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HBS Adds Fee Waiver for Military Members

Applying to Harvard Business School just got a little easier for active duty military members. The school has announced that it will waive its $250 application fee for members of the military applying to its MBA program. 

The fee waiver is supported by a gift from Michael J. Zak, who served in the United States Marine Corps before attending HBS and graduating in 1981.


Chad Losee, HBS’s admissions director, said the fee waiver would help HBS attract military students, who bring a unique perspective to the school.

In Losee’s words: “Leadership is at the core of what we teach and these students almost always have faced real life situations where leadership and judgment have been of paramount importance.” 

In line with this goal of attracting more military students, the school also hosts an open house for military applicants as well as a “Military at HBS” webinar. More information about programs for members of the military can be found on HBS’s military web page. 

Of course, HBS is far from the first business school to have a fee waiver for military applicants.

Schools like Stanford GSB, Yale SOM and University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business all have fee waivers for active-duty military personnel. Last fall, Wharton became the latest top B-school to add a fee waiver for military members. 

That said, application fee waivers are a drop in the bucket compared to some of the tuition benefits military students are eligible for.

Many top business schools participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, where they contribute funds toward tuition for recent military veterans. The funds are then matched by the VA. 

For an example of how different sources of funding for military students can add up, see Yale SOM’s analysis. Between the Yellow Ribbon Program and other benefits veterans are eligible, the vast majority of tuition is covered for students eligible under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. 

However, note that not all top business schools have the same level of Yellow Ribbon funding. For instance, while Yale commits $20,000 per student (which is then matched by the VA), NYU Stern sets aside $10,000 per student. 

Many schools also have additional scholarships specifically for veterans. Because different schools have different levels of funding and different scholarships for military members, be sure to find out what the options for military applicants at any school you’re interested in. 

The good news is that all top B-schools offer at least some perks for military members. And as HBS’s new fee waiver shows, those perks continue to grow.