Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree can be an intelligent investment for individuals pursuing careers in business. Yet MBA programs vary greatly in cost depending on a number of factors. One affordable option is the online MBA offered by Eastern Washington University (EWU). With this program’s online class model, each student has the flexibility to complete coursework within her or his schedule and desired pacing. This program design can be especially convenient for those who need to continue working or raising a family — or both — while earning their MBA.
How Much Does the Average Master’s Program Cost in Tuition and Fees?
According to the College Board’s “Trends in College Pricing 2018,” tuition and fees for master’s degree programs at public universities averaged $8,850 per year in 2018. Private school tuition and fees averaged $30,450. Doubling these figures gives rough costs for two-year master’s programs.
However, tuition and fees vary greatly across programs. For example, 2018-2019 tuition and fees for Columbia Business School’s campus-based MBA program come in at over $78,000 per year, which equates to over $156,000 for the two-year program.
In comparison, the total tuition and fees for any of EWU’s online MBA programs is under $15,000 for 2018-2019, regardless of MBA concentration and time to degree completion.
What Other Costs Should I Factor in?
Beyond tuition and fees, there are many other items that will determine the total cost of earning an MBA. These costs are especially pertinent when choosing the type of MBA to pursue, be it a two-year, campus-based MBA versus a fully online MBA. Some examples of these extra costs are included below.
Cost of Living and Moving Expenses: Cost of living is complicated to calculate and varies by location. It represents costs such as housing, food, childcare, transportation if commuting, healthcare, insurance, personal expenses, utilities and taxes.
If considering a campus-based program, College Board reports the 2018-2019 average cost of room and board for master’s programs to be $10,230 for public institutions and $11,930 for private nonprofit institutions. Variances in room and board cost and other cost of living expenses can add dramatically to one’s financial outlay for a degree program.
For instance, Columbia Business School states that an on-campus student should estimate a total first-year budget including tuition and fees, room and board and other living expenses to be $110,978. Hence, the two-year program would be an investment of over $200,000.
As an example of differing life circumstances, take a 30-year-old single mother of a one-year-old. She is attending Columbia and living off-campus in a nearby, relatively inexpensive neighborhood in Manhattan. According to the HowMuch calculator, this mother can expect her cost of living to be around $53,000 per year (including childcare). This is in addition to tuition and fees along with moving expenses if the student had to relocate for school.
Now take the example of a similar mother earning an MBA online from EWU while living in Tucson, Arizona. Her estimated cost of living would be relatively low, under $40,000 per year. She would pay less than $15,000 in tuition and fees for the entire MBA program, and she would not have to move, resulting in substantial savings.
Opportunity Cost: Opportunity cost refers to factors like forgone wages and missed career advancement opportunities while attending school. For instance, leaving work to attend a two-year MBA program could represent an added opportunity cost of roughly $125,000 in average forgone wages (according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on median earnings for workers age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree).
In comparison, degree candidates enrolled in EWU’s online MBA program can continue working and pursuing career and life opportunities while earning their degree. Considered in conjunction with a potentially lower cost of living and an absence of moving expenses, the program’s affordable tuition and its short duration make for a rapid return on investment. EWU’s online MBA represents an advanced degree of high value for the working business professional.
Learn more about EWU’s online MBA programs.