MBA Application fee at top business schools – Application fee waivers

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MBA programs at US business schools typically have an application fee. Fees range from $0 to $275, with the average fee being around $200. While this may seem like a minor expense, the cost of applying to multiple schools can add up quickly. For example, if you apply to 10 programs, you would need to pay a total of $2000 in application fees. 

MBA application fee

Fortunately, there are a few ways to reduce the cost of applying to MBA programs. Many schools offer fee waivers for applicants who demonstrate financial need. Additionally, some schools allow candidates to submit their GMAT or GRE score in lieu of an application fee. Finally, many business schools have programs that allow candidates to defer their application fee until after they are admitted. By taking advantage of these options, you can minimize the cost of applying to MBA programs.

In this article, we’ll look at the MBA application fees of the best business schools, 8 ways to apply for free or cheaply, and the application fees that top business schools like Harvard, Booth, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Yale, Michigan Ross, Duke Fuqua, and many more charge for their full-time MBA programs.

Additionally, you’ll learn about the two business schools that don’t charge an application fee.

MBA application fee for 2023 intake

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

How to secure an MBA application fee waiver – 8 ways

Business schools have identified specific groups based on profession, ethnicity, gender, and so on, and almost all of them offer application fee waivers. However, there are numerous other free ways to apply to your desired business school. Here are eight ways to get a business school application fee waiver:

Financial Hardship

You can request an application fee waiver from the admissions office of your preferred business schools.

If you are experiencing financial hardship, Yale SOM offers an explicit application fee waiver. The application fee is usually $250.

The application fee is $175 if you make less than $30,000 per year. The application fee is $125 if you make less than $15,000 per year.

GMAT Score

If you get a high GMAT score, you can request an application fee waiver from the admissions office. Business schools do not explicitly mention this waiver, but you can obtain one by invitation or inquiry.

Attend Webinars or visit campus

As the world is getting back to normalcy, visiting campus may be an option, but before the Covid-19 pandemic, many business schools encouraged you to visit their campus and attend their webinars in exchange for full or partial application fee waivers. 

Cornell Johnson and Duke Fuqua are two well-known business schools that offer MBA application fee waivers in exchange for participating in webinars or visiting their campuses. Everyone who attends Cornell’s Johnson Women in Business and Johnson Means Business diversity events in the fall is eligible for open interviews and application fee waivers.

Georgetown McDonough, MIT Sloan, Simon, Washington Foster, and Virginia Darden are among the other business schools that waive application fees.

MBA admissions events and fairs

MBA fairs and admissions events are frequently held by business schools. However, if you go to any of these events, you can inquire about application cost exemptions. These events can be followed through

Forté MBALaunch (women candidates)

Forté Foundation will assist you with a 10-month program if you have decided to pursue an MBA but are unsure of where to begin. It connects female candidates for MBA programs and offers them support to help them realize their dream of attending business school.

Women who intend to apply to business schools in the fall of 2022 in order to start classes in the fall of 2023 might consider the 2022 Forté MBALaunch program. Here are the eligibility criteria:

For women applying through Forté MBA Launch, they also forgo the MBA application fee. In 2019, the following business schools waived the application fee:

  • 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)

US Ethnic Minorities

There are two options for an American candidate who is a member of a protected class (African Americans, Native Americans, or Hispanic Americans) to obtain a waiver of the application cost.

  1. The Consortium
  2. Management Leadership for tomorrow

The Consortium

The Consortium enables applicants to submit a single application to multiple business schools. The application fee is waived and is determined by the number of business schools to which a candidate applies, 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.

Business SchoolConsortium member since
Indiana Kelley1966
Wisconsin School of Business1966
Washington Olin Business School1966
University of Rochester, Simon Business School1968
USC Marshall1968
UNC Kenan-Flagler1973
Michigan Ross1983
NYU Stern1984
UT Austin McCombs1984
Virginia Darden1992
Dartmouth Tuck1999
CMU Tepper2001
Emory Goizueta2001
Yale School of Management2008
Cornell Johnson2009
UCLA Anderson2010
Georgetown McDonough2013
Rice Jones2017
Washington Foster2018
Berkeley Haas1993-2003; 2010-current

Management Leadership for Tomorrow (Application Fee Waivers)

MLT, like the Consortium, works to increase the representation of American ethnic minorities (African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans) in MBA programs. Business schools waive application fees for MLT fellows.

US Military

Business schools waive application fees for active-duty military personnel and veterans of the United States military. In fact, Harvard Business School only waives application fees for students who are on active duty in the United States military.

Duke Fuqua recently altered this policy. It has broadened its application fee waiver program to include military veterans from all countries, not just the United States.

Almost every business school waives application fees for US military personnel.

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

Few business schools provide waivers to current or former Teach for America, Peace Corps, or Ameri Corps participants. Check the policies of individual business schools on this subject. Yale SOM and NYU Stern, for example, provide waivers to current corps members or alumni of Teach for America, Teach for China, or Teach for India.

MBA application fee waiver policies of business schools

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

A 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

To make the application process as affordable as possible for candidates with diverse backgrounds, the Yale School of Management uses a sliding-scale application fee structure. The standard application fee is $250. For applicants earning less than $30,000 a year, the application fee is $175. For applicants earning less than $15,000 a year, it is $125. The application fee is based on the total annual compensation information you provide in the application. If you are admitted and enroll, Yale SOM 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 non-refundable $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 Johnson

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

  • The United States military service members and veterans
  • Forté MBALaunchers
  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) MBA Prep Fellows
  • Current or former Peace Corps volunteers
  • Alumni of Teach for America
  • Current Cornell students applying for admission to a Cornell MBA dual degree program

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.

UT 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

UNC Kenan Flagler

You may qualify for an application fee waiver if you are on active duty with the U.S. military or a veteran; is 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:

  • United States military personnel (active duty or veteran)
  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) MBA Prep Fellows
  • Forté Foundation MBALaunch members
  • Fulbright Scholars
  • MD/MBA dual degree program applicants
  • Rice University alumni
  • Prospective students referred to us by alumni through the Build the Class program
  • Prospective students who have met a recruiter at an MBA fair or event outside of Houston

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:

  • The US Military
  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow MBA Fellows
  • The Peace Corps
  • AmeriCorps
  • Teach for America
  • City Year Corps
  • Education Pioneers
  • Historically Black Colleges
  • Hispanic Serving Institutions

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