According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), graduate business programs have consistently ranked as the most popular master's degrees. Business programs like the MBA prepare you for prestigious executive and managerial positions. It's a distinguished and competitive degree program — so how much does an MBA cost?
We gathered the most recent data from top schools to show you what you can expect to pay for an MBA. Below, we cover tuition, extra expenses, and payment options.
How much is an MBA?
The NCES reported the average annual cost for graduate programs as $19,792 for the 2019-2020 school year. However, many schools have program-specific tuition for MBA degrees, raising the overall cost.
Using data from colleges located across the U.S., we found the average annual in-state tuition for MBA programs is about $36,100. The entire two-year program averages $72,200. Out-of-state tuition averages $49,200 per year, or $98,400 for the entire degree.
Affordable options exist. For instance, Louisiana State University charges only $18,400 yearly for state residents. Southern New Hampshire University offers a $21,000 flat rate for its one-year program. University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Florida both charge under $30,000 each year for in-state tuition.
If you want to attend a famous business school, the cost may be much higher. Johns Hopkins University charges $1,650 per credit, totaling over $89,000 for the 54-credit MBA program. The University of Texas at Austin's prestigious MBA program costs $52,550 per year, or $105,100 total.
But remember, tuition is only part of an MBA's price tag.
Each institution covers costs differently, but you can expect to pay a few thousand dollars in fees each year. Common fees and their estimated cost include:
- Program fees: $400
- Textbooks: $1,150
- Activity fees: $1,500
- Orientation fees: $345
- Student fees: $1,000
The exact costs vary by school.
For example, some institutions have eliminated textbook expenses with digital textbooks. Others require national and international travel for experiential learning, which could add thousands in costs.
If you plan to study full-time, you also need to consider the cost of housing, which may reach over $12,000. Other major expenses include buying a laptop and healthcare plans through the university. Students who have a vehicle also need to consider parking passes.
You should also consider non-monetary costs, such as taking the time to study. You might need to work fewer hours or spend less time with family.
These expenses can raise the total MBA cost by several thousand dollars. However, you may avoid some fees through an online MBA.
How much does an online MBA cost?
Online MBAs typically cost the same or less than their on-campus counterparts. You may find online MBA programs more cost-effective because some institutions charge all students a flat rate or in-state tuition.
Studying online can remove campus housing, meal plans, activities, and parking expenses. For example, Carnegie Mellon University charges the same tuition for its online and in-person MBA programs but lowers the annual fees from $906 to $440.
However, each institution is unique, and you might find that schools charge more for online classes to cover technology expenses. The University of Florida charges online students almost $2,000 in fees and over double the in-state tuition. However, these expenses total less than out-of-state tuition, so non-residents may still save money with online courses.
Paying for your MBA
Universities often offer many degree plans to serve working professionals and potentially lower costs.
Accelerated programs generally last one year, possibly reducing travel, housing, and university fees.
If you have a bachelor's degree, you can apply to fast-track programs that accept relevant undergraduate credits. You take fewer classes for the MBA degree, resulting in lower tuition.
Many working professionals opt for part-time programs with evening, weekend, or online classes. These programs spread tuition costs across more than two years. Online or part-time programs may work well if you want to keep your current income while finishing your master's degree.
Other common payment methods include the following:
- Private and federal loans
- Work-study programs
Many institutions award merit and need-based scholarships to MBA students. The schools generally award these MBA scholarships during the admissions process after reviewing work experience, GMAT or GRE scores, undergraduate transcripts, and any required essays or recommendation letters.
Is an MBA worth it?
Before investing in an MBA, ensure the program covers the skills and concentrations you need for your career path.
So, is an MBA worth it? If you want to start your own company, land executive roles, or pursue prestigious business careers, an MBA is often worth the investment.
An MBA is one of the most popular graduate degrees available. You can expect most MBA programs to cost between $20,000 and $100,000 for the entire degree.
However, flexible program options and scholarship opportunities can make your MBA program affordable. Explore the diverse MBA programs available to see which best fits your interests and budget.