ASU to Offer Full-Tuition MBA Scholarships in an Effort to Increase Diversity

As many colleges and universities continue to raise tuition, Arizona State University (ASU) in Phoenix is working to do the opposite. The university recently announced it will begin offering full-tuition scholarships for incoming full-time MBA students.

The university’s decision was motivated by a desire to increase the diversity of the business school’s student body by lowering financial barriers that may discourage some students from even applying to the program, says dean of the business school Amy Hillman. Increasing diversity at the undergraduate level has been a priority of the business school for some time, and with these scholarships, that focus will carry over to graduate students as well.

“We put a really big emphasis on making a world-class business education available to capable students at the undergraduate level,” Hillman told USA Today. “It’s incredibly rewarding to get to see what these individuals can do with their business degrees.”

The full-tuition scholarships only apply to students entering ASU’s full-time MBA program in fall 2016, and Hillman says the school will award a maximum of 120 scholarships. Eligible students will receive anywhere from $54,000 to $90,000, depending on their residence.

“Most people that are thinking about an MBA are thinking about their career and what the education can do for [them],” Hillman said. “But we think that some others will really start to see the MBA differently because we’re able to take tuition off the table.”

Funding for the scholarships comes from a $50 million donation made to the school by alumni William Polk Carey, who passed away in 2012 and whose grandfather helped found ASU’s business school. Carey announced the donation to the school — now named the W.P. Carey School of Business — in 2003.

In addition to the full-tuition scholarships, the business school announced new specializations for MBA students, which allow students to tailor the program to a specific industry, such as healthcare.