Most Affordable Online MBA Programs

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Committing to formal study in management, leadership, or entrepreneurship are sure-fire ways to invest in your business career, but not all aspiring leaders in commerce can relocate to attend school, which means online education is practical and necessary for career advancement.

Many of the most affordable online MBA programs offer exciting, engaging, and flexible opportunities for degree completion.

We at College Choice want you to understand your options, so we’ve made easy-to-digest data pages concerning affordable online MBA programs so you can make an informed decision quickly.

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Top 10 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs

Rank School Location
1 Columbia Southern University Orange Beach, AL
2 Western International University Tempe, AZ
3 Indiana Institute of Technology Fort Wayne, IN
4 Ohio Christian University Circleville, OH
5 Cornerstone University Grand Rapids, MI
6 Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Winona, MN
7 Saint Joseph’s College Standish, ME
8 National American University Rapid City, SD
9 South University Savannah, GA
10 University of Saint Mary Leavenworth, KS

Whether you’re pursuing the more traditional Master’s in Business Administration or a cutting edge Master’s in Business Analytics, the world of online MBA programs offers stimulating approaches to instruction. Some new trends included:

  1. Gamification and Interactives: Many online MBA programs are developing game-like learning modules and interactive digital platforms that reinforce competitive ambition. Based on rewards structures, website building tools, fabricated boards of directors, and faux shops trafficking in digital widgets, tech-savvy next-gen entrepreneurs are learning real-world lessons from collaborative games.
  2. Synchronized Instruction: Discussion forums, online quizzes, and other forms of asynchronous learning which have the mainstays of digital MBAs for several years, but programs are moving toward synchronous, real-time classroom components. Mock pitch sessions, board meetings, and administrative meetings are being conducted with actors and instructors working together to create practica that re-create experiences students will encounter in the business world.
  3. Project-Based Learning: Students who wish to be executives can opt to engage cross-disciplinary, semester-long projects involving intricate solo and group tasks. Students are encouraged to treat projects like a workplace, where their input and activity rises to challenges real business people face, all while investigating class content.

After examining information concerning accreditation, graduation rates, student debt numbers, job placement records, and other metrics that indicate quality online education, consider the following when choosing from the top online MBA programs:

  1. Know that the online degree you’re planning to pursue provides the same resources as the on-campus degree. Online and learning support centers, convenient access to faculty and staff, and access to business networks associated with the university are all good measures of equity.
  2. Be sure you understand the level of interaction you’ll receive with your peers and professors in an online MBA degree. The best online MBA programs often have residency components (brief onsite cohort meetings) that replicate the networking advantages of face-to-face programs and allow for serious immersion via professional interaction.
  3. Count the costs of digital education and recognize that financial structures are different with online degrees. MBA online programs may have costs about which students rarely think. For example, technology fees surprise students if they aren’t factored into fees per course or credit hour.

Our online M.B.A. programs rankings list is based on reputation and affordability (rather than location), presenting students with top M.B.A. Programs that are at least accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs or the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. In addition, many of the listed schools are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Columbia Southern University
    Location

    Orange Beach, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Atop our list is Columbia Southern University. Their completely online MBA offers multiple concentrations, from Marketing, or Finance to Human Resources Management. Most students complete the program in three years. In 2015, 82% of students graduated on time and over half their students were employed in their field of study within 180 days of graduating and were employed for at least 13 weeks.

    This 36 credit program is a great value at $9,900 total tuition cost, with $275/credit hour. Boasting a DEAC accreditation, the online MBA program is not only the most affordable option, but is great opportunity for students who are looking for a flexible program with multiple concentration options.

    The strength of CSU’s online MBA program, aside from its affordability, flexible curriculum, and diverse concentrations, is its focus on responsibility and business ethics. Increasingly, employers are looking to hire candidates who not only have skills of business administration, but also are able to apply ethical analysis to many of the complex situations faced every day in this globalized marketplace. This program will prepare you to make sound business decisions with integrity and social awareness.

  2. Western International University
    Location

    Tempe, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Working professionals who are looking to move into business intelligence analyst or operation management positions will be happy with Western International University’s online MBA. This business degree can be completely done online and at a student’s leisure, providing the student with access to one of the top MBA programs in the country.

    The MBA online program from Western International is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission’s North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, known as NCACSTHLC. It is also the most affordable business degree on this list, costing $350 per credit. The total cost for this one-year program is $13,650 for the 39 required credits.

    Like most online MBA programs, Western International focuses its MBA candidates on the research, critical thinking and analysis skills that all leaders need. Students also learn organization behavior and ethics to help prepare them for the leadership role that they will be taking on as graduates.

    The key focus of some of the best online MBA programs, like the one at Western International, is to create strong leaders who can adapt and respond to the changing business climate, no matter the industry or application. With the help and support of the faculty at this school, students will become well-rounded leaders who are ready to take on any challenge they may face in the workplace.

  3. Indiana Institute of Technology
    Location

    Fort Wayne, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Indiana Institute of Technology is one of the top MBA programs in the state and is nationally recognized for affordability, convenience, and its world-class faculty. Working students love this university, which holds NCACSTHLC accreditation because it has created an MBA online experience that is unmatched regarding faculty involvement and experience within the business sector.

    Tuition at Indiana Institute of Technology costs $495 per credit hour, one of the lowest rates in the country. For the required 36 hours needed for graduation, the total cost of the program is just $17,820, which puts this online business degree in the second spot on this list. And financial aid for military veterans as well as employment reimbursement for working professionals is also available to lower the tuition cost.

    Indiana Institute of Technology focuses on developing the skills needed within leadership positions in business. Creating the MBA program with this in mind allows students to put into practice those administrative and interpersonal skills that will become vital to them as they move into executive roles. The online format gives students maximum flexibility; students are free to engage the material when it is convenient for them.

    Indiana Tech is unique in one respect, and this makes it one of the best online MBA programs in the country — it is one of the only online MBA programs that offers a dual degree option. Students can choose to earn a separate and full master’s degree in either Management or Engineering Management in addition to their MBA. While this may elongate the degree plan, it is advisable for professionals looking to specialize in either field to take on the extra course load.

  4. Ohio Christian University
    Location

    Circleville, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online MBA program is the most desired graduate degree from Ohio Christian University. In as little as 18 months, working professionals can get an excellent education from this NCACSTHLC accredited school. And for many students who are looking for an affordable graduate business degree, OCU is the best alternative to getting a degree on campus.

    Tuition costs at Ohio Christian sit at $500 per credit hour. The MBA program requires 36 credit hours, making the program’s total cost $18,000 for full-time students. But like the majority of MBA online programs, financial aid is available for both resident and non-resident students.

    Students who are looking for concentrations to go along with their MBA will find six such specialized fields at this university. Digital Marketing and Organizational Leadership are among the most popular specializations, but there is a variety of fields from which to choose.

    Working professionals who are looking to advance their career through the MBA will find that most courses at Ohio Christian revolve around implementing business strategies and critical thinking skills to real-world solutions. Courses focus on dialogue and solution-based thinking to create strong business leaders all within a format that goes wherever a student goes.

  5. Cornerstone University
    Location

    Grand Rapids, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Cornerstone University houses one of the best online MBA programs in the country for working professionals who need the flexibility to complete a graduate business degree. The university, which is NCACSTHLC-accredited, offers students an accelerated cohort model so that they can graduate in as little as 20 months for full-time study.

    This is one of the most affordable MBA online programs as well, with tuition costs per credit at $500. The total MBA program cost for the required 38 credits is $19,000 with financial aid available for students in special circumstances.

    Like most competitive top MBA programs, Cornerstone does have requirements for admission into the program. Students must provide a professional resume, proof of work experience, and two letters of recommendation along with their application. Cornerstone, however, does not require GRE or GMAT results for admission, which makes this an accessible program for students who do not have a background in business.

    Cornerstone is unique in its approach to MBA education. This degree is taught in an accelerated cohort format, meaning students are put into groups and go through the courses together. Courses are also taught one at a time in lock-step format, meaning mastery of one subject is required before moving to another subject.

    Students will be expected to be able to formulate business plans and strategies for a variety of markets, debate and discuss business ethics in a forum as well as identify and solve current business issues. Because courses are taught on the cohort model, students will have group projects that can be completed online.

  6. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
    Location

    Winona, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    One of the best online MBA programs that can be found in the country is housed at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, which hold regional accreditation by the NCACSTHLC. The MBA online experience was designed by a renown faculty with experience in the business world and ensures students focus on one concept at a time while building experience within a specialized field.

    This school offers one of the most affordable top MBA programs, with tuition per credit hour at just $635. With only 30 credits required for graduation, the total cost of this business degree is only $19,050. This school has one of the lowest requirements for credit hours available, and this can be lowered even further if a student has eligible transfer credits from another university.

    As with many online MBA programs, SMUM teaches this degree from a professional perspective. Students are expected to have a few years of work experience in the business sector, and the courses provided by the school work on that foundation to further enhance a student’s knowledge of leadership and management in the field.

    Saint Mary’s University requires two unique things from its students. The first is that students specialize their online MBA. This will attract employers who are looking for professionals with an educational background in marketing, social media, or human resource management and results in employment offers before graduation.

    The second requirement is that students take part in a live business capstone project with a local business organization. Alternatively, students can travel abroad for the international business capstone project which requires collaboration with a business in a foreign country.

  7. Saint Joseph’s College
    Location

    Standish, ME

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Of the top MBA programs offered in America, Saint Joseph’s College is perhaps the unique regarding how the MBA online experience is structured. This NEAS CIHE-accredited school, which holds an independent accreditation for its online MBA, focuses on dialogue-driven online courses. This creates strong critical thinkers who can effectively communicate; both skills are desperately needed in the business world.

    Saint Joseph’s College is also nationally recognized as being one of the best online MBA programs for its affordability. The tuition cost per credit is just $475. With 42 credits total required for graduation, this business degree can be earned for $19,950. This is one of the lowest tuition rates of any MBA program, online or on campus, in the country.

    Saint Joseph’s College focuses working students on communication, dialogue and critical thinking throughout the degree plan. With foundation courses spanning a variety of subjects like business ethics to global economics, the school requires a student engage in debates and discussion to ensure mastery over any given subject. This is one of the reasons Saint Joseph’s is considered one of the best online MBA programs in the country.

    While this course can be earned in as little as 18 months, some working students will find that part-time study is best for them. Saint Joseph’s College understands this and offers five and ten-week courses five times a year. Students can also fast-track their online MBA programs with approval from the program director to be on their way to advancing their career in a shorter amount of time.

  8. National American University
    Location

    Rapid City, SD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    National American University offers one of the best MBA online programs through the Harold D. Buckingham Graduate School. It is one of the top MBA programs in Minnesota and is specially accredited by the IACBE. NAU itself is regionally accredited through the NCACSTHLC.

    This graduate business degree is also one of the top ten most affordable online MBA programs in the nation, with the tuition cost per credit currently at $450. With 45 credits required for graduation, the total program cost is currently $20,250. But like many other online MBA programs, NAU offers tuition assistance for its students.

    Students who come to NAU often praise it as one of the best online MBA programs for its commitment to academic excellence and its focus on offering concentrations within the degree. Some concentrations include International Business, Aviation Management, and Human Resources. These concentrations better prepare students for taking on executive level positions in specialized fields, such as Aviation, which required deeper knowledge in that area.

    Students are given every convenience and support that campus students enjoy, albeit the support comes from online support services provided by NAU. These services, which include career counseling and tutoring programs, aid students in gaining mastery over a subject all while finishing their degree online and working.

  9. South University
    Location

    Savannah, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Getting an MBA online is an excellent experience for students who choose to attend South University online. The school, which is accredited regionally by SACS COC and with special accreditation for its online MBA by ACBSP, uses a process-based format which ensures students have mastered one subject before moving on to the next. It is currently considered one of the top MBA programs in Georgia.

    To get this graduate business degree, students are required to complete 36 hours of coursework. The tuition cost per credit is $567, and the total tuition cost for this program is $20,412. Financial aid through loans and grants are available for students who qualify, and payment plans can also be put into place should a student require it.

    South University is known for using a curriculum that is unique in the business world. A process-based curriculum ensures that a student advances through the MBA online classes at a pace that is comfortable for them. It also helps a student gain mastery of a subject before delving into a more specialized field of study that creates a standard of excellence that makes South University Online one of the best online MBA programs in the country.

  10. University of Saint Mary
    Location

    Leavenworth, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Saint Mary has one of the best online MBA programs in the country, one that allows working students to earn an MBA online without interrupting their lives. The school is regionally accredited by NCACSTHLC, and the online MBA program is specially accredited by IACBE, a prestigious body that recognizes the best business schools in the country. With its one-year degree program and the flexibility to choose from six concentrations, it is ranked in the top MBA programs in Kansas.

    There are 36 credits required for graduation for this graduate business degree. Each credit has a tuition cost of $598 with the program costing a total of $21,528. It is possible for this tuition cost to be lowered through financial aid or the transfer of credits from an accredited institution.

    An MBA is no longer enough for many employers, which is why the University of Saint Mary has added seven concentrations to this degree experience. These concentrations range from Leadership and Organizational Health Concentration to the Enterprise Risk Management Concentration, which was created to develop executives who can manage risk across an entire organization using holistic strategies.

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