38 Cheapest online MBA programs 2023

    Brandes Gress
    Brandes Gress

    Brandes Gress assists the content team with the management of daily operational activities, ensures content is published on a timely and accurate basis, and works on content-related projects.

    38 Cheapest online MBA programs 2023

      According to our database, MBA holders see a 30% salary boost compared to bachelor’s graduates.

      We calculated which students have the least amount of debt from each school to define “cheap.”

      For the cheapest online MBA programs below, the average student leaves with less than $20,000 in debt.

      An MBA is one of the most sought-after graduate degrees in the U.S. It’s versatile, graduates are in demand, and it unlocks many desirable jobs. But it’s expensive. MBA degrees leave students with an average of $49,727 in debt, while the average for all master’s degrees is $43,379.

      Students pursue graduate degrees for higher salaries, and MBAs are no exception. The salary of people with an MBA is typically 30% higher than those who hold just a bachelor’s degree.

      But with the total student loan debt peaking at $1.75 trillion, it’s no wonder students are searching for the cheapest online MBA programs.

      » Read: The fastest online MBA programs

      How did we compile this list of cheap online MBA programs

      For our list of cheapest online MBA programs, we analyzed 543 accredited universities from across the country that are either fully online or have actual campuses but offer online programs according to IPEDS.

      Students may be tempted by a “cheap” sticker price, but if they’re not landing well-paying jobs after graduation and get burdened with debt, can we really consider it cheap?

      For the following list of cheap online MBAs, we didn’t look at tuition costs, we looked at debt. The average debt for an MBA holder is $49,727, but graduates of the following 38 universities had an average student debt load of $20,000 or less.

      Disclaimer: Colleges that don’t report or are missing data do not appear on this list. Please remember that looking at one metric doesn’t tell the whole story. Don’t forget to factor in economic scores, graduation rates, and other useful data before making any big decisions.

      Granite State College was removed from this list because in 2023 it merged into the University of New Hampshire and no longer exists as is.

      Cheapest online MBA programs based on debt

      1. University of the Cumberlands | Average debt – $13,098

      The University of the Cumberlands is a private Christian university in Williamsburg, Kentucky where roughly 18,000 students are enrolled. They stand as a premier MBA institution and have been preparing the business leaders of tomorrow for 130 years. Their online MBA program allows students to seamlessly balance their ongoing responsibilities while successfully pursuing their studies.

      They have an average student debt of $13,098, making them the highest ranked college for cheapest online MBA.

      2. Western Governors University | Average debt – $13,235

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      Western Governors University (WGU) is a private, non-profit, online university based in Millcreek, Utah. They use a competency-based learning model for their affordable online MBA program, which means students can move as quickly though the course as they can absorb the material.

      Compared to traditional MBA programs, WGU offers flat rate tuition per 6-month term. Exams and coursework have no deadlines, coursework is available anytime from anywhere, and if you can master the material you will finish in about one year.

      3. University of Tulsa | Average debt – $13,293

      The University of Tulsa’s Collins College of Business offers an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, which can be completed in anywhere from 12 to 24 months, depending on how many courses you take each semester.

      This program can be customized to align with individual career aspirations and offers elective courses from various departments within the business college. These electives are in fields such as:

      • Healthcare delivery
      • Energy
      • Finance
      • Marketing
      • Computer information systems
      • International business

      4. CUNY Graduate School and University Center | Average debt – $14,650

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      The Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York (CUNY Graduate Center) is a public research institution located in New York City. It has roughly 4,600 students, 31 doctoral programs, 14 master’s programs, along with 30 research centers in a variety of fields.

      5. Northwest Missouri State University | Average debt – $14,821

      Northwest Missouri State University is a public university in Maryville, Missouri. Their MBA curriculum covers topics like entrepreneurship, marketing, human resources, international business, and more, giving you the confidence to make smart business decisions in leadership roles. They offer concentrations in:

      • Accounting
      • Agricultural Economics
      • Business Analytics
      • Finance
      • Geographic Information Systems
      • Healthcare Management
      • Human Resource Management
      • Management
      • Marketing

      Rest assured, all their tenured and tenure-track MBA faculty members are experts in their fields, holding the highest degrees. Also, 95% of their faculty members have the highest degrees in their fields, so you know you’re learning from the best.

      6. Emporia State University | Average debt – $14,973

      Emporia State University is a public university in Emporia, Kansas that was established in 1863. This MBA program is now delivered in accelerated, 7-week courses 100% online with 6 start dates and a streamlined admission process.

      The ESU MBA program offers a selection of 9 elective hours on subjects like Systems Analysis and Design, Marketing Analytics, Electronic Marketing, and Consumer Behavior.

      7. Texas A&M International University | Average debt – $15,391

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      Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) is a public university in Laredo, Texas. It is part of the Texas A&M University System and home to over 8,500 students. Due in part to the college’s location near the Mexican border, TAMIU highly values its status as a multicultural and multilingual academic community, often offering programs in Spanish and English.

      Their MBA program gives students the tools needed to excel and concentration options in criminal justice, healthcare administration, international business, international banking and finance, international trade and logistics, and management to help them succeed in their desired field.

      8. Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi | Average debt – $15,467

      The online MBA program at Texas A&M Corpus Christi gives students an affordable way to earn a respected degree. They offer a flexible, 100% online format with 7-week courses and several start dates a year so students can earn their master’s degree in as few as 12 months.

      At Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, you can anticipate a commitment to academic excellence from distinguished faculty, immersive instructional experiences, pioneering research opportunities, and the privilege of earning a highly esteemed university degree upon graduation.

      9. University of Alaska Fairbanks | Average debt – $15,837

      University of Alaska Fairbanks is the flagship campus of the University of Alaska system. For those worried about taking the GMAT, University of Alaska Fairbanks has got you covered. They have several different parameters for students who want to avoid the GMAT. Anything from taking their BBA degree with a good GPA to taking the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking exam instead.

      Tailor your MBA degree to align with your specific career aspirations by selecting one of their eight concentration areas. Their MBA program is available entirely online, allowing you to finish it in under 2 years. They extend in-state tuition rates to all online MBA courses and do not mandate an undergraduate business degree as a prerequisite.

      10. William Woods University | Average debt – $16,015

      Founded in 1970, William Woods University is a private university in Fulton, Missouri. The program offers students the opportunity to enter the program at any point during a new 8-week term and is designed for professionals looking to complete their MBA in 12 to 18 months.

      They pride themselves on having an MBA program that combines practical real-world experience with academia to better prepare students for careers in the business sector.

      11. Louisiana Tech University | Average debt –  $16,228

      Louisiana Tech University is a STEM-focused public research institution in Ruston, LA. Although they are dominated by STEM, they have many other programs for students to choose from.

      Their online MBA program is geared toward students who want to take their education to the next level but cannot commit to a rigorous class schedule. They’re now offering GMAT waivers for applicants to the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Accountancy (MAcc) programs.

      12. College of Saint Mary | Average debt – $16,350

      In as little as 12 months, you could earn your accredited MBA degree from award-winning faculty anywhere in the world. With a student to faculty ratio of 4:1 students are able to get quality education with personalized support. Although they’re located in the Bay Area you don’t need to pay Bay Area prices to earn your MBA degree.

      Throughout your journey in their online MBA program, you’ll actively engage in dynamic educational experiences, participate in stimulating discussions with professors and industry collaborators, and foster valuable relationships within a supportive community of fellow students and alumni.

      13. University of Southern Indiana | Average debt – $16,678

      The University of Southern Indiana (USI) is a 4-year public university outside of Evansville, Indiana. Their 100% online program is designed to help you succeed in leadership roles in a variety of fields. This program can be completed in as little as 11 months. The GMAC ESA, GMAT, or GRE are optional.

      The University of Southern Indiana’s engaging online MBA program empowers you to tackle pressing issues where business and society meet. This includes exploring ethical business administration, navigating the intricacies of globalization, and staying abreast of fast-paced technological advancements.

      14. Wayne State College | Average debt – $16,754

      Wayne State’s online MBA program is a non-thesis, 100% online program with no required visits to campus, making it perfect for people who need their education to fit their busy lives.

      The program is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education and is known for its affordability. Students are also able to choose from 3 focus areas: Accounting, HR Management, and Supply Chain Management to deepen their skills in a particular area.

      15. Southeast Missouri State University | Average debt – $17,301

      Southeast Missouri State University has been educating young minds for 150 years. They pride themselves on setting students up with a successful career upon graduation and claim to have a 96% success rate in doing just that. To be admitted to their online MBA program, students need to take the GMAT, although waivers are available in certain cases.

      16. University of Dayton | Average debt – $17,529

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      The University of Dayton is a private, Catholic research university in Dayton, Ohio that was founded in 1850. They are dedicated to developing leaders who shape the world around them through service to others.

      Their online MBA program can be tailored to fit anyone’s needs. They have 3 ways to earn the degree: a one-year MBA, accelerated MBA, and foundational MBA. Each program is designed to help students based on their previous education or work experience.

      17. University of Southern Mississippi | Average debt – $17,572

      university of southern mississippi - cheapest online mba

      The University of Southern Mississippi is a public research university in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. They offer 2 master’s programs: 1 is a traditional MBA while the other is an MBA with a sport event and security management focus. The programs can take 1-3 years, depending on how many classes you take. It does not require the GRE.

      Students who enroll in summer or fall will complete the degree in 2 years, while students who begin in spring will need additional time to complete their capstone course.

      18. Florida Gulf Coast University | Average debt – $17,705

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      FGCU is a public, 4-year university in Fort Myers, Florida. Students can earn their online MBA degree from FGCU in as little as 12 months, depending on their course load and program duration, and choose from 10 different specialized MBA concentrations. Their online MBA program tuition is “pay-by-the-course” so students don’t need to pay for the entire program upfront, and GMAT waivers are available to students who qualify.

      19. Fitchburg State University | Average debt $17,842

      Fitchburg State’s online MBA program is offered in an accelerated format ideal for working professionals. They offer multiple start days a year, pay-by-the-course tuition, and have the same tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students. Students will be ready for the workforce in as few as 12 months, depending on their course load.

      At Fitchburg State, the online MBA curriculum emphasizes hands-on learning through vibrant virtual class discussions and collaborative study groups.

      20. Southern Utah University | Average debt – $17,856

      Located in Cedar City, Utah, Southern Utah University is a public university that offers bachelors, masters, associate degrees, and more in over 100 programs. SUU’s online MBA program has 7-week courses and multiple start dates each year.

      Students can choose from several electives to suit their career aspirations and have online MBA programs in healthcare administration, finance, business analytics, and more.

      21. Missouri State University| Average debt – $18, 000

      missouri state university - cheapest online mba

      Missouri State University’s online MBA program can be completed 100% online, and roughly 50% of their MBA students choose this format. For this program, out-of-state students don’t need to pay more for tuition, and their courses can be completed anywhere in the U.S. At the time of writing, the GRE/GMAT requirement had been temporarily suspended.

      22. Tennessee Tech University | Average debt – $18,121

      Tennessee Tech’s online MBA is 30-hour program consisting of 8 core courses (24 hours) and 2 electives (6 hours). It is 100% online and asynchronous. Students of this program also have the option to add an industry-focused Graduate Certificate for an additional 6 hours.

      They offer certificates in:

      • Banking & Financial Services
      • Cyber Management & Analytics
      • Health Care Informatics
      • Agribusiness

      23. Piedmont University | Average debt – $18,182

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      Piedmont University is a private university in Demorest and Athens, Georgia. They offer small class sizes and prioritize a healthy work/like/school balance.

      Piedmont’s MBA program is crafted to cater to the educational and career goals of those who aspire to secure managerial positions or advance to greater levels of responsibility within their current organizations. Because of this, it is preferred that students who apply to the program have at least 2 years of related business experience.

      MBA students also have the option to choose a summer travel abroad experience that can replace 6 credit hours of their 36-credit-hour curriculum.

      24. Pittsburg State University | Average debt – $18,194

      pittsburg state university - cheapest online mba

      Pittsburg State University is a public university in Pittsburg, Kansas. Like several other universities on our top list for cheapest MBA’s, Pittsburg State doesn’t charge more for students who live out-of-state.

      Approximately 90% of their graduates are either gainfully employed or enrolled in advanced studies within six months of graduation. They are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International accredited) and offer an array of options to suit any student’s needs. Their online MBAs have concentrations in:

      • Accounting
      • Human Resources
      • Healthcare administration
      • International business
      • Marketing

      25. Idaho State University | Average debt – $18,189

      idaho state university - cheapest online mba

      Idaho State offers more than 250 programs at its main campus in Pocatello, Idaho. The online MBA program is a blend of synchronous and asynchronous courses, enabling students to engage with both peers and professors while enjoying the flexibility of online learning.

      For students with a prior business degree from an AACSB accredited institution, there may be opportunities to waive certain courses. Specifically, individuals with a business degree can complete the program in 2 years, whereas those without a business degree will typically require 3 years to finish.

      26. University of Central Arkansas | Average debt – $18,273

      university of central arkansas - cheapest online mba

      University of Central Arkansas offers affordable online MBA programs with concentrations in healthcare administration, information management, and finance. Online courses at UCA Online are completely online and require no face-to-face or classroom attendance.

      Students are required to pass the GMAT with a score of 500, but several waivers and exemptions are available to those who qualify. Students admitted into an approved online graduate degree and are designated as an online student receive a flat-rate tuition of $336.00 per credit hour regardless of residency or location.

      27. University of Alabama in Huntsville | Average debt – $18,295

      Students have the opportunity to pursue a top tier Master of Business Administration at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and acquire essential skills needed to remain competitive in the constantly evolving global economy. Their faculty members are closely linked to various industries through robust community collaborations, which means they bring both extensive industry expertise and cutting-edge research to our classrooms.

      28. Frostburg State University | Average debt – $18,592

      Structured in a 7-week course format, this program is tailored to assist you in managing your professional, personal, and academic responsibilities. It comprises 8 core courses aimed at equipping you with a comprehensive foundation to propel your career in management.

      Students also have the flexibility to select from 3 specialized tracks: business analytics, healthcare management, and general management. Their affordable online MBA can be completed in as little as 12 months.

      29. Salve Regina University | Average debt – $18,622

      Salve Regina University’s globally recognized Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is designed to equip professionals with the skills needed to thrive in the dynamic global business landscape.

      This accredited program is available entirely online and enhances leaders’ and managers’ comprehension of key areas such as entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, finance, economics, accounting, strategic management, and marketing.

      30. Georgia Southwestern State University | Average debt – $18,700

      Georgia Southwestern provides students with the opportunity to pursue accredited and cost-effective programs that are available entirely online. This convenience allows working professionals to enhance their careers at a pace that suits their needs.

      The online MBA program extends affordable tuition rates to all enrolled students, regardless of their location, whether they’re in-state or international. Students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher are exempt from the requirement to submit GMAT scores.

      31. Tusculum University | Average debt – $18,706

      The Master of Business Administration program at Tusculum University is a 30-semester-hour curriculum comprising 5 courses, each worth 6 credits, which integrate complementary business subjects.

      This format is meticulously crafted to offer working adults the chance to delve into the principles and decision-making frameworks that foster progress in business-related domains. In their final academic semester, students will engage in a capstone strategy course and undertake a Comprehensive Business Project, collaboratively designed with their employer and a faculty member.

      32. Howard Payne University | Average debt – $19,165

      The online MBA program is meticulously crafted to offer individuals the necessary preparation for advancing their career ambitions as managers or specialists in specific areas. This program is entirely online, eliminating the need for an entrance exam, and it does not require a thesis.

      To successfully complete the program, students must fulfill 30 credit hours of MBA coursework, with 24 hours dedicated to Core classes and an additional 6 hours dedicated to an emphasis area chosen from Finance, International Business, or Marketing. Core courses are available during the fall and spring semesters, while emphasis courses are exclusively offered during the summer sessions.

      33. Nicholls State University | Average debt – $19,261

      The College of Business at Nicholls State University offers its MBA program in 4 flexible formats: Evening, Online, Flex, and Executive. Students can choose to complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis.

      Opting for the full-time track enables degree completion in as little as 12 months, with 12 hours of coursework during the fall and spring semesters and 6 hours during the summer semester. The part-time track allows for completion in a minimum of 18 months, with students taking 6-9 hours per semester until they finish.

      Continuous enrollment in courses is not mandatory, and classes are conducted in 8-week mini-terms within the traditional semester structure. While courses are primarily asynchronous online, there may be occasional synchronous components as needed.

      34. Southern Arkansas University Main Campus | Average debt – $19,378

      Southern Arkansas University’s affordable online MBA program spans between 30 to 34 credit hours and can be successfully accomplished within a 2-year timeframe. Within these programs, students have the option to select concentrations in agri-business, supply chain, social entrepreneurship, data analytics, and business leadership.

      Undergraduate students are also given the option to choose a 4 + 1 MBA track, which allows them to commence MBA coursework during their senior year and complete the remaining graduate requirements in their fifth year. For those with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, the GMAT requirement is waived.

      35. Oklahoma State University | Average debt – $19,488

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      The Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University (OSU) provides an alternative pathway to degree attainment through its online programs. OSU offers a cost-effective, flat-rate tuition structure for graduate students enrolled in online degree and certificate programs.

      The online MBA program, comprising 33 credit hours, is designed for part-time study and can be completed in as few as 16 months. Students also have the option to choose from various MBA degree concentrations to tailor their education to their specific interests and career goals.

      36. Texas A&M University, Kingsville | Average debt – $19,701

      The Texas A&M–Kingsville MBA program offers a life-changing educational journey for individuals from diverse backgrounds, aiming to empower them for long-term success. Recognizing the needs of working professionals, the program provides flexibility, with a 1-year duration spanning three semesters. Students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher can also benefit from a GMAT/GRE waiver.

      The program has a range of graduate certificates that can be stacked and integrated into the MBA degree. These certificates cover various areas including Business Analytics, Collaboration and Team Dynamics, Energy Finance, Accounting and Logistics, Health Informatics, Human Resources Management, and Taxation, allowing students to customize their education to their career aspirations.

      37. Oral Roberts University | Average debt – $19,718

      Oral Roberts University (ORU), situated in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a private evangelical institution. ORU offers an entirely online MBA program in Leadership designed to prepare you for roles as both a proficient business manager and an inspirational leader.

      Upon completion, students will possess proven strategies to motivate others and influence the direction of your organization. This business program emphasizes a biblically rooted, Spirit-driven approach to Business Leadership.

      38. Southwestern Oklahoma State University | Average debt – $19,905

      Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) is a public institution located in Weatherford and Sayre, Oklahoma. They understand the need for an affordable, efficient, and flexible MBA program that will empower you to take charge of your desired managerial role in today’s data-driven environment.

      SWOSU’s MBA program consists of 33 credit hours, which is a more streamlined option compared to the 36-42 credit hours typically required in most other MBA programs. They provide online course options for every class to enhance your flexibility and convenience.

      What is the average cost of an online MBA?

      The average cost of an MBA is $71,880, while the average cost of a master’s degree is $65,134. Although an MBA generally pays off, with graduates earning an average of 30% more than their bachelor-holding counterparts, students are still worried about being crippled with debt after graduation.

      In-person programs can also have higher price tags. Many schools listed above not only give students flexibility, but allow them to save on out-of-state tuition costs by earning their degree online instead.

      Online MBA no GMAT

      The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, is a standardized test that is commonly used as part of the admissions process for graduate business programs. The test is made up of 4 main sections: Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.

      Over the years, many universities have opted for either a test-optional approach or eliminated entrance exams completely. According to one study, 36% of universities no longer require the GMAT or GRE as part of their admissions process, and that number is growing steadily.

      Other ways to save on your MBA

      Federal and state grants, scholarships, and work-study programs are popular ways to save money on your MBA. Business scholarships are provided to students based on a set criteria like area of study, sports, or financial need. Outside scholarships can also be used to make your MBA more affordable.

      The FAFSA is the most common type of financial aid and can be used for online programs, as long as they are accredited universities or programs. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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