How much does a top business school cost? Try $99,000 a year

Tuition bumps reach 10% at top 20 MBA programs

By Bloomberg News

Mar 24, 2015 @ 4:40 pm EST

Top-ranked business schools are raising tuition by between 2% and 10% this fall, bumping up the cost of classes for the 2015-16 academic year to almost $60,000 on average. Throw in room and board, fees, and textbooks, and it will cost as much as $99,000 to attend B-school next year.

Half of the MBA programs ranked in Bloomberg Businessweek's top 20 have announced updated tuition numbers so far. Of that group, the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business has announced the biggest tuition hike. Tuition at Smith will rise by 9.9% next year for out-of-state residents, bringing the cost of classes to $52,380, from $47,655. (The most expensive school is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, which will charge its next class of students $65,750 in tuition, a 3.1% bump from last year.)

Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management reported the smallest bump. It will charge MBAs $59,500 for classes next year, up 2.2% from $58,192 this year.

Several elite B-schools—including Penn's Wharton School, the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, and Harvard Business School—have yet to announce tuition rates for 2015-16. They're expected to do so in the next few months.

The tuition hikes are consistent with a broad rise in education costs. Undergraduate tuition has outpaced inflation for almost every year in the past four decades. At Ivy League schools who have reported tuition increases so far this year, tuition is rising by almost 4% in the fall. At private medical schools, first-year students who weren't state residents paid 2.9% more in the 2014-15 school year than last year. At B-schools, it's become the norm for tuition to go up by 3% to 5% a year.

The cost of a legal education is rising far faster than a business education, though: Law school tuition jumped almost 10% in 2014, according to the National Law Journal.

The rising price tag for business school hasn't stemmed the flow of applications. In the 2013-14 admissions cycle, the latest year for which data are available, 62% of full-time, two-year MBA programs reported receiving more applications, according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council. In 2012-13, 52% did. B-schools, especially the most prestigious, have benefitted from a growing number of applications from foreign students, allowing even the priciest among them to sustain large class sizes and high rates of selectivity. (At the Stanford Graduate School of Business, 7,355 applicants fought to win one of just 410 spots in 2014.)

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