Compiled and Written By OnlineMBA.com Staff
Last Updated: March 2020

Most students seeking online MBA programs take cost into serious consideration. Even so, they should search beyond the cheapest online MBA programs to find ones that provide the best return on investment. Truly affordable online MBA programs deliver high-quality education at a cost that will not saddle students with years of debt. Tuition rates are not the only indicator of affordability; prospective learners must understand all of the factors that make an online MBA program affordable.

Affordable programs increase students' earning potential without burdening them with excessive debt. That said, not all online MBAs offer the same benefits. With this in mind, we ranked the 10 most affordable online MBA programs of 2020. Read on for more information regarding program costs and other factors that make them good investments.

Here are the 10 Best Affordable Online MBA Programs for 2020:

  1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, NC
  2. Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD
  3. University of Florida - Gainesville, FL
  4. Creighton University - Omaha, NE
  5. Purdue University - West Lafayette, IN
  6. St. Bonaventure University - Saint Bonaventure, NY
  7. Saint Joseph's University - Philadelphia, PA
  8. University of St. Francis - Joliet, IL
  9. Citadel Military College of South Carolina - Charleston, SC
  10. Indiana University - Bloomington - Bloomington, IN
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Top Affordable Online MBA Program Rankings for 2020

The programs ranked below are the 25 most affordable online MBA programs for 2020, providing a great resource for students beginning their online MBA program search. This list breaks down the most affordable online programs and gives additional details on what students can expect if they enroll.

Affordability should factor into students' MBA decisions, but they should also consider their career aspirations and which concentration options would best suit them. For more information on each school's program offerings, click to expand their respective boxes. Additional information includes available concentrations for each school's MBA program and admission requirements.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
1
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Location Chapel Hill , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 67 Student Population 30,011 Tuition $125,550 School Type Public

UNC's cohort-based program ranks among the best online MBA programs for its convenience and affordability. The 62-credit curriculum provides a comprehensive overview of contemporary business administration in a global context. The renowned Kenan-Flagler School of Business designed the course of study to accommodate the schedules of working professionals.

The program runs largely asynchronously, and students can select concentrations in entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, strategy and consulting, or data analytics. Distance learners can select from 25 elective courses to customize their degree to their career goals. Two required in-person summits allow face-to-face networking.

Kenan-Flagler reports that the average participant takes two years to complete the program and enjoys a 24% MBA salary increase upon graduation. The school boasts accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

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2
Johns Hopkins University
Location Baltimore , MD Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 68 Student Population 26,152 Tuition $76,140 School Type Private

Based in Baltimore, Johns Hopkins hosts a top online MBA that combines classroom and experiential learning. The 54-credit program runs entirely online or as a hybrid; most students complete their studies in three years. Aimed at working businesspeople, the program provides practical solutions immediately applicable to students in their current occupations.

The Carey Business School offers four of the program's six concentrations online. These include finance, healthcare management, marketing, and leading organizations. The school requires residencies for several classes.

Johns Hopkins boasts that 58% of students enjoyed a salary increase while in the program. The university grants GMAT/GRE waivers and merit scholarships to high-achieving applicants. Carey Business School holds accreditation by the AACSB.

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3
University of Florida
Location Gainesville , FL Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 94 Student Population 52,218 Tuition $57,984 School Type Public

Florida's flagship institution, UF offers an online MBA that students can earn in a single year. Available through the respected Warrington College of Business, the accelerated programtakes place entirely online, though participants visit campus for orientation. Students must hold an undergraduate degree in business awarded within the last seven years.

The AACSB-accredited program consists of 32 credits. Instruction revolves around recorded lectures delivered in asynchronous fashion. Distance learners enter a cohort and proceed in lock-step through five terms together. In term six, degree-seekers create a specialty using electives, and may elect to study abroad in a global immersion experience.

UF schedules three start dates per year. Warrington also offers an affordable online MBA in a two-year, 48-credit format at a slightly higher online MBA degree cost.

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4
Creighton University
Location Omaha , NE Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 100 Student Population 8,910 Tuition $38,346 School Type Private

Creighton boasts that graduates of its online MBA programearn 20% more than other MBA graduates. The Omaha-based institution insists that the improved salary outlook results from the program's focus on critical thinking, ethical decision-making, and leadership skills. The Jesuit school's 33-credit curriculum typically requires slightly more than two years to complete.

Distance learners can select from concentrations in accounting, finance, leadership, business analytics, financial psychology, and personal financial planning. Students can also add a dual major or certificates in several other areas. Coursework runs asynchronously, and the Heider College of Business features small class sizes for maximum interaction with professors and peers.

Applicants must submit college transcripts, which should show a bachelor's degree earned with a GPA of 3.0 or better. Creighton offers five start dates and rolling admissions.

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5
Purdue University
Location West Lafayette , IN Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 69 Student Population 44,474 Tuition $54,000 School Type Public

Based in Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue offers an affordable accredited online MBA that draws on the institution's expertise in technology and science. The 48-credit program approaches commerce and management from technical and analytical perspectives. Students gain opportunities to specialize in leadership and negotiation, business analytics, or innovation and technology.

The curriculum at the Krannert School of Management fits into a student's schedule with most classes taking place asynchronously. Faculty use case studies, research projects, and team-based learning to give distance learners an experiential learning environment. The university focuses on leadership and business strategy.

Applicants with three years or more of work experience and a 3.0 GPA or better can pursue an online MBA, no GMAT required. Purdue's business program carries AACSB accreditation.

6
St. Bonaventure University
Location Saint Bonaventure , NY Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 100 Student Population 2,379 Tuition $32,340 School Type Private

Among the best online MBA programs, St. Bonaventure uses a 10-to-one faculty to student ratio to deliver a personalized experience to every distance learner. Located in upstate New York, the school encourages collaborative learning with instructors taking an interest in each individual. As a Catholic institution, ethics factors into the core of the program.

The 39-credit curriculum allows participants to tailor their degree to their professional goals. They can select from ready-made concentrations in accounting, finance, business analytics, or marketing, and use electives to specialize further. Degree candidates can complete the program in as few as 20 months by taking one seven-week class per term.

St. Bonaventure formats most classes asynchronously. The university carries prestigious AACSB accreditation and welcomes applicants from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds.

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7
Saint Joseph's University
Location Philadelphia , PA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 98 Student Population 7,589 Tuition $56,975 School Type Private

Based in Philadelphia, Saint Joseph's hosts a uniquely customizable online MBA. The program allows distance learners to select from eight concentrations. Options include a general track, finance, international business, healthcare administration, business intelligence, marketing, leadership, and real estate.

Students can use electives within these specialty areas to further hone their course of study to meet their professional goals. The curriculum varies from 33-53 credits, depending upon a participant's background. The program formats most classes asynchronously, and features at least one real-time meeting per week. It does not require any trips to Philadelphia.

The university allows degree candidates to select two or more areas of concentration. Saint Joseph's Haub School of Business carries accreditation by the AACSB.

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8
University of St. Francis
Location Joliet , IL Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 99 Student Population 3,927 Tuition $28,728 School Type Private

USF recently redesigned its web-based master's in business, transforming it into one of the nation's best online MBA programs. The Joliet, Illinois institution refocused its course of study around the most pressing issues in business today, including global challenges, analytical thinking, leadership, and the value chain.

The 36-credit curriculum also places emphasis on technology in business. Students get started immediately in their concentration of choice. Available options include accounting, data analytics, finance, health administration, human resource management, supply chain, and training and development. Degree-seekers may also create their own path using stackable certificates in different areas.

Accredited by the elite Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), the program takes a year or less to complete. The university requires no GRE/GMAT and degree candidates can transfer in as many as nine credits.

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9
Citadel Military College of South Carolina
Location Charleston , SC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 88 Student Population 3,763 Tuition $21,420 School Type Public

The Citadel recently moved its top online MBA onto the internet. Designed for active-duty military and working professionals, the 36-credit programreflects military values including strong leadership and discipline while offering the convenience of digital delivery. Students can earn all necessary credits online.

The Citadel's curriculum consists of two essential classes, seven core courses, two electives, and a capstone. Distance learners can select certificate tracks in technical project management and leadership or specialized elective study in finance, supply chain management, and entrepreneurship. Most instructors utilize an asynchronous format.

Applicants must submit a resume, college transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. Those with a previous graduate degree can waive the GMAT/GRE requirements.

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10
Indiana University - Bloomington
Location Bloomington , IN Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 77 Student Population 43,503 Tuition $67,830 School Type Public

IU prides itself on the flexibility of its affordable online MBA. The Bloomington school created its course of study using an intensive core, seven different majors, and myriad electives, allowing students to customize their own program. Immersive experiences contribute to that personalization.

The curriculum features a 12-week integrated core in which participants study business basics, earning a total of 18 credits. Then they specialize, selecting a major from a list that includes business analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, global supply chain management, and marketing. The last 12 credits consist of open electives.

Online degree candidates can add a second major or go deep into an area of interest. Everyone must attend the orientation week that opens the program. Sixty-four percent of recent graduates reported receiving a promotion while enrolled.

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11
City Vision University
Location Kansas City , MO Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 100 Student Population 137 Tuition $9,600 School Type Private

CVU bills its business administration master's as the nation's most affordable online Christian MBA. Offered entirely online, the 36-credit program typically takes a little over a year to complete. The Kansas City institution schedules classes in accelerated eight-week terms, and most run asynchronously using recorded lectures.

Candidates can select concentrations in nonprofit or education management or create their own pathway. They must maintain a 2.0 GPA or better to graduate. All students complete a class in the Christian worldview.

The program accepts up to nine transfer credits toward the degree. Distance learners can also earn credit for experience through the prior learning process. More than 70% of CVU MBA graduates work in nonprofits or ministries upon graduation.

12
Messiah College
Location Mechanicsburg , PA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 100 Student Population 3,375 Tuition $24,840 School Type Private

Located just outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Messiah hosts a digital MBA steeped in Christian values. The small, evangelical institution's master of business administration online provides students with concentration options in social entrepreneurship, strategic leadership, management, digital marketing, and dietetics. The school prides itself on the close mentoring relationships between faculty and students.

The 36-credit curriculum comprises nine classes in core business topics and three in an area of concentration. All degree candidates must complete a field capstone in management. Messiah crafted the program to cater to the needs of recent graduates and working professionals.

The program carries ACBSP accreditation. Most classes run asynchronously in accelerated six- or eight-week sessions. The college does not require the GMAT or GRE.

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13
Baker University
Location Baldwin City , KS Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 100 Student Population 2,769 Tuition $19,800 School Type Private

As the first university founded in Kansas, Baker calls the city of Baldwin home. The small, private institution provides career-oriented education, including an online MBA that readies students to step into management positions. The 33-credit program typically takes distance learners 18-20 months to complete.

Baker's curriculum includes specialties in finance, executive leadership, healthcare administration, and human resources. Most degree candidates take one class at a time in accelerated seven-week terms. However, qualified and motivated students can double that workload and graduate in as little as a single year.

The school's Baker 360 package includes e-books and all digital resources. This can help lower the online MBA degree program cost. Baker carries accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

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14
North Carolina State University
Location Raleigh , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 69 Student Population 35,479 Tuition $46,160 School Type Public

NC State designed its top-rated online MBA to adapt to the needs of its students. Learners can pursue their degree entirely online, full or part time. Enrollees may select accessible or flexible tracks, completing their degree in as little as 21 months or as long as six years. The program offers start dates in the fall or spring.

The school schedules classes asynchronously, but distance learners must also attend two three-day residencies on campus. While working through the 40-credit curriculum, students collaborate on case-centered projects. Online learners do not select a concentration like their campus counterparts; rather, they choose an emphasis for their electives.

Emphasis areas available include biosciences, finance, innovation, marketing, supply chain management, or technology and entrepreneurship. NC State carries accreditation from the AACSB.

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15
Bethel University
Location Saint Paul , MN Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 99 Student Population 3,692 Tuition $30,366 School Type Private

The largest member of the Christian College Consortium, Bethel sits in the Greater Twin Cities area of Minnesota. The school's online MBA gives students a choice of concentration areas in finance, management, strategy and execution, or healthcare administration. Each track infuses its curriculum with Christian values and a Christ-centric worldview.

Bethel's 42-credit curriculum requires distance learners to complete foundational courses in finance, accounting, marketing, and business analytics. Another feature includes the creation of a personal portfolio. The program typically closes with an integrative team capstone, a collaborative seminar constructed around a real-life business problem.

Some students elect to avail themselves of the dual MBA/MA in Strategic Leadership. Courses start every six weeks. Of the 2018 class, 48% received a promotion while enrolled in the program. Bethel carries accreditation from the ACBSP.

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16
Norwich University
Location Northfield , VT Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 100 Student Population 3,986 Tuition $29,088 School Type Private

As Vermont's military college, Norwich boasts two centuries of educating business leaders. Today it continues this tradition online, offering an online MBA with seven concentration options. These include energy management, project management, organizational leadership, supply chain management, construction management, finance, technology management, and a general track.

Norwich's 36-credit program requires students to visit campus for a one-week residency. Distance learners take six 11-week classes total, one at a time. The curriculum splits in half between core courses and concentration requirements.

An independent research project starts at the beginning of the fourth course. Everyone must pass a comprehensive exam to graduate. The program holds accreditation by the ACBSP. The PMI Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs further accredits the project management specialty.

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17
Stevens Institute of Technology
Location Hoboken , NJ Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 98 Student Population 6,929 Tuition $74,340 School Type Private

Stevens' online MBA upholds the New Jersey institution's deep traditions in technology, exploring the impact of tech on the business world. Located in Hoboken, the school shows students how to use data analysis to improve their bottom line. Graduates leave with a firm grounding in communication, leadership, and an understanding of how to integrate IT systems into modern commerce.

The curriculum includes coursework in the business of language, innovation, management, and analytical thinking. Participants use electives to create a specialty or choose from concentrations in corporate innovation, finance, information systems, and project management. The program typically closes with a capstone, with three options available in technology and management.

Stevens uses rolling admissions. Applicants without work experience or an undergraduate degree in business may need to take additional requisites. The institute requires GRE or GMAT scores.

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18
Villanova University
Location Villanova , PA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 64 Student Population 11,030 Tuition $64,800 School Type Private

Villanova offers its affordable online MBA in several concentrated sections. Degree candidates work their way through fundamentals, the functional core, pillars, electives, and one of three capstone options. They can begin the 48-credit program in any semester and complete the program within two years.

The school designed the program to create business leaders who can think analytically, solve problems, communicate effectively, and rapidly adapt to change. The program emphasizes practicality, a real-world focus, and an interdisciplinary approach. Distance learners can specialize in finance, analytics, marketing, international business, or strategic management.

Most classes proceed asynchronously. Students should also expect real-time classes and must attend a campus residency in Villanova, Pennsylvania. The program holds accreditation by the AACSB. Eligible students may transfer up to nine credits.

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19
University of Southern California
Location Los Angeles , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 64 Student Population 47,310 Tuition $99,705 School Type Private

Los Angeles' USC opens its online MBAwith a one-week residency. Students then progress through the 51-unit curriculum at home, using both synchronous and asynchronous classes. The program readies graduates for global business and cultivates an entrepreneurial spirit. Most students complete the course of study within two years.

USC established its Master of Business Administration online for working businesspeople, and prefers applicants with several years of professional experience. The program consists of six cross-disciplinary courses in core business subjects. Distance learners can avail themselves of further classes in project management, Lean Six Sigma, entrepreneurship, and supply chain management.

Graduates join a network of 390,000 USC alumni spread across the globe. The renowned Marshall School of Business carries accreditation by the AACSB.

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20
University of Virginia
Location Charlottesville , VA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 56 Student Population 24,639 Tuition $130,000 School Type Public

UVA's Darden School of Business structures its online MBA as a hybrid, with roughly a third of the core curriculum available online. All students begin and end the program with week-long residencies on campus in Charlottesville. Weekend residencies follow, scheduled about once a month.

Most of the online learning takes place in real time during the evening, though the school provides recorded lectures for those who miss the occasional meeting. Scheduled to accommodate the careers of working professionals, these sessions prove ideal for students who learn better with face-to-face interaction. The program proceeds in lock-step for 21 months in ten quarters of eight weeks each.

The program offers two tracks: a regular hybrid and a track featuring global immersion sessions. Both require standardized test scores for admission.

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21
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Location Champaign , IL Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 64 Student Population 49,702 Tuition $36,576 School Type Public

U of I grounds its affordable online MBA in real-world business. Available entirely online, the cohort-based iMBA program structures its learning material to simulate the way executives encounter it in professional contexts. The program aligns with the current needs of business and features a curriculum curated for career readiness.

The interactive curriculum offers a path toward practical business mastery and leadership development. In keeping with its reputation for academic rigor, the school requires students to select six specializations and complete an experiential learning course. Many classes feature live components requiring distance learners to log on at certain times.

All applicants must bring three years of managerial experience, but the program does not require GRE or GMAT scores. According to The Wall Street Journal, U of I ranks among the top five universities where recruiters look for talent.

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22
College of William and Mary
Location Williamsburg , VA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 54 Student Population 8,817 Tuition $63,700 School Type Public

W&M constructed its online MBA program around Renaissance ideals of versatility. The Williamsburg, Virginia institution strives to create graduates with interdisciplinary expertise and strong problem-solving skills. The program's cornerstone class emphasizes integrative Renaissance-inspired management strategy.

The AACSB-accredited, 49-credit curriculum runs mostly online. However, students join a cohort and must visit campus twice a year for residencies. W&M sets up these busy weekends like conferences, stressing team-building, collaboration, and networking. The cohort moves in tandem through 12 courses offered one at a time in 7.5-week sessions.

Distance learners pick a difficult problem facing global commerce in their very first course, and work toward solutions for the duration of the program. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and their resume should show at least two years of experience.

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23
Lewis University
Location Romeoville , IL Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 99 Student Population 6,440 Tuition $28,800 School Type Private

A private Catholic school in the Lasallian tradition, Lewis offers an online MBA with an array of specialization options. Students can select from a dozen areas of concentration. Popular options include accounting, healthcare informatics, information security, IT management, international business, social media marketing, and project management.

Within each of the specialty areas, degree candidates can further specialize by combining electives or designing their own course of study. Classes follow an accelerated eight-week schedule, meeting once a week from 6-10 PM.

The Romeoville, Illinois, institution uses rolling admissions. Distance learners with strong backgrounds in business can test out of some classes through proficiency exams. Most students complete the program within two years.

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24
Dominican University
Location River Forest , IL Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 100 Student Population 2,990 Tuition $41,400 School Type Private

DU offers hands-on learning focused on business problem-solving through its online MBA. Esteemed faculty deliver the coursework for this affordable Master of Business Administration degree. Students at the Chicago institution complete a gateway practicum as one of their first classes addressing a real-world problem facing a real business.

The opening practicum sets the tone for the remainder of the 46-credit curriculum, which places a premium on experiential education. The Catholic institution offers students the option of concentrating in accounting, data analytics, finance, leadership, healthcare administration, international business, or marketing. The program also provides an array of dual majors, enabling degree-seekers to pair the MBA with social work, library sciences, and dietetics.

Many degree candidates can waive up to six foundation courses with previous classwork or experience. The program carries accreditation from the AACSB.

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25
SUNY Polytechnic Institute
Location Utica , NY Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 96 Student Population 3,023 Tuition $30,000 School Type Public

Located in Utica, SUNY Polytech offers a unique online MBA focusing exclusively on technology management. Students may select additional specialty areas to augment their tech-centered studies. Options include accounting and finance, health informatics, human resource management, marketing, and business management.

Designed to prepare graduates for careers in management, the 48-credit curriculum delivers a thorough understanding of the major concepts in business administration. Distance learners discover how to leverage technology and data to give their company an advantage in the competitive global marketplace. Most classes run asynchronously.

SUNY Polytech allows up to 12 credits in transfer toward the degree. Most students can complete the program in two years of full-time study. Qualified applicants may receive waivers for the GMAT/GRE requirements.

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How We Rank Online MBA Programs

Want to know how we create our rankings? We assess schools based on academic quality, affordability, online flexibility, and student success.

Quality (30% of total score)

A low student-to-faculty ratio, a wide breadth of specialized MBA programs, and a high retention rate of students returning after their first year are all indicators of a quality university.

Affordability (10% of total score)

The amount of financial aid offered factors into a school's net price; this, paired with a low loan default rate, indicates that students may find a school's tuition within their budget.

Online Flexibility (20% of total score)

Scores for online flexibility focus on schools that have a high percentage of fully online students, but consideration is also given to schools that enroll partially online students using hybrid programs.

Student Success (40% of total score)

Both strong hallmarks of student success, we look for programs with high graduation rates whose students go on to have higher-than-average median earnings.

How Much Does an Online MBA Program Cost?

Tuition rates for online MBA programs vary by location and students' residency status. Even online programs sometimes distinguish among in-state, out-of-state, and international students, though some allow all online students to pay in-state tuition. For this reason, online programs often offer more affordable MBA options. Many schools' online tuition rates are even lower than their in-state rates, as the table below demonstrates.

Full-time MBA tuition (reflecting the full cost of the program from start to finish)
Student Provenance Mean Price
In State $35,809
Out-of-State $43,136
Out-of-Country $44,561
Online $31,568
Source: AACSB

What Factors Affect the Affordability of an Online MBA Program?

Online vs. On-campus

Completing your MBA program online often costs less than attending classes in-person. Tuition costs about the same for online and in-person classes, but online classes don't require transportation and parking expenses.

Graduation Rate

Graduation rate measures how many students complete a program and receive a degree. A low graduation rate indicates that a school does not provide the academic support students need. Choose a school with a high graduation rate for a greater chance of success.

Quality of Education

Your chosen program can affect your employment prospects, making it easier to justify the cost of a program that could lead to a good career. A strong alumni network and career center prove extremely helpful in this regard.

Tuition

Student loan options play a major role in a school's affordability. Interest rates affect how much it actually costs to pay off an initial loan over time. Programs that do not require students to take on debt are also better.

School Size and Type

A school's size and type affect its overall affordability. Well-known schools may offer more amenities, and their reputations could prove more valuable to future employers. Still, smaller schools may offer more individualized attention for students. Private schools generally cost more than public institutions, and employers view for-profit institutions as less prestigious than nonprofit schools.

Affordable Online MBA FAQs

Is an MBA Online Worth It?
Graduates with an accredited online MBA can qualify for lucrative job opportunities, which typically pay well above the median annual income for their state of choice.
How Are Online MBA Programs Accredited?
Accredited online MBA programs meet the same standards as in-person programs, which are set forth by regional, national, and programmatic accrediting bodies. Regional accreditation typically ensures the most rigorous academic standards.
How Long Does it Take to Complete an Online MBA?
Students can complete most online MBA programs in two years. Some programs offer expedited options that allow students to graduate in one year, depending on whether they study full time or part time.
How Does Accreditation Affect Affordability?
Accreditation indicates a quality MBA program. Unaccredited schools may provide a cheap online MBA, but their degrees are less valuable. By that same token, while accredited programs may cost more at the outset, the benefits outweigh the cost.
Are Online MBAs Cheaper?
Online programs can offer a more affordable MBA option, as many schools allow online students to pay in-state tuition or even lower prices. Some schools make no distinction, however, and students should research tuition expectations before enrolling.

Financial Aid Options For an Online MBA Program

Prospective students should begin the search for MBA funding by completing the FAFSA, which qualifies students to take advantage of federal loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study programs. The government offers students the opportunity to repay federal loans at low interest rates. Graduate students, including MBA learners, qualify for unsubsidized loans, which carry higher interest rates than the subsidized loans students may have borrowed for undergraduate studies.

By filling out a FAFSA, students also qualify for grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities. Grants constitute need-based funding that students do not repay, while scholarships tend to be merit-based. Some organizations use the terms interchangeably. Students often need to complete the FAFSA before they can qualify for school-specific grants and scholarships.

Work-study programs also provide a source of income for MBA students. Funded by the federal government and administered by the school, work-study jobs consist of hourly tasks that may include faculty assistance, research, or administrative tasks.

Students looking to fund their MBA studies also research scholarship opportunities through professional organizations related to their particular area of interest. For example, the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management offers scholarship opportunities for members and their families, as does the Society for Human Resource Management.

Affordable Online MBA Programs That Do Not Require the GMAT

Online MBA schools use the GMAT as a benchmark to select prospective students for program admission. The GMAT can be a great tool for the admissions process, but many students do not feel comfortable taking such a high-pressure test. For those learners, many online MBA programs do not require applicants to provide GMAT test scores.

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 fee for taking the test. GMAT preparation books often cost around $50, and practice tests cost around $30. It costs $250 to sit for the GMAT exam, and some students may need to take it more than once. Applicants can save this money by attending a program that does not require GMAT scores.

How to Save Even More Money on Your MBA

Budgeting and saving money plays a key role in saving on online MBA programs, as well, since the median price of the degree lands at $31,568, according to AACSB. Consider the following money-saving tactics:

Will Getting My MBA Pay Off?

Online MBAs can be expensive, but graduates compensate for their initial investment with increased earning potential over the long haul. MBAs provide learners with a competitive advantage in the job market, opening doors to more lucrative positions. Many companies require candidates for executive roles to hold MBA degrees from accredited programs.

MBAs represent an investment in the future, preparing learners for a variety of positions that would be difficult to obtain without a graduate degree. Read on to take a look at a few common careers for MBA graduates and their respective median salaries.

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers take charge of an organization's plans for appealing to new customers and retaining existing ones. They create marketing strategies for the brand and manage a team of workers who help execute these plans.

Median Salary: $64,636

Financial Director

Financial directors work with their organizations' senior management teams, taking charge of financial strategy and overseeing operations that contribute to the companies' financial health, including accounting and major business initiatives.

Median Salary: $112,510

Vice President of Operations

A vice president of operations helps an organization strategize and set business goals. These professionals also oversee their companies' everyday activities to ensure that they meet those goals.

Median Salary: $127,289

Executive Director

Executive directors take charge of strategy and operations for nonprofit organizations. They oversee the budget and make sure the organization complies with relevant laws governing nonprofits.

Median Salary: $78,787

Program Project Manager

Program project managers oversee individual, consecutive projects for their organizations, managing employees involved with the project to ensure project goals and timelines are met.

Median Salary: $83,487

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