Though MBA programs typically cost more than $60,000 per year for a 2-year program, there are many affordable MBA programs available for students who cannot pay this cost. Though some are less prestigious, many MBA programs are available that have a total tuition below $50,000, including accredited online MBA programs. Some of these are low cost part-time programs or executive programs for students who cannot study full time for an MBA, though in the long term these may be more expensive.
Working while attending an MBA program
Many professionals work while studying for an MBA degree. There are many ways to make an MBA program accommodate your busy professional schedule if you are interested in pursuing such an arrangement. Some professionals take night classes to complete their MBA degrees while working, though some students burn out during such a program due to the lack of leisure time. Others take part-time classes or weekend executive MBA programs designed to avoid interference with professional obligations.
You may be able to save the cost of university room and board if you work during your MBA program and pay for your own living expenses, which can result in a long-term savings of several thousand dollars. If you study full time while working part time, you can still save money by applying your pay toward your student costs. Working during your MBA program may also allow you to receive MBA sponsorship, saving you money by getting your employer to pay some of the costs of tuition.
Working during your MBA program is not without flaws, however. You may miss out on internship opportunities that lead to jobs after completing your MBA due to existing obligations. You may also find it difficult to balance the competing needs of work and school, especially if you study full time while working. Consider both the benefits and drawbacks of working during your MBA degree program before applying.
Part-time MBA programs
Part-time MBA programs are somewhat more expensive than full-time MBA programs over the long term because past-time tuition fees can wind up costing more per credit. You should consider whether the short-term financial benefits of a part-time MBA are truly worthwhile before applying.
Part-time MBA programs typically cost at least $3,000 per term for tuition, whereas low cost full-time MBA programs will be a little over $5,000. This does not include various fees assessed by your institution, including professional development, student life and administrative fees. It is easier to work during your MBA program if you only study part time, however, so you may be able to turn a part-time program into net financial gain.
Online MBA programs
Online MBA programs have costs comparable to traditional full-time MBA programs, and some programs assess additional fees for online students to improve their online infrastructure. You may have some difficulty finding a cheap online program, though they do exist. As with part-time programs, if you study in an online MBA program, you can more effectively schedule your coursework to fit your work obligations. Thus, an online MBA program may be your best choice if you wish to continue working.
Online MBA programs also allow you to avoid paying for university room and board as well as some student life and athletics fees, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars over the course of your degree. Student life fees are small in comparison, but cutting them out is a good way to diminish the overall cost of your MBA.