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How much does an MBA cost?

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Welcome to Part 5 of my series – MBA Options. In Part 4 I covered the importance of B-school rankings. Now, we will get down to the cost issues.

MBA programs all have one thing in common – they are expensive. Of course, the term expensive is relative. It is probably not expensive if you are awarded a full-scholarship or your employer is paying for your MBA. But if you are paying out of pocket, then chances are, it qualifies for the term “expensive!”

How much does an MBA cost?

Many top tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Kellogg, Wharton, etc. cost around $40,000 per year, for two years. By the time you account for tuition, books, fees, and living expenses, the total is usually well over $100,000 for the entire program. While this is a lot of money, most people who graduate from these programs earn a substantial salary in their post MBA employment.

There are several other levels of costs for MBA programs. I investigated several programs that cost around $20,000 per year, and several that were right around $10,000 per year. Depending on whether or not you go full-time or have other expenses, the entire cost for these MBA programs can range anywhere from $20,000-50,000 for the two year program. Keep in mind these are only averages, your mileage may vary.

So how much does an MBA cost? Anywhere from around $20,000 – 100,000.

How will you pay for your MBA Program?

Assuming you don’t have the money in savings, have an employer footing the bill, or have a rich uncle who offers to pay your costs, here are some options to pay for your MBA:

Scholarships: Many schools offer robust scholarship packages based on merit or need. It is always a good idea to investigate the availability of scholarships. You may just get one!

Grants: Grants are wonderful because they do not have to be repaid. There are grants to be had from schools, as well as at the federal, state, and local level. Most grants are need based, but there are others that are not.

Work/Study Programs: These are a great way to help pay your tuition or living expenses while attending school. Some schools offer you the chance to teach an undergrad course, or do other work in the school which will lower your tuition and give you a stipend. These programs can be very competitive.

Student Loans: Loans are the least favorable option from this list because you must repay them, and you may not qualify for a good interest rate. The good news is, many banks are willing to extend loans for MBA students because they know that once you graduate, you should be in line for a nice payday.

GI Bill: This is only available to military members and veterans, and if you qualify for it, this is a great source of college funds. While it will probably not cover the entire cost of your education, especially at a top tier MBA program, it is definitely a nice benefit to have. The best thing is, the money is given to you in the form of a check so you can use it for tuition, books, fees, living expenses, or anything else.

Other financial aid: Sometimes you need to get creative to find other sources of money. The Internet and your admissions office will be the places to look.

Negotiate: Sometimes, your negotiation skills may help you pay your tuition. If you have been accepted to a school you would really like to go to, but they offer you a smaller financial aid package than another school, you may be able to negotiate. This will not always work, but it can’t hurt to try.

How much will an MBA cost and is it worth it?

Asking how much an MBA program costs is like asking how much a car costs. It depends on the model you get. For an MBA program, you will likely spend between $20,000-100,000. MBA programs can be very expensive, but if you work hard or are lucky, you may be able to find alternate sources of funding and graduate with little debt.

Now the question remains… is an MBA worth the cost? Stay tuned for my next installment – MBA Options Part 6: MBA: Return on Investment.

Here is the rest of my series on selecting an MBA program:


Published or updated February 24, 2010.
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1 prince

how much money required for mba?

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