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Top 25 Most Affordable MBA Programs 2018

Earning an affordable MBA degree allows students to build upon their general business undergraduate degrees and specialize in emerging business fields. The sought-after degree prepares graduates to take on leadership roles within their organization or advance to C-suite offices. Individuals who studied another subject in college may also seek a master’s of business administration to prepare for a new career field. Schools continually review and expand their course offerings and electives to make the professional degree flexible while retaining the core business skills that make an MBA a sought-after credential.

Students considering an MBA should evaluate the cost, potential return on investment, and the specializations available. Schools should offer a rigorous and relevant curriculum that aligns with current business needs. Accrediting bodies provide an independent, voluntary review of a school’s business curriculum and resources, and many employers place a high value on an MBA earned from an accredited program. Applicants may find the admissions process competitive, but many schools offer waivers for entrance exams for applicants with professional or relevant academic experience.

Methodology

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.

#1 (Tied) Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business –Tempe, Arizona


Students at Arizona State University can earn a highly respected MBA from W.P. Carey School of Business. This elite program offers all full-time MBA students a Forward Focus MBA scholarship covering the total tuition cost of the program.

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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

#1 (Tied) Naval Postgraduate School Graduate School of Business and Public Policy – Monterey, California


The Naval Postgraduate School offers a world-class Master’s of Business Administration. This elite MBA degree tops our ranking due to the program’s premier graduate-level courses specifically tailored to the defense community, national recognitions, and return on investment potential.

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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

#1 (Tied)University of Massachusetts Amherst Isenberg School of Management – Amherst, Massachusetts


The Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst offers a highly recognized Master’s of Business Administration degree. Every full-time student in this top ranking MBA is awarded a two-year Isenberg MBA Fellowship that fully funds the degree.

Photo courtesy of The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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 offers an elite MBA program through the A.R. Sanchez, Jr., School of Business. This distinguished MBA stands out on our ranking due to the university’s affordability and small, personalized classes.

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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


Students can earn a Master’s of Business Administration through the  Department of Business Administration at Fitchburg State University. This distinguished MBA program was selected for our ranking because of the program’s high quality and affordability.

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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


The College of Business at Albany State University offers an academically rigorous Master’s of Business Administration. This MBA was selected for our ranking because of the program’s prestige and commitment to an invaluable return on investment.

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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 offers a prestigious Master’s of Business Administration degree. This program stands out due to their numerous recognitions and affordability.

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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


Students can earn a distinguished Master’s of Business Administration through the James M. Hull College of Business at Augusta University. This MBA program offers an outstanding, highly engaged business education.

Photo creditEstimated Program Resident Tuition: $6,660

#9 Tarleton State University College of Business Administration – Stephenville, Texas


Students can earn an elite Master’s of Business Administration degree through the College of Business at Tarleton State University. This competitive MBA program was selected for our ranking based on the program’s excellence in education standards.

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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 offers a well-rounded Master’s of Business Administration degree. This program made a top ten spot on our ranking because it offers a high quality, affordable education.

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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


The Langdale College of Business Administration offers an accredited Master’s of Business Administration degree. This highly recognized program at Valdosta State University prepares students for global success.

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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


The College of Business Administration at Texas A&M University-Central Texas offers an elite Master’s of Business Administration degree. This MBA provides stands out across the country for its affordability and quality business education.

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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


Students can earn an accredited Master’s of Business Administration degree through the School of Business at Henderson State University. This MBA was selected for our ranking because of their affordability and high-quality education.

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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


Students can earn a Master’s of Business Administration at Northeastern State University’s College of Business and Technology. This program made our list with its outstanding business accreditation and exceptional return on investment potential.

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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’s College of Business offers a prestigious Master’s of Business Administration degree. This MBA program is notable because of its high education standards coupled with competitive tuition rates.

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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


Students can earn a top-rated Master’s of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. This MBA is a great choice for prospective students because of the program’s commitment to excellence, engagement, and innovation.

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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


The Dillard College of Business Administration at Midwestern State University offers a Master’s of Business Administration. This program made our ranking because of their affordability and superior quality of education.

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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


Students can earn a well respected Master’s of Business Administration degree through the College of Business at Arkansas Tech University. This program is known for producing graduates who add value for employers.

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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


Graduate students can earn an accredited Master’s of Business Administration at New Mexico State University. This elite MBA is a great choice with its high level of academic excellence and affordability.

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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


The College of Business Administration at Missouri State University offers a world-class Master’s of Business Administration degree program. This distinguished MBA program stands out in this ranking for the program’s elite accreditations and business affiliations.

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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


Students can earn an accredited Master’s of Business Administration degree at Southeast Missouri State University. This program was selected for our ranking due to low tuition costs and high return on investment potential.

Photo courtesy of Southeast Missouri State University
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


The Everett Dobson School of Business and Technology at Southwestern Oklahoma State University offers a well-rounded Master’s of Business Administration degree. This MBA was selected for our ranking because of the program’s quality academic programs and low tuition rates.

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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


Students of Prairie View A&M University’s College of Business can earn a competitive Master’s of Business Administration degree. This MBA was selected for our ranking because of the program’s high quality and competitive pricing.

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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


Emporia State University’s School of Business offers a 36-credit hour Master’s of Business Administration degree. This MBA was selected because of the affordability and the flexibility it offers with both online and an on-campus MBA options.

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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 Richards College of Business at the University of West Georgia offers a top-ranked Master’s of Business Administration. This MBA program was chosen for its affordability and emphasis on providing a high-quality coursework for working professionals.

Photo courtesy of The University of West 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

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