These LA Business Schools Are Helping Low Income Students Pursue Their Dreams

california dreamers

For many low-income applicants, unfortunately, the cost of an MBA program is just out of reach. That’s because, by the time you count tuition (often upwards of $80,000), boarding and books ($40,000), and other expenditures, the average cost of an MBA is around $140,000 according to Investopedia. And that’s all before you count lost salary for two years for a full-time MBA program.

What can you do?

For low-income MBA applicants in Los Angeles, California you don’t have to give up on your dreams due to money. Instead, business schools offer many options to help pay for your MBA program.

California DREAM Act

The California DREAM Act of 2011 is currently available to California residents who attended and graduated from high school in the state and are enrolled in an accredited California Institution of Higher Education. If you meet these eligibility requirements, you’ll be given access to California State financial aid and scholarships as well as specific university financial aid programs. In addition, need-based graduate applicants are eligible for the State University Grant (SUG) program, which awards up to $7,176 to help cover tuition.

California State University’s Long Beach College of Business Administration is just one of the MBA programs that provides this type of financial aid to low-income MBA applicants. The College of Business Economics at Cal State L.A. also accepts DREAM Act Applications for student financial aid.


MBA scholarships for low-income applicants are one of the best ways to help pay for your degree program. Scholarships vary by school and can range from a few thousand dollars per year to full-tuition coverage plus a stipend.

At the UCLA Anderson School, there are six unique fellowships available to MBA applicants.

  • Donor Fellowships are awarded to MBA applicants based on professional development, intended career, community involvement, and/or financial need.
  • Merit Fellowships are awarded based on the strength of a student’s application.
  • External Fellowships are available for a variety of different situations and students. One example is the Girard Miller Foundation scholarship, which is awarded to a graduate student preparing for a career in state or local government finance.

Teaching Assistantships

For California MBA students, financial aid doesn’t stop in the first year. For second-year full-time MBA students, many Los Angeles business schools offer Teaching Assistantship (TA) positions. These positions are usually awarded to students who keep their grade point averages above a certain level and who apply and receive an appointment. The award amount varies by business school but, in some cases, covers 100 percent of a student’s services fee and tuition.

At UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business, full-time MBA students who gain a TA appointment receive payment for 100 percent of their Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP) premium. They also receive 100 percent of the Student Services Fee and Tuition components per quarter.

Military Veteran Aid

For low-income MBA applicants who also have a history of military service, there are many unique financial aid opportunities. The exact services available will depend on the school, but some of these programs are available at schools across California and the U.S.

First, there’s the Yellow Ribbon Program, which many Los Angeles business schools take part in, including Chapman University Argyros School of Business. This program awards MBA students up to $6,000 for tuition and fees. Another program open to military veterans is the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which includes payments directly to the university for tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance, and an annual books and supplies stipend up to $1,000 per year.

Individual schools like the USC Marshall School of Business also offer their own specific scholarships for military veterans. The Schoen Family Scholarship Program for Veterans is available to full-time MBA students at Marshall and has, to date, provided a staggering $1.2 million in financial support to 173 students at the university.


Finally, most low-income MBA applicants in Los Angeles are eligible for federal student loans. Direct PLUS Loans are available to graduate students to help pay for educational expenses up to the cost of attendance. MBA students can request unsubsidized loans up to their full eligibility with an Income-Driven Repayment Plan that allows you to make payments based on your adjusted gross income. In most cases, payment will begin until after graduation.

For MBA applicants at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Managementfinancial aid loan application for Federal Graduate PLUS student aid and Federal Direct Stafford Loans is easy. The school provides loan counseling for graduate student borrowers, loan calculators, and more.

For more information about how your business school could help cover the cost of your MBA program, visit your school website and contact their financial aid office. Scholarships, loans, and aid opportunities vary per school. The Simple Dollar also has a handy guide on how DACA recipients may be able to handle financial expectations for students around the U.S.


About the Author

Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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