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How Much Does an Online MBA Cost?


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, and the investment will pay off later on down the line. So, how much does an online MBA cost? Let's break it down.

Tuition for online MBA programs varies greatly depending on whether you're attending a public or private institution, a for-profit or not-for-profit school, how well known the school and business programs are, and what type of online MBA program you've chosen. Type of program may include an accelerated MBA or a flexible MBA program that includes weekends, for example.

No matter which you choose, keep in mind that there are also many financing options available to help defray the costs of your education. But make sure whichever online MBA program you select is accredited.

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, with periodic scrutiny and vetting coming from professionals in related business fields who ensure curriculum is timely and correct. You also generally need to go to an accredited college or university to qualify for federal 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 searchable database 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 Accreditation Commission
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

AACSB accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. Approximately 817 business schools in 53 countries have currently earned AACSB Accreditation, according to the AACSB website, with 186 institutions holding additional specialized accreditation for their accounting programs.

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 Cost

The National Center for Education Statistics publishes an in-depth table of national median grad school program tuition by school year and school type. Before we look at specific graduate MBA programs and B-schools, take a look at the average yearly tuitions for 2016:

Private Grad SchoolPublic Grad SchoolNon-Profit Grad School

U.S. News & World Report's Best Online MBA Programs for 2018 offers a list of the top online MBA programs in the country, along with cost per credit. If you estimate that the average MBA degree program requires between 48 and 62 credits to complete, you can estimate just what your online MBA will cost. Of note is the majority of these online school programs report nearly all their students are employed when they enroll. Take a look at the top five schools:

Online MBA SchoolCost Per Credit
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, PA$1,998 per credit
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN$1,330 per credit
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC$1,728 per credit
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ$1,216 per credit
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL$1,255 per credit

Here are some other online MBA schools to consider:

Online MBA SchoolEstimated Cost of Program, Except Where Noted
Colorado Technical University, Colorado Springs, CO$28,080
Purdue University Global, West Lafayette, IN$1,550 per term
Northcentral University, Scottsdale, AZ$29,680
Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Baltimore, MDGlobal MBA, $59,875 per year for two-year program; Flexible MBA, $1,370 per credit
University of Delaware, Newark, DE$35,750

Financial Aid Options

Whether you're getting an on-campus or online MBA, cost of tuition doesn't have to be a burden. 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.usnews.com/education/online-education/mba, nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d16/tables/dt16_330.50.asp?current=yes