Numerous top business schools have approved tuition hikes averaging around 4 percent for the class of 2016, increases that come on top of a 37 percent rise in the degree’s cost over the past six years, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports.
The increases, which range from 2.7 percent at Harvard Business School to 4.9 percent at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, bring the average cost for a year of tuition and fees to roughly $60,000 and the total cost of the degree to as much as $150,000, including living expenses and other add-ons. Six of Bloomberg BW’s 10 top-ranked MBA programs recently approved tuition increases, and the remaining top schools are set to make decisions closer to the fall, according to the report.
“At U.S. business schools, there has been a tendency to assume prices can go up every year,” Nunzio Quacquarelli, owner of QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a London company that studies MBA programs, told Bloomberg BW. He noted that increases of between 3 to 5 percent each year have become de rigueur at many of the most elite programs.
Though annual tuition has increased at MBA programs across the board in recent years – from $32,473 in 2007 to $44,476 in 2012 for U.S. schools, according to the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business – the most selective business schools may be bolder in their hikes because of who their applicants are, the report suggests. “MBA candidates aren’t highly price sensitive,” Quacquarelli told Bloomberg BW. “They’re not going to bat an eye at $64,000 vs. $58,000 a year when it comes to the value of their education and potentially benefiting their career.”
Full and partial scholarships, though, do attract the attention of applicants to the very top schools, Quacquarelli noted. Data from his company show that amid tuition increases, several top programs have also increased the amount of scholarship and fellowship money distributed. HBS, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Cornell’s Johnson School of Management historically have been among the most generous in terms of scholarship and fellowship awards, Bloomberg BW reports.