What Does an Online MBA Cost? Paying for Tuition, Fees & Other Common Expenses

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.

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FAQ


  • How long does it take to complete an MBA?

    Most MBA online programs take about 18-24 months to complete. Part-time programs may increase this timeframe, while accelerated programs may decrease it.


  • Is an online MBA worth it?

    An online MBA prepares students for lucrative roles in diverse fields, making the degree a worthwhile investment for many students.


  • Does an MBA increase your salary?

    Many MBA graduates report doubling their salaries after earning the degree, with average increases of around $70,000-$84,000 annually.


  • Can I complete my MBA completely online?

    Many schools allow students to complete their MBA online. Other online programs may include some on-campus elements or other in-person requirements.


  • How much does an online MBA cost?

    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.


Calculating the Cost of a College Degree



Our college affordability calculator factors in tuition, expected financial aid, cost of living, and secondary expenses to help students determine how much they can afford to pay for a degree.

How Much Does an MBA Cost?

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.

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.


  • Federal and State Grants

    Federal 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 Loans

    The 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 Assistance

    Some 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.


  • Scholarships

    Like 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 Study

    Work-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 Benefits

    Military 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.


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.


  • Earn an Accelerated MBA

    Many MBA programs offer accelerated tracks for students who want to spend less time in school. These programs feature a heavier course load spread over fewer total semesters, sometimes enabling candidates to graduate in as little as one year. Accelerated programs may offer lower total tuition costs because students spend less time in school.

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  • Attend an in-State Public University

    Many public colleges 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 rates to all online students regardless of where they reside.

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  • Work While Attending School

    Many MBA programs cater to working professionals. Online, part-time, and evening and weekend programs often give students the flexibility to continue working while earning their degree.

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  • Pay Student Loans While Attending School

    Student loans typically do not require repayment until six months after graduation, but MBA candidates can start repaying their loans before finishing their degree to minimize interest.

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MBA Resources




  • AACSB A global nonprofit focused on business education, the AACSB accredits academic business programs and fosters a community of global business leaders and educators. The organization hosts professional events and advocates for business education.
  • American Management Association (AMA) One of the premier professional organizations for business professionals, the AMA hosts professional events, facilitates networking opportunities, and produces business publications. The organization offers discounted memberships to business students.
  • Business Professionals of America Serving more than 45,000 members across the country, BPA offers professional development, scholarship, and networking opportunities to learners studying business management, finance, information technology, and related fields.
  • GMAT Prep The standard admission exam for graduate business programs, the GMAT is an important component of many MBA applications. GMAT Prep offers comprehensive test preparation resources, including practice exams and study strategies.

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