How Much Does an MBA Cost?
Online MBA costs vary depending on the program. Break down the costs, get help planning ahead, and find out how an online MBA degree pays off.
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MBA Cost at a Glance
Online MBA cost at top-ranked programs can exceed $100,000, while the average tuition of a two-year graduate degree is $38,628, according to the NCES.
An online MBA is on average $10,011.40 or 25.64% cheaper than an on-campus MBA, according to our 2021 MBA Student Survey
- Online MBA is on average $4,659.41 or 13.83% cheaper than the average MBA
- On-campus MBA is on average $5,351.99 or 15.88% more expensive than the average MBA
- An online MBA is on average $10,011.40 or 25.64% cheaper than an on-campus MBA
- First generation students paid an average of 10.42% more for their MBA than the survey average
- Males paid an average of 6.40% less for their MBA than the survey average
- Females paid an average 5.81% more for their MBA than the survey average
- Of the 343 surveys collected, three students identified as non-binary/third gender and paid 23.65% more for their MBA than the survey’s average
Of 343 students: Avg cost for MBA: $33,696.79
- Total $ spent on MBA: $11,558,000
- 95 students paid 0-$5,000 for their MBA
- 76 students paid $50,000-$100,000 for their MBA
- 30 students paid +$100,000 for their MBA
- Highest recorded total cost of an MBA: $250,000
Paying for Tuition, Fees & Other Common Expenses Pursing an MBA
Consistently ranked as the most popular graduate degree, the MBA serves as the gold standard for business education, building high-level skills and preparing graduates for diverse career paths. An MBA traditionally encompasses comprehensive business knowledge in areas such as finance, management, economics, and marketing. Some programs allow students to specialize their degree with concentrations in areas such as entrepreneurship, information technology, and healthcare administration.
The Graduate Management Admissions Council reports that MBA graduates earn an average starting salary of $115,000. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that the average cost of a two-year graduate degree is $38,628, and tuition at top-ranked programs regularly exceeds $100,000.
Earning an MBA degree online often saves students money. This page offers an overview of what it costs to earn an online MBA, including tuition rates, financial aid options, and strategies to make an online MBA more affordable.
How Much Does an MBA Cost?
According to the 2021 study by AffordableCollegesOnline, students reported that the average cost of a fully on-campus MBA was $39,048.78. The average cost of a fully online MBA was $29,037.38. Several factors affect tuition rates at online MBA programs, including type of school, enrollment status, and delivery format. The NCES reports that graduate degrees of all types cost an average of $19,314 per year, with two-year programs totaling $38,628 in tuition expenses. However, online MBA tuition rates vary widely among schools, and total tuition expenses may exceed $200,000 at many of the country's elite programs.
Public colleges often offer lower tuition rates than private colleges, and in-state students at public schools often pay lower tuition rates than out-of-state students. However, some public colleges offer in-state tuition to all online students regardless of where they reside.
Enrollment status can also affect tuition costs. A part-time MBA gives students the flexibility to work while in school, but these programs feature a lighter course load each semester, keeping students in school longer and potentially driving up tuition expenses. Conversely, accelerated programs feature a heavier course load but enable students to graduate sooner.
Students should also keep in mind that most MBA programs include expenses beyond tuition, such as application and registration fees, textbooks, and technology costs. Planning for higher education expenses can feel overwhelming, but admissions advisors can assist students in understanding common expenses and other fees associated with college education.
We Surveyed 383 MBA Students. Here's What They Said...
How was your MBA offered?
|ANSWER||Total||Avg Cost||+/- Avg||% Diff|
|Hybrid (less than 50% in-person)||106||$41,613||+$7,916||+23.5%|
Are you a first-generation MBA student?
|ANSWER||Total||MBA Cost||Cost vs Avg|
Ethnic Background & Heritage
|ETHNICITY||Total Students||Avg Spent on MBA||Cost vs Avg|
|FEMALE||Students||Avg Spent||Cost vs Avg|
|MALE||Students||Avg Spent||Cost vs Avg|
|NON-BINARY||Students||Avg Spent||Cost vs Avg|
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Frequently Asked Questions About Online MBA Cost
Most MBA online programs take about 18-24 months to complete. Part-time programs may increase this timeframe, while accelerated programs may decrease it.
An online MBA prepares students for lucrative roles in diverse fields, making the degree a worthwhile investment for many students.
Many MBA graduates report doubling their salaries after earning the degree, with average increases of around $70,000-$84,000 annually.
Many schools allow students to complete their MBA online. Other online programs may include some on-campus elements or other in-person requirements.
Students at all types of graduate programs pay an average of $19,314 per year. However, tuition at MBA online programs varies widely, with tuition at top-tier schools often exceeding $100,000.
Paying for Your Online MBA
Graduate programs in business offer strong career and salary prospects, and tuition rates typically reflect these professional outcomes. Even at more affordable state schools, MBA candidates often graduate with over $50,000 in student debt. Online MBA candidates can ease their financial burden by pursuing educational funding sources, several of which we highlight below.
How are other students paying for their MBA?
- 73% of Students indicated they personally financed their MBA
- 32% received grants or financial aid
- 6% Employer paid 100% of cost
- 21% employer paid a portion of the cost
- 2% indicated they paid for their MBA in a different way
Federal and State GrantsFederal and state grants offer funding for education that never requires repayment. Commonly available at the undergraduate level, very few grants serve students pursuing MBA programs. However, some state and school-specific grants may support graduate students of certain backgrounds. Graduate students can submit the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for federal and state grants.
Federal and Private LoansThe most common funding source for graduate education, federal and private loans enable students to borrow money to fund their studies. The federal government offers different types of loans with varying interest rates and repayment options, including subsidized loans for students who demonstrate financial need. Private lenders, such as banks, also offer loans, but these typically come with higher interest rates than federal loans.
Employer AssistanceSome businesses develop their workforce by sending employees back to school, potentially covering some or all tuition expenses for an online MBA. Employer assistance for graduate education may enable students to earn their MBA degree online while still working, applying course learning directly to their career. Students should consult their employers to identify these opportunities.
ScholarshipsLike grants, scholarships do not require repayment. Many organizations offer scholarships, including nonprofits, professional associations, community organizations, and private businesses. Some scholarships serve applicants of specific backgrounds or professional fields. Websites such as Unigo and Niche compile searchable scholarship listings.
Work StudyWork-study programs pay students to work using federal funds. Work-study opportunities typically consider financial need, and schools may try to match students with work-study jobs relevant to their academic and professional interests. Colleges can help students identify appropriate work-study opportunities.
Veteran BenefitsMilitary veterans can receive higher education funding through the GI Bill, which provides support for undergraduate and graduate students. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides direct funding for tuition, academic fees, textbooks, and housing expenses, with funds disbursed monthly to eligible veterans.
"An MBA program is something that I am determined to accomplish because I know I am worthy of it." 49, African American, Female, Wright state university
“I would definitely do an MBA program again as I have gained valuable and marketable skills to enhance my career.” 22, Asian, Female, Georgia Southern University
"An MBA program was worth it to meet the people I met, to learn and experience the things I did, and to prove I’m a better learner and student than I was 10 years ago." 34, caucasian, Male, Auburn University
"I’m not sure if I would get an MBA degree. Would I get it knowing what I know now? No. I’m in law enforcement and I don’t need it. It just depends. If I didn’t know I’d end up in law enforcement and was still trying to figure everything out then yeah I would get an MBA. You need more choices besides “yes or no.” 24, African American, Male, LSU
"I learned a lot during my program but I'm not sure if it was worth it or not." 44, Asian, Female, Portland State University
How to Make an MBA More Affordable
Online MBA costs vary widely according to factors such as program length, residency, and enrollment status. Careful research can help students identify the most affordable options. The list below highlights several ways that students can reduce online MBA expenses.
Is an MBA worth it?: Graduated Repsonses
Among the 343 students surveyed in the AffordableCollegesOnline study, 70% (256) of students indicated that their salaries increased. However, 91% (311) of students believed their salary would increase from an MBA. When asked if respondents could go back, would they get their MBA again, 87% of surveyed students responded yes. Below are responses from surveyed MBA graduates:
What Type of MBA is the Most Affordable
|Type of MBA||Number of MBA Students||Total Spent on MBA||Average MBA Cost||MBA Cost vs Total Average||Percent Difference|
|General MBA (no specialization or concentration)||84||$2,524,000.00||$30,047.62||-$3,649.17||-10.83%|
All data was collected between 6/14/21 and 7/3/21. Respondents were fielded by Lucid LLC. All 343 respondents in the study were screened by multiple quality checks, including systems like Relevant ID, and responses were manually reviewed to ensure consistency and accuracy. Survey participants include 169 currently enrolled MBA students and 174 graduates from MBA programs within the past 6 years. Respondents are between 21 and 78 years of age and identified as 45% Female, 54% Male, and 1% non-binary.
Student testimonials have generally been obtained with the offer of compensation for completion of a survey (e.g., entrance into a gift card drawing). Such testimonials are the opinions of such students and surveys are designed to avoid influencing such testimonials either positively or negatively. All student respondents were supplied by Lucid LLC.
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