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A master's in business administration (MBA) prepares graduates for leadership roles in finance, marketing, operations, and international business. Whether you're interested in working your way up the corporate ladder or starting your own business, an MBA program can give you the knowledge to achieve your goals. For this reason and more, it's one of the most popular graduate degrees.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 866,900 master's degrees were conferred in the 2020-2021 academic year. Of those, 202,300 were business degrees, making up the largest percentage (23%).
The biggest concern for many students is the cost. Fortunately, there are affordable MBAs. Online MBAs can offer a less expensive option, enabling you to continue working while pursuing a master's. According to our 2021 MBA Student Survey, on average, an online MBA costs 25% less than an on-campus MBA. Additionally, some companies offer tuition reimbursements for employees pursuing an MBA degree.
We've listed the top colleges with the cheapest MBA online and on-campus programs. Explore tuition rates, program length, and standout features, helping you determine if an MBA is right for you.
Is an Affordable MBA Degree Worth It?
One of the main considerations when determining if something is affordable is the return on investment (ROI). In essence, it determines if your investment is worth it. According to a 2022 Graduate Management Admission Council survey, full-time MBA students in North America received a 50% increase in compensation after graduating. The median wage went from $80,000 to $120,000.
A 2021 analysis conducted by the Wall Street Journal found that, in 98% of universities with MBA programs, graduates made more money than they had borrowed two years after graduating.
But what about the cost of an MBA? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of one year of graduate tuition and fees was $19,749 in 2020-2021. You can, however, find much more affordable online MBA programs. For example, at Missouri State University, the estimated cost of an online MBA is $15,100.
As an online student, you can also reduce the financial burden by continuing to work part or full time. This reduces the lost opportunity cost, which represents the lost salary and job opportunities if you quit your job. And thanks to today's virtual world, you can connect with faculty and classmates from diverse backgrounds via live class sessions, enabling you to network despite the distance.
Featured Online MBA Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Top Colleges With the Most Affordable MBAs
We have compiled a list of nonprofit and for-profit four-year institutions that offer this degree program. Use the table below to compare the average net price and student population size.
|School||Location||Average Net Price||Student Population Size|
|CUNY Bernard M Baruch College||New York City, New York||Resident: $39,851
|California State University, Long Beach||Long Beach, California||Resident: $38,840
|University of Washington, Seattle||Seattle, Washington||Resident: $89,343
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill, North Carolina||Resident: $110,564
|University of South Florida||Tampa, Florida||Resident: $20,500
|University of Florida||Gainesville, Florida||Resident: $37,839
|Purdue University||West Lafayette, Indiana||Resident: $52,408
|San Diego State University||San Diego, California||Resident: $27,548
|Appalachian State University||Boone, North Carolina||Resident: $19,287
|University of Central Florida||Orlando, Florida||Resident: $43,000
|University of Wisconsin, La Crosse||La Crosse, Wisconsin||Resident: $29,700
3 Top Schools With the Cheapest MBAs
Appalachian State University
Appalachian's Walker College of Business offers full- and part-time on-campus MBA programs, as well as a part-time online option. You can choose from eight concentrations, including business analytics, economics, supply chain management, and sustainable business. The online program offers interdisciplinary business and cybersecurity concentrations. Full-time students may complete the 36-credit curriculum in one year. A thesis is optional.
The online program offers asynchronous and synchronous learning. Some courses require students to take scheduled online classes. You may complete the online MBA in two years or at your own pace. In-state online students pay $544 per credit. Nonresidents pay $1,194.
Purdue University's Krannert School of Management offers weekend, online, and executive MBA programs. The weekend option, a blended hybrid format, involves online learning and two monthly on-campus Saturday classes. Students complete the 48-credit program in 21 months. The online program may be completed in as little as two years.
You can choose from four specializations: business analytics; innovation and technology commercialization; leadership, negotiation, and change management; and global supply chain management.
The capstone consists of a simulated real-life scenario requiring students to use data analytics to make strategic business decisions. Students may also take advantage of domestic and international study-abroad opportunities. In-state online students pay $1,250 per credit. Nonresidents pay $1,293.80
University of South Florida
USF's Muma College of Business offers professional, executive, and online MBA programs. The program requires students to complete 32 credits. As an online student, you may select one of six optional concentrations, including blue economy, cybersecurity, finance, and healthcare analytics. Courses are asynchronous, enabling students to fit classes into their busy schedules.
Weekly collaboration sessions enable you to build your network. Online students may also participate in the many in-person and online workshops and networking events. One such event is corporate connections, where students meet with corporate recruiters. USF also offers optional on-campus immersion and short-term study-abroad courses. Online students pay $750 per credit.
Common Questions About Affordable MBA Degrees
Are cheap MBAs worth it?
A cheap MBA can be worth it, depending on the program and the effort you put into it. Programs that offer capstone projects simulating real-world issues ensure hands-on experience. Collaborative projects, whether online or on-campus, help you develop the all-important network.
Does FAFSA cover an MBA?
Yes. Financial aid is available for MBA students. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine if you qualify for federal student loans, school or state-based scholarships and grants, or work-study programs.
What do you do if you can't afford an MBA?
First, start by looking for free money. Schools and groups award grants, scholarships, and fellowships based on merit. Look into work-study programs that can help fund school expenses. Check to see if your present company offers a tuition reimbursement program. Look for part-time online schools that let you continue working.
What is a realistic budget for an MBA?
While MBA programs can be pricey, many, both online and on campus, offer lower tuition rates. Whether you attend online, in person, full time, or part time will also affect the cost.
AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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