That’s the message of a marketwatch article today, which says that those who emerge from graduate school with a business degree in 2023 are almost sure to be looking at a post-pandemic economy. In that environment, companies that have slimmed down during the health crisis will be hungry for job candidates familiar with utilizing data analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other knowledge areas being taught in most MBA programs today. Marketwatch says the starting salaries for business schools grads from quality universities already average above $150,000. per year and could go higher in the coming years. MBA grads, it adds, come out of school with “the ability to assess and bear sensible risks,” a skill which “is the core of business and entrepreneurship.”
Because the business world is extremely pro-technology, schools that offer MBA programs were among the first to start using state of the art online tools provide students with digital chat capabilities, podcasting, video lectures, videoconferencing and more. Some business schools have even pioneered the use of games that include online learning components. And many programs have sprung up to help aspiring business managers get a master degrees at a very reasonable cost. Click to see affordable MBA programs online
You won’t ever have to visit most of the online MBA schools out there, although a few universities may require a handful of campus visits to complete a program. A few state universities, where the cost of an online MBA is less for in-state residents, do ask students to attend some workshops or lectures in person to establish residency. Others may require that you take tests that are supervised by a school-approved proctor– which can generally be done in many different locations. It’s something you’ll obviously want to check out before signing up for a school, since you don’t want to sign up for an online school on the other side of the country and then be surprised to find you have to actually attend some classes there.
Read here about Online MBA Degrees from Non-Profit Schools
Finding A Lower Cost Online MBA
Tuition for online study is usually about the same as the school’s on-campus cost. But you can save big by simply not living at your school, as most grad students do. And by going the distance learning route, you should find more choices in terms of the number of schools and the business degree specialties they offer than you’re likely to find near your home. That’s especially true if you don’t live near a major city.
Your time commitment for a masters in business will likely run from anywhere from 11 months to four years. You’ll come out at the longer end of that spectrum if you need to take a reduced course load or take breaks from school to take care of work or family issues. If you’re in a big hurry, you might consider one of the more limited “executive MBA” programs out there, which can take less than 9 months. Many of these are more like certificate courses than a full Master’s of Business Administration degree. Alternatively, you might consider an accelerated MBA program, which can allow you to finish a full MBA in as little as 18 months — if you can work at a very intensive pace. It’s worth being aware that many online schools can help you set up an accelerated MBA program for yourself, even if they don’t advertise that option on their website. An added bonus is that, in some cases at least, you may be able to save some money by taking a higher than average number of course credits each semester.
A Range Of MBA Tuition Costs
According to geteducated.com, an online degree MBA can cost anywhere from under $10,000 all the way up to $115,000. Since you’ll have to make a lot of money quickly to justify a $100,000 plus investment, it’s a good idea to see if you can save by attending your state’s public university. If, however, you want an MBA from a school that’s recognized nationwide, or you want an MBA in a unique specialty, you may have to look at higher-priced private graduate schools.
America’s Cheapest MBA Degree?
The lowest cost online MBA degree we appears to come from Chadron State College, a small state school in Chadron Nebraska that has about 3,000 students. Its online MBA degree of 36 credits is offered a total tuition of under $10,000. It’s a general business degree, designed to build the skills of mid-level managers.
While that price is low, we can’t find anything wrong with this school. Chadron is part of Nebraska’s public college system, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It’s probably not realistic to expect an employer outside the midwest to recognize Chadron’s name, but for a basic grounding in business management, its online MBA program looks like a bargain. Chadron’s website is www.csc.edu. We don’t provide a direct link here because we’ve found their site has been down on several occasions.
MBAs From Ten 100% Online Colleges and Universities
While it’s not advisable to choose a school only because of it’s price, the current economy has made it more important to get the most out of every dollar you invest in school. We make an effort to keep the list below up to date – it’s a good deal of work because many of the schools don’t like to display their tuition rates to openly. Here’s a current listing of good low cost online mba schools, based on cost per credit multiplied by the number of credits required for the online MBA degree (Sponsored Schools):
Purdue Global is a public school with a very wide range of business degrees in addition to it’s MBA program. It has 29,000 students online, the majority of whom are female.
– Graduate cost per credit is $485.
– Purdue has a particularly favorable transfer credit acceptance policy for prior coursework, military service or life experience.
– International students outside the U.S. are eligible for a cost discount of up to 25%
Get Information on Purdue Global’s Online MBA Program
Tuition source: https://www.purdueglobal.edu/paying-for-school/tuition-fees/international-tuition-fees.pdf
Grantham is a Kansas-based university with schools of business, engineering and computer science, arts and sciences and nursing. It was established in 1951, and today offers all it’s courses online. It offers MBA degrees specialized in Administration, Information Management and Project Management.
– The cost per credit is on the lower end of the scale at $350.
– The standard MBA takes 24 months, though an accelerated MBA option is available that can be completed in 12 months.
– Grantham offers a range of scholarships and help with financial aid.
– It has a favorable transfer credit policy.
– Special tuition rates are offered for military, veterans or first responders & civil servants.
Get Free Information on Grantham
Tuition source: https://www.grantham.edu/online-degrees/business-administration-mba/
Colorado State University Global Campus
The Global Campus is the online branch of the Colorado State University system. Founded in 2007, this was one of the first fully online schools created by a public university. It now has over 19.000 students all over the world. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It offers a masters degrees in Finance and an MS in Organizational Leadership.
– Graduate cost per credit is $500., which puts CSU Global in a moderate cost range.
– The school has not increased it’s tuition rates for 7 straight years.
– There is no premium tuition charge for out-of-state students.
– A “tuition guarantee” is provided, to give students a solid rate for their total tuition they can know when they start a degree program.
– Alternative credit options for incoming students include competency based exams, Prior learning assessment, and other sources of credit that can cut down on the numbers of credits you need to earn your degree.
Find Out More About Colorado State University Global
Tuition source: https://csuglobal.edu/cost/tuition/tuition-rates
University of Southern New Hampshire
Southern New Hampshire University is an 80 year old private school that’s become very widely known for it’s career-oriented online degree programs. As a not-for-profit, the school is under less pressure to institute big tuition hikes each year than some other schools. Many degrees are offered on an accelerated basis. SNHU offers an array of MBAs including MBA Criminal Justice, MBA Accounting, MBA Finance, MBA Music Industry, MBA Internet Marketing plus others.
The official cost per grad credit is $627, but the full program is 36 credits, fewer than at many other schools.
– Up to 12 credits can be transferred in from another grad school.
– SNHU offers several scholarships, both need and non-need based.
– GRE, GMAT and SAT scores are not required.
Get information on Southern New Hampshire University
Tuition source: https://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/masters/mba-online
A non-profit fully online university of over 10,000 students with schools of Business, Technology, Education, Health Science and Social/Behavioral Science. The school charges a base cost per course at the MBA level of $3,159. It offers MBA degrees in over 12 specializations including Criminal Justice, Management, Entrepreneurship, Applied Computer Science, Project Management, Homeland Security and others.
– Reduced tuition of offered to active duty military, veterans and their spouses.
– A variety of options are offered to pay in full, pay by course or pay monthly.
– Northcentral has tuition aid agreements with many large companies across the U.S.
Get free info on Northcentral University Degrees
Tuition source: https://www.ncu.edu/tuition-admissions/financing
A widely recognized name in online education, Walden is a Minnesota-based school with almost 50,000 students. It is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Walden’s many Master’s of Business degrees include specializations in Finance. Leadership, Marketing, Social Entrepreneurship, Accounting and others.
– A fast track MBA program can reduce the cost of your degree significantly.
– A “competency based” program is offered with a unique fee schedule based on payments every three months.
– Up to 15 transfer credits are accepted into the MBA program.
Get Free Information on Walden
Tuition Source: https://www.waldenu.edu/online-masters-programs/master-of-business-administration/tuition-fees
Colorado Technical University
CTU actually has a small number of classroom students, but 92% of it’s teaching is done online. Founded in 1965 to training former military people in tech and vocational areas, the school now has 25,000 students in a wide variety of online degree programs. It offers MBA’s specialized in Technology Management, Project Management, Finance, Health Care Managment, Logistics, Data Analytics, Digital Marketing and several more. (a wide range of online business bachelor’s degrees are also offered by CTU). It’s $610. cost per credit hour is in a moderate range.
– CTU has an interesting “Fast Track” program that can allow an incoming student to earn credits for knowledge he or she may already have, that can potentially reduce the cost of a degree, and the time it takes, by up to 30%.
– A “Lifelong Learning Grant” is available that may provide up to $1,000 in financial help.
– CTU has nine different grant opportunities, a particularly high number. One is the Advantage Grant, designed to aid students who face unusually difficult personal or financial challenges in pursuing their degree.
Get info on Colorado Technical University degrees
Tuition source: https://www.coloradotech.edu/media/default/ctu/documents/tuition-and-financial-aid/Tuition-and-Fees-VIRTUAL-CIV.pdf
California Coast University
CCU is a for-profit school based in Santa Ana, CA, which has about 8,000 students, all online. According to Wikipedia, “Employers in the business community have been generally supportive of CCU graduates”. The school offers a low cost per credit (about $230.) on it’s MBA programs General Business Management, Healthcare Management or Human Resource Management.
– The school offers a guarantee that your tuition will not rsie for as long as you stay enrolled.
– 10% tuition discounts to active military or veterans, firefighters, government employees or employees of the schools business partners.
– CCU offers payment plans which are effectively loan programs at zero interest.
– Master’s students can transfer in up to 8 credits for learning done at another college.
Info on CCU
Capella is a large school – over 38,000 students – that has a few learning centers around the country but delivers the vast majority of it’s teaching online. MBA offerings include Self-Designed, Healthcare MBA, Human Resource and Project Management MBAs. – Master’s degree tuition goes in a wide cost per credit range from $485 to $805., but with the school’s “FlexPath” offer, you can earn your MBA in 12 months for $11,000. in some cases. At a non-accelerated pace, the MBA program typically costs more in the range of $22,000.
– Students may qualify for a $3,000. grant under Capella’s “Progress Reward” program.
– Transfer students can save by using credits from another school, subject to approval.
– It’s possible to gain credit for knowledge you already have through a Prior Learning Assessment, potentially reducing the number of credits you need to complete for your degree.
Learn more about Capella
Tuition source: https://www.capella.edu/online-degrees/mba-program/
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University is an Arizona-based school with over 70,000 online students. If offers M.B.A. programs in a dozen different specialties including Accounting, Finance, Leadership, Sports Business, Project Management and more.
The cost per credit is in a moderate range.
– Special tuition rates are offered for active duty and active reserve personnel.
– Transfer credits are accepted.
– Grand Canyon offers several scholarships to online students.
– GCU accepts direct payments from an employer who is paying for all or part of your degree program.
– The school’s website offers help in applying for FAFSA aid.
Get Free Info on Grand Canyon University
Tuition Source: https://www.gcu.edu/tuition-and-financial-aid
Not so long ago, people generally associated online degrees only with for profit colleges and universities. Today, a growing number of nonprofit and state schools have jumped into the fray, in some cases beating the for profit schools at their own game.
Today, there’s a strong variety of non-profit colleges offering programs online, and MBA degree have been a particularly strong area of growth. That’s because colleges across the board have realized that lots of the people who want MBAs are adult students with jobs (and often families as well) who don’t have time to get themselves to a classroom on a regular basis. Some schools have responded with abbreviated business programs online, but lots of others have moved to put their full MBA programs online.
Private schools once tended to lag behind the curve when it came to online learning technology. But at this point, most of them have caught up, and can offer the same forums, visual aids and direct teacher response that the for-profits originally developed.
NonProfit, Not For Profit or For-Profit?
Obviously, for-profit schools, which have come under some fire in recent year by Congress, seek to earn a profit from their student’s tuition. It’s interesting that, for all the publicity they have generated, for-profit schools handle only about 10% of the college and university students in the U.S. at present.
Nonprofits and not-for-profits are two terms that mean the same thing. They represent a wide rage of private schools and state university systems, the latter of which are funded largely by taxpayer dollars, which are not out to earn a profit. There are also some private schools run by religious groups, many of which also have good reputations.
Generally speaking the private schools are fairly expensive and the state universities, some of which have national reputations (like the University of Southern California or Rutgers), are more of a bargain. A particularly nice element of online education is that it has eliminated, in many cases, the fairly heavy surcharges that state universities have traditionally levied on out of state students.
Truth be told, it’s not accurate to say that nobody profits from nonprofit schools. Presidents of these schools often earn over a million dollars per year. Many in higher ed recall the notorious case of Mr. Daniel Goldin, who was brought in to run Boston University in 2002. Amidst a huge controversy about his presidency, Goldin was given a vote of no confidence by trustees of the school, and left after one week on the job — taking with him a cool $1.8 million dollar payment for his brief service to BU.
However, generally speaking, the nonprofit schools are protective of their academic reputations, and not primarily focused on their bottom lines. They also have virtually no accreditation problems. Virtually all are accredited by the major regional agencies. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, regional accreditation is almost always better than the national accreditation that some online schools advertise.
Here’s a list of nonprofit colleges and universities offering online MBA programs. We have focused mainly on the schools that promote themselves nationally.
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University is an 80 year old private school that’s made a big splash in career-oriented online education. It has just been rated as the #12 most innovative “company” in the world by Fast Company Magazine, a rare honor for any school. Fast Company calls SNHU one of the few not-for-profit schools that are “truly up to speed online,” noting its high student retention rates and affordability. As a not-for-profit, the school is under less pressure to institute big tuition hikes each year than some other schools. Many degrees are offered on an accelerated basis. Southern New Hampshire University offers online programs in:
– MBA Athletic Administration
– MBA Project Management
– MBA Sports Management
MBAs in multiple other specialties.
Get information on all Southern New Hampshire University online degrees
A private university in Lynchburg, VA that was founded by Baptist minister Jerry Falwell. It has about 13,000 students on campus but it’s online program is massive – serving over 100,000 students per year. The school has received high ratings from many magazines for its bachelor and graduate programs. Already the nation’s largest nonprofit school, Liberty is still expanding. It offers several graduate business programs online including:
– MBA Accounting
– MBA Human Resources
– MBA Criminal Justice
– MBA Marketing
Plus several other MBA specialties, as well as certificate programs in business and doctorate programs.
Get info on Liberty’s many other degree programs here
George Mason University
GW is a very large (33,000 students) public research university located in Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. It has two faculty members who are Nobel Prize winners, and is ranked #103 for “Best Value Schools” by U.S. News & World Report
Get free information on George Mason’s MBA Program
An accelerated MBA from an online school can offer you with a relatively quick way to boost your credentials without leaving your job to study, as you need to do with most campus-based MBA programs. But the landscape of “fast track” MBAs is a bit more complex in the online world than in “brick and mortar” universities. Traditionally, a master’s in business has taken two years of classroom study and a total of about 50 to 60 credits to complete. At most schools, that boils down to taking 5 courses per semester for four semesters.
How Many Credits?
But the meaning of the word “credit” can be confusing with online MBA programs (read about confusion over credits in undergrad programs). As a result, you want to make sure you understand the scope of the program you’re considering. A full MBA online can, in fact, take less than two years if you work at a very intense pace. But programs shorter than that can actually be one-year or “executive” MBAs, or simply be programs that don’t require the number of credits traditionally associated with this type of degree. And given that many online students take less than a full course load, an accelerated MBA via distance learning can actually take more than two years.
Knowing whether you’re getting into a full MBA program or not is key to matching your degree program to your specific career goals. Unfortunately, there’s no simple formula for this, particularly since some schools use confusing terms like “semester credits” or “credit hours.” Still others, most famously Western Governors University, use a system of “competency credits” designed to de-emphasize the traditional credit system in favor of one that focuses on students demonstrating a true understanding of the course material, regardless of how many hours they have spent studying. The best advice as you look at accelerated online MBAs is to ask lots of questions at any school that interests you about whether or not the program gives you the same credential as a traditional two year campus based program.
Here’s a listing of some of the best-known accelerated online MBA degrees, ranked by the length of time they typically take to achieve. Time to completion numbers are based on the student taking the maximum number of credits allowed or close to it each term, and taking no time off between any semesters. If you work at a slower pace, the program will obviously take longer.
Accelerated Online MBAs, Ranked By Length Of Time To Completion
Benedictine University, Chicago, IL
Benedictine is a Catholic University, offers one of the best varieties of accelerated MBAs online, in specialties including accounting, finance, healthcare administration, marketing, international business and entrepreneurship. The school, which has about 6,800 students, has been highly ranked by Forbes Magazine. Benedictine’s advises students in a hurry to “jump on the fast track by taking two courses at a time in the accelerated MBA program.”
– 64 credit-hour MBA which “can be completed” in 12 months.
Info on Benedictine
Post University, Waterbury, CT
Established in 1890, Post offers masters of business in finance, leadership, marketing, entrepreneurship and management.
The accelerated MBA is a 45 credit degree program taking 14 to 20 months
Info on Post University
Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA
An interdenominational Christian university with about 5,000 students, Regent offers an MBA program with a traditional basis that is “enhanced by the incorporation of Judeo-Christian values, which yield a balanced, Biblical perspective on global integration.” The online MBA is available in General Management, Accounting, International Business, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Franchising, Human Resources Management, Leadership and Marketing.
– 42 credit hour program that can be completed on an accelerated basis in 16 months.
Info on Regent
Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa, ID
A private Christian school affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene, the school was established in 1913 and has about 3,000 students. As with other religion-based schools, there is a strong focus on ethics in the MBA program.
The school is fairly up front about the intensity of the workload required to finish the degree on an accelerated basis, noting on its website that “the typical MBA student can expect to spend 12-16 hours per week per course.”
– Generalist MBA program, with 42 semester credits.
– Students who take two 8-week courses at a time can complete the degree in 16 months.
Info on Northwest Nazarine
California State University-Dominguez Hills, CA
A school of California’s public university system, CSUDH has over 13,000 students and is set in the southern part of Los Angeles.
The school’s 30-33 unit MBA program can be completed online within 18 months, if the student has already taken significant business courses before entering or is willing to take several “bridge” courses to build up business knowledge before starting MBA study.
The school’s website is a bit confusing. Information on the online MBA program is here
University of Rochester Simon School of Business, Rochester, NY
This is a very highly-rated business school that generally has less than 200 graduate students on campus. Admissions are selective.
Accelerated online MBA offered in 15 different concentrations including Finance, Electronic Commerce, Health Science Management, Entrepreneurship and others.
– 67 credit full MBA
– 18 months at an accelerated pace. (Accelerated program starts in January)
Info on University of Rochester MBA
Norwich University, Northfield, VT
Norwich is a private military university with a history stretching back to 1819. Most of its 3,400 students are actually military cadets, but the school does accept non-military personnel, particularly to its online programs.
Norwich offers MBAs with concentrations in three areas: Finance, Project Management or Organizational Leadership.
The format is a bit unique in that you are assigned to a small group of up to 16 students at the start of your program, and you go through the program collaborating with them all the way to graduation.
– 48 credit program.
– Complete in as little as 18 months.
Info on Norwich University
Marylhurst University, Marylhurst, OR
A private Catholic liberal arts college founded way back in 1893, with just under 2,000.
Marylhurst has a very well developed series of accelerated online MBAs. The format involves taking a single intensive five-week course at a time in this program. There are some unusual concentrations offered in the MBA including Green Development, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Business, Natural & Organic Resources and Nonprofit Management, as well are more standard ones like general management and marketing.
– 48 “quarter credit” program (12 courses)
– Completion can be achieved in 18 months
Info on Marylhurst
Western Governors University, Salt Lake City, UT
Since Western Governors was founded in 1997, its nonprofit model, low prices and unique approach to awarding credits (along with a powerful marketing) has allowed it to grow into a major force in online education, with over 35,000 students. All courses are delivered over the internet. Strictly speaking, all degree programs at WGU are accelerated – if you want to make them that way. Students pay a flat fee per term and are allowed to take as many courses at a time as they want. If you can truly work at an accelerated pace, this can help keep the cost of your degree way down. MBAs are in General Management, IT Management and Health Care Management.
– 33 “Competency Units,” WGU’s equivalent of credits. This system leans more heavily on your ability to demonstrate an understanding the course material than on spending a specific number of hours studying.
– With intensive study, can be completed in 18 months. Students who have previously taken some business courses are best suited to handling the heavy course load needed for acceleration.
Info on Western Governors University
California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, CA
A school operated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, CLU has just under 4,000 students and has operated since 1959. Though it clearly has a religious affiliation, the school is a bit more understated on its website about the ethical focus of its degrees than some other religious colleges.
– 45 credit program, condensing 11 week courses into an 8 week format.
– Accelerated students can complete the program in “less than two years.”
Info on California Lutheran
Texas A&M University – Commerce, TX
Part of the Texas state university system, the schools master in business prepares students for the “advanced management positions that demand analytic and strategic leadership solutions to an interrelated set of economic, ethical, and environmental issues.”
Students can choose a basic MBA or a degree with a minor, with choices including Accounting, Finance, Economics, International Business, Management Information Systems and Marketing. 30 to 48 credit hours, depending on chosen specialty.
– Non-Texas residents pay a higher tuition than residents.
– Can be completed in a minimum of 24 months.
Info on Texas A&M Commerce
What’s the cheapest online MBA? Well, it’s something that changes over time as schools alter their graduate degree programs or make moves to be more competitive.
It’s not a good idea to shop for an MBA program strictly on price. When it comes to an investment as important as graduate school, you want to make sure that the overall degree program meets your career needs.
But in these times, there’s no doubt that cost is a factor in choosing a school. We keep an eye out and add programs in to this page as we find them. Here are the cheapest online MBA programs at the moment:
Grand Canyon University
GCU is a private, for-profit Christian school headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, is ranked sixth among online colleges by the Online College Database. The school’s online MBA programs from it’s Ken Blanchard College of Business requires 46 graduate credits. Total in tuition for the degree is about $26,000. Grand Canyon’s MBA programs include accounting, finance, health system management, marketing, leadership and strategic human resource management. The school has been around since 1949, and is particularly well-known in the western US.
Get information on Grand Canyon University’s online MBA here
Tuition source: https://www.gcu.edu/degree-programs/master-business-administration-mba
American Intercontinental University
One of the largest and best-known online schools, AIU’s programs are not generally at the low end of the cost scale. But their MBA degrees are well-priced at under $29,000. including all software and course materials. The school has 15 different specialties in business master’s degrees including:
– MBA Human Resources
– MBA International Business
– MBA Marketing
– MBA Organizational Psychology & Development
A number of MBA programs in finance, operations and other majors are also offered specifically for part-time students.
Get information on American Intercontinental University
Tuition source: https://www.aiuniv.edu/Media/Default/AIU/documents/tuition-and-financial-aid/fees_online.pdf
Can you get into an affordable MBA program online without taking GMAT tests?
Strictly speaking, the answer is yes. Many of the top online business master’s schools accept candidates that have not taken the Graduate Management Admission Test. But they may require you to demonstrate basic management aptitude in some other way. If you have a bachelor’s degree in business, that may be fulfill your admission requirement. If not, the school may require you to take an assessment test of your management competence that will test your understanding of basic concepts in accounting, marketing, finance and other basic skill areas in business. At AIU, for example, MBA applicants need to score at least 70% on this type of test to gain admission.