How to finance your MBA

30 July 2019
Graduate with less debt by financing your MBA
Undertaking an MBA is a major investment and one of the most important financial investments you will make in your career. Taking the time to research ways to finance your degree before you start studying will put you on track to graduating with less debt and increased financial freedom.

As a potential student, you have the ambition, the proven ability, the intellectual capacity, and the desire to become a leader and innovator of the future. Without doubt, heading down this path represents one of the most significant life commitments you’ll ever make. But it’s also one you may not have to undertake alone. Here are our top 5 tips on financing your MBA: 

1.  Employer Support

With many prospective MBA students being successful in seeking varying forms of employer support in achieving their academic goals, the key question is: how can you become one of them?

Before making a pitch to your employer, you first need to ascertain who the key decision-makers are within your organisation. Who are the mentors who can recommend you for assistance? Who are the individuals that can green light your plans? This could be your line manager, your HR manager, your department head or even the company CEO.

Once you have ascertained the appropriate target for your approach, we recommend you put forward a case that:

  1. Establishes a business need for the organisation
  2. Outlines the return on investment
  3. Establishes the case for a University of Sydney MBA
  4. Determines why you are deserving of employer support
  5. Is very clear about what you are seeking

2.  Scholarships

We offer a number of partial and full scholarships for our part-time, full-time and executive MBA programs.

Our scholarships are designed to:

  • recognise potential
  • assist those in need; and
  • reward high achievers.

It is worth checking if you are eligible for a scholarship as they can help to alleviate the financial pressures of an MBA.

3.  FEE-HELP loan

FEE-HELP is a government scheme assisting eligible students to access a loan to help cover all or part of their tuition fees.

There is a fixed maximum amount that you can borrow in your lifetime, called the FEE-HELP limit.

Any amount borrowed becomes part of an accumulated HELP debt which you will be required to repay through the tax system once you meet a certain salary threshold.

To be eligible for FEE-HELP you need to be:

  • full-fee paying student
  • an Australian citizen undertaking at least some of your course in Australia
  • an Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder residing in Australia for the duration of your study
  • a permanent visa holder undertaking bridging study for overseas-trained professionals and residing in Australia for the duration of your study
  • a New Zealand citizen who meets the long-term residency requirements.

Eligibility criteria and legislation around FEE-HELP can change, so see the Study Assist website for full details.

4. Can I claim some of my course on TAX?

If you are pursuing an MBA for professional development purposes and to enhance your skills as they apply to your current employment, then you may be able to claim some of your expenses on tax, including course fees and textbooks. This falls within ‘self-education’ expenses under taxable deductions.

The course you undertake must lead to a formal qualification and there also needs to be sufficient connection to your current employment.

Visit the Australian Taxation Office website for more information and speak to your accountant to discuss your options. 

5.  International student loan schemes

If you are an international student applying for the full-time MBA, you may be eligible to apply for an education loan from your own country.

Visit the student website for more information on international loan schemes.

If you need assistance, contact our International Loans Team on +61 2 8627 8336 or

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