The Cheapest Online MBAs

ASO Staff Writers
Updated October 23, 2023
Edited by
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Are you considering earning an MBA to help further your career, but still have some questions? That’s completely normal. Higher education is a big commitment, both in terms of time and money. It is important to consider your options carefully and make sure you find the right university and program. An MBA can come with several benefits, so it is no surprise that the degree is an attractive option for many people. It can help you advance your career, increase your job security, and lead to higher pay. Candidates with MBAs are also particularly valuable to many employers.

Throughout this article, we will explore the benefits of pursuing a less-expensive-than-average MBA from the comfort of your own home, office, or favorite cafe. While making the choice to enroll in an MBA program is a big decision, obtaining your degree online can make balancing your personal and academic life much easier.

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Top Colleges With the Cheapest Online MBAs

We have compiled a list of nonprofit and for-profit institutions that offer MBA programs. Use the table below to compare schools’ average net price and student population size.

Cheapest Online MBAs
SchoolLocationAverage Net PriceStudent Population Size
Western Governors UniversityMillcreek, Utah$4,755 per six-month term140,000
Capella UniversityMinneapolis, Minnesota$17,40038,930
Pennsylvania State University, World CampusState College, Pennsylvania$15,120 per semester20,000
Johnson & Wales University, OnlineProvidence, Rhode Island$2,526 per credit8,100
Walden UniversityMinneapolis, Minnesota$31,75046,455
South University, OnlineSavannah, Georgia$33,15513,448
Los Angeles Pacific UniversitySan Dimas, California$23,7604,018
The University of Arizona Global CampusTucson, Arizona$13,320 per year35,000
Excelsior UniversityAlbany, New York$23,59534,332
National UniversitySan Diego, California$30,35011,580

3 Top Schools With the Cheapest Online MBAs

Excelsior University

Excelsior University offers a fully online program, designed specifically for executive managers looking to take the next step in their career. The program offers flexible courses and can be completed in a single year. The program also allows up to 15 transfer credits, making it a good option if you have already taken a few classes at another university.Students may choose up to three specializations, including cannabis control, finance and accounting, general business, healthcare management, human resource management, leadership, and marketing.

Their MBA program is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).

The University of Arizona Global Campus

This online MBA program is a combined effort between the University of Arizona and the Forbes School of Business and Technology. The courses focus on topics within human resources, finance, budgeting, analysis, operations management, business management, business law, global marketing, and global economics.

Students complete one six-week course at a time, allowing them to focus fully on one topic. Students can also transfer up to nine approved credits to count toward their degree, which is a helpful option for anyone who might have started another MBA program in the past. The program is also accredited by IACBE.

Walden University

The Walden University program stands out from others for its flexibility. Potential students can choose to complete the program in the standard two years, or they can choose to double up their classes for the one-year fast-track program. Students who are able to complete the program in just a year can save thousands of dollars in tuition. Students also choose between normal course-based learning (with set classes and deadlines) or an at-your-own-pace program where there is no structure provided for course progress.

The Walden University MBA program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Is an Affordable MBA Degree Worth It?

The value of a dollar is different for everyone, as is the benefit you might receive from obtaining an MBA. However, an MBA is a versatile degree that can help advance many people’s careers and lead to higher pay.Your return on investment (ROI) depends on how much the degree costs and how long it will take to recoup those expenses once you graduate. According to Payscale, MBA graduates earned an average of $96,000 per year as of August 2023, much higher than the average annual salary across all occupations.

When considering an MBA, also keep in mind that tuition isn’t the only expense — students must pay for textbooks, any commuting, and additional fees. However, online programs can be less expensive than in-person courses, and in the last few years, the popularity of virtual options has exploded. Students should also take advantage of scholarships and grants to increase their ROI and decrease the amount of money they spend on school out of pocket.

Choosing a less-expensive-than-average online MBA program can be a great option for professionals looking to increase their earning potential and advance in their careers while not breaking the bank.

Common Questions About the Cheapest MBA Degrees

Is the price of an MBA worth it?

Oftentimes, yes. As long as you find a program that is not too far out of your financial means and you are able to use the degree to further your career, getting an MBA can lead to higher earnings and leadership roles.

What do I do if I can’t afford an MBA?

Higher education can be expensive, but that does not mean an advanced degree is out of reach. First, make sure to compare different schools and programs. Consider options that charge lower tuition rates. Next, talk to each school’s admissions department to learn about loans, grants, and scholarships that can help decrease the amount of money you spend out of pocket.

Which MBA is the cheapest?

Western Governors University and Capella University offer two of the least expensive online MBA programs. Students may also consider the one-year fast-track MBA at Walden University, which consolidates two years of learning into one. Walden’s MBA program might be a good option for students who have the flexibility necessary to commit to an intensive learning program with double the course load.

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