Skip Navigation
School Search Form
After Navigation
Home Student Loans Graduate Student Loans Best MBA Loans for Business School

Best MBA Loans for Business School

MBA student loans are a reality for most students pursuing an advanced business degree. Business school is challenging enough. Paying for your MBA does not have to be. There are a number of student loan options available for professional school. Here’s what you need to know.

Loans for Business School

Using loans for business school is a popular way to finance your MBA. However, student loans should supplement scholarships, Federal Work Study (for those with demonstrated financial need), and employer tuition reimbursement (if applicable). You’ll definitely want to compare federal loan options, but if you still have a void in your financial aid picture, you may need an MBA Loan.

Compare Featured Lenders

PNC Student Loans
Best for Private Loans
Interest Rates

Variable rates as low as: 1.34% APR1

Fixed rates as low as: 2.99% APR1

Repayment Terms

5, 10, 15 years1

Ascent offers loans that power bright futures
Best for Private Loans
Interest Rates

Variable rates as low as: 1.64% APR1

Fixed rates as low as: 4.78% APR1

Repayment Terms

5, 7, 10, 12 and 15 years

College Ave Student Loans
Best for Private Loans
Interest Rates

Variable rates as low as: 1.19% APR1

Fixed rates as low as: 2.94% APR1

Repayment Terms

5, 8, 10 or 15 years2

Nelnet Student Loans
Best for Private Loans
Interest Rates

Variable: 1.26% APR (with auto debit discount) to 10.40% APR (without auto debit discount)1


Fixed: 3.34% APR (with auto debit discount) to 11.68% APR (without auto debit discount)1


Lowest rates listed above include an interest rate reduction for eligible applications, enrollment in auto debit, and are available only to the most creditworthy applicants. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may increase over the life of the loan. [See Disclaimer]

Repayment Terms

Multiple Term Options Available

Income Share Agreement
Best for Private Funding
Interest Rates

Payments based on a fixed percentage of future income

Lower (or no) payments when you're unemployed or underemployed.

Repayment Terms

Payments based on a fixed percentage of future income for up to 60 months after graduation

Only pay when earning more than the minimum income threshold ($30k or $40k depending on program)

Payments stop early if you ever hit the payment cap (2.0x your initial funding amount)

Sallie Mae Private Student Loans
Best for Private Loans
Interest Rates

Variable rates as low as: 1.69% APR (with autopay)*

Fixed rates as low as: 3.47% APR (with autopay)*

Repayment Terms

Up to four repayment types (including no payments while in school) and multiple repayment terms help you find the loan that fits your budget

Sallie Mae Private Student Loans
Best for Private Funding
Interest Rates

Fixed: 7.49% APR - 12.99% APR (not including 0.5% ACH discount)*

Repayment Terms

10 years

$20 minimum/month OR interest-only payments while in school

Income Based Repayment
Edly Logo
Best for Private Funding
Interest Rates

Variable: 0.00% APR - 23.00% APR1

Repayment Terms

5-10 years


MBA Student Loan Rates

The interest rates for MBA loans can be highly competitive. Federal student loans rates for business school start at 6.54% for unsubsidized student loans and 7.54% for Grad PLUS Loans. Private student loans offer competitive rates often with no origination fees. Current rates range from 0.99% to 14.50%.

The rate you qualify for will depend on your creditworthiness and/or that of your cosigner, as well as whether you opt for a fixed or variable interest rate MBA loan.

Best MBA Student Loans

It is always best practice for MBA students to exhaust federal loans first, as they come with certain benefits and protections (such as lengthy deferment and forbearance terms, and various repayment options) that you will not find with private student loans. However, private student loans may offer more competitive interest rates, save you money on fees, and may allow you to borrow enough to cover your financial gap. Here are our top picks for private student loans for business school.

We work with the top lenders that offer options for MBA Students.

Borrower Benefits

The following benefits may be included in your MBA student loan:

No Prepayment Penalties

This is standard across the board but always reassuring. If you come into a windfall or just work really hard to earn extra cash to pay down your student loan debt, there is no penalty for early repayment.

Auto-Debit Discount

The auto-pay discount is also a pretty common incentive, shaving between 0.25% and 0.50% off your interest rate by authorizing your student loan payments to be automatically deducted from your bank account. Before you enroll in auto-pay, be sure to check account requirements.  Some lenders require you use an account from their financial institution for automatic payments rather than an account of your choice.

Existing Customer Discount

Some lenders offer an interest rate reduction (typically 0.25%) if you are an existing customer with a prior or qualifying account.

Cosigner Release

If it is important to you to have the ability to release a cosigner from your MBA loan in the future, look for this option when reviewing loan products. The lender will require anywhere from 12 to 48 on-time monthly payments to qualify. And, of course, your creditworthiness will need to be reevaluated at the time you request your cosigner to be released to make sure you can handle the payments on your own. Each lender will set their own terms for cosigner release, so make sure to read through the fine print.

Deferment and Forbearance Options

Lenders may offer member protections in the form of deferments or forbearances. For example, if you run into a financial hardship or unusual circumstances, such as a job layoff or military deployment, your lender may grant you a temporary deferred repayment option to postpone your loan payments. This will enable you to get back on your feet, avoid your loan being considered delinquent or entering default, and help protect your credit score. Be mindful, the total amount of available deferment or forbearance time may be limited and the number of qualifiers for these options may also be restrictive.

Free FICO® Credit Scores

Periodic free credit scores may be provided by certain lenders, typically on a quarterly basis. Along with furnishing your actual credit score, you may be given information about the primary factors impacting your score and tips or best strategies to monitor and handle your credit in the future.

Choice of Repayment Plan

This comes in two stages. First, your lender may offer choices up front that could save you money. An example would be an interest-only payment plan while you’re in school that could provide a lower rate than a deferred repayment option. Second, you may find that some of today’s lenders give you the choice of how many years you’d like to repay your loan. For example, you could choose 8, 10, 12 or 15 years. Keep in mind that there are no prepayment penalties. A choose-your-own repayment plan could help ensure your payments are structured in a way that keeps you on top of your finances according to your financial circumstances and desired schedule, especially if you choose an auto debit payment method.

Federal Student Loans for MBA

Keep in mind federal loan options like the Direct Unsubsidized Loan, and the Grad PLUS Loan for graduate students can also be used to finance your education. These loans (or the option of these loans) are presented to you in your financial aid award letter from your school. Federal loans are known to have a number of deferment and loan repayment options associated with them.

Graduate students can borrow up to $20,500 per year in the Direct Unsubsidized Loan program and up to the full cost of attendance (minus other financial aid received) in the Grad PLUS Loan program, a loan that requires a credit check. However, note that in today’s marketplace private lenders may offer rates that are lower than some federal student loans. Neither the Direct Unsubsidized Loan nor the Grad PLUS Loan are subsidized for graduate students. This means your loan will accrue interest from the day it is disbursed, and you will be responsible for repaying interest.

Part-Time MBA Student Loans

Part-time students as well as full-time students may be eligible to borrow MBA loans provided they meet the following criteria:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident*
  • Enrolled at least half-time as a graduate student (at an eligible institution)
  • Making satisfactory academic progress (SAP)
  • Have a positive, verifiable credit history — or a cosigner with a strong credit history (as well as meet all other lender criteria)

*Some lenders will accept applications for MBA student loans from foreign borrowers applying with a creditworthy cosigner. The cosigner needs to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

MBA Student Loan Limits

The minimum MBA loan amount you may be eligible to borrow is usually $1,000 but you will want to check with your lender.

The maximum amount you can borrow equal to your certified cost of attendance, minus other financial aid, as certified by your school.

MBA Student Loan Repayment

The length of your student loan repayment term will depend on your loan balance but could be as long as 20 years following your in-school deferment and grace period. Your lender may offer different repayment options while you’re enrolled in school, like immediate repayment, interest-only payments, or deferred payments. You will remain in the grace period until your enrollment status changes to less than half time, you leave school, or graduate. Payment typically begin six months after the grace period ends. Your lender may allow you to choose your repayment term. The longer your repayment term, the more affordable your monthly payments will be, but on the flip side, the more you will repay in total. How much more will depend on the interest rate on your loan and length of your repayment term. 

If you’re looking to simplify your MBA student loan payments, or lower your interest rate, you may want to consider student loan refinancing. Some of the benefits of refinancing may include:

  • Lowering your monthly payment amount
  • Lowering your interest rate
  • Decreasing how much you pay over the life of your loan

Which MBA Student Loan is Right for You?

The best MBA student loan for you will depend on your financial situation and educational funding gap. Generally, it’s best to start by exploring your federal student loan options before considering a private student loan.

When it comes to federal MBA student loans, direct unsubsidized loans are a top option. These loans often come with low interest rates, income-driven repayment options, and qualify for loan forgiveness in some circumstances. While you will have to pay the accrued interest eventually, you can choose not to pay interest while you’re enrolled at least half time and during the loan’s grace period.

These loans don’t require a credit check or have any income requirements, but they do have an origination fee that averages just over 1%. There are also loan limits that affect how much you can borrow with federal direct unsubsidized loans. For those enrolled in an MBA program, that’s $20,500 per year, and $138,500 total. Once you reach the aid limit for unsubsidized loans, Graduate PLUS loans are the next best federal student loan option.

Graduate PLUS loans allow you to borrow up to your total cost of attendance minus other financial aid received. They come with the same benefits as federal direct unsubsidized MBA loans, including lower interest rates, flexible repayment options, and eligibility for loan forgiveness programs. On the downside, Graduate PLUS MBA loans require a credit check and have higher origination fees. You don’t necessarily need excellent credit, but adverse credit history (as defined by the U.S. Department of Education) may disqualify you.

To qualify for federal direct unsubsidized or Graduate PLUS loans, you must be enrolled at least half-time. Unfortunately, international students do not qualify for federal direct unsubsidized or Graduate PLUS loans if they are not otherwise eligible for federal student aid.  If you are an international student and ineligible for federal student aid, you may want to explore your private student loan options.

What to Look for in a Private Student Loan

When considering a private MBA loan, it’s vital to review the terms and conditions carefully for the qualification requirements. You also want to note the repayment options and any borrower benefits (like, postponement and discharge options). 

Consider Your Loan Eligibility

The first thing you want to look for is, of course, loans that you qualify for. Factors that may affect your eligibility for most private MBA student loans include:

  • School eligibility: Depending on your school, your loan options may be limited to lenders that are willing to work with student attending your school. Most private lenders allow any major accredited university, but some only approve loans for specified schools or degree programs.
  • Credit history: All private MBA loans require a credit check. While many private lenders only require borrowers to have a minimum credit score of about 660, you will get a lower interest rate with a credit score above 700.  Borrowers in the excellent credit score range (above 800) typically get the best rates and loan terms. If you are unable to qualify on your own, you can apply with a creditworthy cosigner.
  • Income: Like with most loans, you will need to demonstrate proof of income by demonstrating at least two-years of work history. If you haven’t been able to earn income while enrolled in school, you do have the option to apply with a cosigner to help you qualify for a loan.
  • Debt-to-income ratio: If you have high debt in relation to your income, your student loan lender may think you are a high-risk borrower.  

Avoid Predatory Lending and Scams: Find the Right MBA Loan Lender

After you’ve narrowed down your MBA loan options to those you qualify for, the next step is to rule out poor lenders. While predatory lending is less common with student loans, it does happen. Watch out for these warning signs:

  • Lack of transparency: Your lender should be transparent regarding loan terms. If information is unclear, such as whether the loan has a fixed or variable interest rate, stay away.
  • Lax lending requirements: Most reputable lenders won’t approve borrowers with a credit score under 660, adverse credit history, or no income. If you are not asked for a credit check, the lending requirements seem lax, or you are offered more than your cost of attendance, you may be dealing with a student loan scam.
  • High interest rates: An interest rate above 14% is unusual for an MBA loan. If a lender is offering a rate above that, note the red flag. Start reviewing other terms and conditions on the loan, you may notice other odd features of the loan to confirm your suspicions.
  • Abnormal fees: A reputable MBA loan provider will only include principal and interest in your loan amount. If there are any other unnecessary costs rolled into the loan, that’s a red flag. Loans with high late fees, prepayment penalties, or other unusual loan terms should be approached with caution.
  • Asset-secured loans: You should never be asked to use your house, car, or other high-value assets as collateral for a student loan. Student loans are unsecured debt, and collateral is not required.

If you are ever concerned the student loan you are reviewing is a scam, start doing some research. Try to research the loan and look for student loan reviews. If you feel like you have encountered a student loan scam, or are a victim of a student loan scam, it’s important your report the fraudulent activity to the FTC

Look for the Best Interest Rate and Loan Terms

Remember to pay attention to other factors that may affect the total cost of the loan, such as interest rates and origination fees. In addition, look for factors that may reduce your total loan cost as well, like an interest rate discount for setting up automatic payments. Repayment options are another important aspect to consider. Flexible repayment options can make all the difference if you find yourself struggling to make your monthly payments in the future.

Best Private Student Loans for May 2022

Student Loans for Graduate School

How Does Student Loan Interest Work

Private Student Loans vs PLUS Loans

How to Pay for Medical School

How to Pay for Law School

Email This Article

Related Content