Affordable Online MBA Programs in 2016

This is the final article in a series on affordable online education. We previously covered specifically online colleges and various degree programs, including online bachelor’s and master’s degrees. If you missed the other articles in this series, you can navigate to each of them here: most affordable online colleges, affordable online bachelor’s degree programs, and affordable online master’s degree programs.

Getting a Quality MBA Online

A master’s in business administration (MBA) is traditionally one of the most sought-after graduate degrees by online and traditional students alike. That still holds true in 2016, according to a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. MBA programs help students expand their skills and gain practical knowledge they’ll be able to put to use in the business world.

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Several well-known colleges offer affordable online MBA programs, each with different specialties. All programs start out with some general business classes and then allow students to specialize in areas like management, marketing, finance, and more.

Deciding on an online MBA program should entail some careful consideration. You want a program that has a solid reputation — and you also need to actually learn something to apply to your career. Besides the cost, there are other obvious things to consider. When we we built our list of affordable online MBA programs, we chose to highlight the best online MBA programs for the money, not just the schools that have the lowest tuition.

The five best online colleges for affordable MBA degrees:

  1. University of North Dakota
  2. West Texas A&M University
  3. Mississippi State University
  4. University of South Dakota
  5. Arkansas State University—Jonesboro

 

A Look at the Best

University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota offers one of the most inexpensive MBAs around at just $286 per credit, even for out-of-state students. To put that in perspective, that’s less than a fourth of the cost of many other lower-ranked MBAs. It’s also a quality program, ranked 32nd in the nation for online MBAs by U.S. News & World Report, with particularly strong faculty credentials and selective admissions.

The two-year interdisciplinary program includes one live webinar per week, and students can choose to concentrate in international business. The curriculum tackles core skills including problem-solving and decision-making for planning, organizing, and operating a business.

Online MBA Program Details

Location
North Dakota
Application Fee
$35
In-State Tuition
$286/credit
Out-of-State Tuition
$286/credit
Acceptance Rate
76%
Average Undergraduate GPA3.25
Average GMAT Score550
Faculty Average Online Teaching Experience4 Years
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2012):82%
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2013):86%
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2014):90%
Optional MBA Concentrations at the University of North Dakota
  • International business

West Texas A&M University

West Texas A&M University

West Texas A&M University cracks the list of the best cheap online MBA degree programs by delivering a nationally ranked, exceptionally flexible program for only $328 per credit for out-of-state students. Texas residents pay even less, at $298 per credit.

This online program is tied at 32nd in the nation with the University of North Dakota, according to U.S. News & World Report, showing very high scores in most assessed categories, including faculty credentials and student engagement.

Like most of the best online MBA programs, the one at West Texas A&M delivers a set of required core courses designed to provide broad-based training in practical business skills. Once core courses are complete, you have the option to select one of four degree concentrations or follow a general business path that enables you to choose elective courses that match your unique career goals.

Online MBA Program Details

Location
Texas
Application Fee
$40
In-State Tuition
$298/credit
Out-of-State Tuition
$328/credit
Acceptance Rate
82%
Average Undergraduate GPA3.60
Average GMAT Score530
Faculty Average Online Teaching Experience9 Years
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2012):84%
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2013):82%
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2014):82%
Optional MBA Concentrations at West Texas A&M University
  • Computer information systems
  • Healthcare management
  • Management
  • Marketing

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University’s online MBA degree costs a little bit more to earn at $392 per credit for in- and out-of-state students, but that’s still very inexpensive compared to competitors. It’s also a top-20 online program, according to U.S. News & World Report, rating particularly well for selectivity and faculty credentials.

Students can opt for a general MBA that emphasizes management, marketing, finance, economics, business information systems, and quantitative analysis. There’s also an MBA in project management aimed at students in technical fields that requires nine hours of industrial engineering coursework along with MBA credits. A minor in business information systems is also available.

Online MBA Program Details

Location
Mississippi
Application Fee
$40
In-State Tuition
$392/credit
Out-of-State Tuition
$392/credit
Acceptance Rate
81%
Average Undergraduate GPA3.24
Average GMAT Score579
Faculty Average Online Teaching Experience9 Years
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2012):90%
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2013):90%
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2014):92%
Optional MBA Concentrations at Mississippi State University
  • Information systems
  • Project management

University of South Dakota

University of South Dakota

The University of South Dakota is a solid choice if you’re looking for an affordable online MBA program at a school with a strong reputation for quality and rigor in business education. The program costs $415 per credit and admission is very selective. U.S. News & World Report ranks the program as one of the top 15 most selective online MBA program in the country, with an overall rank of 41st.

University of South Dakota students have a few MBA degree options. The first delivers a standard MBA curriculum with a general management focus. Students learn managerial skills utilized in all areas of business operations to prepare for executive-level leadership positions in industry and government.

The second option prepares students for careers in health administration working in hospitals, medical facilities, and healthcare organizations. The curriculum is designed to deliver balanced training that covers health services, management, and practical business skills.

The third option emphasizes business analytics, building problem-solving abilities and data skills in operations management, sales, marketing, finance, and economics.

Online MBA Program Details

Location
South Dakota
Application Fee
$35
In-State Tuition
$415/credit
Out-of-State Tuition
$415/credit
Acceptance Rate
72%
Average Undergraduate GPA3.33
Average GMAT Score553
Faculty Average Online Teaching Experience5 Years
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2012):91%
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2013):84%
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2014):83%
MBA Degree Options at the University of South Dakota
  • Business analytics
  • General management
  • Health administration

Arkansas State University—Jonesboro

Arkansas State University-Jonesboro

Arkansas State University—Jonesboro’s online MBA program easily stands as one of the best cheap online MBA programs anywhere. For $480 per credit, students get to engage in a program that delivers the top online MBA faculty in the nation as ranked in a 2015 survey of online MBA programs by U.S. News & World Report. The program is ranked an impressive 12th overall among online programs — and tuition is roughly a third of the cost of degrees at several similarly ranked schools.

The Jonesboro online MBA program offers two study options. The standard MBA program delivers a broad-based curriculum with special focus on leadership, business ethics, and technology. The second study option delivers focused training in supply chain management and logistics to prepare students for work in firms that operate on a global scale. Students who pursue this option begin with the same core courses that all students take.

Online MBA Program Details

Location
Arkansas
Application Fee
$15
In-State Tuition
$480/credit
Out-of-State Tuition
$480/credit
Acceptance Rate
88%
Average Undergraduate GPA3.62
Average GMAT Score614
Faculty Average Online Teaching Experience4 Years
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2012):90%
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2013):92%
One-Year New Student Retention Rates (2014):90%
MBA Study Options at Arkansas State University—Jonesboro
  • Standard MBA
  • Supply chain management and logistics
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