Online MBA Programs Ranked by Affordability (2019-2020)

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Earning an MBA can be an expensive proposition, with many programs costing $100,000 or more for tuition alone, plus fees, room, and board. Add to this the need to stop working to earn the degree and the cost skyrockets.

In addition, student loan debt is becoming a crisis. In the U.S. student loan debt has reached more than $1.5 trillion (FRED, SLOAS 2019). Part of the problem is the rising cost of higher education.

Another issue is that students do not realize how much the debt they are taking on is going to cost them in the end with interest, especially on private loans. A study done by Lendkey Technologies (cited on Yahoo! Finance in April 2019) found that 49 percent of borrowers didn’t know what their debt obligations would be, including monthly payments when the loans come due.

Without the proper understanding of the future debt strain, students are taking on more debt than they will be able to pay back given their potential earnings. This can lead to financial stress, delayed home buying, and delays in starting a family.

In addition to these repercussions, Huffington Post pointed out that student loan debt is leading to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. In fact, of those surveyed:

  • 10 percent of people say student loan debts are their top worry
  • 65 percent of those with student loans lose sleep from the stress
  • 67 percent have “physical symptoms of anxiety due to the stress from their student loan debt”

Yet another point to consider is the income potential of earning an MBA. Consider the following Bureau of Labor and Statistics data (May 2018):

  • The national mean annual wage for all earners in management occupations was $121,560.
  • Managers of companies and enterprises constitute 19.6 percent of the industry’s employment, and the annual mean wage is $151,190. This is an average hourly wage of $72.69.
  • Under the industry “Securities, Commodity Contracts, And Other Financial Investments And Related Activities” the annual mean wage fell at $195,450. This is an average hourly wage of $93.97.
  • In the “Monetary Authorities-Central Bank” industry, the annual mean wage was $184,980. This comes out to an average hourly wage of $88.93.

The question remains: what can business professionals do who want to advance their career and earning income potential and avoid the massive debt load and the ensuing stress that may bring? The answer: find an affordable, online program that can give them the flexibility to continue working and living at home, while earning an excellent MBA education.

To that end, in this article we will cover online MBA programs ranked by affordability for the 2019-2020 school year.

These rankings are based on tuition data BSchools.org collected in 2019 from online MBA programs. Tuition information is as current as possible, being taken from the 2018-2019 or 2019-2020 school years as published by each institution.

Most Affordable Online MBA Programs (2019-2020)

There are several affordable online MBA programs for those seeking an MBA degree. Most of the programs are accredited by a reputable organization (e.g. AACSB, ACBSP) and are 100 percent online. Let’s look at the most affordable online MBA programs ranked by overall cost.

Topping our list is the Utica College 100 percent online MBA with a general MBA or one of seven specializations: data analytics, cybersecurity, cyber policy, insurance and risk management, healthcare management, entrepreneurship, and finance and accounting.

Offering asynchronous learning through the Engage Learning Management System (LMS), the program also offers opportunities for interaction through projects and discussions, online video conferencing, and other tools. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and two or more years of work experience to apply. The program can be completed part-time in two years or less, and students complete business core courses, two capstone courses, and all specialization courses. Core courses may include data-driven decision-making, financial fluency, the global consumer, and principles and practices of leadership. The Utica MBA is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Cost per credit: $650/credit
Number of credits: 30 credits
Total cost: $19,500 + fees

Ranking second in our list is the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota accelerated online MBA with a general pathway or one of three specializations: sustainability and environmental management, social media management and marketing, and data analytics.

Students who pursue the social media management and marketing MBA concentration are prepared to take the certification exam as a NISM Social Media Strategist. Graduates have skills in applying ethics in the workplace, effective communication, and organizational improvement. As an accelerated program, this 100 percent online MBA can be completed in 18 months or more.

Although no business work experience is required, five years of general work experience are required, or, alternatively, acceptable GMAT test scores. The degree is offered asynchronously through Engage and includes several interactive tools such as podcast discussions, video conferencing, and discussion boards.

Cost per credit: $665/credit
Number of credits: 30 credits
Total cost: $19,950 + fees

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers a 100 percent online MBA with 20+ concentrations from accounting to environmental compliance to international business.

Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), this is one of the most affordable MBAs in the nation. It can be completed in just 15 months taking two courses per term. With the variety of concentrations, business professionals can choose the path that best fits their career goals.

The faculty includes experienced business professionals and the online experience is student-focused throughout the program and beyond. Boasting a hands-on environment with discussion questions, integrative assignments, group projects, and a final capstone course, students graduate prepared to enter higher level business positions in the workplace.

Cost per credit: $627/credit
Number of credits: 36 credits
Total cost: $22,572 + fees

The University of Saint Mary, located in Leavenworth, Kansas, offers an affordable online MBA with six concentrations: marketing and advertising, general management, finance, human resources management, leadership and organizational health, and healthcare management.

Taking two courses per eight-week session, students can complete the online MBA in just one year. The rigorous schedule requires dedication to balancing work, education, and family life. The curriculum focuses on corporate responsibility, effective decision-making in business, critical thinking skills, and how workplace ethics affect the business itself, the community, and global business.

Students complete a capstone course on business policy and ethics. Concentration courses are hands-on and interactive featuring real-world case studies, videos, possible business scenarios, and tools for personal assessment. Required courses may include global management, organizational management, managerial economics, and marketing management. The Saint Mary MBA is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).

Cost per credit: $630/credit
Number of credits: 36 credits
Total cost: $22,860 + fees

Utica College also offers 100 percent online MBA in economic crime and fraud management. Combining business and fraud management, students learn how to use fraud management tools and technology to identify and prevent fraud. In addition, students in this MBA focus on leadership decision-making, application of business concepts in managing technology programs, the use of data intelligence, quantitative analysis, and critical thinking.

As an education partner with the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), students benefit from tuition discounts as well as preparation for Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) certification. The degree program also prepares students for the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) exam. Courses in this unique degree may include legal and regulatory issues for fraud management, advanced fraud investigation and analysis, management for fraud prevention and detection, and seminar in fraud management.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and two or more years of work experience to apply; however, experience in the field of fraud is not required. The program can be completed part-time in two years or less. The Utica MBA in economic crime and fraud management is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Cost per credit: $855/credit
Number of credits: 30 credits
Total cost: $25,650 + fees

Maryville University offers a 100 percent online MBA with a general path or one of nine concentrations, including human resource management, marketing, project management, financial services, management, information technology, accounting, cybersecurity, and health administration.

Focusing on real-world issues, the hands-on curriculum allows students to gain experience with current problems and scenarios. Maryville offers a large network of business connections with companies around the world, helping graduates to advance their careers. The general pathway can be completed in as little as one year and the concentrations take about 16 months.

Students complete core courses, concentration courses, and a final capstone. Core courses may include business ethics, global business and accounting for managers. The online experience is collaborative and student-focused, offering e-portfolios, conferencing, chat, and other online communication tools. The Maryville online MBA is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Cost per credit: $714/credit
Number of credits: 36 to 39 credits
Total cost: $25,704 to $27,846 + fees

Jacksonville University offers a 100 percent online MBA with a general track or a concentration in management. With flexible schedules, students can complete this MBA in one year on an accelerated track at two courses per term or two years at a part-time pace of one course per term.

The Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University boasts an alumni network of over 11,000 graduates. Students who do not have a bachelor’s degree in business must complete four foundational courses in addition to the required curriculum.

Core courses may include competing through innovation and information technology, strategic marketing in a digital economy, competing in the global economy, and managing production and service operations. Management concentration courses include strategic HR management, teamwork and organizational change, and responsible leadership. The Jacksonville MBA is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Cost per credit: $800/credit
Number of credits: 36 to 39 credits
Total cost: $28,800 to $31,200 + fees

Norwich University offers an online MBA with a general track or one of six concentrations including finance, organizational leadership, construction management, project management, supply chain management and logistics, and energy management. The program is offered one course at a time, allowing students to delve deeply into the course material. Core courses include managerial finance, strategic marketing and operations management, and strategic resources management.

Students can complete the MBA in 18 to 24 months. Concentrations require completion of an independent research project and all students must take a comprehensive MBA exam at the end of the program. The program is immediately applicable to real-world situations through the use of case-studies. A one-week residency is required in June following or concurrent with the final course, where students complete a time of networking, learning, receiving awards, and participating in a graduation ceremony. The Norwich online MBA is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Cost per credit: $808/credit
Number of credits: 36 credits
Total cost: $29,088 + fees and travel expenses to and from the one week residency

The Washington State University Carson College of Business offers a 100 percent online MBA with a general track or one of four concentrations: marketing, international business, hospitality business management, and finance.

This degree focuses on formulation of a business strategy from various business disciplines, the use of analytical tools and techniques, the identification of applicable data sources, leadership theory, and the ethical implications of doing business. Core courses may include managerial leadership and productivity, strategy formulation and organizational design, administrative control, and information systems analysis. The program can be completed in 22 to 29 months.

Students without a business background may need to complete additional foundational coursework. Students also complete a capstone project and deliver a final presentation. The Washington State MBA is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Cost per credit: $813/credit
Number of credits: 36 credits
Total cost: $29,268 + fees

Finally, the University of Scranton Kania School of Management offers a 100 percent online MBA with a general track or one of eight concentrations: human resources, healthcare management, enterprise resource planning, accounting, finance, international business, business analytics, and operations management.

Working from a flex curriculum, students have a great deal of choice in the core courses and electives they complete. The program includes a cornerstone and capstone course, along with elective courses. In addition, students may earn up to two specializations within the 36-credit program. The degree can be completed one course at a time in two years, but students may take up to six years. The Scranton MBA is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Cost per credit: $965/credit
Number of credits: 36 credits
Total cost: $34,740 + fees

Additional Online MBA Programs

In addition to the affordable programs listed above, there are several other accredited online MBA programs that offer the convenience and flexibility of online learning, some of them only slightly more expensive than the programs listed above. Check out our A-to-Z list of schools offering online MBA programs for more detailed information on the other excellent offerings available.

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