An affordable MBA is not a dream.
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 made that same education accessible to everyday people from diverse economic backgrounds. With the advent of affordable online education, many with bachelor’s degrees and student loan debt now find themselves able to pursue an affordable Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

Further, reputable institutions may offer various online MBA program concentrations. For instance, there are seven unique online MBA programs available from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC), with options like the customizable general MBA, the ever-popular MBA with a Concentration in Finance and the cutting-edge MBA with a Concentration in Business Analytics. These MBA specializations give working professionals the opportunity to tailor their business education to best suit their interests and career advancement goals.

A Nation of Debtors

It is no secret that many U.S. citizens shoulder increasing student debt. According to the Education Data Initiative, “Most master’s degree holders carry a cumulative student loan debt balance of over $80,000.” Graduate students in the U.S. are going into significant debt in the pursuit of education. Further, while there is a federal push to aid in student debt relief, political and judicial issues often limit or delay the impact of these efforts.

Additionally, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the last two decades saw steadily rising tuition figures for both private graduate education programs and — with the exception of a short period during the COVID-19 pandemic — public graduate education programs. Inflation also increased dramatically during the pandemic, leading to interest rate hikes and other financial challenges. Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that many think an affordable MBA is only a dream.

Changing Technology

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 along with other administrative costs. Faculty salaries are certainly part of the equation, but other unseen costs make up a good portion 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, online MBA programs have fewer expenses due to costs associated with physical buildings and similar campus-based needs. Schools like TAMU-CC can use these cost-reductions to pass on savings to students enrolled in affordable online programs.

More Accessibility

In addition to increasing economic accessibility, certain online MBA programs are loosening restrictions on admissions. Some schools waived test score requirements temporarily during the pandemic. But other institutions are taking this a step further, recognizing that standardized test scores are inextricably linked to socioeconomic status and background. While there is certainly variation within income brackets, the overall statistics point to economics, opportunity and access as central factors driving standardized test performance.

As such, some programs are more lenient about accepting students with lower standardized test scores — the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) being a common test score admissions requirement for MBA programs. Forward-looking schools like TAMU-CC may waive GMAT score requirements entirely for students who demonstrate their potential in other ways such as prior academic performance.

An affordable MBA is not a dream. Online MBA programs existed before the pandemic, and the pandemic-induced shift to remote education largely normalized online learning, increasing access. Many schools continue to offer online courses with quality instruction. Studies on the distribution of test scores among economic brackets helped break the myth of unbiased standardized testing. Online MBA programs are responding to these studies by looking less at test scores and more at whether students are a right fit for the program.

Learn more about TAMU-CC’s online MBA programs.