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Private Business Schools With the Highest Price Tags

Tuition and fees at these 10 private MBA programs averaged nearly $59,000 in 2012-2013.

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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 and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.

MBA hopefuls dreaming of attending a top-ranked business school better start saving.

Tuition and fees at Harvard Business School, tied for No. 1, topped $63,200 for the 2012-2013 school year. Stanford University, tied for No. 1, charged $57,300 and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, No. 3, had a price tag of more than $62,000 during the same time frame.

All three schools are among the 10 most expensive private business schools. In fact, eight of the top 10 business schools appear on this list. Average tuition and fees at these pricey b-schools was just shy of $59,000 for 2012-2013, an increase of roughly $6,150 from 2010, according to data reported by 45 ranked private business schools.

[Discover ways to pay for your MBA.]

Price didn't deter applicants, though. Harvard, Stanford and Wharton received more full-time applications in fall 2012 than any other business schools. Columbia University, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Booth School of Business at University of Chicago – all among the highest-priced private programs – also made the list of 10 b-schools that received the most applications.

High tuition can also translate to high student loan debt. Five of the 10 most expensive private MBA programs also landed among the 10 MBA programs that lead to the most debt.

Graduates from full-time programs at Sloan and Kellogg carried average debt loads of $100,212 and $88,740, respectively, in 2012. Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Yale University and the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell appeared on both lists, as well.

[Read how student loan interest changes affect grad students.]

Attending a quality business school – even a private one – does not need to break the bank, though. Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management, No. 30, is the least expensive private business school in the country, with tuition and fees of $21,900 for 2012-2013. Students who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints paid just $10,950.

Below are the 10 most expensive private business schools, based on tuition and required fees for the 2012-2013 school year. Room and board, books and other miscellaneous costs are not included in these figures. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

School name (state) Full-time 2012-2013 tuition and fees U.S. News b- school rank
Harvard University (MA) $63,288 1
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) $62,034 3
Columbia University (NY) $60,896 8
Dartmouth College (Tuck) (NH) $60,510 9
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) $58,200 4
Stanford University (CA) $57,300 1
University of Chicago (Booth) $56,931 6
Cornell University (Johnson) (NY) $56,811 16
Northwestern University (Kellogg) (IL) $56,775 4
Yale University (CT) $56,530 13

Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Business School Compass to find tuition prices, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News surveyed 448 schools for our 2012 survey of business programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Business Schools 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. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The tuition data above are correct as of Aug. 27, 2013.