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14 Aug

Does an online MBA cost less?

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The appeal of an online degree program is flexibility and price, but for most people, cost is the primary concern. Can I afford the tuition? Will I have to stop working to earn my degree? Is an online MBA degree actually cheaper than the cost of going to school on campus?

The answers to the first two questions depend upon each individual’s situation, and MBA programs also vary greatly by institution. But the answer to the last question—whether an online degree is in fact cheaper than one obtained in an on-campus setting—is likely “yes.”

At CSUMB, our 100 percent online MBA program is designed to be a great value. Tuition costs $38,600, including the price of books. There’s no additional cost for testing or test preparation, because students can apply with no GMAT required. We support students who need financial aid, which is guaranteed for students who apply before the priority deadline.

Beyond price, the value is evident in what our students tell us: Two in three employed CSUMB alumni reported receiving a promotion, or higher level position at a new employer, within one to three years of graduation. Over 65 percent of CSUMB alumni changed role function since beginning the program, or expect to do so within the next six months.1 For women, this value was especially noteworthy: 83 percent of female alumni have either been promoted or indicate they expect a promotion in six months.2

In this post, we’ll explore some other ways that a CSUMB Online MBA is less expensive—and, often, a better value—than the traditional, brick-and-mortar alternative.

Hidden Campus Costs

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools across the country to close their on-campus classrooms, consumers were beginning to question whether a traditional college campus experience is worth the escalating cost.3 Economists and most students considering an advanced degree agree that each level of education increases earning power and career potential. But many of the costs associated with college—purchasing textbooks, commuting, parking, eating meals on the run or in a campus food court, and, in some cases, living expenses in a residential MBA program—are harder to justify. They can add up quickly, too.

An online MBA eliminates those extra, campus-related expenses. The affordable CSUMB Online MBA program keeps the focus on your personalized learning experience, with educational content—including interactive learning tools, presentations, case studies, PDF readings, and discussion posts—that you can access from anywhere that has an internet connection, using any device, even a smartphone.

You can avoid campus costs and join the enriching, supportive online CSUMB community instead. While you might not ever come to campus, you’ll find rich opportunities for communication and collaboration with faculty and your fellow students as you work on group projects and explore discussion topics. CSUMB keeps the online class size small, which ensures greater impact in students’ learning experiences—and at a better price point.

Keep earning. Keep learning.

An online MBA program allows students to remain employed and avoid losing income while they study for their degrees. While it has always been true that working and pursuing a degree can lessen the overall financial impact of tuition, the sense of security that comes with keeping your current job is more important than ever as the global pandemic continues to affect the economy.

Not only can you keep working, it’s likely that you’ll bring more value to your present job. Many online MBA students report that their courses, case studies, experiential learning, and class projects bring a better understanding of the business principles and interactions they encounter in their jobs. You’ll probably find additional possible avenues for advancement within your present organization or with a new employer as you gain confidence and stronger skills.

Time is money, and flexibility is everything.

Sir Winston Churchill is often credited with saying, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”4 COVID-19 has upended lives and caused an untold amount of suffering. Yet it has also allowed people to realize the potential of working remotely. People who used to travel for work or who spent a lot of time commuting may now be spending more time at home, with greater flexibility in their schedules than ever before.

Furthermore, the affordability of an online MBA degree could provide even more flexibility. While some CSUMB students finish their degrees in as little as 18 months, others could decide that going more slowly better fits their personal situations. At CSUMB, students who need to take a break temporarily for financial reasons, or to care for children or other family members, for example, can take fewer classes or even skip a term and still get back on track.

Look for accreditation.

While online MBA costs can vary, prospective students should not compromise on accreditation. In 2019, the CSUMB College of Business received a reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) for 10 years—the longest period of accreditation achievable.

Unlike MBA programs that were forced to turn to emergency remote learning in 2020, CSUMB continues to deliver an established, thoughtfully designed, engaging, and high-quality online education. That’s real value.

Transform your life. Choose quality and affordability.

Traditional college classrooms can be large and intimidating, but you’ll find that the CSUMB Online MBA is an affordable alternative. Class sizes are capped at 30 students, creating an intimate online learning environment that allows students more one-on-one time with professors and enables them to get to know their classmates better.


1 Based on a limited sample of self-reported data from CSUMB alumni from graduating cohorts between 2016-2019, including respondents who indicated they expect to receive a promotion within six months from the time of their response.
2 Based on a limited sample of self-reported data from alumni from CSUMB from graduating cohorts between 2016-2018, including respondents who indicated they expect to receive a promotion within 6 months from the time of their response
3 Retrieved July 22, 2020 from nytimes.com/2020/04/15/us/coronavirus-colleges-universities-admissions.html
4 Retrieved on July 22, 2020 from foreignaffairs.com/articles/2016-04-18/opportunity-crisis