up 28.6% of tuition revenues. Sixty-five percent of students at Harvard receive some sort of financial aid from the school and 50% receive need-based aid.
The schools use the tuition budgets not only to help students with a real need to finance studies, but also to attract outstanding applicants with merit-based scholarships, even “buying” applicants with high GMATs and GPAs in order to better school standings in rankings, or to attract students from an underrepresented background or ethnicity to improve a class’ diversity. At times, a student accepted at a specific school with a scholarship can negotiate with a different school to receive an identical scholarship or better. Harvard and Stanford, however, reported that they only distribute need-based scholarships and do not negotiate with candidates or compete with other schools.