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Top Affordable MBA Programs

Compiled and Written By TopManagementDegrees.com Staff
Last Updated: Apr 21, 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.

The 10 Best Online MBA Programs

Rank School Location
1 Drake University Des Moines, IA
2 Union University Jackson, TN
3 Butler University Indianapolis, IN
4 Valparaiso University Valparaiso, IN
5 Providence College Providence, RI
6 University of Scranton , Scranton, PA
7 Bethel University Saint Paul, MN
8 Creighton University Omaha, NE
9 Salve Regina University Newport, RI
10 Xavier University Cincinnnati, OH

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Top Affordable Online MBA Programs and Schools for 2020

#1 Drake University – Des Moines, IA

This private college located in Des Moines, Iowa, offers an affordable MBA taught by recognized scholars who emphasize data-driven leadership. Students begin the hybrid 39-credit curriculum at Drake with two courses that teach the intricacies of corporate governance and how to lead with data.

The rest of the curriculum includes a core that trains managers in areas such as corporate finance, financial reporting, and strategic business processes. Enrollees can choose from nine specializations to customize their workload. Part-time students can complete the MBA in two years.

Scholarships and competitive tuition help make this one of the most affordable MBAs in the nation. Admission requires GRE or GMAT scores. The master of business administration holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Average Net Price: $10,510

#2 Union University – Jackson, TN

Union University, located in Jackson, Tennessee, offers an MBA that blends faith and business expertise. Learners can complete the degree in 12, 18, or 24 months. The 36-credit curriculum teaches students how to apply managerial economics, organizational theory, ethical management, and other core areas to address business challenges.

Degree-seekers can pursue one of the cheapest MBAs in the nation while specializing in accounting, marketing, leadership, or human resource management. Enrollees take a weekly class on campus or online. All students pay the same tuition regardless of residency.

Admission requires GMAT or GRE scores, with waivers available for learners who possess more than five years of relevant experience. The master of business administration holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Average Net Price: $8,220

#3 Butler University – Indianapolis, IN

The Butler MBA at the Indianapolis-based BU features experiential learning and professional development opportunities. Students begin their hands-on experience on day one, spending time with a business partner during the program's opening gateway experience.

The MBA core includes coursework in accounting, managerial economics, and financial management. Concentrations include leadership and marketing. Students receive hands-on experience when they complete a 2.5-day practicum that draws on lessons from the program. BU pairs every MBA student with a certified leadership coach who serves as a mentor and helps to hone their leadership skills.

Program cost includes tuition, books, and fees, making this an affordable MBA degree. Admission requires prerequisite business courses and GMAT or GRE scores. The MBA holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Average Net Price: $11,298

#4 Valparaiso University – Valparaiso, IN

Valpo offers an affordable MBA that allows students to choose from two-year, part-time professional or full-time, one-year global tracks. Both on-campus degrees train business professionals well-versed in functional areas of business.

The part-time professional MBA allows enrollees to choose from five concentrations, including management and business intelligence. Global MBA students must pursue a general business track. Both tracks empower learners with hands-on experiences through internships, field projects, and study abroad programs. Tuition for the full-time, one-year global MBA includes a study abroad trip.

Valpo notes that MBA graduates receive competitive salaries and well-honed leadership skills coveted by employers. Admission requires GMAT or GRE scores. This affordable MBA degree holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Average Net Price: $11,860

#5 Providence College – Providence, RI

The affordable MBA at PC provides four flexible options. Students in the MBA in accounting cohort complete a set curriculum at the Rhode Island campus. Alternatively, the full-time MBA, part-time MBA, and 4+1 MBA require the same business core, supplemented by several electives.

Enrollees must pass prerequisites such as finance and management before taking core courses. The core develops business proficiencies in financial management, operations management, and marketing management.

All MBA students receive real-world experience through internships. PC offers locked-in tuition for the student's entire course of study, making this an affordable MBA degree. The program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $9,240

#6 University of Scranton – Scranton, PA

Scranton blends advanced business practices with Jesuit values in its MBA program. The 36-credit curriculum offers eight specializations, including accounting, finance, business analytics, and healthcare management. Learners may also choose the general MBA option.

All MBA students receive a context for business operations informed by Jesuit ideals, such as economic justice and sustainability. Students supplement lectures with peer collaboration in many different industries. Degree-seekers can study on campus or online.

Admission requires GRE or GMAT scores, with waivers available for some applicants. One of the nation's most affordable MBAs, the program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $11,630

#7 Bethel University – Saint Paul, MN

Bethel is a leader in Christian higher education. The Minnesota school offers an MBA that students can complete on campus or in a hybrid format. The 42-credit MBA includes a core that covers managerial accounting and business strategy.

Students can customize the MBA with concentrations in finance, management, healthcare administration, or strategy and execution. All MBA students apply their coursework as they work on projects with local business leaders. Bethel supports MBA students with six one-on-one coaching sessions that help foster career success and personal growth.

Professional writing consultants help MBA students complete their written projects. Bethel offers affordable tuition rates, along with grant and scholarship opportunities, making this one of the cheapest MBAs on this ranking. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $11,700

#8 Creighton University – Omaha, NE

Students at Creighton receive an education steeped in rigor and Jesuit values. The MBA program requires 33 credits that learners can complete in a little more than two years. Participants learn how to use economic analysis as managers, conduct financial reporting, and implement enterprise risk management.

Learners can pursue concentrations in leadership or business intelligence and analytics to customize the curriculum. A unique feature of the program allows MBA students to transfer credits from Creighton to any of 20 Jesuit colleges across the nation.

Students can choose a fully online or hybrid format. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and GMAT scores. The MBA holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $17,376

#9 Salve Regina University – Newport, RI

Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Salve Regina is a Catholic, coeducational college in Newport, Rhode Island. The online MBA at Salve Regina trains students in business management and cybersecurity.

The 36-credit curriculum emphasizes strong quantitative skills in areas such as accounting and financial management. One course helps to develop ethical leaders with a focus on social justice and business ethics. Participants use a minimum of nine credits to complete a concentration in areas such as cybersecurity issues in business, social ventures, or healthcare administration and management.

Admission to this program, one of the nation's most affordable MBAs, requires prerequisite business courses and school transcripts. The master of business administration holds accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

Average Net Price: $10,650

#10 Xavier University – Cincinnati, OH

Xavier University is a Jesuit institution that administers an MBA for working professionals. One of the nation's most affordable MBA degrees, the program offers need-based grants and graduate assistantships to help learners pay tuition.

Students complete 39-48 credits, depending on whether they need to complete foundational coursework. The degree teaches students how to use managerial accounting and data analysis in day-to-day business operations. Enrollees can use electives to pursue one of eight concentrations, including values-based leadership and pricing strategy.

Admission requires GMAT or GRE scores. The MBA holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $11,716

#11 Otterbein University – Westerville, OH

Founded in 1847, Otterbein weaves experiential learning throughout its programs. The school, located in Westerville, Ohio, offers an MBA program that cultivates an entrepreneurial mindset in enrollees.

The 36-credit MBA offers unique specializations in design thinking and actuarial science. All students take courses on topics such as financial management, marketing, and managing information systems.

Students partner with organizations to complete consulting projects, gaining hands-on experience in the field. Affordable tuition and financial aid options make this degree one of the nation's cheapest MBAs. Students can complete the MBA on a full- or part-time basis. Applicants with GPAs below 3.3 must submit GMAT scores.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $941

#12 Hamline University – Saint Paul, MN

As Minnesota's first college, HU provides students with a liberal arts education rooted in Methodist values. The MBA uses a cohort model with weekly sessions on campus in Saint Paul or at the school's St. Louis Park-West End location.

Faculty members deliver the core of the 48-credit program in modules that build on one another, teaching students how to manage financial resources, make data-driven decisions, and lead organizations in uncertain times. Enrollees can choose from concentrations in finance, business analytics, marketing, and leading and change management.

Hamline's $10,000 MBA scholarships help make this one of the nation's cheapest MBAs. Applicants can submit optional GMAT scores to bolster their applications. The MBA holds accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $9,257

#13 Assumption College – Worcester, MA

Assumption is a Catholic college in Worcester, Massachusetts, that offers an affordable MBA. Business majors can complete the program's 36 credits in just 14 months. This values-centered MBA teaches students how to lead by example.

All students complete a core that covers decision analytics, accounting, finance for managers, and other key managerial competencies. Each MBA enrollee benefits from mentorship from an experienced business executive.

A paid 20-hour-per-week internship gives learners hands-on business expertise. Degree-seekers can pursue on-campus, blended, and fully online formats. Admission to the MBA requires school transcripts.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $12,578

#14 Mount Saint Mary's University – Los Angeles, CA

The Weekend MBA at MSMU equips working professionals with the skills needed to lead organizations. Students complete sessions every other weekend on the Doheny campus to earn the cohort-based degree in 16 months.

Instructors organize the curriculum of this affordable MBA in four modules that examine different themes. The first module focuses on the external global business environment. The second module details how to design an organization's future, while the third module emphasizes the implementation of strategy.

For the fourth module, each learner chooses a concentration in entrepreneurship, organizational leadership, or project management. Participants culminate the module with a consulting project that they complete with a partnering firm.

Admission requires at least three years of professional business experience. The MBA holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $11,669

#15 Baker University – Bladwin City, KS

Based in Kansas, BU is a small private college with a strong business program. Students can earn the 33-credit MBA on campus in Overland Park or online. Learners develop business proficiencies in organizational management, accounting applications, and data analytics.

Four-course concentrations in HR, finance, healthcare administration, and leadership and organizational change allow enrollees to tailor their degrees to their career interests. For one low price, MBA students receive access to tutoring and career support, in addition to a comprehensive portfolio of e-books and e-labs.

The school also offers affordable tuition and a 10% alumni discount. New classes begin every seven weeks, and students can complete the MBA in 12-20 months. Admission to one of the cheapest MBAs on this ranking requires school transcripts.

The master of business administration holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $10,368

#16 Saint Norbert College – De Pere, WI

Based in Wisconsin, Saint Norbert College offers an MBA program that teaches learners how to effectively manage day-to-day business operations.

Instructors teach participants how to lead people, manage organizational change, and effectively deliver projects. The curriculum gives learners the tools they need to succeed in microeconomics and macroeconomics, financial analysis, strategic marketing, and business ethics.

MBA students benefit from peer-to-peer networking and very affordable tuition. Admission to this program — one of the nation's most affordable MBAs — requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and GMAT or GRE scores for some applicants.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $10,993

#17 Brigham Young University – Provo, UT

BYU offers an MBA program that trains well-rounded business professionals adept in management and focused on ethics and community. Students dedicate the first year of the MBA to their studies without any work commitments.

Enrollees learn as part of a cohort on campus in Provo, Utah, building skills in leadership, business finance, and operations management. The second year focuses on ethics and managerial accounting. Learners can customize their MBAs with tracks in entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, strategic HR, or global supply chain management.

Admission requires a very competitive GPA and GMAT scores. The MBA holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $7,080

#18 Le Moyne College – Syracuse, NY

Business students at Le Moyne receive an education that never strays from the school's Jesuit values. The 48-credit MBA program, delivered on campus in Syracuse, New York, builds exceptional business leaders skilled in moral leadership.

Students learn from renowned instructors who incorporate real cases to enhance students' problem-solving and decision-making skills. The curriculum develops proficiencies in financial management, business law, and information strategy.

Participants build on core skills with two electives in areas such as accounting and management information systems. An internship gives learners hands-on experience within a business organization. Each student completes a capstone that integrates their decision-making, values analysis, and global management skills.

Admission requires GRE or GMAT scores. The MBA holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $14,510

#19 Kettering University – Flint, MI

Kettering ranks among the top engineering and business institutions in the world. This Michigan school prepares engineers for management and executive careers through its online MBA. The 40-credit program develops expertise in financial, strategic, and marketing management.

Learners supplement the MBA core with a three-course graduate certificate in operations management, healthcare management, or supply chain management. During a capstone, participants demonstrate their ability to create a startup with a prototype or product idea backed by market research and a business plan.

Students can complete the degree in 18 months. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA. The MBA holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $12,460

#20 Saint Joseph's College of Maine – Standish, ME

SJC offers two MBA programs. The 39-credit functional MBA enrolls recent college grads and career changers, while the 42-credit leadership MBA enrolls experienced professionals. Both degrees provide a fully online curriculum that examines financial principles, statistical thinking, and systems thinking.

The leadership MBA focuses on leadership, while the functional MBA allows learners to customize their degrees with concentrations in health sector management, sports administration, financial management, or quality and continuous improvement.

SJC features significantly lower tuition than other institutions. Admission to this affordable MBA degree requires a minimum 2.5 GPA, preparatory business coursework, and at least two years of professional work experience for leadership MBA applicants.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $8,982

#21 Hood College – Frederick, MD

Hood College offers programs that integrate liberal arts and professional training. The Maryland school offers a 36-credit MBA on campus in Frederick. Students can complete the degree in under two years on a part-time basis when they include summer sessions.

All enrollees complete a core that develops proficiencies in finance, operations, and marketing management. Students can use six elective credits to tailor the degree to their interests and goals. A series of team projects tasks students with using real case studies to examine organizations' operations, finances, and strategies.

Admission to this program, one of the most affordable MBAs in the nation, requires school transcripts. The program holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $8,780

#22 Saint Joseph's University – Philadelphia, PA

Founded by Jesuits, SJU has offered student-centered education in Philadelphia since 1851. SJU continues a tradition of academic excellence with an MBA that offers on-campus, online, and blended formats.

The curriculum requires 33-53 credits, depending on each student's academic background. The MBA core covers topics like marketing strategy, business analytics, and creating shareholder value. Students can tailor the degree to their interests through concentrations in finance or business intelligence.

SJU offers affordable tuition and graduate stipends to help pay for tuition. Admission to this program — one of the cheapest MBAs in the nation — requires official GRE or GMAT scores. The MBA holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $16,992

#23 Bradley University – Peoria, IL

This top-ranked private college in Peoria, Illinois, has offered MBA programs since 1948. The school features part-time evening and online MBA programs for professionals interested in advancing their careers. Enrollees receive training in all aspects of running a business enterprise as they hone analytical and strategic thinking skills.

The 35-credit curriculum examines global markets and sustainability, management theory, marketing decision-making, and operations management. Students can customize their degrees with concentrations in finance or management.

Enrollees apply their learning through extensive case analyses and group interaction. Admission requires GMAT or GRE scores. The MBA holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $16,300

#24 Viterbo University – La Crosse, WI

Established in 1890, Viterbo is one of 24 Franciscan colleges in the nation. Students can pursue an MBA delivered on campus in La Crosse, Wisconsin, or an online MBA in healthcare leadership. Both programs use cohort models to develop effective and ethical leaders.

The MBA core explores subjects such as complex systems change strategies, marketing for today's leaders, and business strategies for sustainable enterprise. Students can opt for a general MBA or use electives to pursue concentrations in areas like accounting and servant leadership.

The MBA in healthcare leadership enrolls practicing healthcare professionals and requires many of the same courses as the regular MBA. Admission to this program, which is one of the nation's most affordable MBAs, requires a minimum 3.0 GPA. The MBAs hold accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $8,560

#25 Marywood University – Scranton, PA

Marywood launched in 1915 as a Catholic college in Pennsylvania. The school specializes in affordable, values-based programs. MBA enrollees can study online or on a scenic hilltop campus in Scranton. Faculty members use a common body of knowledge to develop expertise in all areas of business operations.

Students supplement the core of the 36-credit degree with a concentration in finance and investment, general management, or management information systems (MIS). The MIS curriculum gives learners technical expertise in areas like computer programming languages, systems analysis and design, and database management systems.

Online students can take classes in real time or use recorded sessions. Enrollees can graduate in two years. The MBA holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Avg. Net Price of Program: $11,300

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.

Rankings 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.

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.

American Management Association

Dedicated to quality management through continuing education, AMA serves its individual and organizational members through news updates, research reports, free webinars, and discounted seminars.

American Marketing Association

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.

Association for Finance Professionals

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.

Academy of Human Resource Development

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.

Association for Computing Machinery

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.