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Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 12pm

True Cost of Attendance May be Higher than You Think: MBA News

UMass Amherst aims to reduce cost of attendance with its MBA programs

This summer there’s been another surge in reports questioning the cost of attendance at leading business schools – where tuition fees continue to rise faster than the rate of inflation.

The concerns raised make it all the more important that prospective MBA students know they are able to meet the full costs involved before committing to an MBA program.

A recent blog post by MBA admissions consultant, Stacy Blackman, urges candidates to take heed of some of the extra costs of an MBA program that are often not listed among schools’ cost of attendance figures.

These extras start before you’re admitted to a program, as most students will want to visit a school’s campus or attend an admissions event to determine if it’s the right place and program for them. But, here’s a look at some of those extras to be considered when trying to calculate the true cost of attendance once an MBA program gets underway:

* Immersive or hands-on learning trips abroad won’t always be included in a program’s official cost of attendance figures.

* Expenses incurred outside of the academic year, with particular relevance to two-year programs where you may even have to relocate to take up your summer internship position.

* Joining fees and subsidies for a business school’s clubs and associations in areas of special interest.

* Optional social events designed to maximize your exposure to a school’s networking resources. 

Cost of attendance obliterated for UMass Amherst MBA program

If these additions to the cost of attendance for a traditional campus-based MBA program are beginning to get you down, then you may be interested to learn of the novel approach taken by The Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst (UMass Amherst.)

Beginning this year, all 44 students admitted to the full-time two-year MBA program at UMass Amherst are to be MBA Fellows with a package that bestows each student with an annual stipend as well as covering tuition.

The program is geared towards a younger, less experienced candidate and this is reflected in the associated rates of US$15,000 tuition and US$8,600 stipend. Even so, the move will be at least partially funded by those paying full fees for the school’s much larger online MBA program, which features in the QS Distance Online MBA Rankings for 2014.

Associate dean of The Isenberg School at UMass Amherst, John Wells, explained that the approach is intended to attract a higher quality of students to its campus program and to help fully integrate the curriculum with its online equivalent - which plays host to those with more experience and who often receive financial assistance from their employer.

“We don't think of our college as having 44 students in its resident MBA program and 1,200 in its online program. The way we view it, we have 1,244 students in our MBA program,” Wells said, which makes it all the more strange that its online attendees will, in some way, be helping to subsidize their campus colleagues.

Nevertheless, UMass Amherst has reported an increase in full-time MBA applications this year of approximately 45%, as well as a 20-point rise in the average GMAT score of those admitted.

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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