The baked bean diet for Master’s students

01 April 2022

Andrew Crisp highlights some key findings on the cost of study emerging in the latest Tomorrow’s Masters report.

While many love baked beans, they are not fine dining. Yet the cheap baked bean may be part of the answer for the 39% of prospective Master’s students who indicate in the latest Tomorrow’s Masters study, published by CarringtonCrisp with EFMD, that living costs while studying are the most likely reason to put them off taking a Master’s degree.

The focus on cost of study is found in two other significant findings in this year’s report. Asked what they expected to pay for a Master’s degree, 61% of the respondents expect to pay more than £20,000; 28% expect to pay more than £30,000 for their course fees. With such significant sums required to pay for their studies, it puts greater pressure on the money left for living expenses.

Although 37% expect to be able to personally pay their fees in full, 23% are looking for an employer contribution, 26% are dependant on a scholarship or bursary and 20% will be seeking an alumni discount. Just over 1 in 5 (21%) start their search for a Master’s degree uncertain as to how they will pay for their studies.

In another indication of the impact of cost on study, 18% of the respondents in this year’s study indicate that they would prefer to study wholly online while 20% prefer a blended degree. The percentage interested in some element of online study have more than doubled from last year’s study when just 18% chose this option.

While there are many reasons that students may prefer to study online, there is an expectation that it will be cheaper than full-time study, although this may not be the case. However, there are growing alternatives to traditional face-to-face study with a mix of traditional and alternative providers entering the MBA market at lower price points than found among campus-based degrees. If nothing else, online study saves a student from expenditure on many living expenses associated with a full-time degree. With growing employer recognition of online degree qualifications, the reasons for not considering such an option are diminishing.

Undoubtedly the market for Master’s degrees remains robust with the potential for a growing number of older learners to seek such a qualification as they seek to change career direction. However, schools thinking about their Master’s portfolio will need to ensure they consider the impact of price as they seek to grow their Master’s offer.

More information about the drivers of prospective Master’s students can be found in Tomorrow’s Master’s which will be published later in April.


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