Top 5 Military MBA: Upto 100% Tuition Waiver with Post-9/11 GI Bill & School Support with The Yellow Ribbon Program

Military MBAAn MBA for Military personnel provides opportunities to further enhance a military career or allow them to join one of the top post-MBA sectors. MBA programs tailored for Military are on the rise, and top schools are offering funding support for this esteemed group.  If you notice the recruitment trends in top Business Schools like Harvard, Stanford or Wharton, applicants with a military background tend to do extremely well. This can be attributed to the wide exposure that these applicants have received during the term of duty. The high stress work environment, goal setting and orientation, need for accuracy under extreme pressure, ability to take control of a hostile situation and continuous focus on disciplined execution have made military applicants a highly sought after group.

An MBA imparts Business fundamentals, problem solving, and managerial skills that perfectly complements on-duty experience.  Corporations are looking for a mix of strong work ethics and business knowledge.

In order to encourage military personnel to pursue education, the US government has started a host of financial aid schemes.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

Post-9/11 GI Bill offers financial support to personnel with a minimum of 90 days' service after September 10th 2001, or those discharged with a service-related disability, after completing 30 days. An honorable discharge is a must.

Veterans who have served up to 36 months are offered benefits with the eligibility period lasting for 15 years after release from active duty. Dependents like spouses or children can also avail the benefits. For MBA programs, the tuition fee reimbursement is 100%, per academic year at a public school attended in State. For private schools, it is up to $18,077 per year. Some states have a higher cap, and these can be availed instead. This aid is only available for Full-time MBA programs.

The Yellow Ribbon Program

For students doing an MBA at a private school, or at a public school outside the home state, the Yellow Ribbon strives to make up for tuition and fees, not covered under the aid. This program is initiated by the school itself, and may not be available to all schools. The school contributes a certain amount towards tuition and fees, while the Department of Veteran Affairs puts in the same amount. The amount reimbursed varies according to the school, but the good news is that most of the top schools are part of the Yellow Ribbon program. For example - HBS, MIT Sloan and Stanford GSB offer the programs benefits to military MBAs.

Monthly Housing Allowance

The Monthly Housing Allowance is usually equivalent to the military Basic Allowance for Housing. It varies from state to state, and takes into account the number of dependents.

Books & Supplies Stipend: An annual payment of up to $1000 is available

Rural Relocation:
A one-time grant of $500 is offered to military personnel from rural areas (six or less persons per square mile) who want to relocate to an institution more than 500 miles away or where only air travel is the only transport option.

Below are the top five MBA Programs for Military Personnel.

1) McCombs School of Business

The University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business holds military veterans in high regard. The Admissions Director has recently stated that military personnel add fresh perspectives to the classroom, and teach valuable lessons to the community, including faculty. What's more, the Senior Associate Director of MBA Employer Relations is an Air Force veteran herself. Military veterans at McComb’s are hired into a variety of sectors and functions, with the most popular being operations, investment banking and consulting.

Two associations help military personnel make the difficult transition to a civilian life. The first is the Armed Forces Alumni Association (AFAA), which draws parallels between the lessons learned in both the military and those required to be successful in business. AFAA has also formed partnerships with veteran MBAs from other top Business Schools, and mentors Military applicants to McCombs. The UT Student Veterans Association serves veteran students, their families, and their dependents.

Since The University of Texas at Austin is a public university, in-state students can avail 100% waiver on their Tuition and Fees - one of the rare top MBA programs that allow it. The Hazlewood Act provides veterans, spouses, and children with up to 150 hours in tuition and fee exemptions. The Non-Resident Tuition Waivers program allows immediate waiver of any non-resident tuition fee. This allows non-resident MBA veterans to pay only the resident rates for tuition and fees. Application Fees are waived, and all veterans are automatically eligible to receive the school's merit-based admissions scholarships.

2) Mendoza College of Business

The University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business is a military friendly place, readily embracing veterans, and sponsoring the Service Academy Career Conferences, held every quarter. The university's association with the military began nearly 150 years ago, and nearly 12,000 naval officers completed their training during World War II. Today, Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) programs of the Marines, Navy, Air Force and Army are all held at the University.

The MBA program provides individual coaching to outline the differences between the military and the business world, allowing an easy transition to civilian life. The Career Catalyst Program helps identify and obtain the veteran's desired job. One factor that adds to the comfort of veterans at Notre Dame is the emphasis on ethics, honor, dedication, teamwork and traditional values that are also stressed upon in the military.

As Notre Dame is an active participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program, eligible veterans gain significantly. There is the $18,077 tuition and fee reimbursement. The university's $15,000 Yellow Ribbon contribution is matched by VA's $15,000, giving a total benefit of $48,077. There is also a tutoring stipend of $1,200 a year, Housing Allowance of $1,080 a month and Lifetime Learning Credit of $4,000. In addition, fellowships for all MBA students are available, ranging from $10,000 per year to full tuition and additional aid. Two Fellowships offer great support for armed force personnel - Freedom Fellowships and the Kenneth R. Meyer Fellowships, which provides 16 fellowships every year.

3) Cranfield University

Cranfield University's Defence MBA is a 2-year program aimed at both military personnel, and professionals who are looking for careers in the defence sector. Suitable candidates include Tri-Service Military Officers, Civil Service Managers, Defence Industry Executives and other members of the security community. The program is aimed at accelerating career development in the defence sector, with leadership and other influential roles. The program is conducted at the Defence Academy - College of Management & Technology, and Cranfield School of Management. Graduates can expect to get promotion in the military, or be placed in both the UK as well as at an international defence sector.

The first part of the program teaches the Cranfield School of Management’s core MBA modules. The second half involves 4 mandatory defence modules, one defence elective chosen from 2 options, and one general MBA elective. The School of Management’s Personal and Professional module also plays an important role in the students' development. The final part of the program is an independent defence management research project. The core part can be studied either on a part-time or modular basis, while the second part is taught only in a modular format - residential modules that are spread across the year.

4) Tuck School of Business

The Tuck School of Business is one of the most sought after MBA programs by US military veterans. One of the reasons for this is the shared value systems with the military. There is a strong emphasis on teamwork & collaboration, a stress on developing leadership skills and a concerted effort to force students outside their comfort zones. This connection with Tuck has been going strong for the last 30 years, with around 3% of the class consistently represented by military veterans. Tuck's enrollment manager himself was a nuclear submarine officer.

Tuck is part of the Yellow Ribbon program, and offers tuition fee waiver of up to $19,233. When federal aid is added to the mix, between 80% to 100% of the fee will be waived. The Tuck Armed Forces Alumni Association enables a soft landing into civilian life and has panels of 2nd-year veterans helping 1st-year students, helping them access various internship opportunities. The association also helps veterans in putting their military lessons into a concise and attractive resume.

5) Ross School of Business

The University of Michigan's Ross School of Business has an action-based learning methodology that fits well with US veterans. Ross stresses on learning Business lessons in the real world. Like the military, it also emphasizes on collaboration, working effectively with others and using their knowledge to progress. Teamwork is among the paramount lessons at Ross, where students learn to achieve common goals, appreciate differences, and form lasting relationships. The school also has leadership development as an integral part of the curriculum.

The Armed Forces Association is a student club that promotes the role of veterans in the field of business. The association helps prospective students and sponsors events, mentoring and networking opportunities for current students. The University’s Student Veteran Association is another active option for veterans at Ross.

Ross is part of the Yellow Ribbon Program, and does not limit the number of students that it will help. All veterans admitted to the program benefit from the program. For veterans fulfilling all the eligibility criteria, the tuition fees unmet by federal aid are taken care by the school.


1) The Yellow Ribbon Program

2) McCombs MBA - Military Support
3) Notre Dame MBA - Military Support
4) Cranfield Defence MBA
5) Tuck AFAA
6) Ross MBA - Military Support

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