How Much Does an MBA Cost? Full Statistics

The average MBA program will run $55,000, but costs vary. Top-tier programs cost nearly $120,000 a year. In-state public schools and online MBAs can be less expensive options.
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Lyss Welding
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Lyss Welding is a higher education analyst and senior editor for BestColleges who specializes in translating massive data sets and finding statistics that matter to students. Lyss has worked in academic research, curriculum design, and program evalua...
Updated on October 13, 2023
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Jordan Stewart-Rozema writes data-driven education content focusing on higher education trends, student finances, and alternative education pathways such as coding bootcamps. She previously worked to promote online learning and media literacy educati...
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Data Summary

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    The average total cost of an MBA is about $27,600 a year, or roughly $55,200 for a full two-year program.[1]
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    Full-time, in-person programs cost $43,400 a year on average.[2]
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    Part-time, online programs cost $14,500 a year on average.[3]
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    Top-ranked private university MBA programs may charge up to five times as much as the average MBA costs. These schools' tuition and fees alone cost $80,000-$85,000 a year.
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    MBAs tend to be costlier than general master of arts or science programs.Note Reference [1]
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    MBAs are expensive but can pay off. The average MBA degree-holder salary was $95,000 in April 2023.[4]

If you're considering earning a master's in business administration (MBA), chances are you've got a head for dollars and cents. In this article, we'll cover the full cost of earning an MBA and how costs differ — sometimes enormously — across different program types.

So let's get down to business.

How Much Does the Average MBA Cost?

According to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data, MBA students paid an average of $27,600 a year for an MBA program in 2015-2016.Note Reference [1] That includes:

  • $14,700 in tuition and fees
  • Nearly $13,000 in other expenses, including books, supplies, housing and living expenses, transportation, and personal expenses.

Keep in mind that most MBA programs take about two years to complete. So, the average MBA program cost a total of roughly $55,200.

Average Cost for Online vs. In-Person MBAs

On average, online MBA programs are less expensive than in-person programs.

Full-time students may see the most savings in online options compared to in-person programs.

  • The average total cost of a part-time online MBA program is about $14,500 a year.
  • The average total cost of a full-time online MBA program is about $28,500 a year.

Average Cost of Full-Time vs. Part-Time MBA Programs

Part-time time students pay less per year than full-time students but are enrolled for longer.

On average, full-time students pay over three times as much as part-time students on annual tuition, roughly $23,000 versus $7,000 a year.[5]

Full-time students may forfeit earnings while in school if they can't work and attend school full time. However, full-time students earn their degrees faster than part-time students and, theoretically, can sooner compete for higher-paying jobs.

Did You Know…

Some schools offer one-year MBA programs.

One-year MBA programs tend to charge more tuition than one year of a two-year MBA. The tradeoff is that you'll earn your degree — and can start working — faster.

Popular Online MBA Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

MBA Costs Compared to Other Master's Programs

An MBA typically costs more than a general master of art or science. However, it's less expensive than some master's programs, like a master of social work or a master of fine arts.

Behind the Numbers

To find the average MBA cost, we used PowerStats to analyze data NCES collected in a nationally representative study of graduate students called the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS). The NPSAS uses multiple data sources, including student interviews, school records, and government data.

In the study, schools reported what MBA students paid in tuition. Schools also estimated non-tuition expenses for full-time, full-year MBA students, including books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses. The most recent data available from this study come from the 2015-2016 school year.

Other sections in this report list current tuition rates at individual MBA programs. In those instances, we've hyperlinked to programs' websites.

MBA Costs at Top-Ranked Schools

Prestigious MBA programs, such as those at Ivy League institutions and other top-ranked schools, charge higher-than-average tuition. Top-ranked online programs tend to be more affordable than in-person programs.

MBA Costs at Top-Ranked Business Programs

  • Most top-ranked MBA programs cost $80,000-$85,000 a year for tuition and fees alone.
  • That's over five times as much as the average cost of MBA tuition and fees.
  • These programs cost roughly $112,000-$125,000 a year in total, including tuition, fees, course materials, food and housing, and other expenses.
  • In the 2022-2023 school year, tuition and fees for a Stanford MBA cost about $78,500 yearly.
  • Tuition and fees for a Harvard MBA cost roughly $81,000 per year.
  • Tuition and fees for an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School cost nearly $85,000.

The table below shows top-ranked business schools' current tuition charges and total cost estimates for single first-year, full-time, in-person MBA students.

MBA Costs at Top-Ranked Business Programs
School Annual Tuition and Fees Before Financial Aid Total Annual Cost Before Aid
Columbia University $84,575 $122,460
Dartmouth University (Tuck) $82,721 $120,004-$124,309
Harvard University $81,374 $112,764
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) $141,600 $192,169
New York University (Stern) $84,004 $123,253
Northwestern University (Kellogg) $85,435 $117,259
Stanford University $78,573 $124,389
University of Chicago (Booth) $81,863 $115,062
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) $84,874 $118,568
Yale University (School of Management) $82,700 $114,816
Note: MIT's Sloan School of Management offers a one-year MBA program. So, these figures represent the full program cost.

MBA Costs for the Best Online Programs

The top-ranked online MBA programs may be costlier than average. Sometimes, tuition alone at these programs exceeds other MBA programs' total cost.

We collected tuition data from our best online MBA programs. The average tuition for MBA programs on our top 10 list is $29,000-$39,000, depending on residency status.

Average Tuition for Top Online MBA Programs
School In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition
University of Florida (Warrington) $4,477 $25,694
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler) $7,019 $34,198
University of Southern California (Marshall) $59,260 $59,260
Villanova University $56,730 $56,730
Rice University (Jones) $50,310 $50,310
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach $36,456 $36,456
Johns Hopkins University (Carey) $54,160 $54,160
Florida International University $4,721 $16,529
Florida State University $4,640 $19,084
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign $14,317 $33,824

Public vs. Private School MBAs

MBA programs at public colleges typically cost less than private nonprofit schools.[6]

  • Average MBA tuition and fees at public colleges cost roughly half of private nonprofit MBA program tuition and fees, about $9,900 versus $19,200.
  • On average, private for-profit MBA programs are slightly less expensive than public MBA programs.

However, you should factor in your financial aid offer from prospective schools. MBA programs at private colleges may offer grants and scholarships that can offset higher costs.

In fact, according to data from NCES:Note Reference [6]

  • MBA programs at private nonprofit colleges offer the highest total average financial aid package and the highest amount when calculated as a percentage of program tuition.
  • MBA programs at private for-profit colleges offer the least financial aid and the least amount when calculated as a percentage of tuition.

Make sure you take advantage of any financial aid you qualify for. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for federal grants or financial aid from your prospective school.

In-State Students Save Money at Public College MBA Programs

Like undergraduate students, MBA students can save money by attending public colleges in state.

For example, check out the savings at some of these highly ranked MBA programs at public universities. Tuition and fees for in-state students cost $3,000-$17,000 less than for out-of-state students. Usually, the savings are between $5,000-$9,000.

Annual Tuition and Fees for Full-Time, First-Year Students, Residents vs. Non-Residents
School In-State Tuition and Fees Out-of-State Tuition and Fees
University of California, Berkeley (Haas) $67,424 $76,433
University of Michigan (Ross) $68,362 $73,362
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Kenan Flagler) $54,747 $72,559
University of Texas, Austin (McCombs) $51,020 $56,572
University of Virginia (Darden) $75,600 $78,600

Costs Beyond Tuition

When looking at MBA costs, it's important to consider expenses beyond tuition alone. Take the following categories for example.

Books: $1,000 a year

In 2015-2016, MBA students reported spending an average of $996 on required course materials, including textbooks, e-books, technology, supplies, and other materials.Note Reference [1]

Healthcare: $2,500-$5,000 yearly or more

Find out if your prospective MBA program requires you to purchase student health insurance. Some programs may waive health insurance fees if you already have insurance through a job. In-person programs may charge a fee for student health services.

Living Expenses: $15,000-$30,000 a year

According to ApartmentList March 2023 state-level rent estimates, renting an apartment in the U.S. typically costs $1,000-$1,500 a month, or $12,000-$18,000 a year.[7] Depending on where you live, on-campus housing may be more or less expensive.

The USDA estimates that on a moderate food budget, folks spend about $300-$400 a month on food, which is $3,600-$4,800 a year.[8]

In addition, you'll want to consider transportation costs for getting to and from an in-person program and other day-to-day living expenses.

Opportunity Costs: $140,000 or two years of missed salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the typical bachelor's degree holder earns nearly $140,000 in two years of working.[9] If you leave a job to attend school full time, you're not just paying for your program, you're also not earning income.

MBA Cost Over the Years

What students pay for an MBA has increased over the years.

  • In 2004, MBA students reported paying roughly $7,000 per year in tuition and fees. They paid twice as much in 2016.[10]
  • That's faster than the rise in undergraduate tuition, which grew from approximately $9,000 to $15,000 in the same period.[11] is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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