How Much Does an MBA Cost? Full Statistics

The average MBA program will run about $63,000, but costs vary. Top-tier programs cost around $125,000 a year. In-state public schools and online MBAs can be less expensive options.
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Updated on June 13, 2024
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Data Summary

  • The average total cost of an MBA is about $31,300 a year, or roughly $62,600 for a full two-year program.Note Reference [1]
  • Full-time, in-person programs cost $46,700 a year on average.Note Reference [2]
  • Part-time, online programs cost $16,000 a year on average.Note Reference [3]
  • 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 $83,000-$90,000 a year.
  • MBAs tend to be costlier than general master of arts or science programs.Note Reference [1]
  • MBAs are expensive but can pay off. The average MBA degree-holder salary was $97,000 in June 2024.Note Reference [3]

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 $31,300 a year for an MBA program in 2020.Note Reference [1] That includes:

  • $17,100 in tuition and fees
  • Roughly $14,200 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 $62,600.

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 $16,000 a year.
  • The average total cost of a full-time online MBA program is about $26,110 a year.

Average Cost for Full-Time vs. Part-Time MBAs

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

On average, full-time students pay more than twice as much as part-time students on annual tuition, roughly $20,220 versus $9,230 a year.Note Reference [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.

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 2020.

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

Popular Online MBA Programs

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

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 $83,000-$90,000 a year for tuition and fees alone.
  • That's basically five times as much as the average cost of MBA tuition and fees.
  • These programs cost roughly $120,000-$130,000 a year in total, including tuition, fees, course materials, food and housing, and other expenses.
  • In the 2023-2024 school year, tuition and fees for a Stanford MBA cost about $83,240 yearly.
  • Tuition and fees for a Harvard MBA cost roughly $84,850 per year.
  • Tuition and fees for an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School cost nearly $89,500.

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

Note that MIT's Sloan School of Management offers a one-year MBA program. So, these figures represent the full program cost.

MBA Costs at Top-Ranked Business Programs
School Annual Tuition and Fees Before Financial Aid Total Annual Cost Before Aid
Columbia University $90,130 $127,060
Dartmouth University (Tuck) $86,040 $86,040-$101,390
Harvard University $84,850 118,860
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) $152,690 (full-program cost) $192,470 (full program cost)
New York University (Stern) $86,090 $126,870
Northwestern University (Kellogg) $83,410 $120,430
Stanford University $83,240 $130,750
University of Chicago (Booth) $88,650 $125,940
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) $89,500 $127,720
Yale University (School of Management) $85,400 $119,110
Note: Graduate program tuition has been rounded to the nearest $10.

MBA Costs for the Best Online Programs

We collected tuition data from our top-ranked 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
William & Mary $10,520 $28,310
University of Utah $6,970 $24,610
Clemson University $10,600 $22,050
Auburn University $10,390 $31,160
James Madison University $11,190 $27,890
University of Oklahoma, Norman Campus $8,030 $23,820
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University $14,520 $29,270
University of Maryland, College Park $16,240 $35,390
University of Nevada, Reno $5,810 $22,360
Villanova University $21,100 $21,210
Note: Graduate program tuition amounts have been rounded to the nearest $10.

Public vs. Private School MBAs

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

  • Average MBA tuition and fees at public colleges cost a little over half of private nonprofit MBA program tuition and fees, about $11,850 versus $22,470.
  • 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) $69,814 $82,060
University of Michigan (Ross) $70,390 $75,390
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Kenan Flagler) $53,780 $71,960
University of Texas, Austin (McCombs) $51,020 $56,570
University of Virginia (Darden) $78,700 $81,700
Note: Tuition amounts have been rounded to the nearest $10.

Costs Beyond Tuition

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

Books: About $1,000 a year

In 2020, MBA students reported spending an average of $1,030 on required course materials, including textbooks, e-books, technology, supplies, and other materials.Note Reference [1]

Healthcare: $1,500-$2,500 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: $26,000-$36,000 a year

According to ApartmentList March 2023 state-level rent estimates, renting an apartment in the U.S. typically costs $1,090-$1,520 a month, or around $13,000-$18,200 a year.Note Reference [7] Depending on where you live, on-campus housing may be more or less expensive.

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: $155,000 or two years of missed salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the typical bachelor's degree holder earns nearly $155,300 in two years of working.Note Reference [8] 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 2000, MBA students reported paying roughly $5,600 per year in tuition and fees. They paid three times as much in 2020.Note Reference [9]



Sources

  1. Table: Average Costs of MBA and Other Master's Degree Programs. National Postsecondary Student Aid Study: 2020 Graduate Students (NPSAS:GR 2020). NCES. Accessed June 2024. (back to footnote 1 in content ⤶)
  2. Table: Average MBA Costs for In-Person and Online Programs, Full-Time Only. NPSAS:GR 2020. NCES. Accessed June 2024. (back to footnote 2 in content ⤶)
  3. Table: Average MBA Costs for In-Person and Online Programs, Part-Time Only. NPSAS:GR 2020. NCES. Accessed June 2024. (back to footnote 3 in content ⤶)
  4. Master's of Business Administration (MBA) Degree. Payscale. June 2024. (back to footnote 4 in content ⤶)
  5. Table: Average MBA Costs for Full-Time and Part-Time Students. NPSAS:GR 2020. NCES. Accessed June 2024. (back to footnote 5 in content ⤶)
  6. MBA Cost by School Type, NPSAS:GR 2020. NCES. Accessed June 2024. (back to footnote 6 in content ⤶)
  7. Data and Rent Estimates. ApartmentList. May 2024. (back to footnote 7 in content ⤶)
  8. Earnings and unemployment rates by education attainment, 2023. Bureau of Labor Statistics. September 2023. (back to footnote 8 in content ⤶)
  9. NPSAS:GR: Various Years. NCES. Accessed June 2024. (back to footnote 9 in content ⤶)

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