You will never believe how much money people are borrowing to get an online MBA

How much money would you be willing to borrow to get an online MBA degree?

Undoubtedly, you will be surprised to learn that many online students are borrowing $ 50,000 or more to obtain their degrees. In fact, at the higher end, the online student debt levels that students are willing to take on are shocking.

At the Graziadio Business School of Pepperdine University, for example, eight out of ten graduates are preparing to obtain an online MBA from the school. Even more surprising, the average level of indebtedness is a whopping $ 96,094 for an MBA degree with a price of $ 92,040. That's more than $ 4,000 of debt over the actual cost of the degree.


In fact, the average debt burden of graduates of at least 16 MBA programs online is $ 50,000 or more. Many of the schools on the list, based on reports from business schools to US News & World Report for their most recent 2019 ranking of online MBA programs, are not even among the best business schools in the United States.

At the Kogod School of Business at American University, whose full-time residential MBA program ranks 69th among Poets & Quants, nearly half of graduates (45%) are leaving with $ 82,668 of debt. At the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, whose full-time MBA is ranked 79th, the average debt burden for online MBA students is $ 78,700. And at the business school of George Washington University, online student debt in their online MBA program reached $ 73,159 for 49% of graduates who had to borrow money to obtain the degree.

One of the biggest surprises on the list, however, was the online program of a school that has never been ranked among the 100 best full-time MBA programs: St. Mary's College of California. MBA graduates online, to the left of St. Mary, have an average debt of $ 63,000 and 80% accumulated their debut upon graduation.


The numbers seem especially high because online MBA programs often do not offer the same professional results as full-time MBA experiences in the best schools that attract corporate recruiters to the campus and allow more students to make career changes. In fact, in many online programs, career opportunities are much less available than in a full-time program.

Of course, that does not mean that an online MBA will not provide graduates with greater confidence in the job and the opportunity for an increase or promotion in their current company. Pepperdine, with the highest debt levels, says its 2016 online graduates survey showed that 75% agreed that their online MBA helped them earn a raise and a promotion.

Changing companies or industries, a common reason for a full-time MBA experience, is much less likely with an online MBA, however, particularly from academic brands that are not well known. Poets & Quants surveys of online MBA graduates show that less than a third of graduates (approximately 31%) were able to change jobs as a result of their degrees (see online MBA Programs that offer excellent results professionals). In contrast, a median of 58% said they received a salary increase as a direct result of their online MBA.

Average debt of MBA graduates online

How much MBA students will be surprised online to get their degrees. After all, it is much less likely that an online degree leads immediately to a new, well-paid job than to a full-time residential MBA experience. At the top end of the debt are the graduates of the online MBA program at Pepperdine University, where the average debt was $ 96,094 and 81% of the graduates went to the pen.

SchoolAverage Debt% In DebtEmployer SponsoredTotal Cost Of MBA
Pepperdine University (Graziadio)$96,09481%38%$92,040
Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)$88,17245%47%$132,000
American University (Kogod)$82,66864%40%$81,984
Syracuse University (Whitman)$78,70062%3%$84,186
George Washington University$73,15949%NA$101,288
UNC-Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)$71,55041%42%$124,345
Babson College (Olin)$65,47861%34%$89,564
St. Mary’s College of California$63,00080%32%$74,400
College of William & Mary (Mason)$62,72154%21%$59,780
Arizona State University (Carey)$59,63749%54%$60,074
Drexel University (LeBow)$57,51346%43%$64,000
Indiana University (Kelley)$55,82945%58%$67,830
University of Florida (Hough)$54,66450%0%$58,000
New Jersey Institute of Technology$53,59975%10%$61,536
Rutgers University-Camden$51,99547%55%$52,752
University of Miami$50,00050%10%$85,260
University of Michigan-Dearborn$49,71526%9%$null
University of Utah (Eccles)$45,50853%55%$58,800
Rochester Institute of Technology (Saunders)$45,07336%62%$78,000
Villanova University$43,39562%31%$64,800
North Carolina State University (Poole)$44,34430%73%$78,440
Penn State University-World Campus$43,37356%55%$56,880
University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Isenberg)$40,79517%59%$35,100
University of Wisconsin-MBA Consortium$40,15934%64%$23,250
University of Southern California (Marshall)$36,47751%34%$97,512
University of Texas-Dallas (Jindal)$36,27634%55%$83,428

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