Hidden Costs of an MBA

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In higher education, few degrees can rise to the prestige of an MBA. That is why many aspiring professionals consider an MBA as the first step to achieving their career dreams.

Whether you are pursuing an on campus full time MBA or an online or part time MBA will decide what extra costs you can expect above the published tuition fees.

In this blog, we will explore the often-overlooked additional expenses associated with MBA programmes, shedding light on some overlooked financial obligations which could turn into burdens preventing the completion of a degree.

Living costs:

If you are pursuing a full time MBA, the city you will live in will determine g=how high or low are the living costs such as housing, energy bills, food and entertainment costs.

According to the British Council “An international student coming to the UK without dependants, can expect to pay around £1300-£1400 per month in London or £900-£1300 in the rest of the UK to cover accommodation, bills, groceries, and a range of other living expenses during your studies.”

This is precisely why an increasing number of professionals are pursuing online degrees such as an Online MBA or Online MSc since it eliminates the entire cost of living and travelling abroad while graduating from the same degree as full time students.

Apart from the obvious costs such as the above, and regardless of online or full-time learning, some universities are not too candid about costs beyond the published tuition fee. In my opinion, if these fees are not made crystal clear right at the start, it is borderline scamming, and you need to be extremely careful and ask many questions about the degree and its authenticity.

Below are some of these costs you need to pay attention to.

Examination and assessment fees:

This is very common with some of the online degrees. Your module fees are included in the tuition fee which normally gives you access to the learning management system and the academic support. However, when it comes time to sit an online exam or have your assignment graded which would result in the required postgraduate credits, you may be asked to pay an additional exam fee or assessment fee.

Textbook and additional reading material fees:

Most learning material now is hosted online, and you will get access to that as part of your tuition fees. You however need to find out if the there are other “recommended readings” which could come in the form of textbooks or online material which you need to pay extra for. A typical extra cost could come under additional “online library fees”.

Exam re-sit fees:

What happens if you fail an examination or assignment?

Are you allowed a re-sit?

If so, how many re-sits are you allowed and are they included in the tuition fee or you have to pay a re-sit fee and how much is it?

Technology fees:

This is mostly if you are studying on-campus, and it is charged to give you access to computer labs and the free university Wi-Fi.

Travel costs:

If you are pursuing an online degree, does your programme require you to travel to the home campus? Is that a mandatory part of the degree? If so, how often are you expected to travel, what is the airline ticket’s cost and what are the accommodation arrangements / cost at that particular destination.

On some programmes, some visits are not mandatory but recommended. These could be visits abroad to large companies or factories to explore and experience how these entities operate and do business. This clearly would be a good experience and could provide many networking opportunities. It however comes at a cost that needs to be budgeted.

Graduation costs:

Believe it or not, some universities charge you a graduation fee if you want to attend the on-campus graduation. Some will also charge you to courier your graduation certificate if you do not wish to attend. Normally, respected universities do not do this.

As mentioned at the start, these added fees and costs are edging students closer to online learning.

Whether you are considering online or full-time learning, get in touch with us.

At Stafford Global, our team of academic consultants will surely help.


Written by Refaat Kazoun,

GROUP CEO, Stafford Global

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