There are many factors that affect the actual cost of obtaining a master's degree, such as how much the tuition costs; whether the school and courses are in state, out of state, online or on campus; and what that particular degree's average return on investment is. Another factor that may affect cost is the number of required credits for the degree, which varies among graduate schools and programs.
Master's degree costs can vary from school to school, so prospective students should shop around to get a good value. MBA programs at schools like Harvard or Stanford lead to some of the most expensive master's degrees available. However, these degrees may cost less than they appear to because of their usually high return on investment. If a student makes substantially more money than he would have without the degree or than he would have with a similar degree from another school, the actual cost to obtain that degree ends up being lower.
The type of school from which one obtains a master's degree also plays a large role in determining overall cost. Public schools tend to be cheaper than private schools. Similarly, in-state tuition is significantly more affordable than out-of-state tuition, and online master's programs are usually less expensive than on-campus programs.