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Best MBA Student Loans

The best MBA student loans can help you cover the cost of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, which can lead to promotions and higher earnings. Find out where to look for the lowest MBA loan rates, and what to consider before you apply.

Best MBA Student Loans
Holly Johnson
Written by:Holly Johnson
Personal Finance Expert

If you need student loans for business school but you're not sure where to turn, the best private MBA loans may be what you need. These loans may let you borrow up to 100% of the cost of attendance, and they can be repaid with flexible terms. Our team of financial experts reviewed and compared more than 30 online lenders to help you get funded, so read on to learn about the best MBA loans that made our ranking.

Our Top Picks for The Best MBA Student Loans

college_ave_logo_sl
  • Auto-pay discount available
  • Flexible repayment terms (up to 15 years)
  • Prequalify without a credit check
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score Not disclosed
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $1K up to the cost of attendance
Fixed APR
Loan Repayment 5-15 years
 sofi_logo_sl
  • No maximum loan limit
  • Prequalify without a credit check
  • Unemployment protection
  • Flexible repayment terms
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 650
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $5K up to the cost of attendance
Fixed APR
Loan Repayment 5-15 years
 salliemae_logo_sl
  • Loans for a wide variety of educational programs
  • Fund supplemental educational costs, such as books, housing, meals
  • Fewer fees than some of its competitors
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score Not specified
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $1K up to the cost of attendance
Fixed APR
Loan Repayment 10-15 years

How to Choose the Best MBA Student Loan?

When you're looking for the best loans for business school, you'll want to compare lenders based on factors that can impact your loan cost and overall borrowing experience. Consider the following details as you choose the best MBA loan company for your needs:

  • Loan Features: Check for borrowing limits that might apply to your MBA loan, as well as available repayment plans. Also check whether there are limitations on how you can use your loan funds.
  • Interest rates and fees: Compare lenders based on their interest rates and loan fees. Make sure to read over the fine print to check for hidden fees as well.
  • Application process: Find out what you need to apply for a MBA loan with each company, and whether their loan process is fully online. Also look for lenders that let you check your rate without any impact on your credit score.
  • Qualification process: Compare lenders based on their minimum qualification requirements, which may include a minimum credit score or minimum income.
  • Customer support: Look for lenders that offer a variety of ways to contact them, including phone support, email support, and live chat.
  • Online user reviews: Read user testimonials for companies you're considering across major platforms like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot.
  • Perks and Bonuses: Look for perks and discounts you can benefit from, such as auto-pay discounts and good grade rewards.

Best MBA Student Loans for 2022 - Full Overview

In order to find the best MBA loan for your needs and goals, you'll want to see how the top lenders stack up in terms of their borrowing limits, interest rates, and loan terms. The following MBA lender reviews can help you get an overview of what each company has to offer, as well as their pros and cons.

1. College Ave Student Loans — Best Overall

College Ave Student Loans offers graduate school loans with competitive rates and terms, as well as flexible repayment options that can last for up to 15 years. Borrowers can check their rate and gauge their approval odds before they apply, and monthly payments can begin during or after school. The entire application process takes place online and requires less than three minutes to complete, which is a major consideration if you want to get the loan process started quickly.
Pros
Competitive MBA loan rates and terms
Offers a free credit qualification tool
Repay over five to 15 years
Make in-school or deferred payments
Three-minute application process
Auto-pay discount offered
Cons
Mid-700's credit score required
Minimum income of $35,000 required

college ave

MBA loans from College Ave Student Loans can come with a variable APR of 1.99% to 10.97% or a fixed APR of 3.99% to 11.99%. Borrowers can repay their loans over five, eight, 10 or 15 years, and payments can begin during or after school. This lender does list a minimum credit score range of the mid-700's and a minimum income of $35,000 for applicants. If you don't meet those requirements, you may need to apply for a MBA loan with a cosigner.

The Bottom Line

Consider College Ave Student Loans if you want to access a MBA loan with the best possible rates and terms, and if you want the entire application process to take place online.

2. SoFi — Best for Excellent Credit

SoFi is another top lender that offers MBA loans with excellent rates and terms, as well as the ability to check your rate before you apply. This fintech company is known for offering student loans with no origination fees and no hidden fees, and they even offer banking services that let you earn rewards you can use to pay down student debt. While SoFi does not disclose their minimum credit score or income requirements, MBA loans from this company are geared to individuals with good credit.
Pros
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
No origination fees or hidden fees
Career services can help you land a job
Unemployment protection offered
Competitive rates and loan terms
Auto-pay discount applies
Use job offer letter as proof of income
Cons
Good credit required
Best rates require auto-pay

sofi

SoFi offers graduate school and MBA loans that come with variable APRs of 2.64% to 11.98% and fixed APRs of 4.75% to 12.65%. Repayment plans can last for five, seven, 10, or 15 years, and borrowers can begin repaying their loans during school or defer payments until after they graduate. While SoFi does not disclose their minimum requirements for loan approval, their loan products are geared to individuals who have a long credit history and a high credit score.

The Bottom Line

Consider SoFi for your MBA loan if you have good credit and a solid income or a job offer letter that lists a start date of within a year. This lender offers highly competitive rates and terms, and you can check your rate before you apply.

Try SoFi

3. Sallie Mae — Best for Part-Time Students

Sallie Mae stands out for their MBA loans due to the fact that applicants can qualify even if they are enrolled in school at less than half-time. This makes Sallie Mae a good choice for MBA students who are pursuing their studies part-time while they work or continue caring for family members. Loans from Sallie Mae also come with competitive rates and terms, and there are no origination fees or hidden fees to be aware of.
Pros
Available for part-time students
Auto-pay discount applies
12-month cosigner release period
No origination fees or hidden fees
Six-month grace period
Internship deferment available
Cons
Good credit required
Best rates require auto-pay

sallie mae

MBA loans from Sallie Mae can come with variable APRs of 2.50% to 12.22% or fixed APRs of 4.25% to 12.92% based on creditworthiness. Repayment terms can last from five years to 20 years, and these loans come with no origination fees or hidden fees. Sallie Mae does not disclose their minimum requirements for loan approval. However, they do say that they have a 94% approval rate for MBA loans with a cosigner through their Multi-Year Advantage program.

The Bottom Line

Consider Sallie Mae for your MBA loan if you are planning to attend graduate school part-time while you work or spend time on other commitments.

4. Earnest — Best for No Fees

Earnest is another top lender that offers MBA loans, and they do so with no origination fees and no hidden fees of any kind. This company also gives borrowers the chance to reduce their rate with an auto-pay discount, and it may even be possible to skip a payment (with approval) up to once per year. Earnest also lets you choose to make payments during school or defer payments for up to nine months after you graduate.
Pros
No origination fees or hidden fees
Auto-pay discount available
Grace period up to nine months
Skip a payment once per year
Fast loan approval
Cons
Three years of credit history required
Cannot check your rate before you apply

earnest

Earnest offers attractive MBA loan options for individuals with a credit score of at least 650 and at least three years of credit history. Variable APRs for these loans start at just .94% and fixed APRs can be as low as 3.24%. Earnest MBA loans come with no origination fees and no hidden fees, and borrowers can skip a payment up to once per year.

The Bottom Line

If you're looking for the lowest MBA loan rates but you also want to avoid fees, check out graduate school loans from Earnest. This company even lets you skip a payment up to once per year, and you can apply with or without a cosigner.

5. Ascent — Best for Flexibility

Ascent offers MBA loans with competitive rates and flexible loan terms. For example, you can choose from loans with a fixed or variable rate, and among payment plans that last for seven to 15 years. You can also choose to make full principal and interest payments during school, interest-only payments during school, or deferred payments that begin up to nine months after you graduate. Ascent also lets you check your rate and your approval odds without a hard inquiry on your credit report.
Pros
Several flexible repayment options
Make in-school or deferred payments
Check your rate with no impact on your credit
Grace period up to nine months
Auto-pay discount available
Cons
Higher fixed rates than competitors

ascent

MBA loans from Ascent can come with variable APRs that range from 1.79% to 11.12% and fixed APRs that fall between 5.31% to 14.96%. Monthly payments can begin during school or up to nine months after graduation, and repayment terms can last for seven, 10, 12, or 15 years. Ascent does not list a minimum credit score requirement, and borrowers can apply with or without a cosigner.

The Bottom Line

Consider Ascent if you want some flexibility when it comes to when you begin repaying your MBA loan and how long you make payments. Having several options, including the option to defer payments until nine months after you graduate, can help you tailor your loan to your financial needs.

6. Discover — Best for Rewards

If you're interested in MBA loans that let you gamify your borrowing experience, consider student loans from Discover. This lender offers incredibly competitive rates and terms already, but they also offer rewards for good grades and for setting up automatic payments. In fact, Discover offers a .25% auto-pay reward discount plus a one-time cash reward of 1% of the loan amount for each new Discover MBA loan when you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher (or equivalent).
Pros
Competitive rates and terms
No origination fees or hidden fees
Rewards for good grades and auto-pay
Choose in-school or deferred payments
Cons
Cannot check your rate or prequalify
Only one repayment option (20 years)

discover

Discover lets MBA students borrow up to 100% of the cost of attendance, and they offer competitive variable APRs from 2.74% to 9.34% and fixed APRs from 4.49% to 10.99%. They do not disclose a minimum credit score requirement, but their low rates and terms imply that you need good credit (or a cosigner with good credit) to qualify. Discover lets MBA students repay their loans over 20 years with no other option. However, their loans come with no origination fees, no prepayment penalties, and no hidden fees.

The Bottom Line

Consider Discover if you want to earn rewards for setting up auto-pay and getting good grades. Also check out this lender if your credit is good or excellent and you want to qualify for loans with the best possible rates and terms.

7. MPower Financing — Best for International Students7.

If you're an international student who wants to pursue their MBA in the United States, MPower Financing can help you get funding with no credit history and no requirement for a cosigner. These loans can also help you build your U.S. credit history so you can begin working toward the life you want after you graduate.
Pros
Available for international or DACA students
Easy online loan process
No credit history required
No cosigner requirement
Earn up to 1.50% off your interest rate
Cons
Only available for 350 schools
Higher fixed rate than other loans
Loan limits apply
Best rate requires auto-pay

mpower financing

MBA loans from MPower Financing come with a fixed interest rate of 10.49% if you qualify for all their discounts, including an auto-pay discount. Loans can be repaid over 10 years only, but MPower doesn't charge any fees if you pay your loan off early. Also note that MBA loans from this lender don't require a credit score or a credit history, nor do they require collateral or a cosigner.

The Bottom Line

Consider MPower Financing if you're an international student or DACA student who wants to earn a MBA in the United States. This lender can help you get financing without a cosigner or any U.S. credit history, although interest rates are higher as a result.

Best MBA Student Loans - Feature Comparison

Company Name

Estimated APR

Minimum credit score

Loan Amounts

Loan Terms

College Ave Student Loans

Variable APR of 1.99% to 10.97%


Fixed APR of 3.99% to 11.99%

mid-700's

Up to 100% of the cost of attendance

5, 8, 10, or 15 years

SoFi

Variable APR of 2.64% to 11.98%


Fixed APR of 4.75% to 12.65%

Not disclosed

Up to 100% of the cost of attendance

5, 7, 10, or 15 years

Sallie Mae

Variable APR of 2.50% to 12.22%


Fixed APR of 4.25% to 12.92%

Not disclosed

Up to 100% of the cost of attendance

5 to 20 years

Earnest

Variable APRs starting at .94%


Fixed APR of 3.24%

650

Up to 100% of the cost of attendance

Varies

Ascent

Variable APR of 1.79% to 11.12%


Fixed APR of 5.31% to 14.96%

None

Up to 100% of the cost of attendance

7, 10, 12, or 15 years

Discover

Variable APR of 2.74% to 9.34%


Fixed APR of 4.49% to 10.99%

Not disclosed

Up to 100% of the cost of attendance

20 years

MPower Financing

Fixed APR of 11.99% without discounts 


Fixed APR of 10.49% with discounts

None

$2,000 to $50,000 per loan ($100,000 lifetime limit)

10 years

What Are MBA Loans?

An MBA loan is a type of graduate school loan that is geared to individuals pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. These loans are taken out by individuals who want to pursue this advanced degree after completing a bachelor's degree program.

What Qualifications Are Required for MBA Student Loans?

Qualification requirements for MBA loans vary widely depending on the best MBA loan company chosen. Not only that, but some lenders in this space do not disclose their minimum requirements for approval at all.

That said, the basic requirements to qualify for MBA student loans include the following:

  • Good credit, which entails having a FICO score of 670 or above, or a cosigner with good credit
  • Several years of credit history (usually at least 36 months)
  • Enrollment in an eligible MBA degree program, usually at least half-time
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status (with some lenders)

How Do MBA Student Loans Work?

MBA student loans work similarly to other types of student loans, although the exact terms can vary by lender. Read on to learn how much MBA students can borrow, how long MBA loans take to pay off, and more.

How Much Can MBA Students Borrow?

Most financial institutions that offer private MBA loans let students borrow up to the school-certified cost of attendance. This can include not only tuition and fees, but also room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses.

That said, some lenders have annual or lifetime caps on their student loans that can reduce your borrowing potential.

What’s The Average MBA Student Loan Debt?

As of last count, the average student debt for individuals with Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees worked out to $54,140 per borrower. This figure comes from the National Center for Education Statistics(NCES), which tracks educational data and loan data, as well as graduation rates by school and by degree program.

How Long Does It Take to Pay Off MBA Debt?

How long it takes to repay MBA loans depends on the chosen repayment plan and whether or not the borrower makes additional payments toward their debts. Lenders in this space offer repayment plans that last five to 20 years, and the majority do not charge prepayment penalties for loans that are paid off early.

Can You Refinance MBA Student Loans?

Borrowers can definitely refinance their MBA student loans, and that's true whether they borrow using private student loans or federal student loans for graduate school.

Types of MBA Student Loans

There are several types of MBA student loans to be aware of, including federal loan options and loans from private companies.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to MBA students regardless of their financial need. Since these loans are not subsidized by the federal government, they begin accruing interest right away. Loan limits are set at $20,500 per year for graduate students who take out Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and fixed interest rates are set at 6.54% for loans disbursed between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.

Also note that these loans come with an origination fee of 1.057%.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans

MBA students can also take out Direct PLUS loans to pay for their MBA regardless of their financial need. These loans are not subsidized, and a credit check is required. Direct PLUS Loans can also be used for the remainder of your college costs, as determined by your school, that are not covered with Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

The interest rate is fixed at 7.54% for loans disbursed between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023. Also note that an origination fee of 4.228% applies.

Private MBA Loans

Private MBA loans are offered by private companies like College Ave Student Loans, SoFi, and Earnest. These loans typically let you borrow up to 100% of the cost of attendance for an MBA program, and they tend to come with no origination fees and no hidden fees.

Interest rates can also be lower for private student loans, and payment plans tend to be flexible.

That said, it's worth noting that private student loans do not qualify for federal protections like deferment and forbearance, or for income-driven repayment plans.

Important: For the time being, payments are paused and interest rates are set at 0% for most federal student loans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been the case since March of 2020, and the current deferment period is set to expire on August 31, 2022.

Pros and Cons of Private MBA Student Loans

If you're considering private student loans for your MBA degree over federal student loans, there are some specific advantages and disadvantages to be aware of.

Pros of Private MBA Student Loans

  • Qualify for lower interest rates. Many of the best MBA student loans come with interest rates that are lower than rates on federal student loans for graduate students.
  • Avoid origination fees. Most private lenders also offer student loans with no origination fee, which is not the case for federal student loans.
  • Shop around to get the best deal. When you go with private loans, you get the chance to shop around for the best deal. Meanwhile, federal student loans offer the same interest rates and terms for everyone.
  • Access higher loan limits. Where some federal student loans for graduate students have annual loan limits, many private lenders let you borrow up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance.

Cons of Private MBA Student Loans

  • Private student loans do not qualify for federal deferment or forbearance. Loans from private lenders do not offer access to federal forbearance or loan forgiveness programs.
  • You cannot repay your loan on an income-driven plan. Private student loans do not qualify for income-driven repayment plans like Pay As You Earn (PAYE) or Income-Based Repayment (IBR).
  • Good credit is required. A credit check is always required for private student loans, and you may need a cosigner if your credit score isn't in the "good" range or higher.
  • Variable rates can adjust higher. Where federal student loans come with fixed rates that won't change, many private student loans come with variable rates that can increase based on market conditions.

How to Apply for MBA Student Loans

Applying for a private MBA student loan works similarly across all the major loan companies. The following steps can help you get the funding you need to earn your MBA.

  • Step 1: Compare lenders that offer MBA loans based on their loan limits, interest rates, and loan fees.
  • Step 2: Check each lender's minimum requirements for approval, including minimum credit score, credit history, or income requirements.
  • Step 3: Check your rate with at least three or four lenders to see which one offers the best deal.
  • Step 4: Choose a lender and move forward with the loan application. You'll need to share your contact information, your school and degree program, your Social Security number, and more.
  • Step 5: Send additional information or documentation your lender requests, such as pay stubs or your tax return.
  • Step 6: Find out whether you were approved for the MBA funding you need, which can take place within hours or over the course of several days.
  • Step 7: Wait for your lender to send your loan funds directly to your school.
  • Step 8: Begin repaying your MBA loan based on the payment plan you selected, or wait to make payments until the end of your loans' grace period.

Conclusion

The best MBA student loans can help you graduate with an advanced degree so you can earn more money, get a big promotion at work, or both. However, you'll want to make sure you don't borrow any more money than you need to, and that the loan you settle on has the best rates and terms you can qualify for.

Before you apply for a MBA loan, it's smart to compare all the lenders in our ranking based on metrics like their loan limits, loan fees, interest rates, and repayment options. With some basic research and comparison shopping, you can find out which student loan company can serve your needs best.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What’s the best undergraduate degree for an MBA?

While you can pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree after completing nearly any bachelor's degree program, undergraduate business degrees are naturally the best fit. Also note that you can choose a specialization for your undergraduate business degree, such as economics, finance, human resources, or marketing.

What type of MBA student loan should I take out?

Federal student loans for MBA programs are best for borrowers who want access to federal protections like deferment and forbearance. That said, many graduate school students wind up taking out private MBA student loans in order to fill in funding gaps after federal loan limits are exhausted.

How do you finance an MBA degree without loans?

Many employers offer tuition assistance programs that can help you finance a MBA without having to borrow money. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), workers who receive this assistance can even exclude up to $5,250 in tuition benefits on their taxes each year.

Can you get an MBA while working full-time?

You may be able to earn an MBA while working full-time if you take courses during evenings or weekends. However, it's more common for students to pursue an MBA on a part-time basis if they're also working full-time.

How Much Do MBA Graduates Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates with a master's degree earned average weekly wages of $1,574 in 2021, compared to $1,334 for those with a bachelor's degree. Meanwhile, newly hired graduates who hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in particular earned a median annual salary of $115,000 in 2021.

Is an MBA Worth the Debt?

Earning a MBA can be worth the debt you take on if your advanced degree leads to a higher salary. For example, BLS data shows that graduate degree holders earned $240 more per week than those with a bachelor's degree in 2021. This amount translates into $12,480 in additional earnings per year or $249,600 in additional income over 20 years.

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Holly Johnson

Holly Johnson

Personal Finance Expert

Ten years of experience in banking, corporate finance, and corporate accounting primarily at large, public companies.

More about me