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This is the 2014 update of the 10 most affordable online MBA programs, which offer a cost-effective way to upgrade business skills with a low risk of accruing debt. Four of the schools have their home campus in the Midwest of the U.S., four are located in the South, and one school, Eastern New Mexico University, is in the West region; however, as “distance education” implies, students can complete their degree programs from anywhere in the country.

Four of the cheapest online MBA programs in the United States are accredited by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Fayetteville State University, West Texas A&M University, University of Louisiana Monroe, and Ball State University carry that distinction. The AACSB is considered to be the most prestigious accreditor of business schools in the United States. Three schools— Eastern New Mexico University, Chadron State College, and Cameron University – are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), a specialized accreditation agency for business education recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Both Grantham University and John Hancock University are accredited by the Distance Education Training Council, while Amberton University is regionally accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Although these business programs may not carry the cache of the larger brand names in the online MBA marketplace, their base program costs are affordable and their curricula challenging and relevant, making them worthy of consideration. Of these, Eastern New Mexico University’s program has the lowest base program cost, at $4,218. The 9th and 10th most affordable programs are Grantham University at $11,700 and John Hancock University at $15,480.

These schools offer a wide range of familiar concentrations, including project management, management, and marketing. Fayetteville State University has various completion track options, including entrepreneurship and international business. Ball State University offers information systems, health economics, and sales management, among others.

List Order: Base Program Cost, Low to High.

ENMUEastern New Mexico University
Campus: Portales, New Mexico
Type: Public
Accreditation: ACBSP
Base Program Cost: $4,217.40
Per Credit Hour: $140.58
Minimum Credit Hours: 30
GMAT Required: No
Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
Concentrations Available Online: Generalist
Campus Requirements: No
School Site: Eastern New Mexico University
Online MBA School Profile: Eastern New Mexico University Online MBA Program

FSUFayetteville State University
Campus: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Type: Public
Accreditation: AACSB
Base Program Cost: $5,630.40
Per Credit Hour: $156.40 (In-State) $688.19 out of state
Minimum Credit Hours: 36
GMAT Required: Yes
Minimum Time Commitment: 12 Months
Concentrations Available Online: Generalist/Electives, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Healthcare Management, International Business, Management, Marketing, Project Management
On Campus Requirements: No
School Site: Fayetteville State University
OnlineMBA School Profile: Fayetteville State University Online MBA Program

WTAMUWest Texas A&M University
Campus: Canyon, Texas
Type: Public
Accreditation: AACSB
Base Program Cost: $4,439.82
Per Credit Hour: $143.22
Minimum Credit Hours: 31
GMAT Required: No
Minimum Time Commitment: 12 Months
Concentrations Available Online: Generalist/Electives, Management, Marketing, Health Care Administration, Computer Information Systems
On Campus Requirements: No
School Site: West Texas A&M University
OnlineMBA School Profile: West Texas A&M University Online MBA Program

Chadron State College
Campus: Chadron, Nebraska
Type: Public
Accreditation: ACBSP
Base Program Cost: $7,920
Per Credit Hour: $220
Minimum Credit Hours: 36
GMAT Required: No
Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
Concentrations Available Online: Generalist/Electives
Campus Requirements: No
School Site: Chadron State College
Online MBA School Profile: Chadron State College Online MBA Program

AUAmberton University
Campus: Garland, Texas
Type: Private, Not-For-Profit
Accreditation: SACS
Base Program Cost: $10,164
Per Credit Hour: $242
Minimum Credit Hours: 42
GMAT Required: No
Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
Optional Concentrations: Generalist/Electives, Management, Project Management, Strategic Leadership
On Campus Requirements: No
School Site: Amberton University
OnlineMBA School Profile: Amberton University Online MBA Program

ULMUniversity of Louisiana Monroe
Campus: Monroe, Louisiana
Type: Public
Accreditation: AACSB
Base Program Cost: $10,442.75
Per Credit Hour: $348.09
Minimum Credit Hours: 30
GMAT Required: Yes
Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
Concentrations Available Online: Generalist/Electives
Campus Requirements: No
School Site: University of Louisiana-Monroe
Online MBA School Profile: University of Louisiana – Monroe Online MBA Program

BSUBall State University
Campus: Muncie, Indiana
Type: Public
Accreditation: AACSB
Base Program Cost: $23,700
Per Credit Hour: $790
Minimum Credit Hours: 30
GMAT Required: Yes
Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
Concentrations Available Online: Generalist/Electives, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Information Systems, Operations Management, Sales Management, Health Economics, Policy, and Administration
Campus Requirements: No
School Site: Ball State University
Online MBA School Profile: Ball State University Online MBA Program

Cameron University
Campus: Lawton, Oklahoma
Type: Public
Accreditation: ACBSP
Base Program Cost: $11,295
Per Credit Hour: $250
Minimum Credit Hours: 33
GMAT Required: No
Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
Concentrations Available Online: Generalist/Electives
Campus Requirements: No
School Site: Cameron University
Online MBA School Profile: Cameron University Online MBA Program

GUGrantham University
Campus: Kansas City, Missouri
Type: Private, For-Profit
Accreditation: DETC
Base Program Cost: $11,700
Per Credit Hour: $325
Minimum Credit Hours: 36
GMAT Required: No
Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
Concentrations Available Online: Generalist/Electives, Project Management, Information Management
Campus Requirements: No
School Site: Grantham University
Online MBA School Profile: Grantham University Online MBA Program

JHUJohn Hancock University
Campus: Chicago, Illinois
Type: Public
Accreditation: DETC
Base Program Cost: $15,480
Per Credit Hour: $430
Minimum Credit Hours: 36
GMAT Required: No
Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
Concentrations Available Online: Generalist/Electives, E-Commerce, Finance, Global Management, Health Care Administration, Leadership, Management of Information Systems, Marketing, Professional Accounting, Public Accounting, Project Management, Risk Management
Campus Requirements: No
School Site: John Hancock University Online MBA Program
Online MBA School Profile: John Hancock University Online MBA Program

Notes About the Listings

Accreditation:

  • AACSB: Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business is an accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This organization accredits the world’s top business schools. Its standards are high and dictate that faculty must be involved in academic research, among other requirements. The group is a specialized accreditor for business schools.
  • ACBSP: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs is an accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This organization accredits a broad spectrum of business schools. Its standards are high and its emphasis in on faculty that is experienced in their field of instruction, among other requirements. The group is a specialized accreditor for business programs.
  • HLC/NCACS: The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. HLC is the accreditation arm of the NCACS. The group grants initial reviews of applications for accreditation and ensures standards continue to be upheld. One of the six officially recognized regional accreditation bodies in the United States.
  • DETC: The Distance Education and Training Council. DETC reviews the quality of programs from distance learning institutes. It is an accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • WASC: The Western Association of Schools & Colleges. One of the six officially recognized regional accreditation bodies in the United States. Oversees schools in California and Hawaii, in addition to U.S. territories. Comprised of three commissions, which accredit schools at different levels. The use of WASC here is in reference to the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities.

Base Program Cost: Determined by number of credit hours multiplied by the out of state cost per credit hour. When an out of state credit hour cost is not assigned, the credit hour charge for online graduate students is used. Base program costs do not include additional fees, textbooks, or the cost of prerequisite courses or additional credit hours needed for certifications, except where noted.

GMAT Required: In certain cases, the GMAT requirement may be waived. This varies by school depending on undergraduate GPA, professional work experience, or previous graduate work. Schools that do require the GMAT may have a minimum score threshold to be considered for enrollment.

Minimum Time Commitment: This is the minimum amount of time a student would need to earn their MBA. This minimum differs by school–based on the student’s full time or part time status, waived prerequisites, or additional factors that are best discussed with an institution’s admissions office.

Concentrations: MBA students can opt to follow a prescribed course sequence such as International Business, Health Care Administration, or other concentrations. Or they will follow a Generalist core curriculum and use Electives to select a concentration of their own designm