Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2024

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MBAs have a reputation for being valuable but expensive. Discover ways to break through cost constraints while earning a prestigious graduate degree in business.

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Affordable online MBAs have become an increasingly sought-after higher education. Inflation has wreaked havoc on personal finances, and the government has terminated student loan forbearance programs. MBAs remain one of the most dependable options for students seeking credentials to accelerate their earning power.

However, MBAs have historically ranked among the most expensive degrees to pursue. MBA programs can cost anywhere from $9,000-$50,000 or more per year. These exorbitant costs limit access to MBA education. Affordable online MBAs have thus emerged as an appealing alternative that improves education equity.

People who pursue affordable MBAs match many different profiles but often include working professionals, working parents, and people from lower income brackets. To aid your search for a budget-friendly yet appealing MBA degree, we have compiled a list of the top affordable MBA degrees. Use it to aid you in researching which programs might be a good fit for you.

Online MBA Programs for You

Grow your career, leadership, and business acumen with an accredited online MBA program.

Top Most Affordable MBAs

#1 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2024

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Cost per Degree:
In-State | $125,589
Out-of-State | $125,589

Credits to Graduate: 62

UNC Online's MBA degree from the Kenan-Flagler Business School takes 18-36 months to complete and offers part-time and full-time options. The AACSB-accredited program holds a STEM designation and offers concentrations in areas like management and leadership, finance, and entrepreneurship. Learners can also create custom curricula by taking electives in any field.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree and at least two years of professional experience. Applicants do not need to submit GMAT or GRE scores if they hold at least five years of professional experience.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,019
Out-of-state
$35,580
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,552
Out-of-state
$28,844
Retention Rate
96%
Acceptance Rate
17%
Students Enrolled
31,949
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2024

University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Cost per Degree:
In-State | $58,000 (two-year program), $48,000 (16-month program)
Out-of-State | $58,000 (two-year program), $48,000 (16-month program) 

Credits to Graduate: 32 (one-year program) or 48 (two-year program)

UF's online MBA program from the Warrington College of Business focuses on management and leadership. Students can enroll in two pathways: a 16-month program and a flexible 24-month track. 

In 1999, UF was one of the first schools to offer an accredited online MBA. To qualify for admission to the program, applicants need at least two years of full-time professional experience. The university also assists with navigating conversations around requesting employers to cover tuition.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,477
Out-of-state
$25,694
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,770
Out-of-state
$27,335
Retention Rate
97%
Acceptance Rate
30%
Students Enrolled
55,781
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2024

Johns Hopkins University

  • Baltimore, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Cost per Degree:
$144,000

Credits to Graduate: 54

Johns Hopkins's online MBA program from the Carey Business School focuses on developing leadership, entrepreneurship, and resilience. Learners can choose from eight specializations and benefit from case competitions, student clubs, and a community consulting lab. 

The 2-3 year fully online program offers synchronous and asynchronous options. Students can complete various in-person experiences, including global immersions, leadership development expeditions, and accelerated electives. The program also offers online experiential learning options.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$58,720
Out-of-state
$58,720
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$58,720
Out-of-state
$58,720
Retention Rate
97%
Acceptance Rate
7%
Students Enrolled
31,275
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2024

William & Mary

  • Williamsburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $1,425
Out-of-State | $2,025

Credits to Graduate: 49

William and Mary's online MBA from the Raymond A. Mason School of Business explores leadership and problem-solving in a global context. The program requires 12 courses and limits enrollment to 22 students per class. 

More than 96% of William and Mary's online MBA alumni say their satisfaction with the program is "high" or "very high." The college reports an average salary of $135,686 for its MBA graduates. Alumni work for companies like Microsoft, Amazon, JP Morgan Chase, and Charles Schwab.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$17,434
Out-of-state
$40,089
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,516
Out-of-state
$28,305
Retention Rate
95%
Acceptance Rate
33%
Students Enrolled
9,654
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2024

California State University-Long Beach

  • Long Beach, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Cost per Degree:
In-State | $30,400
Out-of-State | $49,400

Credits to Graduate: 48

CSULB's online MBA is a cohort-style program for full-time working professionals. The program starts with an orientation where students meet their cohorts, faculty, and alumni. Half of the coursework is synchronous, requiring learners to log on one night a week for a live class, and the other half occurs asynchronously.

Each applicant needs a bachelor's degree from an accredited college and at least three years of work experience. Completing the degree takes 3.5 years for part-time students and two years for full-time learners.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,176
Out-of-state
$16,680
Retention Rate
87%
Acceptance Rate
47%
Students Enrolled
40,190
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
87% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#6 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2024

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Edinburg, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $472
Out-of-State | $472

Credits to Graduate: 36

UTRGV's fully online MBA degree helps students develop project management and leadership skills. The accelerated program features seven-week courses and takes just 12 months to complete.  

The curriculum includes courses like advanced corporate finance, information systems for managers, marketing strategy, and business research. The total estimated cost of the degree is $17,000, making it significantly more affordable than many other online MBA programs. Online students can apply for UTRGV's one-time graduate select scholarship.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,857
Out-of-state
$20,097
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,002
Out-of-state
$14,562
Retention Rate
76%
Acceptance Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
31,559
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
78% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2024

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

  • Champaign, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $332
Out-of-State | $332

Credits to Graduate: 72

UIUC's online iMBA from the Gies College of Business features a customizable curriculum that allows students to choose their own focuses. The fully online, self-paced program can take 24-60 months to complete and does not require any campus visits. 

The iMBA costs an estimated $23,904 for the entire degree, and students can pay as they go. Applicants do not need to submit GMAT or GRE scores. UIUC reports that 65% of students received a job offer, promotion, or new job while in the iMBA program.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$12,254
Out-of-state
$29,704
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,891
Out-of-state
$29,176
Retention Rate
93%
Acceptance Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
57,006
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
84% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2024

Ana G. Mendez University

  • Orlando, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $495
Out-of-State | $495

Credits to Graduate: 42

AGMU's online MBA with a specialization in management degree focuses on the theory and practice of management. Required classes include advanced strategy management, business economics, project management, and pricing and value management. Each enrollee must complete a research or capstone course to graduate. 

To qualify, an applicant needs a bachelor's degree in management or a degree in another field with six credits of financial accounting from an accredited school. Potential careers for graduates include chief executive officer, manager, and consultant. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,532
Out-of-state
$8,532
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,760
Out-of-state
$5,760
Retention Rate
80%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,150
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#9 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2024

Western Governors University

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • 2 years
  • Online

Programmatic Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

Cost per Six-Month Term:
In-State | $4,955
Out-of-State | $4,955

Credits to Graduate: 11 courses

WGU's online MBA degree can prepare graduates to become business leaders in as little as 12 months. Each learner completes 11 courses exploring ethical leadership, operations management, and data-driven decision-making. Enrollees can advance through the curriculum as they demonstrate mastery of the material, allowing them to speed up or slow down their progression as necessary. 

At the end of the program, enrollees complete capstone projects to graduate. The program can develop management, operations, communications, and data analysis skills. WGU reports that MBA graduates increased their salaries by an average of $14,025. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,162
Out-of-state
$7,162
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,500
Out-of-state
$7,765
Retention Rate
73%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
150,116
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#10 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2024

University of South Florida

  • Tampa, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $497-$750
Out-of-State | $497-$750

Credits to Graduate: 33

USF's online MBA from the Muma College of Business can prepare students for leadership roles addressing contemporary challenges in business. Most learners enrolled in the program work full time and graduate in 2-3 years. The degree requires foundation, core, elective, and capstone courses and offers various professional development opportunities.

Students can choose from six optional concentrations, including blue economy, cybersecurity, healthcare analytics, and finance. Courses develop skills in professional communication, ethics, and financial analysis.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,559
Out-of-state
$15,473
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,350
Out-of-state
$19,048
Retention Rate
90%
Acceptance Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
49,708
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

How We Choose Programs

At OnlineMBA.com, we rely on reputable sources to rank the best MBA programs. We use trusted sources like the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to find standout programs. We consider four metrics: affordability, reputation, academics, and program availability.

This ranking is from 2024. Visit our rankings methodology page to learn more about how we rank programs.

Why Get an Affordable Online MBA?


Affordable MBA programs offer more than just cost savings. Many of these programs feature convenient online delivery formats. This can provide additional flexibility and make it easier for learners to work while they study, further improving their economic outcomes.

Specific benefits of pursuing an MBA designed for peak affordability include:

  • Access to More Options

    Before the online age, students who wanted to continue working while studying were limited to pursuing only nearby programs. The internet, and the mass adoption of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, increased access to a full array of schools, concentrations, and specializations.
  • Graduating With Less Debt

    Business schools often have a reputation for high tuition rates. Affordable online MBA programs reduce costs, enabling students to graduate with lower debt and reap the benefits of their increased salaries.
  • Engaging With Emerging Technology

    Some business schools use cutting-edge technologies to deliver lectures and course materials to online students. Companies use many of the same resources when engaging remotely with clients and stakeholders.
  • Viewpoint Diversity

    Online MBA programs tend to draw in students with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints, bringing a deeper, more enriched pool of ideas to the virtual classroom.
  • International Opportunity

    As affordable online MBA programs become more popular and prestigious, they draw more interest from the international student and business communities. Online MBA programs can help enrollees network on a global scale.

Online MBA Programs for You

Grow your career, leadership, and business acumen with an accredited online MBA program.

The Cost of Online MBA Programs

Multiple factors affect program costs. Affordable online MBAs include programs with relatively low tuition costs, strong financial aid support, or both. Business schools that offer particularly favorable returns on educational investment, as measured through job placement rates and average salaries, also merit consideration.

Online MBA programs may also be cheaper due to lower transportation costs and a student's ability to study at home and continue working while in school, offsetting the price of tuition.

Students do not need to sacrifice educational quality to achieve savings. To that end, prioritize the following factors as you seek affordable MBA options:

  • Accreditation

    Students seeking affordable online MBA programs should ensure each school's accreditation status. Schools can be both nationally and programmatically accredited. Prospective students can also seek programs boasting programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
  • Affordability

    Top programs ensure that students can graduate without incurring overwhelming debt or personal hardship. They may offer low tuition rates or reduced rates for online students. Some schools bridge the affordability gap by offering financial aid to online MBA students.
  • Post-Graduation Success

    MBA programs often advertise their graduates' success by detailing alumni salaries, promotions, employment rates, and impressive employers and/or job titles. Prospective students should research each program's graduation rate. Schools with graduation rates of 70% or higher tend to reflect a positive student experience.
  • Online Resources

    The best affordable online MBA programs ensure that distance learners benefit from access to university resources, like career centers, libraries, tutoring, and networking opportunities. Programs with large percentages of online students often prioritize distance learners and devote significant resources to their experience.
  • Robust Curricula

    Prospective students should seek programs offering rigorous curricula and ample opportunities for program and community involvement. Whether pursuing affordable online MBA programs or on-campus experiences, learners should compare degree offerings to ensure they can graduate with the expertise to succeed in the job market. Course offerings vary, but the best MBA programs provide foundational business knowledge and in-depth coverage of any concentration topics.

Prospective students should consider their individual situations, including their educational background and career goals. Some factors, like accreditation, always matter. Learners aiming for high-level executive positions at major companies may focus more on student outcome data and alumni networks. Those with business backgrounds might look for curricula focusing more on specializations than on MBA core courses.

Online MBA Programs for You

Grow your career, leadership, and business acumen with an accredited online MBA program.

What to Expect From Affordable Online MBA Programs

Most MBA degrees take 1-2 years of full-time study to complete. With professional and personal obligations, enrollees may take longer to complete their programs, often extending to 3-5 years. Schools understand that many online MBA degree-seekers work while studying.

Institutions tailor their curricula to accommodate the practical realities of students' needs.

Course load also varies, depending on the program's intensity and how the school structures its credit system. General MBAs can comprise as few as 10 courses. More diversified and concentrated study paths may require up to 24 courses or more.

Schools also set distinct admission policies. Most require GMAT or GRE scores, academic transcripts, personal statements and/or recommendations, and relevant professional experience. The number of supported concentrations and specializations also continues to grow, giving online MBA students access to more study options than ever before.

Specialized MBAs

Many of the most affordable online MBAs offer concentrations, such as an MBA in accounting, healthcare management, or international business. Degree-seekers often choose these paths when they have specific career objectives in mind. Professionals with specialized MBAs often command higher salaries, as their targeted credentials give them a competitive edge for relevant job openings.

Business schools collectively host dozens of different MBA specializations, but individual institutions typically offer about 5-8 options. Examples include common and traditional concentrations, along with innovative specializations reflecting emerging trends in modern commerce.

Popular Online MBA Courses

The specific courses included in a given MBA program depend on the school and the degree's orientation. For example, concentrated programs typically cover specialized content beyond the scope of a general MBA. The following examples represent courses commonly offered in general MBA programs:

  • Marketing Theory and Practice: Executive and management roles often demand a thorough grounding in the theoretical and applied aspects of marketing. This course, usually taken in the early stages of an MBA, provides an introduction to the four interrelated principles of marketing product, price, place, and promotion.
  • Principles of Management: Graduates often earn leadership positions that require strong proficiencies in resource management and decision-making. This course examines crucial managerial principles, including management theory, motivational strategies, and the qualitative and quantitative factors that drive decision-oriented analysis.
  • Business Ethics: In the age of social media and mass instant communication, businesses need to pay closer attention than ever to the ethical soundness of their practices. This course uses practical examples and dilemmas to examine theories of business ethics in real-world settings. Students learn how to balance and manage ethical concerns against the business's bottom line.
  • Quantitative Analysis: Business managers and executives analyze data to minimize costs and maximize profitability. This fundamental course applies data analysis to inventory management, scheduling, project management, and other key operational aspects.

The MBA Capstone or Thesis

Affordable online MBA programs typically culminate with comprehensive projects that demonstrate students' mastery and synthesis of critical concepts learned throughout the degree. Most programs present this academic requirement as a capstone or thesis.

Capstone or thesis projects usually cover the credit equivalent of two full-length courses. Enrollees normally complete these projects under the supervision of senior faculty members during the final year or semester of their program.

Both formats require extensive research and a thorough analysis of specific issues that professionals commonly encounter in their careers. Thesis projects usually apply theory to an academic hypothesis, while capstones maintain a more practical and pragmatic orientation. For instance, capstones often prompt students to formulate and articulate solutions to actual challenges faced by real businesses.

Check out our guide on MBA capstone and thesis projects.

Online MBA Programs for You

Grow your career, leadership, and business acumen with an accredited online MBA program.

Making Affordable MBA Programs Even Cheaper

Prospective students can potentially decrease MBA program costs by considering weighing the following factors against their personal goals.

  • Required Travel

    Whether considering on-campus learning or online studies, learners may need to account for travel expenses. Some online programs require participants to visit campus for orientation, immersion events, or residencies. These options provide excellent networking opportunities, but degree-seekers should weigh travel costs against potential gains.
  • Class Size

    Smaller class sizes can offer personalized attention and direct access to faculty, though programs with low student-to-faculty ratios tend to be more expensive. Candidates should consider their own learning styles and whether they thrive in larger classes.
  • Institutional Prestige

    Some employers prioritize candidates with degrees from prestigious institutions, making school reputation an important consideration. These schools may charge higher tuition rates as a result. Prospective students should carefully consider whether paying higher rates for prestigious institutions would help them achieve their goals.
  • Online vs. On-Campus

    Affordable online MBA programs commonly offer reduced tuition rates to distance learners, including opportunities for out-of-state learners to pay resident rates. With the flexibility of online programs, learners can study from home and potentially continue working while earning their degrees.

Online MBA Programs for You

Grow your career, leadership, and business acumen with an accredited online MBA program.

Cheap Online MBA Programs That Do Not Require the GMAT

Online MBA schools use the GMAT as a benchmark to select prospective students. The GMAT acts as a great tool for the admissions process, but many students do not feel comfortable taking such a high-pressure test. Luckily, many online MBA programs have no GMAT requirements.

This relieves some stress from the application process and saves applicants some money. Graduate school entrance exams, such as the GMAT, can create an extra financial hurdle due to the expense of preparation and the test fee itself.

GMAT preparation books often cost around $50, and practice tests typically charge around $30. It costs $275-$300 to sit for the GMAT exam, and some students may need to take it more than once.

Financial Aid Options for an Online MBA Program

Even the cheapest MBA programs can make for a significant financial investment, and many students may seek additional financial aid to help fund their degrees. The following articles describe various funding sources, tips on accessing financial aid, and an in-depth guide on the FAFSA.

How to Save Even More Money on Your Affordable MBA

After choosing an affordable MBA program and taking advantage of financial aid options, learners can continue making money-saving choices. The list below describes the advantages of accelerating a degree through overloading credits, choosing textbook alternates, and making loan payments during school to lower overall interest.

Online MBA Programs for You

Grow your career, leadership, and business acumen with an accredited online MBA program.

Common Questions About Affordable MBA Programs

How do most people pay for an MBA?

People who cannot afford to absorb the entire cost of an MBA typically pursue scholarships, grants, and federal or private loans. Some employers also partially or fully sponsor workers seeking degree upgrades through tuition reimbursement benefits.

Is an MBA still worth it?

Experts say yes. The vast majority of MBAs generate a positive return on investment through increased earning power and career advancement potential.

What is a realistic budget for an MBA?

An MBA can cost anywhere from $9,000-$50,000 per year. For an affordable online MBA, it is realistic to find a suitable program toward the lower end of this range, or even below it.

Where is the cheapest place to get an MBA?

It is possible to get an MBA degree for less than $10,000 in total tuition. For example, Eastern University offers an online MBA program at a total cost of just $9,900.

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