Home Online Business Blog Financial Considerations for an Online MBA: Understanding Tuition, Financial Aid and ROI

Financial Considerations for an Online MBA: Understanding Tuition, Financial Aid and ROI

24 May
Financial considerations for an online MBA

An online MBA can open the door to greater career opportunities, including better pay and leadership roles. It can also help you expand your professional network, allowing you to meet people from different industries and backgrounds, which can broaden your perspective.

However, obtaining an online MBA isn’t for everyone. Before committing to a program, it’s essential to understand the time and financial investment required. That way, you can determine whether it’s the right decision for you.

In this post, we will discuss the financial considerations you should make when looking at online MBA programs.

Understanding Online MBA Tuition Fees

So what’s the cost of an online MBA? The answer: It varies. The average online MBA costs $56,850, but some programs run over $100,000.1 Factors that impact tuition rates include your enrollment status, the program type and whether you attend a private college or public institution.2

Most MBAs offer part- and full-time options. Many universities offer accelerated programs, allowing you to receive an MBA with fewer credits.2 Students who opt for an online MBA can save money on boarding expenses and facility fees and some universities eliminate the extra fees that are typically charged for out-of-state students.2

Private universities generally charge higher tuition rates than public institutions, especially the top-ranked business schools.2

Exploring Financial Aid Options for Online MBA Students

Many students can’t afford to pay for an online MBA out of pocket. Fortunately, there are various ways to offset your costs through federal and private student loans for MBAs, scholarships, grants and fellowships.

Graduate students can apply for federal loans via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year. If eligible, you can receive up to $20,500 annually to help cover the costs of an online MBA.3 Many private lenders, including Sallie Mae, SoFi and Ascent, also offer loans to graduate students.4 However, to qualify, you’ll need to meet the lender’s eligibility requirements, including a minimum credit score.4

You can explore scholarship, grant and fellowship opportunities through your university’s MBA financial aid office. Most universities maintain a list of scholarships and grants that students can apply for.

Some employers offer tuition assistance for employees seeking to advance their education. Check with your employer’s HR department to see if your company provides funding for an online MBA. Check out this helpful Tuition Reimbursement Guide for tips on requesting tuition assistance from your employer.

Assessing the ROI of an Online MBA

Earning an online MBA is no easy feat. Aside from its cost, you can plan on spending much of your free time attending virtual lectures, studying for exams, and participating in group projects. If you continue working full-time, you may have little room for friends and family in your schedule.

The length of your MBA program can vary, but most range from one to three years. That’s quite a lot of time spent hitting the books, so it’s essential to make sure you’re comfortable investing your time and energy toward your degree. However, keep in mind that the payoff from an MBA can be substantial.

Calculating the ROI: Monetary and Non-Monetary Benefits of Online MBA Programs

Many online MBA students enroll in the program to improve their future employment opportunities. An MBA can set you apart from other job applicants, showing potential employers you’ve gone the extra mile to solidify your skills and expand your business knowledge.

At William & Mary, about 80% of students receive a promotion during or after graduating from our Online MBA program.5 Plus, the average salary for our graduates is $135,686, which is 18% higher than that of graduates of other MBA programs.5

Besides the monetary benefits of an online MBA, there are non-monetary ones to consider. Meeting other professionals embarking on their career journeys and becoming part of an extensive alumni network can benefit you in all areas of your life. Plus, if it has been a while since you obtained your bachelor’s degree, advancing your education can introduce you to new skills and technology that you may be unfamiliar with. The new skills you learn can make you more competitive in the job market.

To determine your online MBA’s value, consider all the positives of advancing your education, including the monetary and non-monetary benefits. If your online MBA’s ROI exceeds its costs, it’s worth pursuing.

Budgeting and Financial Planning for Online MBA Students

Financing an MBA requires a solid financial budget during the program and after graduation.

Developing a Realistic Budget

Many online MBA programs allow you to take courses on your own schedule—including the evenings and the weekends. The flexible scheduling allows you to keep a full- or part-time job, which can help support you while you’re working toward your degree.

However, during the program, you may incur extra expenses beyond your regular living costs. Some examples of extra expenses include textbooks, travel to on-site courses or MBA community gatherings and childcare.

Planning for Post-Graduation Financial Responsibilities

If you plan on taking out federal or private student loans to pay for your online MBA, you’ll typically start repaying them once you graduate. Your monthly payment will vary depending on the amount you borrow, your interest rate, and the repayment time frame. Ensure you understand your repayment obligations and factor them into your budget upon graduation. That way, there are no surprises once your loans come due.

Forge Your Own Success Story With William & Mary’s Online MBA Program

While everyone’s MBA journey is different, sometimes learning about others’ experiences can help prospective students see the benefits of pursuing advanced education.

At William & Mary, many of our students go on to work for distinguished companies, including Microsoft, Discover, Chase and Apple. Some earn impressive titles, including CEO, president, senior director and program manager. Online MBA graduate Cherise Newsome, who was honored as a Virginia Pilot “Top Forty Under 40” honoree in 2021, was promoted during here time in the program. “Because I was earning my MBA and learning skills that a vice president would need to be able to work effectively across the organization, I got promoted to Vice President for Communications,” she said.

William & Mary’s Online MBA program prepares you to lead in today’s challenging, rapidly changing business environment. No matter what the hot job or industry of the moment is for MBA graduates, you will be ready with the leadership skills to tackle any business challenges. The online curriculum will sharpen your design thinking and problem-solving skills so that you can successfully apply them in fast-paced business environments. Through our innovative learning platform, you can engage with a support network of world-class faculty and peers and expand your network to include accomplished colleagues online and around the world.

To learn more about William & Mary’s Online MBA program, schedule a call an admissions outreach advisor today.

  1. Retrieved on May 6, 2024, from forbes.com/advisor/education/business-and-marketing/mba-cost/
  2. Retrieved on May 6, 2024, from bankrate.com/loans/student-loans/mba-cost/#factors
  3. Retrieved on May 6, 2024, from fsapartners.ed.gov/knowledge-center/fsa-handbook/2023-2024/vol8/ch4-annual-and-aggregate-loan-limits
  4. Retrieved on May 6, 2024, from nerdwallet.com/best/loans/student-loans/private-student-loans
  5. Based on a limited sample of self-reported data from alumni of W&M’s Online MBA program from graduating cohorts between 2019 and 2022