If You Want An Affordable MBA, Get It Now


When looking at MBA programs back in 2009, one of my main concerns was cost. Basically I wanted the best education I could find at a reasonable cost. My goal was to find an accredited MBA program under $20K. I was successful and the MBA program at Florida Gulf Coast University fit the bill for me. However looking at the tuition increases at FGCU (well, all public universities in Florida really), as well as my undergraduate schools (which were the focus of my previous post); it seems pretty clear that what held true for me in 2009 will most likely not hold true for someone in 2015.

There are many people out there who wonder about the proper timing of getting an MBA degree. While I did go straight from my undergraduate program into my MBA program, I was also a college dropout; with more than 5 years of professional experience behind me. So I can honestly say that my business studies were a lot more meaningful to me than they would have been if I didn’t have that work experience. However plenty of my classmates were fresh out of their undergraduate programs, with no full-time work experience. In the end, they walked in the same graduation ceremony as I did and earned the same degree.

So getting back to the tuition issue, looking at the graph below, graduate tuition (per credit hour) increased 166% in the 15 years from 1998 to 2013. So the FGCU MBA that would have cost you $7,103.16 in 1998 is now $18,921.60 today.

In-State Graduate tuition per credit hour at Florida Gulf Coast University

In-State Graduate tuition per credit hour at Florida Gulf Coast University

As with all of my graphs, I rendered the same data as a line graph and added a trend line; where I noticed something very interesting…

Same data as shown previously, but as a line graph with a trend line

Same data as shown previously, but as a line graph with a trend line

Do you see what I see? Between 1998 & 2004, the tuition increase was practically linear…steady and predictable. Between 2005 to 2010 however, the tuition increases were more gradual. Since 2010 (with the introduction of the FL state legislation to introduce a tuition differential), the increase has been more drastic. Although overall, the increases have stayed pretty close to the trend line.

So what does this mean?

Well, since MBA programs are pretty short in comparison to bachelor programs, it is much easier to see your overall costs associated with the degree. This makes it easier to calculate a cost/benefit ratio. Also unlike bachelor programs, it is not really good (and in some cases may not even be an option) to not finish your program and try to return later (if you are unsure which MBA program is for you, take this short online quiz to help you out). So if you are looking at costs, in regards to tuition dollars only, you can save $10K on your MBA by starting your studies now as opposed to waiting 10 or even 5 years from now. A point to consider…especially since the worth of an MBA degree has been hotly debated recently.

Real estate professional with an MBA in Marketing ~ writer and multiculturalist.