The 10 Best Value Online MBA Programs for 2018 - Earn an MBA for Under $50,000

For about the last decade, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) has been the most popular graduate degree in the nation. As the demand for trained and talented management personnel and the median salaries attached to those positions continue to rise, the popularity of the MBA degree is projected to increase even more. To accommodate these students, more high-quality schools are creating and adopting affordable online MBA programs. Since most of the interested students are working professionals, the best value online MBA degrees allow aspiring managers to study without having to sacrifice years of income and family life. For many applicants, the financial cost of an MBA online degree is an important consideration. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the 10 best value online MBA degree programs under $50,000.

While each of these programs are among the very best MBA online degrees in the world, they are also some of the cheapest online MBA programs available. In these programs, professionals can earn an executive MBA online while maintaining jobs and family commitments and without breaking the bank along the way. Management positions in the business world are projected to increase at rates as fast or faster than average in almost all cases, which should only inspire more working professionals to seek out the best value online MBA programs. To develop this list, the cheapest online MBA programs have been analyzed and ranked according to their perceived prestige (awards, rankings, reputation), academic quality, and affordability.

What Are The Best Value Online MBA Programs?


University of Florida Gainesville, FL

In addition to offering a traditional two-year degree program, the University of Florida offers an online one-year MBA in an accelerated 16-month format to those with an undergraduate business degree earned in the last seven years. This 32-credit affordable online MBA program bypasses the core business courses already received by those students with an undergraduate business degree and requires one weekend campus visit in every four-month term.

Tuition – $48,000 for the accelerated one-year program. Books, room, board, and travel are not included in tuition.


Ball State University Muncie, IN

The online Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Ball State University is designed to bring business professionals the knowledge and expertise they need for management and executive-level positions. The 30-credit-hour general MBA online is one of the cheapest online MBA programs available. It is also flexible and allows for customizable schedules. In addition, the Ball State University program offers the choice of five specializations in the areas of entrepreneurship, finance, sales management, logistics and supply chain management, and health economics, policy, and administration. While the pace of study is up to the individual, the average student takes two courses each semester and completes the degree in five to six semesters.

Tuition – $11,820 in-state/$17,700 out-of-state for the general MBA. Each concentration adds $1,820 in-state and $1,770 out-of-state. Price is for tuition only and does not include course and technology fees.


Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR

The 33-credit-hour online Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Arkansas State University prepares future leaders with the global business knowledge and social and ethical leadership skills necessary to excel in today’s global business environment. Students train on the latest technologies and benefit from action-based learning. A supply chain management concentration (39-credit-hours) is available for students who wish to further focus their learning experience.

Tuition – $19,371 for the general MBA. Choosing a concentration results in an additional $1,761-$3,522. Books and other expenses are not included in the price of tuition.


Adams State University Alamosa, CO

Adams State University offers a 100% online Master of Business Administration (MBA) to professionals looking to advance their careers. The 36-credit-hour program is cohort-based, meaning students are grouped together according to their enrollment date and work through six straight semesters as a unit, completing the degree in two years. The degree features an emphasis in the areas of accounting, health administration, leadership, and public administration. One of the cheapest online MBA programs around, this degree offers small classes in which students have access to unparalleled support and hands-on opportunities that make the learning process as effective and long-lasting as possible.

Tuition – $14,760 for tuition only. The price does not include technology fees or other program expenses such as books or service fees.


Florida State University Tallahassee, FL

The online MBA at Florida State University is a 39-credit-hour part-time MBA that takes seven semesters to complete. Students in the MBA have the option of specializing in real estate, management information systems, or risk management and insurance. This degree is one of the best value online MBA programs available and prepares future business leaders by delivering courses in business-to-business sales and marketing, supply chain management, and investment analysis and management.

Tuition – $30,427 in-state/$31,599 out-of-state. Price does not include books. Some out-of-state students qualify for special tuition supplement that reduce tuition costs to in-state levels.


University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA

The online MBA at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) allows students to build a schedule that works best with their life. The online MBA is completable in less than three years, though students have the option of slowing things down and taking up to five years to complete. Online courses are delivered asynchronously and taught by the same faculty as the on-campus business MBA. Students have the choice of tailoring their degree as well, with focus areas available in business analytics, finance, entrepreneurship, healthcare administration, sport management, and marketing. Online students benefit from innovative technology and no residential requirements, but in-person courses are available for anyone interested living near a UMass satellite campus.

Tuition – Typical student tuition is $35,100. Books and material costs are not included.


Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK

Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) Master of Business Administration (MBA) online learning degree has two options for students. The part-time option is a 42-credit-hour program and the full-time option is a 45-credit-hour program. The part-time program allows students to take a limited number of courses over a few years, while the full-time program features intensive study and is completable in less than 18 months. Concentrations are available for distance learners in business sustainability, energy business, entrepreneurship, global marketing, marketing analytics, human resource management, global marketing, and nonprofit management. There are no required residencies or campus visits, but a mix of online and on-campus courses is an available option.

Tuition – $18,447 resident/$44,892 non-resident. Books are not included.


Wayne State College Detroit, MI

Offering more than 90 academic programs, many of which are available online, Wayne State College is not only one of the most accessible schools in the nation, but it is also one of the most affordable. The 30-credit Master of Business Administration (MBA) is fully online and requires no campus visits. Courses are delivered asynchronously, though some classes require synchronous meetings with professors. Though no specific concentrations are available, students customize their degree with electives available in leadership ethics, government, international business, and information systems technology and management.

Tuition – $9,750. Textbooks and required course materials are not included.


Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO

The Online Professional MBA (OPMBA) at Colorado State University is built for maximum flexibility. The length of study is determined by the student’s schedule, eligible for completion anywhere between 21 months and five years. The degree consists of 42 credit hours, primarily made up of core management courses, though there are electives available in the areas of professional enrichment, marketing, computer information systems, and finance. Several certificates are available to complement the MBA degree as well, including applied finance, the accounting ethics and auditing certificate, marketing management, project management, business intelligence, and business information systems. No residency or campus visits are required.

Tuition – $39,732. Books are not included.


University of Maryland Adelphi, MD

The online Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) prepares students for leadership careers in in business, government, and/or nonprofit organizations. The customizable and flexible online format allows students to finish the 36-credit-hour degree in as little as 18 months. For students who wish to move through the program more slowly, UMUC allows up to five years to complete the program. This cheap online MBA is also one of the most innovative online programs, delivering a comprehensive education to students with no textbook purchases necessary and no campus visits required.

Tuition – $24,984.

To determine the best MBAs under $50,000, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school's commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the top 10 MBAs under $50,000. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school's ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category's ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.

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