Search Programs

2023 Most Affordable Online Colleges for MBA Programs

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 1/4/2023
2023 Most Affordable Online Degrees Badge

An online Master of Business Administration (MBA) is designed for students looking to further their expertise in various business practices and theories. These online MBA programs typically include core courses that cover accounting, marketing, business ethics, finance, and management. Some popular MBA courses are Strategic Management, Business Analytics, and Organizational Behavior. In addition, many programs offer various concentrations that allow students to hone in on a specific industry they may be interested in, such as Human Resource Management, Health Care Management, Finance, and Marketing. Some programs may require prerequisite courses, training, or a final comprehensive exam to graduate. Graduates of an online MBA program may pursue careers like marketing analysts, business data analysts, and project managers.

View our methodology for details about rankings or learn more about us. For additional inspiration, you can also check out our overall list of the most affordable online degrees.

Find an Online Degree:
All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 North Central College Naperville (IL) $2,637
# 2 #2 Georgia Southwestern State University Americus (GA) $3,855
# 3 #3 Wichita State University Wichita (KS) $4,620
# 4 #4 California Coast University Santa Ana (CA) $4,875
# 5 #5 Fitchburg State University Fitchburg (MA) $4,934
# 6 #6 Northeastern State University Tahlequah (OK) $5,095
# 7 #7 Union College - KY Barbourville (KY) $5,100
# 8 #8 Amberton University Garland (TX) $5,130
# 9 #9 Midwestern State University Wichita Falls (TX) $5,196
# 10 #10 Missouri State University Springfield (MO) $5,415

North Central College

Naperville (IL)
Annual Tuition: $2,637
Annual Tuition: $2,637
Annual Tuition: $2,637

North Central College is a private, nonprofit institution that offers an online Master of Business Administration totaling 36 credit hours. Part-time or full-time students typically take 1-2 years to complete this program. Students may choose from three specializations: (1) International Business, (2) Financial Management, and (3) Human Resource Management.

At North Central College, distance learners complete coursework asynchronously, or at their own pace, through the popular learning management system (LMS) Blackboard. The MBA curriculum provides students with an overview of business fundamentals, with sample courses that include Data Analytics for Managers, Applied Managerial Marketing, and Global Business. Potential careers for graduates are regional managers, controllers, and product marketing managers.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1260
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 0
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 91
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
Annual Tuition: $3,855
Annual Tuition: $3,855
Annual Tuition: $3,855

Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) is a public institution offering an online Master of Business Administration requiring 30 credit hours. Full-time students can expect to complete the program within one year.

GSW facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning through the GeorgiaVIEW LMS. An MBA program gives students practical business skills and the knowledge to pursue business careers. The MBA program at GSW has courses that include Managerial Economics, Quantitative Management, and Organizational Theory and Behavior. Alumni may become marketing specialists, human resources managers, and data analysts.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 95%
  • Average SATs: 940 -1120
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 604
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 208
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
Annual Tuition: $4,620
Annual Tuition: $4,620
Annual Tuition: $4,620

Wichita State University is a public institution offering an online Master of Business Administration that totals 36-51 credit hours. Part-time or full-time students can spend 1-2 years completing the program online. The program has six concentrations, such as Health Care Administration, Finance, and Marketing.

Wichita students complete online coursework asynchronously and synchronously via the LMS Blackboard. The MBA program provides a traditional, management-based approach to covering business topics, with sample courses that range from Operations Management and Managerial Finance to Organizational Behavior. Additionally, Professional and Scholarly Integrity Training is required for graduation. Prospective careers for graduates are healthcare analysts, audit managers, and sales directors.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1270
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,272
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 632
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
Annual Tuition: $4,875
Annual Tuition: $4,875
Annual Tuition: $4,875

At California Coast University (Cal Coast), a public institution, prospective students can pursue an online Master of Business Administration requiring 39 credit hours. This online program can take 1-2 years to finish.

Cal Coast facilitates distance learning on its proprietary LMS, Coast Connection. This program is designed to help professionals learn the best business practices and theories. Some of the program’s courses are Business Ethics, Marketing Management, and Management Information Systems. A final comprehensive exam is required for graduation. The program’s graduates may pursue careers like controllers, senior business analysts, and project managers.

  • School Accreditation: DEAC
Annual Tuition: $4,934
Annual Tuition: $4,934
Annual Tuition: $4,934

Fitchburg State University is a public institution offering an online Master of Business Administration that totals 30 credit hours. Full-time students can complete this program within one year. The program offers eight concentrations, such as (1) Human Resources Management, (2) Marketing, and (3) Accounting.

At Fitchburg State, remote students complete coursework synchronously and asynchronously via the LMS Blackboard. An MBA gives students the skills and knowledge to become high-level business professionals. Organizational Behavior and Development, Corporate Finance, and Accounting Practices for Managers are some examples of courses in this MBA program. Potential career opportunities for graduates are accounting managers, strategy consultants, and finance directors.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1150
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 385
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,402
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE

Choosing an Online MBA Program

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), an MBA is the most popular of all master’s degree programs. NCES statistics show that more than 192,000 people earned MBAs in that year alone, a number that continues to increase. Earning an MBA degree equips graduates with specialized knowledge and skills that may give them a competitive edge in the job market.

Many factors go into selecting the best online MBA program for a student’s needs. For many, tuition is the most important consideration, but during a school search, students may also want to research each school’s financial aid options and other student resources. Additionally, students often select a school that offers the particular concentration or elective courses they are interested in pursuing to achieve their professional goals.

Students may have a preference for how their online courses are delivered. Some programs offer hybrid course delivery, with requirements completed online and in person. Other programs are fully online. In addition, students may have a preference regarding the style of their individual courses. Synchronous classes are live, while asynchronous courses allow students to watch lectures and complete coursework on their own schedule.

Finally, accreditation is an important factor to consider. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredits online MBA programs and ensures that the curriculum and faculty meet predetermined standards of excellence in higher education.

Is an Online MBA Taken Seriously?

Students may wonder whether an online MBA is worth pursuing or if they will lose any advantages that graduates of traditional programs might have.

The answer is that yes, for the most part, today’s recruiters, human resource directors, and hiring managers understand that an online degree is respectable if it is from a reputable, accredited university is the equal of a traditional degree. If an online master’s in business program has been regionally accredited, it shows that the curriculum has been evaluated and proven to meet the same accepted standards for academic rigor as on-campus programs. It also demonstrates that courses are taught by competent, experienced instructors, and that students are reaching desired learning outcomes, such as developing specific skills and abilities relevant to the degree. Some hiring managers may even appreciate the stamina and determination that goes into earning a degree online, especially if the student maintained a full-time job in the process.

Common Online MBA Courses and Concentrations

The following is a list of common core courses for an online MBA degree. Many of these can be taken either as a standalone course or as a concentration.


Sometimes referred to as managerial finance, finance is a required course in most online MBA degree programs. Coursework focuses on the practical application of financial concepts, enabling future managers to make sound financial decisions. Topics covered include financial analysis, capital investment decisions, and the valuation of financial and real assets. The curriculum for an MBA with a concentration in finance might include core and elective courses in financial markets, quantitative modeling, and fintech (the application of technology to financial services).

Financial Accounting

At the master’s degree level, students taking this course learn to interpret numbers, evaluate the financial health of an organization, and predict likely outcomes for financial decisions. The program curriculum for a specialization in financial accounting includes courses in managerial accounting, taxation, and auditing. Sometimes, the curriculum is designed to prepare students to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). 

International Business

International business provides a broad survey of key concepts such as cultural and political forces, world economics, theoretical frameworks, and government involvement in business. Students pursuing an MBA in international business will study management, economics, finance, and marketing from the perspective of global organizations. Some programs may offer elective courses in business law, supply chain management, cultural studies, or global operations, and may require a capstone project.

Management Information Systems

A class in management information systems covers IT hardware and software, network administration, database administration, and telecommunications. People interested in assuming leadership roles in the field of technology may consider a concentration in this topic. The curriculum combines many elements of a general MBA program with specialized IT courses

Marketing Management

The fundamentals of marketing are intertwined with many other facets of an organization’s operations, and this course offers students a broad overview of marketing management principles. Topics include strategic planning, buyer behavior, target markets, positioning, and pricing. Students pursuing an MBA in marketing may be required to take 12 or more credit hours of courses such as consumer behavior and market data analysis. 

Operations Management

Operations management (OM) involves the systems and processes used to produce and deliver goods and services. Online OM courses focus on applying concepts like data analytics, lean management, and quality management to improving an organization’s operations. Students pursuing an OM concentration will also study topics such as supply chain management, forecasting, process design, and strategy.

Organizational Behavior

Organizational behavior focuses on people—how they interact with each other and their work environments. In general, a class on organizational behavior will look at the impact individuals, groups, and organizational structures have on human behavior in the workplace. Among the many topics covered are motivation, conflict, leadership, and change management.

Cost of an Online MBA Degree

The cost of an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) can vary widely. For the 25 schools on our most affordable online MBAs list, the total cost of tuition for a two-year program ranges from $2,637 to $5,415. When students widen their search beyond the most affordable schools, they'll find online programs totaling as much as $107,000 or more.

To compare program costs, it's also helpful to consider per-credit tuition fees. In general, an MBA requires the completion of 30 semester credits (and more if the student needs to take prerequisite courses). For the most affordable online MBA programs, cost per credit ranges from $257 to $385.

Various factors are not reflected in tuition rates that students may need to consider:

  • Costs of books and other supplies
  • Annual and one-time-only fees charged by many schools, such as for the application, technology, and graduation fees
  • Childcare, for students who have small children at home
  • Interest that will need to be paid on a student loan, if that type of financing is needed
  • Costs associated with on-site meetings, including transportation and accommodations, as some graduate programs require students to be on campus for orientation and/or practicums, workshops, and conferences

However, MBA students may be able to offset the cost of their online degrees in several ways. For instance, some newly admitted students may be able to obtain credits from previous work experience, military service, or other professional training. They may also demonstrate their knowledge of certain subjects on assessment exams, which can reduce the number of prerequisite and required courses needed to graduate. Some online MBA students may also qualify for scholarships, fellowships, grants, and tuition discounts—forms of financial assistance that don’t need to be paid back. We've provided additional information about funding an online MBA program below.

Funding an Online MBA Degree

As you're considering various online MBA programs, you'll naturally want to think about the tuition fees and other costs in earning a degree. Keep in mind that students enrolled in accredited online MBA programs are eligible for financial aid. To apply, simply submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once your application has been processed, you'll be notified if you qualify for federal, state, or school-sponsored aid. 

Grants and scholarships are the preferred types of financial aid because they typically don't need to be repaid. Your employer may also offer some type of tuition reimbursement or other financial assistance.

Student loans are another option, but the interest can add a substantial amount to the total cost of an MBA. Before signing on the dotted line, use our student loan repayment calculator to determine the full cost of a loan. Also remember that federal student loans often have lower interest rates and better repayment plans than private student loans


Students interested in a graduate business degree can use university scholarships and private grants to help pay for their degree. The first step to apply for financial aid involves filling out the FAFSA. This form requests applicants' personal and financial information to determine how much aid they're eligible for. While the FAFSA can also be used to apply for financial aid in the form of federal loans, scholarships are often a better option as students don't have to repay them. Below is a list of scholarship opportunities for individuals enrolled in or planning to enroll in an online MBA program.

Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals (ACIP) Scholarship Program

ACIP awards four students $2,000 annually to help fund their degree in a business-related field. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and at least two years of completed college coursework.

Orbis Investment Fellowship

Individuals who demonstrate a passion for investing can receive $15,000 cash through this merit-based award. This scholarship is open to students regardless of their demographic background.

Goldman Sachs MBA Fellowship

Black, minority, and female students in the first year of their MBA program can apply for this award of up to $35,000. To be eligible, applicants must also apply for a summer associate program in one of three Goldman Sachs divisions.

Is Getting an Online MBA Worth It?

Because pursuing a degree is a significant financial and time investment, students may wonder whether an MBA will be worth it overall.

Looking strictly at earning potential, the answer to this question seems to be a resounding yes. Data from a 2020 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers reveals that newly graduated MBA holders earn average annual salaries approximately $20,000 higher than their bachelor’s-degree holding counterparts. Multiplied over a lifelong career and factoring in the potential for advancement, the increase in earnings may be alluring.

It's important to consider additional factors in order to make a more balanced and informed decision about pursuing an online MBA. The true value of a graduate degree in business has been up for debate in recent years, with both sides urging prospective students to look at the bigger picture. Critics say there are a few factors that can make an MBA a poor investment: the high cost of earning a degree, the increasing number of MBA degree holders within a limited job market, and the possibility that MBAs will be less beneficial in a post-COVID-19 workplace. While it is true that MBAs can be expensive, there are ways to make them more affordable, such as by looking for schools on our most affordable ranking list or considering options for additional funding. And while there may be downsides to earning an MBA for some, many people find them beneficial for networking and career advancement.

For those who do wish to pursue an MBA degree, some of the benefits are as follows:

  • Specialization opportunities: Selecting an MBA with a concentration provides students with highly targeted, relevant understanding and expertise in some aspect of business. Because students have so many online MBA programs to choose from, they are more likely to find a program that aligns with their particular interests. Possible concentrations include health care administration, human resource management, marketing, and general business.

  • Flexible schedules: Online graduate programs are designed specifically for working adults, which means that enrollees do not have to give up their jobs and lose several years of career traction while they earn a degree. Most programs offer primarily asynchronous courses, and students often have the option to adjust their course loads from one semester to the next to allow for other commitments in their work and personal lives.

  • Skills gained: The coursework, as well as the challenges of going to school online while maintaining a job, help build valuable skills in critical thinking, organization, collaboration, and written and verbal communication. Studying business with a group of peers who are currently employed in a variety of industries allows students to apply theoretical knowledge to contemporary, real-world situations. In addition, the completion of an online degree demonstrates a student’s level of personal commitment and perseverance to employers.

A graduate degree in business is not the right path for everyone. The decision to pursue an advanced degree depends on many personal factors, from a student's financial situation to their obligations and career goals. Yet for those who aspire to higher-level management positions, earning an MBA, especially online, can be an effective means of obtaining the credentials, knowledge, and skills needed to land advanced jobs in the future. Perhaps this explains why the MBA is still the most popular graduate degree program, according to the NCES.

Related Articles

2023 Most Affordable Online Colleges & Degrees

Explore the top affordable online colleges of 2023. Find cheap online associate, bachelors, master's, and doctoral degrees.

By OnlineU Staff Writers | 5/31/2023

2023 Most Affordable Online Master's Programs

Explore the most affordable online master's degree programs in 2023 and choose the one that's right for you.

By OnlineU Staff Writers | 1/23/2023

2023 Most Affordable Online Management Degrees

Learn about the most affordable colleges for online degrees in management at the bachelor’s level.

By OnlineU Staff Writers | 12/2/2022


Start Your Online College Search:

Review schools that align with your career aspirations.