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2023 Most Affordable Online Master's in Special Education

By the OnlineU team | Updated 12/12/2022
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Online master's degrees in special education are popular for current teachers who want to advance their careers. They can also help future teachers enter the special education field.

We created this list to help students choose a respected online college while saving money on their degree. We only show accredited schools on OnlineU, so every college on this list has been reviewed to make sure it meets academic standards.

We independently research tuition rates to help students compare the cost of different online schools. Our methodology offers more details on how we rank colleges, and our about page has more information about OnlineU. See our list of the most affordable online degrees to compare online master's programs.

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Buena Vista University Storm Lake (IA) $4,080
# 2 #2 Fort Hays State University Hays (KS) $4,478
# 3 #3 Northeastern State University Tahlequah (OK) $4,575
# 4 #4 Asbury University Wilmore (KY) $4,614
# 5 #5 Wichita State University Wichita (KS) $4,620
# 6 #6 Campbellsville University Campbellsville (KY) $4,650
# 7 #7 Georgia College & State University Milledgeville (GA) $4,838
# 8 #8 Fitchburg State University Fitchburg (MA) $4,934
# 9 #9 Southeast Missouri State University Cape Girardeau (MO) $5,171
# 10 #10 Northwestern College - IA Orange City (IA) $5,340
#1
#1

Buena Vista University

Storm Lake (IA)
Annual Tuition: $4,080
Annual Tuition: $4,080
Annual Tuition: $4,080

Private nonprofit Buena Vista University (BVU) is a Presbyterian school offering an online Master of Education in Special Education degree designed to build on current teaching credentials. Students choose from four tracks: Mild to Moderate Disabilities for grades K-8 and/or 5-12 (27 credits), Cognitive and Intellectual Disabilities (30 credits), Behavior Disorder/Learning Disabilities (30 credits), or a comprehensive track that includes all four endorsements (42 credits). These online programs usually take students about two years to complete when enrolled full-time.

Students use the learning management system Canvas to access class materials. The curriculum aims to prepare current teachers to work with students with varying disabilities in the classroom. Core classes include Learning, Development and Motivation, and The Special Education Consultant. Students will also need to complete graduate study and research and a practicum or capstone portfolio in special education to graduate.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Average SATs: 930 -1110
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 610
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 283
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#2
#2
Annual Tuition: $4,478
Annual Tuition: $4,478
Annual Tuition: $4,478

Fort Hays State University (FHSU) offers an online Master of Science in Special Education - Gifted Education (36 credit hours) and a Master of Science in Special Education - High-Incidence Special Education (36 credit hours). Most students graduate in 1.5 to two years when enrolled full-time. Online students use the learning management platform Blackboard to complete classwork and access materials.

These master's degrees are designed to prepare students with current teaching licenses to work with children who have high-incidence disabilities or who are exceptional learners. Students will learn about educational theories, student assessment, curriculum design, and educational leadership in special education. Course examples include Legal and Professional Issues in Special Education, Methods and Materials for Exceptional Students, and Cultural Diversity. Students will also need to complete a practicum, a portfolio, and pass the Praxis exam to graduate.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 4,411
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,453
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#3
#3
Annual Tuition: $4,575
Annual Tuition: $4,575
Annual Tuition: $4,575

Northeastern State University (NSU) is a public school offering an online Master of Education in Special Education - Autism Spectrum Disorder (33 credit hours). The program is designed for educators who want to work with students with autism and other disabilities in the classroom. Students can finish this program in two years, including summer terms, if enrolled full-time. Through this master's degree, students will learn how to foster inclusive learning environments for students with varying needs, abilities, and skills.

Core classes include Positive Behavioral Supports for Students with ASD and Response to Intervention and Assessment of Students with ASD. In order to graduate, students will also need to complete a practicum and a research capstone. Online students at NSU use the learning management system Blackboard to access class materials and turn in assignments.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
  • Average SATs: 896 -1100
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,241
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 412
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#4
#4

Asbury University

Wilmore (KY)
Annual Tuition: $4,614
Annual Tuition: $4,614
Annual Tuition: $4,614

Private nonprofit school Asbury University offers an online Master of Arts in Learning & Behavior Disorders P-12 (44-48 credit hours), designed for teachers with current certification who are looking to advance their career in special education. Students can typically finish this program in about two years if enrolled full-time, including summer terms. Core courses for the program include Behavioral Intervention, Collaboration & Advocacy, and Early Childhood Education. Students should graduate with an understanding of the theories, intervention strategies, and teaching methods necessary to work with students with disabilities.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Average SATs: 1050 -1330
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 473
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 206
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#5
#5
Annual Tuition: $4,620
Annual Tuition: $4,620
Annual Tuition: $4,620

Wichita State University (WSU) offers an online Master of Education in Special Education (30-37 credit hours) designed to prepare licensed teachers to work with students with mild to moderate disabilities. The university offers four areas of specialization: High Incidence Emphasis, Low Incidence Emphasis, High Incidence Alternative Certification, and Special Education Early Childhood Unified Program. The master's degree aims to prepare students to work in K-12 classrooms with students who have a variety of disabilities. Students will take classes in Family and Professional Collaboration, Transition Across the Life Span, and Nondiscriminatory Assessment.

In order to graduate, students will need to complete a practicum, internship hours, and a capstone course. Graduates may find work in public and private schools, community agencies, hospitals, and home service agencies. Online students at Wichita State University use Blackboard to access class materials.

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

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