Hidden MBA Gems: Where You Can Earn A Top Quality MBA For Under $25,000

Where you can get a top quality MBA for $25,000 or less

The sticker price of an M7 MBA degree is, to put it bluntly, shocking. For tuition alone, without any fees, the bill can total more than than $150,000 over two years. And that sum doesn’t include the interest on your student debt, the earnings you have to give up to quit your job or any of your living expenses (see What It Now Costs To Get A Top 25 MBA).

At MIT’s Sloan School of Management, the annual MBA tuition is now a breath taking $77,168 a year. At Columbia Business School, it’s $77,376, not including the $3,973 in mandatory fees. And Wharton? Your annual tuition check would come to $80,432, with fees.

So it may seem surprising, if not shocking, to know that it is still possible to get a top quality MBA for less than $25,000, or about 16% of the cost of a degree from Wharton, Columbia or any of the other big brand full-time MBA options. At this point, you’ve got to be skeptical? Right?

The Most Affordable On-Campus MBA Programs In The World

SchoolU.S. News 2020 RankTotal TuitionThe Catch
University of Florida (Warrington)28$25,474In-State
Brigham Young University (Marriott) 30$26,900All Students
University of Georgia (Terry)33$27,174In-State
University of Alabama41$21,560In-State
University of Arizona (Eller)46$23,876In-State
University of Tennessee-Knoxville46$22,936In-State
Iowa State University (Ivy)53$24,988In-State
Oklahoma State University (Spears)92$18,815In-State

The Most Affordable Online MBA Programs In The World

SchoolP&Q 2021 RankTotal TuitionThe Catch
University of Illinois (Gies)NR$22,000All Students
Boston University (Questrom)NR$24,000All Students
University of South Florida (Muma)25$24,750All Students
University of Tennessee-Chattanooga26$25,212All Students
University of North Dakota (Nistler)31$18,391All Students
University of Massachusetts-Lowell33$19,650All Students
Louisiana State University37$19,980All Students
Oklahoma State University (Spears)44$20,947All Students
Kennesaw State University45$24,470All Students
Rogers State University47$10,880All Students


Sure. You’re not going to find a full-time, two-year residential MBA experience at a school with as big a brand as Harvard or Stanford for that kind of money. But you can still get a solid MBA education, with all the business basics and then some, in several other programs that are from well-known and well-respected universities.

Here’s the catch: Either you have to go your MBA online, during which you can still keep your job and keep earning a paycheck, or you have to be an in-state student at a program ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report. In fact, for in-state students, there are at least a half dozen MBA programs ranked in the Top 50 by U.S. News that cost roughly $25K or less in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, and Tennessee. At Brigham Young University, the Marriott School of Management sets its tuition for all MBA students at just $13,450 per year for a total of about $27,000. Put another way, at any of these schools you would be paying less money in tuition the average MBA graduates with debt.

If you want to keep your job and maintain maximum flexibility, your two best options are at the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois and the Questrom School of Business at Boston University. Both schools are fully accredited and have pioneered truly disruptive MBA programming. breaking the price barrier through digital delivery. Gies and Questrom didn’t merely put their existing MBA curriculum online. They designed these programs from the ground up, reimagine what an MBA education should be for the modern era, leveraging the latest technologies and research into how people learn.


At Gies, the total tuition is just under $22,000 (see below table for how it breaks out). In fact, it’s a mere $21,744, including potential course materials, though that sum obviously does not include minor costs for case packets as well as travel if you participate in immersions or alumni and networking events. At Boston University, the total online MBA bill for tuition comes to $24,000, though the school recommends that student budget between $350 and $400 a semester for books and course materials.

Unlike many other schools, moreover, the dominant MBA program at Gies and Questrom is online. So these schools are pouring most of their resources along with the best faculty and staff into their online efforts. Gies, in fact, has eliminated its full-time, part-time and Executive MBAs to focus exclusively on its iMBA and other online graduate degree options along with its sizable undergraduate business program. At Questrom, the online MBA–which only entered its first class last fall–already is the largest graduate degree program at the business school.

When it comes to the less expensive online options, they tend to be purely online with few, if any, in-person classes or immersion trips, fewer electives, and less support in career management. The fully online MBA option with the lowest price tag is at Oklahoma’s Rogers State University at a mere $10,880. It can be completed in 18 months in eight-week courses, without the need for a GRE or GMAT test. But the MBA is not accredited by the AACSB, the primary business school accreditation agency.

Nonetheless, it’s hard to beat the cost of a quality MBA education at less than $25,000.

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