A 11 minute read

Applying to an MBA program of your target business schools is expensive. This cost includes GMAT preparation and hiring the services of admissions consultants. One cost a lot of students forget to consider is the application fee for business schools. A typical student applies to 8-10 business schools and in the process shells out more than $2,000.

The surprising thing is that a lot of students don’t know that business schools offer MBA application fee waivers. They give these application waivers to

  • Motivate more students to apply to their business school and
  • Make sure certain sections of students don’t feel deterred due to the high application fees

In this article, we’ll look at the MBA application fees of top business schools and 8 ways in which you can apply to top business schools like Harvard, Booth, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Yale, Michigan Ross, Duke Fuqua and many more for free or at a reduced cost and how much application fee do these business schools charge for their full time MBA programs.

You’ll also get to know that there are 2 business schools which do not charge any application fees.

MBA Application fees of top business schools

MBA application fees of top business schools

S. No. Business School Application fee
1 Wharton $265
2 Harvard Business School $250
3 Stanford GSB $275
4 Booth School of Business $250
5 Kellogg School of Management $250
6 MIT Sloan $250
7 Columbia Business School $250
8 Dartmouth Tuck $250
9 UC-Berkeley – Haas $200
10 Yale SOM $250
11 Michigan – Ross $200
12 Duke – Fuqua $225
13 Virginia – Darden $250
14 Cornell – Johnson $200
15 UCLA – Anderson $200
16 NYU – Stern $250
17 CMU – Tepper $200
18 UT Austin – McCombs $200
19 UNC – Kenan-Flagler $150
20 Indiana – Kelley $75
21 Washington – Foster $85
22 Georgetown – McDonough $175
23 Rice – Jones $200
24 USC – Marshall $155
25 Georgia Tech – Scheller $75 (domestic), $85 (international)
26 Washington – Olin $0
27 Michigan State – Broad $85
28 Arizona State – Carey $70 (domestic), $115 (international)
29 Minnesota – Carlson $75
30 Wisconsin School of Business $75
31 Vanderbilt – Owen $175
32 Ohio State – Fisher $60 (domestic), $70 (international)
33 Penn State – Smeal $65
34 Purdue – Krannert $60 (domestic), $75 (international)
35 Maryland – Smith $75
36 Boston – Questrom $125
37 Texas-Dallas – Jindal $100 (domestic), $150 (international)
38 Texas A&M – Mays $175 (domestic), $200 (international)
39 Boston College – Carroll $100
40 SMU – Cox $0
41 Rutgers $70
42 Emory – Goizueta $175

If you’re planning to apply to one or more of these business schools you can plan your expenses accordingly. But, paying the MBA application fees is not necessary for you. You can get application fee waivers from many business schools.

How to secure an MBA application fee waiver – 8 ways

Business Schools have identified certain groups based on profession, ethnicity, gender etc. and almost all business schools provide application fee waivers to them. However, there are many other ways you can apply to your target business school for free. Here are 8 ways you can get an application fee waiver from business schools:

1. Visit campus and attend webinars

Many business schools ask you to visit their campus and attend their webinars and in return grant you full or partial application fee waivers. Cornell Johnson and Duke Fuqua are some prominent business schools which offer MBA application fee waivers by attending webinars or visiting their campuses. Cornell grants open interviews and application fee waivers to all who attend their Johnson Women in Business and Johnson Means Business diversity events in the fall.

Other business schools which offer this application fee waiver include Georgetown McDonough, MIT Sloan, Simon, Washington Foster, Virginia Darden.

MBA Application fee waiver for attending an event

2. MBA admissions events and fairs

A lot of business schools organize MBA fairs and admissions events. But, if you visit any of these events you can ask for information on application fee waivers. You can keep track of these events through

3. Forté MBALaunch (women candidates)

If you have decided to pursue an MBA and don’t have a clue where to start, Forté foundation will help you with a 10-month program. It pairs women who are seeking to do an MBA and provide them with support to make their business school dream a reality.

MBA Application fee waiver - Forté

The 2020 Forté MBALaunch program is suitable for women who are planning to apply to a business school in Fall 2020 so as to enrol in Fall of 2021. Here are the other eligibility criteria.

They also provide MBA application fee waivers to women applying through Forté MBA Launch. These business schools provided application fee waivers in 2019:

  • Arizona State University (W. P. Carey School of Business)
  • Babson College (F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper School of Business)
  • Cornell University (Johnson School of Management)
  • Dartmouth College (Tuck School of Business)
  • Duke University (The Fuqua School of Business)
  • Emory University (Goizueta Business School)
  • ESADE
  • George Washington University School of Business
  • Georgetown University (McDonough School of Business)
  • Georgia Tech (Scheller College of Business)
  • HEC Paris
  • IE Business School
  • IESE Business School
  • Imperial College Business School
  • Indiana University – Bloomington (Kelley School of Business)
  • INSEAD
  • London Business School
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan School of Management)
  • Michigan State University
  • New York University (Stern School of Business)
  • Oxford University (Saïd Business School)
  • Rice University (Jones Graduate School of Business)
  • Southern Methodist University (Cox School of Business)
  • The Ohio State University (Fisher College of Business)
  • University of Chicago (Booth)
  • University of Illinois (Gies College of Business)
  • University of Maryland (Smith School of Business)
  • University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Carlson School of Management)
  • University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler Business School)
  • University of Notre Dame (Mendoza School of Business)
  • University of Rochester (Simon School of Management)
  • University of Southern California (Marshall School of Business)
  • University of Texas at Austin (McCombs School of Business)
  • University of Toronto (Rotman School of Management)
  • University of Virginia (Darden School of Business)
  • Vanderbilt University (Owen Graduate School of Management)
  • Washington University in St. Louis (Olin Business School)
  • Western University (Ivey Business School)
  • Yale School of Management
  • York University (Schulich School of Business)

4. MBA Application fee waivers for US ethnic minorities

There are 2 ways an American applicant belonging to an ethnic minority (African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans) can get application fee waivers.

  1. The Consortium
  2. Management Leadership for tomorrow

MBA Application fee waiver - The consortium and MLT

The Consortium allows applicants to apply to multiple business schools with a common application. The application fee is waived and depends on the number of business schools a candidate is applying to i.e.,

  • $150: 1-2 schools
  • $200: 3 schools
  • $240: 4 schools
  • $275: 5 schools
  • $300: 6 schools

Candidates also have the opportunity to get full scholarships to attend the member business schools.

Following business schools are members of the Consortium:

Business School Consortium member since
Indiana Kelley 1966
Wisconsin School of Business 1966
Washington Olin Business School 1966
University of Rochester, Simon Business School 1968
USC Marshall 1968
UNC Kenan-Flagler 1973
Michigan Ross 1983
NYU Stern 1984
UT Austin McCombs 1984
Virginia Darden 1992
Dartmouth Tuck 1999
CMU Tepper 2001
Emory Goizueta 2001
Yale School of Management 2008
Cornell Johnson 2009
UCLA Anderson 2010
Georgetown McDonough 2013
Rice Jones 2017
Washington Foster 2018
Berkeley Haas 1993-2003; 2010-current

Management Leadership for Tomorrow (Application Fee Waivers)

MLT is similar to the Consortium in the way that it also works towards increasing the representation of American ethnic minorities (African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans) in MBA programs. MLT fellows are granted application fee waivers by business schools.

5. US Military personnel

MBA Application fee waiver - Military personnel

If you are an active-duty military personnel or have served in the US military, business schools grant you an application fee waiver. In fact, Harvard Business School only grants application fee waivers if you are on active duty in the US military.

Duke Fuqua has recently changed this policy. It has expanded its application fee waiver program to include military veterans of all nations, not just the U.S.

Almost all business schools offer application fee waivers to US military personnel.

6. Teach for America, Peace Corps (current participants and alumni)

Few business schools offer waivers to current or past participants of Teach for America, Peace Corps, Ameri Corps. Make sure you check individual business schools’ policies on this topic. For example, Yale SOM and NYU Stern offers waivers to Current corps members or alumni of Teach for America, Teach for China, or Teach for India.

7. Severe economic hardship

MBA Application fee waiver - sever economic hardship

You may contact the admissions office of your target business schools asking for an application fee waiver.

Yale SOM has an explicit application fee waiver if you’re facing economic hardship. The standard application fee is $250.

If you earn less than $20,000 a year, the application fee is $175. If you earn less than $10,000 a year, the application fee is $125.

8. GMAT score

MBA Application fee waiver for scoring high on GMAT

If you score really well on the GMAT then you may ask the admission office for an application fee waiver. Business schools do not mention this waiver explicitly but you may get one either by invitation or enquiring.

If you are planning to take the GMAT, we can help you with a personalized study plan and give you access to quality online content to prepare. Write to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.com. We are the most reviewed GMAT prep company on gmatclub with more than 1850 reviews (as on August 7, 2019). Why don’t you take a free trial and judge for yourself?

 

MBA application fee waiver policies of business schools

MBA Application fee waiver

Here are the application fee waiver policies of a few business schools:

Harvard Business School

The only exception is for all active duty military applicants and past SVMP participants who do not have to pay the application fee.

Stanford GSB

Reduced Fee

The fee for candidates who qualify for a reduced fee is $100.

Waived Fee

The fee is waived for active-duty U.S. military service members or U.S. military veterans who have been honorably discharged. If you are eligible for a waiver, upload one of the following documents when requested in the online application:

  • Option 1: Proof-of-service statement or letter, dated within the last 45 days
  • Option 2: Copy of most recent enlistment contract, dated within the last 365 days
  • Option 3: Copy of TA form showing date of separation (if applicable)
  • Option 4: Copy of your most recent Leave and Earnings statements showing Estimated Time of Separation, dated within the last 45 days

Chicago Booth

You may apply for an application fee waiver if you are:

  • Enrolled full-time in an undergraduate program (non-University of Chicago student)
  • Summer Business Scholar Graduate
  • Teach for America Instructor or Alum
  • Forté MBALaunch Member
  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) Fellow
  • Member of the Jumpstart Advisory Group
  • U.S. Veteran
  • University of Chicago Employee
  • University of Chicago Student (all programs)

Kellogg School of Management

Application fee waivers are granted to:

  • Active duty U.S. military applicants or U.S. military veterans who have been on active duty within three years of applying
  • Candidates employed by Teach For America or the Peace Corps within the past three years

MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan offers application fee waivers to the following applicants:

  • Current college seniors who are U.S. citizens and who will graduate from a U.S. university in 2019
  • Active U.S. military personnel
  • Teach for America members and alumni
  • Peace Corps members
  • Forté MBA Launch participants
  • MLT MBA Prep Fellows
  • Attendees at special events:
    • Women’s Alumnae Panel: Creating Ideas Made to Matter
    • Diversity Alumni Panel
    • Diversity Visit Day

Applicants who qualify must submit the fee waiver form at least ONE week before the application deadline

Columbia Business School

Fee waivers are available to full-time students, active duty US military personnel, and members of the Peace Corps, or Teach For All network partners who are currently in service. Proof of current service is required.

Applicants who qualify for a fee waiver should email a fee waiver request, as well as proof of service, to apply@gsb.columbia.eduand explain their need for a fee waiver in the optional essay.

UC Berkeley-Haas

fee waiver is available if you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who is an active participant of the AmeriCorps or Peace Corps, a U.S. military service member, or who qualifies based on financial need as determined by Estimated Family Contribution.

Dartmouth Tuck

The application fee is automatically waived for Tuck Business Bridge graduates and U.S. military personnel and waived upon request for applicants who have completed the Forté MBA Launch program. More details here.

Yale SOM

The standard application fee is $250. For applicants earning less than $20,000 a year, the application fee is $175. For applicants earning less than $10,000 a year, it is $125. The application fee is based on the self-reported compensation information you provide in the application.

If you are admitted and enrol, Tuck admissions office will verify this compensation information. Your offer of admission is contingent on successful verification.

Yale SOM waives the application fee for members of the following groups:

  • Active U.S. military members or U.S. veterans
  • Current corps members or alumni of Teach for America, Teach for China or Teach for India
  • Current or former Forté MBALaunchers
  • Current or former Forté Rising Stars
  • Current or former Peace Corps volunteers
  • Current Yale graduate students
  • Current Yale undergraduate students
  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) MBA Prep Fellows

Within the Yale SOM application, you can request a fee waiver if you meet any of these criteria. We ask students requesting a fee waiver to do so at least 48 hours before the application deadline.

Michigan Ross

The nonrefundable $200 application fee is waived for:

  • Active members and veterans of the U.S Military – please provide a copy of military orders or a DD-214.
  • Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Teach for America volunteers who have served within the past three years – please provide proof of membership that includes the name of the organization and dates of service.
  • Currently enrolled students in a University of Michigan graduate degree program

Duke Fuqua

You may be eligible to receive an application fee waiver if you meet at least one of the following criteria:

You are a member of the military of any nation—active duty, active reserve, or honorably discharged/completed service (within three years). Only voluntary service is valid. Mandatory service may not be used for qualification.

You are an active participant or alumnus/alumna of the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Teach for America.

You receive Fuqua Admissions Committee approval. In your application, include the reason for your waiver request and the name of the committee member granting approval.

You are a current member of the Forté, Posse Foundation, or Management Leadership for Tomorrow.

Before submitting your application, you register for and attend at least one of the activities listed below. Indicate the event type, location and month of attendance in your online application. (MBA Fairs are only considered as a qualifying event if you completed a sign in at the Fuqua table during the fair.)

  • Campus Visit
  • Open house
  • Information session
  • Informational luncheon
  • Meet & greet
  • Multi-school information session
  • Virtual information session

You obtain a recommendation from a current Fuqua student or alumnus/alumna. In your application, include your recommender’s name, program (Daytime, Cross Continent, Weekend Executive, Global Executive, Master of Management Studies: Foundations of Business, Master of Management Studies: Duke Kunshan University, or Master of Quantitative Management) year of graduation (if known), and email address.

You attended one of four Diversity Events:

  • The Duke MBA Workshop for Minority Applicants
  • The Duke MBA Weekend for Women
  • The Duke MBA LGBT Weekend
  • The Duke MBA Veterans Symposium

You are a member of one or more qualifying organizations: Forté, Posse Foundation, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Riordan Fellows Program, Choctaw Nation, Graduate Horizons, JumpStart Advisory Group, or Admit.me.

Virginia Darden

The following are eligible for application fee waivers: Teach for America corps members and alumni (Code: 10029), Peace Corps volunteers (Code: 10039), Education Pioneers fellows (Code: 10049), Forté MBALaunch members (Code: 10059) and U.S. military members (Code: 10019). Citizens of countries on the UN’s list of least developed countries also qualify for an application fee waiver (Code: 10089).

Cornell

Application fee waivers are provided to candidates who meet the following criteria:

NYU Stern

U.S. military members or U.S. veterans who have served active duty, Teach for America and Teach for India program alumni, and Forté MBALaunch alumnae are eligible for application fee waivers. Just prior to submitting your application, email your request for an application fee waiver to admchair@stern.nyu.edu and include documentation of service.

If you are experiencing severe economic hardship and would like to request an application fee waiver, please email admchair@stern.nyu.edu. Requests should include a detailed rationale for the application fee waiver and will be considered by the Admissions Committee on a case-by-case basis.

McCombs

Application Fee Waivers
MBA applicants who meet one or more of the following criteria may qualify for an application fee waiver:

  • Veteran or current U.S. military service member
  • Teach for America participant
  • Forte MBA Launch participant

Kenan Flagler

You may qualify for an application fee waiver if you are on active duty with the U.S. military or a veteran; are an active participant in Peace Corps, AmeriCorps or Teach for America.

Georgetown McDonough

You may receive an application fee waiver if you belong to one of the following groups. Waivers will be applied automatically when you submit your application.

  • Active duty, reservists, or veterans of the United States military
  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) Fellows
  • Forté MBA Launch participants
  • Members of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM)
  • Current and returned Peace Corps Volunteers

You automatically qualify for a reduced application fee of $100 if you meet the criteria below:

  • Members of Women in Technology
  • Members of the Forté
  • Re-applicants
  • AmeriCorps and Teach for America participants or alumni

Attendees of an event listed below will receive an application fee reduction code via email. Please apply this code when you complete the application and the reduction will be applied to your account.

  • Experience Georgetown information session or class visit between July 2018 and March 2019
  • On-campus MBA Information Session
  • Focus on Diversity
  • Flex MBA Program Preview Day

Rice Jones

We are proud to offer application fee waivers to:

Georgia Tech – Scheller

Application fee waivers are available for U.S. military, Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) Fellows, and Forté MBA Launch participants

Boston University – Questrom

The Graduate Admissions Office will waive the application fee for current BU employees, as well as for those who attended select admissions events. In addition, we will waive the application fee for those who are members or alumni of the following programs:

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