Compiled and Written By TopManagementDegrees.com Staff
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2020
With demand for management positions on the rise, graduates of online MBA programs can enter a quickly expanding and lucrative field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some of the top-earning management occupations as of May 2018 included computer and information systems managers, with an annual mean wage of $142,530, and marketing managers, who earned $140,760.
Prospective students should engage in careful research as they hunt for the ideal program and can bolster their search using this list of the top affordable online MBA programs as a foundation. The updated rankings include the top information technology and information science programs, which are updated each year to reflect a rapidly evolving field.
Top Affordable Online MBA Programs and Schools
#1 (Tied) Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business –Tempe, Arizona
Arizona State University offers full-time, part-time, and executive MBA programs through it's Tempe, Arizona, campus. Both the full-time and executive programs take 21 months to complete while part-time students may need up to four years. The school reports 96% of graduates find employment within three months of graduating. The core curriculum equips students with general business skills, but the program allows students to tailor their degree to their career goals through concentrations, specializations, or concurrent degrees. The eight concentrations feature 15 credits in specialized business fields such as business analytics or entrepreneurship. The on-campus programs admit students in August each year. The school offers fee waivers for military students and applicants who have completed community service programs such as AmeriCorps.
Estimated Program Tuition: $0
#2 (Tied) Naval Postgraduate School Graduate School of Business and Public Policy – Monterey, California
The Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, designed its MBA curriculum to meet the needs of U.S. Navy officers, Department of Defense civilian employees, and defense contractors. Students develop analytical skills and expertise in areas of information management, logistics, financial management, and acquisitions. The school houses the Center for Defense Management Research where faculty and students explore solutions for defense business management challenges. The faculty includes experts from the civilian workforce and the military. The MBA requires 18 months to complete. All students attend full time as part of their employment or military service. Applicants must have the approval of their employer or military command to attend the school.
Estimated Program Tuition: $0
#3 (Tied)University of Massachusetts Amherst Isenberg School of Management – Amherst, Massachusetts
All full-time MBA students at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst enjoy a fellowship that covers tuition for the two-year program and allows students to work on real-world business problems in a collaborative environment. In addition to the core curriculum, UMass Amherst offers focus areas in business analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, healthcare administration, and sports management. Students can also combine their MBA with a graduate degree in policy and administration or engineering. The program also offers a hybrid part-time MBA program, with students able to attend classes online or at satellite campuses, or a fully online program.
Estimated Program Tuition: $0
#4 Texas A&M International University A.R. Sanchez, Jr. School of Business – Laredo, Texas
Texas A&M International University ensures students in the Master's of Business Administration gain a global business perspective. The school offers concentrations in management, international business, international banking and finance, or international trade and logistics as part of the 30-credit degree plan. Located in Laredo, Texas, at the Gateway to Mexico, TAMIU houses the Institute for International Trade, the Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development, and The Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade and publishes The International Trade Journal. The school works closely with schools in Mexico and Canada and supports multiple study abroad experiences.
Estimated Program Resident Tuition: $2,079
#5 Fitchburg State University Department of Business Administration – Fitchburg, Massachusetts
Fitchburg State University offers Master of Business Administration degrees with concentrations in accounting, management, and human resources designed specifically for working students. Classes meet in the evenings at the Fitchburg, Massachusetts, campus, with some daytime classes in the summer. Students can progress at their own pace, completing the 30-credit degree in two years up to six years. Fitchburg State also offers all programs online. The school utilizes a rolling admissions process, and prospective students can take up to 12 credits while their application is under consideration. Applicants do not need to take the GMAT and GRE, with decisions based on undergraduate transcripts and professional experience.
Estimated Program Tuition: $5,310
#6 Albany State University College of Business – Albany, Georgia
Albany State University, in Albany, Georgia, develops analytical problem-solving skills, technological competencies, and professionalism through its affordable MBA degree. Students may choose a general Master's of Business Administration or specialize in accounting, healthcare, supply chain and logistics, or public administration. The 30-credit program includes an 18-credit core curriculum. The University System of Georgia institution does not require GMAT or GRE scores for admissions though applicants need to complete a statement of purpose, a current resume, and two recommendations. Students without an undergraduate business degree must take an entrance exam and may need to take some prerequisite courses before beginning the degree requirements.
Estimated Program Resident Tuition: $5,670
#7 West Texas A&M University College of Business – Canyon, Texas
West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, offers students in its affordable MBA program flexibility to tailor their studies to their career goals and their schedule. The school offers concentrations in marketing, management, computer information systems, and healthcare administration and students can complete their degree on-campus, online, or both as their schedule allows. The degree requires 46 credits, though students with an undergraduate degree in business may have nine foundation courses waived, reducing the time and cost required for the degree. The capstone MBA portfolio course allows students to showcase their work on hands-on business projects from throughout their graduate studies.
Estimated Program Tuition: $6,192
#8 Augusta University James M. Hull College of Business – Augusta, Georgia
University in Georgia redesigned its MBA program in 2016, offering a 10-course program focuses on fundamental business skills. Students can complete the degree in 12 to 24 months utilizing evening, weekend, and emersion course delivery or the fully online program. The courses include organizational behavior, strategic management, and managerial leadership, all with a focus on building critical thinking abilities and honing professional skills. MBA students also develop their professional network through collaborative learning opportunities, professional development workshops, and networking events. While the program accepts students with an accredited undergraduate degree in any discipline, applicants with an undergraduate degree in business and professional experience may request a waiver of GRE, GMAT, DAT, or MCAT score requirements.Estimated Program Resident Tuition: $6,660
#9 Tarleton State University College of Business Administration – Stephenville, Texas
Tarleton State University offers a fast-track MBA that allows students to complete their degree in only 12 months while developing leadership skills and decision-making abilities. The 30-credit program features hands-on learning opportunities in key business areas such as information systems, finance, marketing, and accounting, while electives allow students to explore other areas of interest. Students may attend classes at the main campus in Stephenville, Texas, or at satellite locations in Waco and Fort Worth, with an online option also offered. Students benefit from extracurricular involvement in student organizations, such as the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, and the school provides international educational opportunities.
Estimated Program Tuition: $7,013
#10 New Mexico Highlands University School of Business, Media and Technology – Las Vegas, New Mexico
New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico, offers students the option of seven in-demand concentrations to complement the affordable MBA program. The faculty utilizes case studies and business simulations throughout the 36-credit program. Available concentrations include accounting, finance, international business, human resources management, management, and marketing. The business strategy capstone course, taken in the final semester, offers an opportunity to apply comprehensive business skills to a case study and demonstrate effective leadership and business strategy. The school welcomes applications from students with an undergraduate degree from an accredited school, with leveling courses available to bring non-business students up-to-speed before beginning their graduate work.
Estimated Program Resident Tuition: $7,322
#11 Valdosta State University Harley Langdale, Jr. College of Business Administration – Valdosta, Georgia
Valdosta State University in Southern Georgia designed its MBA program to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. The 30-credit program includes ten courses, and students can complete the degree in only one year. Classes meet one night each week during fall and spring semesters and twice a week in the summer. Students may begin classes in any semester. The seven core courses focus on strategic leadership and organizational management. Electives allow students to tailor the degree plan to their individual career goals. Students must submit GMAT scores, including the analytical writing assessment. The school offers in-state tuition to residents of Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee.
Estimated Program Resident Tuition: $7,470
#12 Texas A&M University-Central Texas College of Business Administration – Killeen, Texas
Texas A&M University of Central Texas, in Killeen, provides small class sizes and a collaborative learning environment for students in the affordable MBA program. The 36-credit degree provides a general business education focused on leadership, ethical decision-making, analytical thinking, and communication. Students may also choose an emphasis in marketing, management, international business, human resource management, information systems, or health administration. All students must complete the comprehensive exam, but the school does not require a thesis. The school serves about 150 MBA students each year. A&M-Central Texas joined the Texas A&M University System in 2009. The school offers a guaranteed tuition program that caps tuition increases while students work toward their degrees.
Estimated Program Tuition: $7,577
#13 Henderson State University School of Business – Arkadelphia, Arkansas
Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, takes its MBA students beyond the classroom, with hands-on learning opportunities, organized mentorship programs, and ongoing professional development workshops. The 30-credit program provides students with flexible scheduling options, offering most classes in the evening and with optional online learning opportunities. HSU offers courses at the Arkadelphia campus and a satellite campus in Hot Springs. Students enrolled full-time can complete the degree in only a year while part-time students typically graduate within two years. The program provides a general MBA curriculum with concentrations available accounting and public management. Students may have GMAT and GRE requirements waived by meeting academic requirements.
Estimated Program Tuition: $7,860
#14 Northeastern State University College of Business and Technology – Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Northeastern State University's 36-credit affordable MBA prepares students to tackle business challenges using quantitative and qualitative decision making. The school offers concentrations in business analytics; environmental, health and safety management; healthcare administration; healthcare informatics; long-term care; managerial accounting and finance; and Native American enterprise. Students may also choose the generalist curriculum. Faculty members utilize immersive learning experiences to apply business theory to real-world situations. Each class meets one night a week on campus in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The professional MBA option utilizes a cohort student group moving through the curriculum over 22 months. The school also launched an online program in 2018.
Estimated Program Tuition: $7,992
#15 Eastern New Mexico University College of Business – Portales, New Mexico
Eastern New Mexico University offers general business management preparation with its affordable MBA program. The degree requires 30 credits, with courses in accounting, strategic management, information systems, and finance. The school accepts applicants with an undergraduate degree from an accredited university and allows transfer of up to nine graduate credits. Students enjoy the flexibility of taking classes face-to-face at the Portales, New Mexico, campus, or through the online learning portal with a program designed for working professionals. The faculty records their class lectures, making them available throughout the semester. Out-of-state students can take up to six credits each semester and pay in-state tuition.
Estimated Program Tuition: $8,077
#16 Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi College of Business – Corpus Christi, Texas
Full-time students can complete the affordable MBA at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in only one year. A general MBA requires 30 credits, though students can complete a degree specialization with only six additional credits. The school offers concentrations in finance, healthcare administration, and international business. The university hosts the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center and the South Texas Economic Development Center, providing opportunities for hands-on learning. The research seminar series brings academic experts in various business fields to the campus each month for presentations and discussions. Applicants need to take the GMAT, though the school may grant waivers based on prior academic achievement. A fully online MBA program offers additional flexibility for working professionals.
Estimated Program Tuition: $8,216
#17 Midwestern State University Dillard College of Business Administration – Wichita Falls, Texas
Leadership development forms the basis of the Midwestern State University affordable MBA program. The 33-credit program includes advanced instruction in core business areas, such as accounting, marketing, and cost analysis. The faculty, all of whom are doctoral qualified, also bring their industry experience to their courses. Students use case studies and real-world challenges to learn to recognize opportunities and find creative solutions to problems. MSU offers concentrations in accounting and energy management. Flexible scheduling allows students to take classes at the Wichita Falls campus, online, or a hybrid of the two. A six-hour leveling course will enable students without a business degree to dive into the graduate curriculum.
Estimated Program Tuition: $8,340
#18 Arkansas Tech University College of Business – Russellville, Arkansas
Arkansas Tech University weaves data analysis and ethical decision making throughout the 30-credit affordable MBA curriculum, ensuring graduates can take business data and make informed decisions. The general business curriculum includes courses in decision modeling, corporate strategic management, and organizational management and leadership. While the school accepts applicants from any undergraduate field, all students must complete prerequisites in accounting, economics, finance, and statistics, and applicants must take the GMAT. The Russellville campus offers personalized academic services, such as coaching, supplemental instruction, and tutoring. The career services department assists with job searches, internship placements, and connecting students with alumni mentors.
Estimated Program Resident Tuition: $8,520
#19 New Mexico State University College of Business – Las Cruces, New Mexico
The MBA faculty at New Mexico State University continue to consult with business leaders to ensure the school's curriculum offers a relevant and rigorous education for students. The 36-credit program prepares students for managerial roles in a variety of organizations and businesses, developing the problem-solving and people skills necessary for success. Students may specialize in agribusiness, finance, information systems, or public utility regulation. NMSU designed the MBA with working professionals in mind, offering evening courses through the Las Cruces campus. Students need two to three years to complete the degree. The capstone course requires writing and presenting a professional report or case study.
Estimated Program Resident Tuition: $8,780
#20 Missouri State University College of Business Administration – Springfield, Missouri
Missouri State University encourages students in its affordable MBA program to seek practical applications for the theories and principles discussed in class. The school offers for-credit internship opportunities and seminar classes utilizing hands-on experiences. Evening and online classes allow working professionals to advance their education while continuing their careers. The 33-credit degree includes 24 credits in general business management, one seminar course, and six hours of electives. Electives may also count towards a graduate certificate without the need for additional coursework. MSU offers 12 certificate options, including cybersecurity, data analytics, entrepreneurship, and international business. Applicants with at least five years of business experience may also choose an executive MBA option.
Estimated Program Resident Tuition: $8,844
#21 Southeast Missouri State University Donald L. Harrison College of Business – Cape Girardeau, Missouri
MBA students at Southeast Missouri State University choose from a generalist degree or eight specializations, including international business, entrepreneurship, sport management, or environmental management. Coursework prepares them to step up to leadership roles within their organization. The curriculum stresses critical thinking, data analysis, and decision making. The degree requires 33 credits, including 12 elective or specialization credits. The strategic decision-making capstone course allows students to showcase their knowledge through case studies, hands-on projects, and team teaching. Students without a business undergraduate degree may apply, though they must complete all prerequisite courses before beginning the MBA curriculum. The fully online program offers general management, sport management, and healthcare administration options.
Estimated Program Tuition: $8,921
#22 Southwestern Oklahoma State University Everett Dobson School of Business and Technology – Weatherford, Oklahoma
Southwestern Oklahoma State University offers the option of on-campus, online, or hybrid course scheduling for its affordable MBA program. Students may choose from traditional 16-week semester classes or accelerated eight-week courses, depending on their schedule. The 33-credit program includes a selection of elective courses in areas of accounting, finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Business Strategy and Policy brings the coursework together for a comprehensive capstone course. SWOSU does not require a thesis for the program, but all students must complete a comprehensive exam before graduation. Students may complete the degree in one year by attending classes full time or two years taking only night classes.
Estimated Program Tuition: $8,926
#23 Prairie View A&M University College of Business – Prairie View, Texas
Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas, offers an affordable MBA with flexible scheduling for working professionals. The integrated curriculum includes 36 credits in various business disciplines, providing graduates with a comprehensive understanding of all areas of a business or organization. Students can take classes during the evening at the school's Houston Center. The school also offers a fully online program. The executive MBA program blends online and weekend in-class learning as part of a two-year program. The executive program does not require the GMAT, though applicants need several years of business experience. Students in either program benefit from an international study option.
Estimated Program Tuition: $9,001
#24 Emporia State University School of Business – Emporia, Kansas
Collaboration and leadership form the core of the Emporia State University MBA program. The 36-credit degree offers students a holistic view of business environments. Classes in financial management, quantitative analysis, and managerial economics provide a foundation for making data-driving decisions in business while the behavioral aspect of management and managerial decision making stress leadership skills. Students can use the 12 elective credits to explore areas of specialization or career interest. The school does ask for GMAT scores in the application, but students may request waivers for academic or business experience. An online degree path offers concentrations in accountancy, information systems, and marketing.
Estimated Program Resident Tuition: $9,126
#25 University of West Georgia Richards College of Business – Carrollton, Georgia
The one-year affordable MBA program offered by the University of West Georgia provides a foundation for effective communication and ethical decision-making. The general degree requires 30 credits, with concentrations available in business intelligence and cybersecurity, digital marketing, and sales and consumer research. Concentrations may require additional courses. The capstone course, Global, Ethical, and Strategic Management, brings the coursework together for a comprehensive exam and project. UWG offers all classes during the evening at the main campus in Carrollton and satellite campuses in Newnan and Douglasville. Students may take courses at any campus. A two-year program begins each spring and requires only one core class each semester.
Estimated Program Tuition: $9,330
What Can You Do With an Affordable Online MBA?
With an online MBA, graduates can qualify for an exciting variety of careers across many industries. PayScale reports an average salary of $86,865 for MBA graduates across job titles, including operations managers, human resources managers, marketing managers, and chief executive officers.
The BLS projects a nationwide spike in employment of 7% across all management positions between 2018 and 2028, which exceeds the national average of 5% for all occupations. Prospects for individual jobs can rank even higher. Management positions for medical and health services, for example, are projected to increase by 18% in the same time period. Likewise, employment of financial managers is projected to increase by 16%.
Management roles require strong communication and leadership skills, which an MBA can help students to develop. Managers often need background in software appropriate for their intended industry, such as medical software for health services managers or accounting software for those interested in finance. With an online MBA, students also master topics such as personnel management and legal foundations, as well as develop soft skills in problem solving and critical thinking.
Depending on their specific career goals, MBA graduates may find jobs in industries such as healthcare, finance and insurance, retail trade, advertising, public relations, and related services.
See More Top Affordable Online MBA Programs
What Do the Top Cheap Online MBA Programs Have in Common?
While online MBA programs differ between schools, many offer similar features, including options for students who may look to balance a full-time job and family commitments with a degree.
Many affordable online MBA programs structure their curriculum with options to accommodate a variety of student needs. They may offer flexibility in the form of fully online degrees, hybrid courses that combine online and in-person learning—including night class options—and opportunities for full- or part-time study. Students with limited time may take longer to complete an MBA program through part-time study, while those with fewer commitments may elect to take a quicker full-time route.
Concentrations provide another route to a personalized online MBA experience that prepares students for their careers. Many online MBA programs offer specializations in areas such as healthcare management, accounting, information technology, supply chain management, or marketing. Students should consider their career goals and successful industries in the location where they wish to work as a part of the search for an online MBA program.
Program requirements for online MBA programs vary by school and concentration, with core courses exploring topics such as managerial accounting, financial management, managerial economics, project management, and law.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Affordable Online MBA?
Online MBA programs typically require about 30 credits for graduation. Full-time students can sometimes complete a degree in one or two years, while part-time study can take longer. A two-year program may consist of six credits per semester, including summer classes, while those aiming to graduate faster should take more credits per semester.
For working professionals, some schools operate accelerated courses to help students quickly complete the program. Many also offer rolling admissions, with start dates available throughout the year.
While some online MBA programs do not require students to complete a thesis, others may require a capstone project or internship. A capstone project may involve collaboration with other students. Some programs offer capstones and internships as electives for students seeking hands-on experience in the field to bolster their knowledge and resume.
This ranking is designed to find the best and most affordable on-campus Master's of Business Administration degrees available. A list of over 500 MBA programs was obtained and then vetted based on the following two factors:
Accreditation: Accreditation directly affects value and program brand recognition, which in turn affects the competitive advantage of each alumni in the job market. Thus, accreditation should always plays a major part in vetting future degrees. Especially when vetting affordable degree programs, a student must be assured that even though the price is low, the value must not be. Therefore, every program included in this ranking is regionally accredited by one of the six accrediting agencies recognized by the US Department of Education, and additionally accredited by one of the top three business school accrediting institutions: IACBE, ACBSP, and AACSB-International.
Estimated Tuition Cost: Each MBA was ultimately ranked based on the estimated total tuition of the program. The tuition information was gathered from the most recent data available on each MBA program or school website. This financial data was calculated for the entirety of the degree, but does not included fees, books, or room and board, with the exception of programs that only offer all-inclusive figures. In the event that a school offers a lower in-state tuition cost, the in-state pricing was used. The average tuition cost from this affordability ranking is $8,449.
Professional Organizations in Business Management
MBA students and graduates alike should consider joining a professional organization related to business administration, for either general business or for their particular area of interest. Professional organizations serve their members through plentiful networking opportunities, including through local chapters, online forums, and conferences. Such organizations also provide resources such as job boards, professional development opportunities, and mentorship programs.
Dedicated to quality management through continuing education, AMA serves its individual and organizational members through news updates, research reports, free webinars, and discounted seminars.
With membership centered around marketing professionals, teachers, and researchers, AMA offers resources such as local chapter involvement, marketing news, special interest groups, online toolkits, webinars, and a micro-internship program.
Focused on lifelong learning for finance professionals, AFP offers a certified treasury professional credential, live and self-paced courses, online forums and collaboration opportunities, and multiple events every year.
Dedicated to improvements in the field of human resources through academic research, the AHRD serves its members through scholarly journal subscriptions, special interest groups, a mentorship program, and an annual conference.
Serving its membership of computer professionals, including business analytics and information systems managers, ACM offers resources such as special interest groups, local chapters, online education, and multiple conferences every year.