Much Does the Average MBA Cost?

How Much Does an MBA Cost?

Business school is a popular choice for undergrad students and seasoned professionals looking to boost their career path. A master’s degree in business administration (MBA) is a general degree that prepares you for managing, improving, and understanding business functions, while allowing you to focus on specific areas like accounting, marketing, or management. There is no limit to potential jobs you can have with an MBA. The average MBA cost can range from $52,550 to $155,022 per year and may lead to salary increases and open new leadership job opportunities.

Earning an MBA can be a costly commitment that requires careful planning and consideration. Remember that an advanced degree costs more than just tuition. Costs include fees, textbooks, materials, room and board (if studying out of state), transportation and adjustments for the cost of living where you decide to study.

Use our guide below to explore the costs of an MBA and what to expect.

MBA School Requirements

MBA programs require a four-year bachelor’s degree. There’s no required undergrad major, but most MBA programs require applicants to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) exam to be accepted. The GMAT includes an analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning components. The test takes about three and a half hours.

Once you’re accepted, MBA programs often let you choose between a full-time or part-time class schedule in many different formats and specialties. The total MBA program requires about 60 credits and will last four semesters, which can be taken over one or two years (full time), or part-time over more. You can also take many MBA courses online, depending on the school, or pursue an Executive MBA (typically two years or less). Classes will include topics like accounting, statistics, ethics, finance, economics, management, and entrepreneurship. Over the course of your MBA program, you will have the chance to explore different specialties and focus on whichever business component you are most interested in.

Private and Public MBA Tuition

The cost of an MBA will vary depending on where you study and how long of a program you choose. Total tuition and fees at the top business schools in the US can exceed $100,000 at Harvard, Stanford, and The Wharton School. Some less expensive MBA programs include the Kelley School of Business at $55,167/year for Indiana residents or $80,275/year for non-residents; the Tuck School of Business’ MBA (21 months) is around $80,000. More examples are below.


$155,022 Tuition at The Wharton School

Ranked #1 Business School by U.S. News


$52,550 Tuition at University of Texas-Austin (McCombs)

Ranked #18 Business School by U.S. News

MBA tuition can be between $50,000 and $200,000+ for the full two years. Money Under 30 also points out the lost opportunity cost issue if you leave your job to attend grad school full time: “If you are earning $50,000 per year on your job before enrolling in an MBA program, the two-year opportunity cost will be $100,000. That’s on top of all the other direct expenses related to the degree.” If it’s possible, working while taking classes part time for an MBA will make the expenses more manageable and cut down on the lost opportunity cost.

Total Cost of an MBA

Over two or more years, an MBA student can expect to pay between $70,000 and $200,000+ during their MBA. As with any degree program, the tuition is greater at more prestigious schools. It’s a major investment in your career, and it provides a unique opportunity to expand your business knowledge and deepen your understanding of the professional landscape. Thankfully, there are hundreds of careers fit for someone with an MBA, many of which are high-earning leadership positions across various industries.

According to U.S. News, the average salary for an MBA graduate is about $90,000 five years after graduating. Top earners in consulting and financial services were making around $120,000 each year. In addition to a higher salary, there are also many options for paying for your MBA. Whether you partner with an employer reimbursement plan or take advantage of loans, grants, or scholarships, there are many options to help you pay for your MBA. Ready to pursue your MBA degree? Apply for a College Ave student loan that is customized to meet your individual needs.


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