Effective April 30, the price to take the Graduate Management Admission Test in Europe will increase $35USD — the first hike in the cost of the exam in 14 years, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council, the nonprofit that administers the GMAT worldwide. The move comes as the preference for Western European schools among GMAT test takers has grown from 31% to 40% in the last two years.
GMAC announced the price hike Wednesday (April 24). It will bring the cost of taking the GMAT in Europe up to $285. But GMAC softened the blow somewhat, announcing at the same time that where possible, candidates will be allowed to pay in local currency (euros or pounds sterling), and in U.S. dollars in countries where other currencies are used. The organization also announced modifications to its rescheduling and cancellation policies that it says will give candidates more flexibility and the opportunity to save on costs associated with last-minute changes.
From April 30, business school candidates seeking to take the GMAT in the United Kingdom will pay £225, and candidates in locations that use euros will pay €250. For all other test center locations, fees will be charged $285 in U.S. dollars.
MOVES WILL ‘ADD CONVENIENCE FOR TEST TAKERS’
Based on feedback from GMAT test takers, GMAC is modifying its appointment reschedule and cancel fees to provide candidates with more flexibility, a spokesman says. GMAC is adding additional tiers to “reduce the financial burden on those who need to make last-minute changes to their appointment and to lower the costs for test takers who make changes further in advance.”
Meanwhile, regarding the price hike, “GMAC is localizing these changes in Europe due to the Eurozone providing a common currency across multiple countries, plus the precedent for cross-border test taking in the region,” says Vineet Chhabra, senior director and head of the GMAT product at GMAC. “Europe is a very active market for graduate management education and we anticipate the local currency option and relaxed cancel/reschedule policies will add convenience for test takers.”
The increased cost, however, can only draw further unfavorable comparisons with the Graduate Record Exam, or GRE, which applicants are increasingly taking and using to get admitted to B-schools. Click here for the full rundown of GMAT costs, and click here for costs associated with taking the GRE, which has an advertised price tag of $205 in most countries, $80 less than the new European price.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
This is the first price adjustment to the GMAT exam since 2005. In that time, the test has undergone several enhancements, including the addition of Integrated Reasoning, Select Section Order, My Recommendations, shortening the exam, expanding access, and investing in what GMAC calls “industry-leading test security measures.”
Why does the GMAT cost so much to take? In 2016 Poets&Quants reported that, based on a 2014 public tax filing, 10 current or former GMAC officers made more than half a million each, and 15 had payouts that totaled more than $400,000 each. Total pay for 17 GMAC executives that year: $10.8 million. More recently, in a story published Monday (April 22), P&Q reported that GMAC CEO Sangeet Chowfla’s salary exceeded $1.9 million in 2017.
In its most recent report on geographic test-taking trends, GMAC reported that global business school candidates sat for 250,884 GMAT exams in test year 2017, a 5% increase from 238,356 GMAT exams taken in 2013. In that same span, according to data provided at GMAT’s website, test-takers of European citizenry climbed only 1.4%, from 22,671 to 22,986. Eastern Europeans taking the test actually shrunk by 11%, from to 4,954 in 2013 to 4,411 in 2017. In all, Europeans taking the GMAT represented about 9% of total test takers in 2017.