10 Most Expensive Public Online MBA Programs | The Short List: Online Programs

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matters to you in your college or graduate school search.

With more students seeking the convenience of online education, new program offerings are popping up across the country. The number of schools that reported offering an online MBA program in 2019-2020 rose by 34 over the last year, from 301 to 335, according to a U.S. News survey.

Online MBA programs can offer the same strong academic foundations and career support of an in-person program while allowing students to continue working a job. But applicants should be aware that some online programs are pricey.

While some of the 10 most expensive public online MBA programs were created as early as the 1990s, others launched in just the last decade. For example, the University of Utah Eccles School of Business, which had a total program cost of $58,800 in 2019-2020, only began offering an online MBA in 2014, and the University of Maryland Smith School of Business, which had a total program cost of $88,776, also first offered an online MBA in 2014.

The University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School’s online MBA program, which is tied for No. 1 in the Best Online MBA Programs rankings, is the most expensive among the 127 ranked public programs that provided this information to U.S. News in an annual survey, with a total program cost of $125,589 in 2019-2020. The average total program cost among the 10 most expensive public schools was $69,926.

Kenan-Flagler, however, is an exception, as most online MBA programs don’t cost six figures. In fact, the total program costs of ranked online public MBA programs started as low as $2,310 in 2019-2020, with the average total cost among all ranked programs landing at about $25,621.

The most expensive public online MBA programs are provided by schools located across the country. Some are located on the West Coast, like Arizona State University, and some are housed on the East Coast, like Temple University in Pennsylvania.

Below are the 10 public online MBA programs with the highest total program costs based on 2019-2020 rates. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

Business school (name) (state)


Total program cost


U.S. News rank

University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)   $125,589   1 (tie)
University of Maryland—College Park (Smith)   $88,776   10 (tie)
Indiana University—Bloomington (Kelley)   $74,520   1 (tie)
College of William & Mary (Raymond A. Mason School of Business) (VA)   $63,700   28 (tie)
Temple University (Fox) (PA)   $59,760   88 (tie)
University of Utah (Eccles)   $58,800   18 (tie)
Pennsylvania State University—World Campus   $58,320   6 (tie)
University of Florida (Hough)   $58,000   4
Arizona State University (Carey)   $57,936   10 (tie)
New Jersey Institute of Technology (Martin Tuchman School of Management)   $53,856   112 (tie)

U.S. News surveyed more than 330 schools for our 2020 Best Online MBA Programs rankings. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of these survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Online MBA Programs rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. This data is specific to schools’ online MBA degree program offerings and has no influence over U.S. News’ Best Graduate Schools rankings assessing traditional business programs. The total program cost data above is correct as of Aug. 25, 2020.

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