There's no doubt that getting your online MBA is an investment in both time and money. However, it may not be as expensive as you think. Tuition for online MBA programs varies greatly depending on whether you're attending a public or private institution, how well known the school and business programs are and what type of online MBA program you've chosen.
Keep in mind that there are also many financing options available to help defray the costs of your education.
Regional vs. AACSB Accredited Online MBA Programs
School and program accreditation is important for many reasons. First, it ensures that schools meet certain standards and that your education will be of high quality. You also generally need to go to an accredited college or university to qualify for financial aid.
But there are other things to consider as well:
- If you change schools, your credits may not transfer if your first school wasn't accredited. You'll spend more time and money if you need to take courses again.
- Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have a degree from an accredited school.
There are two main types of accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation and regional accreditation.
Although regional accreditation might sound less important, it's actually the gold standard for schools and programs. If you need to know whether a school you're considering is regionally accredited, you can check the U.S. Department of Education website, which has a list of regional accrediting agencies.
A regionally accredited school meets the standards of one of the following accrediting bodies:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Association of Schools and of Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
AACSB accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. Fewer than 5 percent of the world's 13,000 business programs have earned AACSB Accreditation.
There are other accrediting bodies as well, such as the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP).
Learn more about accreditation by visiting our business school accreditation page.
Public vs. Private Online MBA Costs
Among AACSB-accredited distance learning programs, University of Massachusetts - Amherst Online MBA will cost you $32,175, James Madison University's MBA is $37,200 ($775 per credit x 48 credits), and Duke University's program is priced at $122,500. (These figures are for tuition only; other fees may be required or suggested.)
Public universities offering AACSB-accredited distance learning programs vary greatly as far as tuition: in-state residents can pay as little as $13,253 at Southeast Missouri State University, $21,096 for Washington State University's online MBA, or $35,140 for Ohio University's online MBA program.
Financial Aid Options
The federal government enables students enrolled in online degree programs to become eligible for federal financial aid programs. As long as you are enrolled in a degree-granting program, such as an MBA, you can apply for the same financial aid programs as traditional classroom students. Private loans, scholarships and grants are also available to help you finance your online education. Learn more about your financial aid options by visiting our Financial Aid Resource Center.
Sources: www.isenberg.umass.edu/programs/masters/mba/online/tuition-and-aid, www.jmu.edu/cob/mba/courses_mba.shtml, www.usnews.com/education/online-education/james-madison-university-OBUS0288/mba, www.fuqua.duke.edu/programs/duke_mba/weekend-mba/admissions/cost-and-financial-aid, www.semo.edu/sfs/fee-schedule.html, www.semo.edu/mba/curriculum.html, https://online.wsu.edu/currentStudent/finances/tuitionFees.aspx, http://www.semo.edu/mba/curriculum.html, http://onlinemba.ohio.edu