Financing your part-time MBA: your questions answered

By Julia Sprague

An MBA is an investment you make in yourself. It delivers a foundation of knowledge, a set of skills, and a network that can play a strong role in your success (even while you're still in the program!), but, like any major investment, it takes careful consideration and planning.

We frequently talk with prospective students about their options for financing part-time MBA studies. Here are some of the most frequently-asked questions we receive about financing an MBA—and our answers:


How much does the program cost?

Tuition is on a per-unit fee structure. For the 2015-16 year, per-unit cost is $3,047. With 42 units required to graduate, total cost over the progam comes to about $128,000. Books are an additional $1100 (approx.) per year. Included in the tuition cost are the two mandatory program retreats, an i-pad, and Saturday class lunches.

Please note that tuition increases about 3-6% each year.

Overall questions about financial aid

What percentage of students in your part-time MBA program receive financial aid?

Approximately 70% of students in the Berkeley Haas Evening & Weekend MBA program receive some form of financial aid.

What are the financial aid options available for permanent residents/U.S. citizens?

There are federal loans and private loans available to you as well as Berkeley Haas scholarships.

What financing options are available to those who are neither permanent residents nor US citizens?

Both scholarships and international loans are available.

When can I apply for Berkeley Haas scholarships and loans? 

Once you have been admitted, you are able to apply for Berkeley Haas scholarships. In the summer, you may then begin the process of applying for loans.

Making payments

How often will I make payments for my tuition and fees?

You have the option of paying for each semester in full, due January 15th and August 15th of each year, or you may elect to enroll in the deferred payment plan for a $40 fee each semester. This breaks each semester's fees into 5 payments.


Does Berkeley Haas offer scholarships?

Yes, we are excited to be able to offer the following scholarships to students in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program (award amounts range from $10,000-$20,000):

  • Dean's Scholarships —Awarded for strong experience and leadership potential (first year only)
  • Diversity Scholarship —Awarded to those whose professional and personal experience allows them to contribute in a unique way (first year only)
  • Non-Profit/Public Service Scholarships —Awarded to students currently employed in the non-profit or public service sector
  • Shapansky Grant —Awarded based on financial need
  • OOBA (Outside of Bay Area) Grants (up to $3,000)—For students commuting from outside the 9-county Bay Area (first year only).

Are the scholarships awarded yearly or do students re-apply each year?

Students can apply each of their three years (and possibly be awarded scholarship money each year).

Are you allowed to apply to more than one scholarship?

Yes, you may apply for as many scholarships as you like. But, we generally award only one scholarship per student as funding is limited. You would receive the scholarship for which we feel you are a best fit (but note that not everyone is guaranteed a scholarship award).

Veterans benefits

What are MBA financing options for veterans?

As part of the public University of California system, Berkeley-Haas is one of the few top-ranked MBA programs able to benefit from the expanded Post 9/11 Benefits.

Depending on qualifying length of service, veterans can obtain funding for up to 100% of fees, a monthly housing allowance, and an annual book stipend of up to $1,000.

Do you waive application fees for veterans? 

Yes. To thank you for your service, we offer application fee waivers for veterans who apply to any Berkeley Haas MBA Program. Please see the bottom of our Costs and Financial Aid page for additional details.

Employee sponsorship

If I want to apply for company sponsorship for the Berkeley Haas EWMBA, what should I do?

Company sponsorship is an option determined by one's company. If your company elects to sponsor you, they determine the amount and the duration. UC Berkeley then receives the funds from your company each semester and applies them to your fees.


I would like to finance my part-time MBA studies with student loans. Could I be disqualified based on income?

As a graduate student, loans are not based on need, therefore income will not disqualify you.

Which are cheaper—federal loans or private ones?

For EWMBA students, private loans are, on average, cheaper. There are no fees for most private loans and the interest rate is based on one's FICO score, so students, on average, receive 4.9%. You can compare this with federal loans online on our Financial Aid website.

While private loans do tend to have lower interest rates, they are also associated with more risk. It is not uncommon for students to borrow variable rate loans if they are confident they will be prepaying their loans in a short period of time.

What's the credit score requirement for the loans with permanent resident status?

The federal loans available to permanent residents are the Unsubsidized Loan and the Grad PLUS Loan. The latter is subject to a credit check and is looking not at your score, but for any derogatory marks. If you have checked your credit report and know that you have none listed on either of your three reports, then you should be credit eligible.

Is it feasible to pursue both a mortgage and a student loan within the same year?

Yes, we have had student receive both within the same year. Having a mortgage has not prevented our students from obtaining federal or private loans as long as they have nothing derogatory on their credit report.

Are there any interest-free loan options available for grad school?

There are no loans at the graduate level that do not incur interest.

Our students are more commonly considering alternative financing options such as Home Equity Lines or borrowing from their 401(k), but while these may offer favorable rates, they also require immediate repayment.

Note that student loans do not require that you enter repayment typically until 6 months after you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment (6 units).

We hope this information helps with financing, a major consideration when contemplating going to business school. For more information, please view our financial aid page. In addition, we're always happy to help answer your financial aid and admissions-related questions. Feel free to email us at or call us at 510-642-0292.

While an MBA is a major investment, it's also one with great potential for return. We invite you to see why people choose Berkeley Haas. 

See more reasons to choose the Berkeley MBA

Posted on September 28, 2015
Themes: Funding MBA  |  Applying
Julia Sprague
Julia is Associate Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals. She hopes these blog posts provide you with more personal insight into the Berkeley-Haas and Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA program experience.