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Explore Top Scholarships for Online DBA Programs & More

Scholarships for online DBA programs can help you earn your degree debt-free. Explore the guide below for top online DBA scholarship options and tips for application success.

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for the doctorate YOU want.

Written By

Ellery Weil

Last updated

Feb 14, 2024

Are you a businessperson who wants to be at the absolute top of your field? Are you looking for a graduate program that blends real-world business techniques with rigorous academic scholarship? Are you hoping to do all of this from the comfort of home, or, at the very least, without having to move to a new city? If so, you might be an ideal candidate for an online Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA).

Unfortunately, grad school is famously expensive, and DBA programs are no exception. The average DBA costs between $50,000 and $100,000, and while these expenses are often a valuable investment, getting the initial funding together can be a strain on many students. While online degrees are often great ways to save money, particularly since in the absence of relocation expenses, scholarships for online DBA programs acknowledge the financial pressure students are under and grant funds based on financial need, academic merit, or both.

So, how can you find the best scholarships for your online DBA? This guide looks at some top DBA scholarships and gives general advice for the application process to up your odds of success.

As you begin your online DBA scholarship search, consider a wide variety of opportunities. From general scholarship opportunities for all graduate students to those that are available for students in online DBA programs specifically. While these scholarships are uncommon, below are a few standout opportunities to get you started in your search.

Colorado Cybersecurity Scholarship for EDBA Students

Students in the University of Colorado–Colorado Springs’ Executive DBA (EDBA) program are eligible for the Colorado Cybersecurity Scholarship, which awards $5,000 to a new or continuing EDBA student with a demonstrated interest in cybersecurity. Applicants must be in the cyber-focused branch of the EDBA program.

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: June 1

Duke Fuqua Merit Scholarships

The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University offers a variety of merit-based scholarships for admitted students to all of its programs. While several are featured on its website, these do not represent the totality of its scholarship offerings. Students do not need to submit separate applications since all admitted students are automatically considered for scholarships.

  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: N/A (application is automatic for admitted students)

Golden Gate University DBA Merit Scholarship

Golden Gate University’s merit-based scholarships for DBA students are determined on a rolling basis with 70% of scholarship funding allocated to the first 5,000 students admitted for a given entering class. While the scholarship amounts vary, the average cost of the program, post-scholarship, stands at $15,000.

  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: Rolling (same as program application)

Government Finance Officers Association Scholarships

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) offers a variety of scholarships for students in finance-related educational programs. While some are open to undergraduates and graduate students or have employment experience requirements, others, like the Goldberg-Miller Public Finance Scholarship, are exclusively for graduate students and have no employment requirements.

  • Award Amount: $5,000 – $25,000
  • Deadline: TBA

Harold Rothman Business Scholarship

Graduate students in any accredited business-related program in the U.S. are eligible for Rossen Law Firm’s Harold Rothman Business Scholarship. Applicants need to create a video of at least two minutes showcasing their passion for making a positive impact in the world of business as well as provide a resume and transcripts. Florida-based applicants are preferred.

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: February 29

Jones Graduate School of Business Scholarships

Rice University’s Jones School of Business promotes its generous scholarship offerings for graduate students as a recruitment technique. The scholarship amounts vary with some covering full expenses and others providing partial aid. All admitted students are automatically considered for scholarships with some available later in your program.

  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: N/A (application is automatic for admitted students)

Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) provides scholarships ranging from $2,000-$10,000 plus a year’s membership in ACFE to undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing careers in anti-fraud-related work through the Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program. To apply as an online DBA student, you must be enrolled in an accredited program of at least six semester hours per term.

  • Award Amount: $2,000 – $10,000
  • Deadline: February 5

Stanford Doctoral Funding

Stanford University is a highly prestigious private institution that seeks to ensure that all students admitted to doctoral programs have the opportunity to attend. As such, they offer a generous doctoral funding program for all admitted doctoral students. Stanford’s doctoral funding provides funds for up to five years and covers tuition plus a stipend with assistantship work as a condition of funding.

  • Award Amount: Full tuition plus a stipend
  • Deadline: N/A (application is automatic for admitted students)

USC Graduate Fellowships

Students admitted to doctoral programs at the University of Southern California (USC) typically receive at least one year of tuition and living expense assistance. Beyond that, students must be nominated by their department for additional funding, such as the Provost’s Fellowship Top Off, which provides supplementary aid to doctoral students.

  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: N/A (students must be nominated by their department)

Wharton Doctoral Fellowships

The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania is one of the most prestigious business schools in the U.S. It offers full funding that includes coverage of tuition as well as health insurance and a stipend intended to cover living expenses to all admitted doctoral students.

  • Award Amount: Full tuition and health insurance plus a stipend
  • Deadline: N/A (application is automatic for admitted students)

Tips for Scholarship Success

Applying for online DBA scholarships can be a daunting process, so it’s important to work smarter, not harder to maximize your chances of earning funding. While every student and every scholarship is different, the tips below can improve your odds of success in general.

Apply to Multiple Scholarships

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Every scholarship you apply for is another chance to find financial aid for your online DBA. Apply to as many as you can while still being confident in your ability to complete any required essays, etc. according to the application guidelines.

Network and Seek Guidance

Asking for help is always a good idea. Your friends, colleagues, and mentors may be aware of online DBA scholarships you haven’t heard of or might be able to help you craft an application essay, etc. As you begin your scholarship applications, reach out to your network to improve your applications.

Research Scholarships Early

Most scholarships have hard deadlines you won’t want to miss, so it’s important to be aware of them and know what you’re applying for as early as possible. Do your research on different online DBA scholarship opportunities as soon as possible, even alongside your applications for your DBA program.

Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation give scholarship committees important insight into who you are, so it’s important your recommenders know you well and showcase that in their letters. Reach out well in advance of the deadline to supervisors, managers, professors, and other sources to secure the best possible letters of recommendation.

Showcase Your Unique Qualities

There are many online DBA scholarship programs, but there’s only one you. Use the essay and the format of your resume to highlight what makes you stand out, whether that’s a unique personal history, academic accomplishments, professional achievements, or something else altogether that you feel the committee should know.

Alternative Funding Options for Online DBA Students

In addition to online DBA scholarships, there are other ways to pay for your degree. While some students rely on personal savings, the cost of graduate school is high enough that this is generally not a realistic option for everyone. Have a look at the other funding options below to broaden your approach to finding sufficient financial aid.

Employer Sponsorship

Like many postgraduate programs in business and related fields, DBAs are popular among mature students with significant professional experience. In some cases, students may not even need to leave their jobs to pursue graduate studies, thanks to employer sponsorship. In an employer sponsorship program, your employer covers the cost of your graduate degree, either fully or in part, with the understanding that you’ll return to work for them in a more advanced role after completing your degree.

Featured Funding Option: Deloitte Graduate School Assistance Program (GSAP)

Deloitte, one of the largest consultancy firms in the world with offices around the globe, offers the GSAP graduate school funding program for its employees. The program is open to high-performing analysts who want to attend postgraduate business programs and includes test prep as well as financial aid.

Fellowships

Fellowships are similar to scholarships, though they often include responsibilities such as teaching classes or attending conferences. These awards can be offered either by a university or private foundation like a charity or a professional organization. Generally, if you receive a fellowship, you’ll be treated in some ways as a representative of whatever body awarded you the fellowship, and you may be expected to acknowledge them upon completion of your degree.

Featured Funding Option: George Mason University Mercatus Center Fellowship

The Mercatus Center at Virginia’s George Mason University offers this fellowship to doctoral students looking to study economics and eventually pursue 

Loans

Student loans are a common way to pay for higher education, both graduate and undergraduate. There are two types of loans, federal and private, though many students find that there are distinct advantages to federal loans. While the loans you qualify for from the federal program, as determined by your FAFSA, may be somewhat more limited than those taken from a private bank, you’ll be eligible for federal loan forgiveness programs, repayment plans, and lower interest rates.

Featured Funding Option: Direct PLUS Loans

From the federal government’s student loan program, Direct PLUS loans are among the most popular loans for graduate students. They can be used towards any accredited graduate program, and you do not have scheduled repayments on them until after you’ve graduated or left the program.

Research or Teaching Assistantships

Some schools offer paid research or teaching assistantships for graduate students. In the case of research assistantships, you’ll aid established faculty in their research projects. In the case of teaching assistantships, you’ll help teach undergraduates at your school. These programs pay regular wages and provide valuable work experience while you study, so they can be highly competitive.

Featured Funding Option: Columbia Business School Research Assistantship

Columbia Business School at New York City’s Columbia University is just one example of a business school that offers research assistantships. Columbia’s assistantships are competitive, and, like any job, your hiring and salary depend on your experience.

Funding FAQs: Your Scholarship Questions, Answered

Scholarship applications can be daunting at first, especially in combination with the stress and work of applying for a graduate school program. To help ease that overwhelm, some of the most commonly asked questions about scholarships for online DBA programs are answered below.

Are there funding options available for part-time online DBA students?

Scholarships for part-time graduate study, such as those offered by private charitable foundations, are rare. However, part-time online DBA students are eligible for federal student loans and other forms of federal student aid, including work-study programs and, for those with demonstrated financial need, Pell Grants.

Are there specific funding opportunities for underrepresented groups in the DBA field?

While you may have a hard time finding DBA-specific scholarships for underrepresented groups since it’s a relatively uncommon degree, you can find scholarships for minority graduate students in any field. Examples include those for LBGT students and African American students.

Can I enroll in a payment plan to help offset costs not covered by scholarships?

Some schools offer tuition payment plans to help students struggling to cover tuition not covered by financial aid. Fortunately, government loan repayment plans, like the SAVE Plan, offer income-based repayment and loan forgiveness options for federal student loans.

What is the average cost of an online DBA program?

Though the average cost of a DBA is $50,000-$100,000, online DBAs are often significantly more affordable due to lower operating costs with some costing as little as $730 per credit. In addition to funding opportunities, this can help keep your degree relatively affordable.