Once you've settled on a course you need to think about how you'll cover the cost of your MBA, and there are a number of options available

Tuition fees for MBAs vary extensively in relation to your chosen school's reputation and facilities. For example, one of the cheapest MBA courses in the UK is offered by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and costs £4,010 (2016/17), while MBA students at the London Business School can expect to pay £70,800.

Some people may be lucky enough to use their savings to pay for their course but the majority will use one or a combination of the following methods.

Part-time study while working

Self-funding and part-time work are among the most popular funding methods, proving it is possible to work while studying for an MBA. However, juggling the demands of work with a heavy study schedule is no easy task.

You will be expected to be in the classroom around 20 hours a week, and will need the full backing of your employer to allow you time off for exams and study periods.

If you have a job that you love, part-time study means that you won't have to leave it, you'll earn a salary while you study and will be able to manage any family commitments you may have. However, the MBA can take longer to achieve and it can be difficult to completely focus on the course.

To see what's on offer, search part-time MBAs and distance learning MBAs.

Employer sponsorship

The majority of MBAs require a minimum of three years' work experience, so it's likely that you'll be working when applying for a course. If this is the case then you should ask your employer if they can help with the fees. You'll need to explain what benefits your MBA will bring to the company and give your employer a reason to invest in you.

It is also worth noting that sponsorship usually goes hand in hand with part-time study. However, consider your plans for the future before pursuing this method of funding. Most companies will expect you to stay with them for a fixed number of years after graduation in return for their investment.

Get more information on employer sponsorship.

Postgraduate loans

Government-backed Masters loans will be introduced from September 2016, which means that full and part-time MBA students will be able to apply for funding of up to £10,000 to help cover fees.

While £10,000 may be enough to cover tuition fees for some of the cheaper MBAs, it won't cover the average cost of courses, so it's likely that you'll have to combine a postgraduate loan with other funding methods.

Loans will be available for the 2016/17 academic year and students can start to apply from 1 August 2016. You won't start making repayments until 2019 and unless you are earning £21,000 or over. You'll then repay the loan based on your income in the same way as for undergraduate student loans.

Learn more about postgraduate loans.

Career development loans

Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs) are another option to consider. Only Barclays and The Co-operative banks offer these loans and you can borrow up to £10,000. The money is usually offered at reduced interest rates and the government pays this while you're studying.

You need to apply three months in advance of your course to allow enough time for the application to be processed. However, discuss your options with your chosen business school before you get in touch with the bank. They might have access to alternative loans and can advise which route is right for you.

Find out more about bank loans.

Scholarships and bursaries

This mode of funding is popular with students because you don't usually have to pay the money back. This popularity translates to fierce competition, so make sure that you submit the strongest application possible. You'll need to explain why you should receive the money, and document any special achievements in your career history to improve your chances of getting a scholarship.

Scholarships and bursaries vary with each university but can be for alumni, hardship, excellence in sports or to promote diversity. For example, the University of Birmingham offers a Women's Scholarship worth £10,000, while Imperial College London offers £10,000 to students as part of the Dorothy Griffiths Scholarship for Excellence.

The essential guide to studying an MBA

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