How Much Does an MBA Cost?

Our guide outlines the cost of an MBA, including financial aid options and ways to make an online MBA more affordable.

February 4, 2022 , Modified on May 26, 2022

How Much Does an MBA Cost?

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MBA Cost at a Glance

Online MBA costs at top-ranked programs can exceed $100,000. See below for the results of our 2021 MBA Student Survey.


Of 343 students surveyed, the average cost for an MBA was $33,700


How Much Does an MBA Cost?

MBA program costs vary depending on many factors. We discuss these factors in the section below. Students who want to rise as leaders in the business field or succeed as entrepreneurs can pursue an MBA. This degree covers many business disciplines, like marketing, accounting, and operation logistics.

Degree-seekers should thoughtfully budget for their MBA. Master's degree-holders graduate with an average debt of $71,287. Graduate student debt measures 142% higher than the average debt balance for all student borrowers.

Factors That Influence MBA Cost

Many factors influence how much schools charge for their degrees. Read on to learn about some of these factors.

Public schools typically charge less than for-profit and nonprofit private schools. Nonprofit private colleges usually cost more than for-profit private schools. Students pursuing a master's at a public school spend an average of $8,950 per year on tuition. Learners attending private schools spend $29,670.

Students may incur lower MBA costs by pursuing their degree online. Accelerated programs may also cost less. These programs usually require fewer credits, and many schools charge per-credit tuition.

Whether students enroll full time or part time also impacts MBA costs. Learners can avoid rising tuition costs by finishing a degree quickly. However, full-time students possess less free time to work. These students may need to rely on loans to pay for living expenses. Part-time students often work during their studies. These learners can continue earning a salary while completing their degree.

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Survey Responses From 383 MBA Students

We surveyed 383 MBA students to learn how certain factors influence MBA cost. Our findings reveal that a student's characteristics and background may also impact the price. See our findings below.

How Was Your MBA Offered?
Answer Total Avg. Cost +/- Avg % Diff
On Campus 41 $39,050 +$5,350 +15.9%
Online 107 $29,040 -$4,660 -13.8%
Hybrid (less than 50% in person) 106 $41,610 +$7,920 +23.5%
Mostly online 89 $27,400 -$6,290 -18.7%
Are You a First-Generation MBA Student?
Answer Total MBA Cost Cost vs. Avg.
No 154 $29,175 -13.4%
Yes 189 $37,380 +10.9%
Ethnic Background and Heritage
Ethnicity Total Students Avg. Spent on MBA Cost vs. Avg.
African American 29 $29,230 -13.3%
Asian 22 $36,320 +7.8%
White 260 $33,780 +0.2%
Latino/a 19 $35,210 +4.5%
Multiracial 2 $74,000 +119.6%
Undisclosed 1 $20,000 -40.7%
Gender Identity - Female
Female Students Avg. Spent Cost vs. Avg.
African American 23 $40,580 +20.4%
Asian 12 $24,390 -27.6%
White 105 $36,970 +9.7%
Latina 15 $42,330 +25.6%
Multiracial 1 $28,000 -16.9%
All 156 $35,850 +6.4%
Gender Identity - Male
Male Students Avg. Spent Cost vs. Avg.
African American 16 $36,190 -7.4%
Asian 10 $31,200 -6.7%
White 152 $31,410 -6.7%
Latino 4 $8,500 -74.8%
Multiracial 1 $120,000 +256.1%
Undisclosed 1 $20,000 -40.7%
All 184 $31,740 -5.81%
Gender Identity - Nonbinary
Nonbinary Students Avg. Spent Cost vs. Avg.
White 3 $41,670 +23.7%

Frequently Asked Questions About MBA Costs

Will an MBA Increase My Salary?

Earning an MBA does not guarantee a raise. However, the degree may lead to a higher salary. Professionals with an MBA earn an average annual salary of $91,000, according to Jan. 2022 Payscale data. Professionals with a bachelor's in business administration earn $69,000.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an MBA?

Full-time students can complete an MBA in two years. Learners in accelerated programs only need 12 months. Part-time degree-seekers take longer to earn an MBA. Some schools offer a 4+1 MBA program, where students can earn a bachelor's degree and an MBA in five years.

Can I Complete My MBA Fully Online?

Yes. Many schools offer fully online programs. However, some programs include in-person components like internships or capstone projects.

What Is the Average Cost of an MBA?

MBA costs vary. However, the average cost is $66,300, according to EducationData.org.


AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Paying For Your Online MBA

Degree-seekers can cover their MBA costs in many ways, including scholarships and loans. According to our survey, students paid for their MBA in the following ways:

Students can complete the FAFSA to learn their eligibility for federal and state grants. Learners do not repay grants. However, some grants include employment requirements post-graduation. The government typically awards grants on a financial-need basis. States and the federal government provide grants. Learners can renew some grants.

Learners can apply for federal loans by completing the FAFSA. Federal loans come in unsubsidized and subsidized versions. Subsidized loans require financial need. These loans do not start gathering interest until after graduation. Private organizations also offer loans. Keep in mind that private loans and refinanced loans do not qualify for federal student forgiveness programs.

Some employers contribute to employees' education. They typically only do so if employees gain knowledge that benefits the organization. Employer-assistance programs may cover a portion or all of a degree's cost. Learners may need to commit to working for the organization for a set number of years after graduation.

Scholarships provide free money to help cover MBA costs. Schools and private organizations offer scholarships. Students may qualify based on financial need or academic merit. Applicants typically submit essays, official transcripts, and recommendation letters.

Some schools offer work-study opportunities. Participants complete tasks for their school. Their income goes directly toward tuition. Common work-study positions include receptionist and office assistant. Learners can also apply for government-funded work studies by completing the FAFSA.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides education benefits for veterans and their dependents. The VA does so under the GI Bill®. Learners can use these funds on tuition, fees, and books. Some VA funds may apply toward housing costs. Veterans receive a set amount of funds. They can use this money to earn a degree.

What Type of MBA is Most Affordable?

MBA Program Price Comparison
MBA Type Number of Students Total Spent on MBA Average MBA Cost MBA Cost vs. Total Average Percent Difference
Entrepreneurship 16 $599,000 $37,440 +$3,740 11.1%
Finance 73 $2,687,000 $36,810 +$3,110 9.2%
General MBA (no specialty) 84 $2,524,000 $30,050 -$3,650 -10.8%
Healthcare 7 $244,000 $34,860 +$1,160 3.4%
Human Resources 9 $327,000 $36,330 +$2,640 7.8%
Information Security 2 $105,000 $52,500 +$18,800 55.8%
Information Technology 48 $999,000 $20,810 -$12,880 -38.2%
International Business 10 $234,000 $23,400 -$10,300 -30.5%
Management 69 $2,871,000 $41,610 +$7,910 23.5%
Marketing 12 $508,000 $42,330 +$8,640 25.6%
Other 11 $413,000 $37,540 +$3,850 11.4%
Real Estate 2 $47,000 $23,500 -$10,200 -30.3%
Grand Total 343 $11,558,000 $33,700

How to Make an MBA More Affordable

Despite rising interest rates and college expenses, students can help lower their MBA degree costs. We explain how in this section.

Students who earn an accelerated degree may spend less than other learners. However, these learners may not have time to work during their studies. As a result, they may need to borrow money to cover living expenses.

Public schools receive state tax funds to subsidize costs. For this reason, these schools can charge less to students, especially in-state students. In-state learners come from households that make tax contributions that fund the school. However, some schools charge all enrollees in-state tuition, regardless of residency.

Part-time degree-seekers can often continue working full time. Even full-time students can work part time. They can use their paychecks to pay for living expenses and loan balances.

Federal loans do not require repayment until after graduation. However, learners should consider making payments while in school. This can help them avoid high loan payments. Borrowers should prioritize paying off unsubsidized loans with the highest interest rates first. These loans begin accumulating interest right away.

MBA Graduates Respond: Is an MBA Worth It?

Among the 343 students surveyed in the Affordable Colleges Online 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 and get their MBA again, 87% said yes. See below for some responses from MBA graduates.

"I am determined to complete an MBA because I know I am worth 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, white, male, Auburn University

"I'm not sure if I would get an MBA degree. I'm in law enforcement and I don't need it. If I didn't know I'd end up in law enforcement and was still trying to figure everything out, then I would get an MBA."

–24, African American, male, Louisiana State University

"I learned a lot during my program, but I'm not sure if it was worth it."

–44, Asian, female, Portland State University

MBA Resources

Learners should look for AACSB-accredited MBA programs. This accrediting agency conducts quality assessments for MBA programs. AMA offers a discounted student member rate. Members can access newsletters and a library of free lessons. They also receive conference discounts. Students involved with BPA can complete education courses that lead to certification. BPA also offers conferences that provide networking opportunities. Many MBA programs require applicants to pass the GMAT. Students can use practice exams and study guides to prepare for the exam.

Survey Methodology

All data was collected between June 14, 2021 and July 3, 2021. Respondents were fielded by Lucid LLC. All 343 respondents were screened by multiple quality checks, including systems like Relevant ID. 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 six years. Respondents are between the ages of 21 and 78. Identifications include 45% female, 54% male, and 1% nonbinary.

Student testimonials have generally been obtained with the offer of compensation for survey completion (e.g., entrance into a gift card drawing). Such testimonials are the opinions of such students. Surveys are designed to avoid influencing such testimonials either positively or negatively. All student respondents were supplied by Lucid LLC.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Portrait of Alexandra Tapia, MBA

Alexandra Tapia, MBA

Alexandra has reached many populations throughout her career. She's studied recidivism, helped prior criminal offenders reintegrate into society, and built trusting relationships while working at a homeless shelter. Her passion for education also shines through her work. She taught younger children for many years, but has since turned her focus to higher education. She loves collaborating with others to be a disruptor in the education industry, creating and delivering programs that are unlike others — all while building a better future for her clients and students.

Tapia is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network.

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