Guide: Finding the Most Affordable & Cheapest Online MBA Programs


When it comes to business school, you have to spend money in order to make money, even for the cheapest MBA. But just how much money are you willing to part with in order to receive your business degree? You might also be asking…

  • Is there really such a thing as an affordable MBA?
  • Are cheap MBA programs even any good?
  • How do find the most affordable MBA programs?

This guide will help you answer those questions when it comes to online MBA programs, specifically the cheapest MBA programs you can find online. Consider this your comprehensive guide to finding the most affordable MBA programs online. For this year, look no further to find the cheapest online MBA programs that will help your career soar.

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We know you want the best education available, and we know you are interested in saving money with an affordable MBA at the same time.

This is why we will offer you resources and information to help you find not only the affordable online MBA programs, but also truly excellent MBA programs.



What Is an MBA?

Before we delve into the most affordable MBA programs online, let’s take a look at what an MBA is and what it offers.

An MBA, or a Master of Business Administration, is a graduate level degree focused on preparing students for work in the business, management, or marketing fields.

While an MBA degree is commonly used for these business-oriented career fields, in no way does it limit graduates to this course of work. There are countless jobs in both the public and private sectors that can benefit from an MBA graduate.

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The Average Cost of an MBA

We will take a peek at the cheapest MBA options below, but first let us take a look at MBA program costs in general. Investopedia broke down the average costs of a traditional MBA at a traditional school:

  • $80,000 for tuition
  • $40,000 for board and books
  • $20,000 for peripheral expenditures (defined as things such as mandatory laptops or required trips)

That total of $140,000 can make anybody understand why searching for affordable MBA programs is such a necessity in today’s world, especially when you consider the average male MBA graduate will earn between $51,940 and $123,880 and the average female MBA graduate will earn between $42,978 and $99,970.

As you can see, it could take many graduates years to pay off the expenses of an MBA program. This is why turning to affordable online MBA programs is a realistic option for furthering your education.



How to Find Affordable Online MBA Programs

If you choose to go with a more affordable MBA, considering an online program may be a great option. Keep in mind that not only are tuition costs down, you do not have to spend excess dollars on room and board (beyond your current living situation).

Of course, even though finding affordable MBA online programs is highly valuable, you still want to make sure that your potential MBA is a solid program that will not only prepare you for your future; it should also open up any door you desire.

There is no way around it: you will want to research as many of the cheapest online MBA programs as you can in order to choose the ideal program for you.

To make this process easier, we collected seven online resources that each has their own lists/ranks (and ways of producing those lists) of their top options for the best and the most affordable online MBA programs.



What to Look for in Affordable Online MBA Programs

Before we show you the lists to start your research on the cheapest online MBA programs, it is important to highlight what you are actually looking for. While many people want to go to a school simply because it is prestigious, it is better to focus on the important factors.

Online MBA explains what you need to pay attention to in order to choose a high quality MBA program, even if it is one of the cheapest MBA programs around:

  • Accreditation
  • Faculty
  • Curriculum
  • Technology
  • Ranking

College Choice recommends keeping these following factors in mind as well:

  • Check that your cheapest online MBA still offers the same resources as if you were on campus
  • Ask about the interaction levels between you and your professors in the most affordable MBA programs
  • Inquire about digital education costs, like technology fees, that could potentially make the cheapest MBA not as affordable as it seems

Keep an eye on these topics as you search through the following lists of top cheapest online MBA programs. Many of these resources take the time to mention these factors within their profiles of each of the most affordable MBA programs online.

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Affordable Online MBA Resource #1: U.S. News

U.S. News is considered the holy grail when it comes to business school rankings. And it just so happens that U.S. News shares the list of their “10 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs.” For each of these schools, you will learn:

  • Tuition per credit
  • Rank
  • Three-year graduation rate
  • Link to a full university profile including stats and information on rankings, applications, academics, student body, technology, and costs

This information shows you not only where to get an affordable MBA online, but how well each school is doing in general.

You can compare this list of affordable online MBA programs with U.S. News’s current ranking system of the best online MBA programs in the country. Here, you can learn more about faculty, technology, student engagement, and admissions selectivity.

Affordable Online MBA Resource #2: Online MBA

Online MBA offers a wonderful amount of information for each school in their “10 Cheapest Online MBA Programs” list. These are online schools offering the cheapest online MBA options according to Online MBA.

For each of the most affordable MBA programs mentioned, you will be provided with well-organized, important info including:

  • Type (public/private)
  • Accreditation
  • Base program cost
  • Cost per credit hour for residents
  • Cost per credit hour for non-residents
  • Minimum credit hours
  • GMAT required (yes or no)
  • Minimum time commitment
  • Concentrations available online
  • On campus requirements (yes or no)
  • School website
  • Online MBA school profile

If you are interested in getting an affordable MBA online through these schools, you can read more about their various accreditation programs on this website. And like U.S. News, you can also compare this list of the cheapest online MBA options to Online MBA’s list of “Best Online MBA Programs for 2016.”

Affordable Online MBA Resource #3: Top Management Degrees

If you are looking for a longer, more comprehensive list of cheap MBA programs online, Top Management Degrees’ list “Top 50 Affordable Online MBA Degree Programs” is a great place to start.

This list of 50 of the most affordable online MBA options in the country was chosen based upon a few factors. Top Management Degrees made sure each school was accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). They also gathered data and estimated early career salaries.

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The result is a ranked list of 50 of the cheapest MBA offerings. You will learn more about each school, read an estimate of the program’s overall cost, and get an estimate of a possible expect salary early in your career.

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Affordable Online MBA Resource #4: The Simple Dollar

On The Simple Dollar, you can find a short and simple list of their “Affordable Online MBA Programs.” Only five of the cheapest online MBA programs made the list. This is a nice contrast to the possible “information overload” you may start feeling after reading through some of those “top 50” articles.

The Simple Dollar lists the following information for each of their top cheap MBA programs:

  • Location
  • Application fee
  • In-state tuition
  • Out-of-state tuition
  • Acceptance rate
  • Average undergraduate GPA
  • Average GMAT score
  • Faculty average online teaching experience
  • One-year new student retention rates for 2012, 2013, and 2014

Since this is a smaller list, you may not find your ideal online school for your affordable MBA, but it will at least make you more familiar with the options and price points.



Affordable Online MBA Resource #5: OnlineU

OnlineU’s “Most Affordable Online Colleges For MBA Programs” comprises 25 of the cheapest online MBA programs in the United States. And all of them have an annual tuition cost that comes under $12,000.

When you look at OnlineU’s list of affordable online MBA programs, you will only see the school name, the annual tuition cost, and how many online MBA degree options they offer.

However, if you click on the school name, you will be led to more information on getting their affordable MBA online, including:

  • School type (for-profit/non-profit)
  • School accreditation
  • Degree concentrations
  • Recommendation rate

Affordable Online MBA Resource #6: Get Educated

All of the cheap MBA programs mentioned on Get Eduated’s list of “Best Affordable AACSB Online MBA Programs” are indeed accredited by the AACSB. Get Educated offers you a list of 79 good online schools offering affordable MBA programs.

Get Educated ranks each school by price. The lowest is Fayetteville State University at $6,558 for a resident. The most expensive on Get Educated’s list of the most affordable MBA programs online is $36,750 (still considerably cheaper than the average we discussed up top).

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When you click on the school name, you can get information about each of the cheapest MBA programs. This includes a full profile and the following:

  • Accreditation and licensing
  • Sector (public/private)
  • Religious affiliation
  • Highest level of offering
  • Total enrollments
  • Adult age enrollments
  • Percent admitted
  • Calendar system
  • Affordability
  • Reviews

Affordable Online MBA Resource #7: College Choice

College Choice’s “Most Affordable Online MBA Programs” list is based on not only affordability, but also reputation. The programs on their list are also accredited. So as you read through the information on these 30 cheapest online MBA programs, you can be confident in their reputations as well.

With each affordable MBA, you are given the average program tuition cost as well as a detailed, yet digestible write-up on the school and its program offerings. Then, they link you up to the online school’s website to easily learn more.

The lowest tuition cost on this list is $9,900 from Columbia Southern University, and the highest is $39,000 from University of Delaware.



What Are the Cheapest Online MBA Programs for You?

A U.S. News article spoke to the current state of getting your MBA online, including some of the most affordable MBA programs in online education:

“Recruiters say most employers accept job candidates’ online MBAs from respected schools, especially now that the quality of an online MBA education at many institutions is equivalent to one on a physical campus. But in some cases, experts say, there’s still the need to educate companies about the legitimacy of many online programs.”

This means that getting into one of the affordable MBA programs online is absolutely a valid option in the future of your education and career. But this quote also shows how important it is to research each affordable MBA programs, so you can explain why the education was so fabulous.

Take your time going through the above resources and find not only the most affordable MBA programs online, but the affordable online MBA programs that are high quality and will help you succeed.

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