Online MBA: The Flexibility of an Online Program
If you have work or family responsibilities, an online MBA program might be just the thing to earn your degree.
You’ve decided it’s time to enhance your business career and get your MBA. An online MBA degree makes the most sense for your already packed schedule, what with your career and family obligations, but will the quality be equivalent to a traditional MBA? Do online MBAs make a difference to employers?
Are all online MBA programs created equal?
There are nearly 150 accredited online MBA degree programs available on the market currently. Make sure you carefully evaluate each school and program. Visit the school, talk to the professors, talk to recent graduates and current students. Learn about their education delivery format. Use the Internet to research the schools’ character. Reputation matters, but you’ll pay for it. Duke University’s acclaimed Global Executive MBA program costs participants over $158,000 beginning in 2013.
Bottom line, it’s imperative that you earn your MBA from a school that is accredited. The top distance learning programs will be accredited regionally and accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which includes online MBA programs from University of Michigan, Texas A & M University, Florida State University, University of Colorado and Wayne State University as well as many other schools.
What types of online programs are there?
Here are some of the most common online MBA programs. You’ll see they aren’t very different from traditional school offerings:
- Online MBA / Distance MBA / WebFlex MBA: The majority of MBA degrees online are 100 percent online with no on-campus requirements. Distance courses are generally accessible 24 hours a day.
- Low Residency / Hybrid MBA: Combining online and classroom formats, these programs aim to offer the best of both worlds. Low residency programs usually require a concentrated period of contact time on campus (i.e. one week per quarter or semester). Hybrid programs tend to meet more frequently; common configurations are one weekend per month or alternate Saturdays.
- Executive MBA Degree Online: Executive programs usually require at least five years of work experience.
- Accelerated MBA Degree Online: Many accelerated programs can be completed in just 10 months. Accelerated programs often give credit for prior college credits and work experience.
What will my online MBA cost? Is there financial aid available?
Out of 93 accredited online MBA degrees in a survey by GetEducated.com, the average cost of a regionally accredited MBA is $37,011 while programs accredited by a specialized accrediting agency such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) averaged under $36,000.
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. Accreditation will play a key in your financial aid allowance however. Private loans, scholarships and grants are also available to help you finance your online education.
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