In the past, graduate education was available only to high income earners or those willing to take on large amounts of debt. In recent decades, however, technology has made that same education accessible to lower-income earners. With the advent of affordable online education, many with bachelor’s degrees and student loan debt now find themselves able to pursue an affordable MBA.
A Nation of Debtors
It is no secret that Americans shoulder increasing student debt. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that, “In 2012-13, the average student loan amount of $7,000 represented a 39 percent increase over the 2000-01 amount of $5,100 (in constant 2013-14 dollars).” More and more Americans are going into significant debt in the pursuit of education. Further, the government is doing less to offset that cost: according to The Economist, “government funding per student fell by 27% between 2007 and 2012, while average tuition fees, adjusted for inflation, rose by 20%.” Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that many think an affordable MBA is only a dream.
The cost of graduate programs for students is tied to the overall program cost — that is, the expense of presenting course information to a cohort of students. Faculty salaries are certainly part of the equation, but other unseen costs tend to make up most of the budget: heating and cooling of buildings, electricity, staff salaries, groundskeeping and other expenses. However, an online MBA program can cut many of these costs by nature of its medium. While electricity is still necessary, many online MBA programs have less need for physical buildings or the costs associated with them.
In addition to increasing economic accessibility, many online MBA programs are loosening restrictions on admissions. Many programs now recognize that test scores are inextricably linked to socioeconomic status. In 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported that “On average, students in 2014 in every income bracket outscored students in a lower bracket on every section of the test.” While there is certainly variation within income brackets, this statistic points to economics, not intellect, as the driving factor behind test performance. As such, some programs are more lenient about accepting students with lower GPAs and standardized test scores.
An affordable MBA is not a dream; it is a reality that many online MBA programs are developing. A number of schools now offer lower-cost courses with quality instruction. Studies on the distribution of test scores among economic brackets has also helped break the myth of unbiased standardized testing. Online MBA programs are responding to these studies by looking less at GPAs and test scores and more at whether students are a right fit for the program.
Learn more about the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi online MBA program.