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Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2021

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Considered a terminal degree in most business disciplines, a master of business administration (MBA) can help ambitious professionals qualify for high-paying leadership roles. MBA degree-seekers take core courses in several business-related disciplines, including economics, accounting, finance, and marketing.

An MBA is a versatile degree that can lead to careers in most industries. Many MBA programs offer specializations in fields such as entrepreneurship, healthcare management, business analytics, and operations and supply chain management.

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Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

Most affordable MBA online programs take at least two years to complete. However, students can enroll in intensive, accelerated programs to graduate sooner. Successful MBA students usually possess advanced skills in leadership, data analysis, business strategy, and problem-solving.

Earning an MBA can significantly increase a professional’s salary potential and promotion prospects. This guide includes information on MBA careers, accreditation, curricula, and scholarships.

Question Answer
What is an MBA? An MBA is a professional degree for current and aspiring business leaders. Degree-seekers gain new skills and often qualify for salary and career advancement. MBA curricula include coursework in management and several business-related disciplines.
Can I earn an MBA online? Yes, students can complete their MBA program in an on-campus, hybrid, or fully online format. Online programs can be ideal for working professionals who need flexible scheduling options.
How long does it take to earn an MBA? Online MBA programs typically take about two years to complete. However, accelerated programs may offer condensed timelines. Part-time programs may take more than two years.
What is the difference between an MBA and a master’s degree in business? MBA degrees are generally more versatile, practice-oriented, and expensive than other business master’s degrees, which often involve specialized research. Most MBA programs also include more interdisciplinary coursework.
What is an executive MBA? Professionals with at least five years of business leadership experience can pursue an executive MBA (EMBA). Often funded by the student’s employer, EMBA programs usually offer Friday, weekend, or online courses to accommodate professional schedules. Learners typically graduate in two years.

Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2021

The following ranking includes the most affordable MBA online programs. Prospective students can use the list to quickly survey and compare program options. The descriptions summarize pertinent information about each program’s concentrations, structure, and requirements. Updated yearly to reflect status changes, this list of accredited schools includes only programs that meet rigorous academic standards.

  1. City Vision University

    Kansas City, MO



    Missouri-based City Vision University was founded to provide affordable Christian education online. Full-time enrollees can complete the 36-credit fully online master of business administration in just over one year. The program offers concentrations in education management and social entrepreneurship and nonprofit management. All students complete a six-course core that explores topics such as social entrepreneurship, strategic management, and managerial accounting.

    Enrollees complete 4-6 courses in each concentration. More than 70% of the program's graduates work in ministry or nonprofit organizations. Eight-week courses accelerate degree completion. Students can earn up to 25% of the degree's requirements from transfer credits or prior learning assessment. Veterans and military personnel, rescue mission, and Salvation Army staff receive a 15% tuition scholarship. Students outside of the U.S. receive a one-third tuition scholarship. Admission requires transcripts.

  2. Maharishi University of Management

    Fairfield, IA



    Founded by an Indian guru, Maharishi International University is a unique college with programs that emphasize whole-person development and sustainable business practices. The master of business administration (MBA) in sustainable business requires 36-58 credits and features a curriculum that incorporates rigorous business education and transcendental meditation. Students complete the degree online on a part-time basis, taking only one course at a time to fully immerse in each subject.

    Foundation courses develop learners' proficiencies in areas such as accounting, finance, and management. Students with an undergraduate business degree may waive foundational courses. The major explores topics such as metrics for sustainability, green investing, sustainable technologies, and sustainable community development. An internship at MIU provides tuition, housing, and a stipend in exchange for graduate assistant duties.Online students pay a flat, affordable tuition rate per semester. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and GRE/GMAT scores (recommended).

  3. Milligan College

    Milligan College, TN



    Milligan College is one of the South's top Christian liberal arts colleges. The school's executive master of business administration program enrolls professionals with significant work experience. The degree emphasizes business leadership and management concepts from a Christian worldview. Students enroll in a cohort, completing the 32-credit degree mostly online, with monthly classes on campus in Elizabethton, Tennessee. The 14-month curriculum explores topics such as marketing strategy, strategic management, managerial finance, and analytical decision-making.

    A required course explores business ethics from a Christian perspective. Students learn how to think critically about their roles as positive influences in the workplace. All students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires prerequisite business coursework and experience in business operations. New cohorts convene in March and September.

  4. Mississippi University for Women

    Columbus, MS



    Founded in 1884, Mississippi University for Women is the nation's first public women's college. Today, MUW enrolls men and women. The online master of business administration (MBA) program prepares students to work as progressive business leaders. Full-time enrollees can complete the MBA in 10 months. The 36-credit curriculum develops learners' competencies in core areas such as financial management, managerial economics, and strategy and business models.

    Students use four elective courses to build skills in diverse business domains such as supply chain management and cybersecurity and information assurance. They culminate the program with a business project that integrates lessons learned. Small classes offer personalized learning. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and competitive GMAT scores.

  5. Freed-Hardeman University

    Henderson, TN



    Freed-Hardeman University is a small Christian college located in Tennessee. Students can complete FHU's online master of business administration (MBA) in just one year. The 30-credit program requires a core that explores key business functions such as managerial accounting, financial management, and operations management. Electives explore business communication and business law and ethics. Alternatively, students can use six elective credits to pursue CPA licensure by completing two courses on campus in Henderson.

    FHU also offers an MBA in healthcare management completely online. Students culminate either MBA with a capstone course focused on strategic decision-making. Students earning one of the nation's most affordable MBAs online take eight-week courses. All online enrollees pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires an undergraduate business degree or prerequisite business coursework.

  6. Goshen College

    Goshen, IN



    Established in 1894, Goshen College is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Mennonite Church. The Indiana school's collaborative master of business administration (MBA) features asynchronous course delivery and a cohort of students from four partnering Mennonite schools. Enrollees can complete the degree in just 21 months. Students supplement online learning with two residencies, including one in Costa Rica. The 36-credit curriculum explores topics such as organizational behavior, financial and managerial accounting, and financial management.

    Learners also study global sustainability and leadership and management for the common good. Faculty explore how effective leaders use compelling narratives across communications to inspire those within and outside of the organization. A sustainable organizations and global citizenship course and its required international residency focus on leadership, management, and stewardship.

    All students pay the same tuition for GC's online MBA program, which includes food and lodging for the residencies. Admission requires all college transcripts and strong communication and quantitative skills.

  7. Newman University

    Wichita, KS



    Newman University is a Kansas-based Catholic college. NU offers a master of business administration exclusively online to meet the needs of working professionals. The 36-credit curriculum offers 12-credit concentrations in leadership, business analytics, and healthcare administration. A common core provides training in key areas such as accounting, marketing management, financial management, and organizational behavior.

    The business analytics concentration cultivates competent analysts skilled in database technologies such as SQL and predictive and prescriptive analytics. The leadership concentration blends an examination of leadership theory with an emphasis on self-development and emotional intelligence. The healthcare administration concentration develops leaders well-versed in ethics and healthcare economics.

    Enrollees can transfer up to six graduate credits into this online MBA program. All participants pay the same affordable tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires prerequisite undergraduate coursework and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

  8. Trine University

    Fort Wayne, IN



    Trine University consistently ranks among the best colleges in the Midwest. Trine's online master of business administration (MBA) features a global student body and perspective. Students can complete the affordable MBA online in just one year. The 30-credit program covers topics such as corporate finance, statistics and data analysis, and managerial accounting and finance. Learners build on these skills with electives such as international finance and financial markets and institutions.

    A Lean Six Sigma elective introduces students to statistical methodologies that can enhance organizational processes. Students culminate the degree with a business plan that explores solutions to the business administration challenges of a new startup. Students can transfer up to six credits. Support services include remote library access, counseling, and career services. All learners in this online MBA program pay the same affordable tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires college transcripts and GMAT/GRE scores.

  9. University of Florida

    Gainesville, FL



    A leader in distance education, the University of Florida's online master of business administration (MBA) offers a flexible curriculum. A 32-credit,12-month option provides the quickest route to earn an MBA from UF, enrolling learners with an undergraduate degree in business. The 48-credit, 24-month option offers at-your-pace learning for students with a non-business degree. Both programs require an in-person orientation and use a small cohort format.

    Both MBA tracks require courses in corporate finance, operations, brand, and global strategic management. All students also complete an experiential learning component that they may fulfill with a business simulation, consulting project, or global immersion experience. All students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. UF offers comprehensive financial aid and payment plans.

  10. Averett University

    Danville, VA



    Averett University is a Virginia-based Christian college. The 40-credit online master of business administration (MBA) blends lectures with research and case study analysis. Students can pursue one of three concentrations: marketing, leadership, or HR management.

    All MBA students complete a core that explores topics such as managerial economics, marketing strategies, management accounting, and financial and administration management. The rest of the online MBA program's curriculum consists of specialized courses in the concentration. Enrollees culminate the program by demonstrating their ability to make strategic decisions for an organization.

    Eight-week sessions accelerate degree completion. All students pay the same affordable tuition rate regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Career and Salary Outlook for MBA Graduates

Students in the best and most affordable MBA online programs cultivate core management skills they can apply to many organizational and industry contexts. MBA graduates often work as managers at for-profit companies. However, some MBA-holders secure positions in nonprofits and government organizations.

Online MBA programs help learners build advanced skills and knowledge in communication, leadership, and strategy. Graduates can apply these skills to lucrative management and executive positions, such as advertising, promotions, and marketing manager. Graduates can also become financial managers, human resources managers, and social and community services managers.

Certain MBA concentrations qualify graduates for jobs as computer and information systems managers, architectural and engineering managers, and medical and health services managers. Most affordable MBA online programs also help students build analytical skills, which graduates can use to analyze market and economic trends and organizational performance data. The descriptions below explore some common careers for graduates of online MBA programs.

  • Financial Analysts

    Financial analysts advise clients regarding investment options and decisions. These professionals analyze financial data, market data, and investment performance. This role requires strong communication skills, as financial analysts must report and explain financial phenomena to clients. Types of financial analysts include portfolio managers, fund managers, ratings analysts, and risk analysts.

  • Management Analysts

    Management consultants or analysts work to optimize organizational efficiency. Some analysts specialize in reducing costs, while others focus on increasing revenue. All management analysts need high-level skills in financial data analysis, business strategy, and problem-solving. These professionals synthesize data drawn from onsite observations and personnel interviews with financial data. After conducting their analysis, they present suggestions to the management team.

  • Operations Research Analysts

    These analysts help organizations identify operations issues and potential improvements. They often conduct observations and analyze business data drawn from customer feedback, sales histories, and computer databases. These professionals rely on strong quantitative and reporting skills. Often working in teams, operations analysts may specialize in an area such as pricing or supply chain management.

  • Top Executives

    These professionals make big-picture decisions and develop long-term strategies for their organization. Daily activities vary by industry, field, organization, and position. However, responsibilities often include budgeting, data analysis, and reporting. Executives also attend meetings with other staff. Top executives need sophisticated interpersonal and leadership skills to supervise lower-tier managers in their company or department.

Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Financial Analysts $81,590 5%
Management Analysts $85,260 11%
Operations Research Analysts $84,810 25%
Top Executives $104,690 4%

Source: BLS

Accreditation for MBA Programs

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) approves accrediting agencies to assess educational quality of institutions and programs. The best MBA online programs are usually accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. To earn this distinction, MBA programs undergo a voluntary evaluation process facilitated by business education experts.

The best MBA online programs reside within regionally accredited schools. CHEA recognizes six regional accrediting agencies, each of which evaluates schools in a certain geographic area. Most regionally accredited schools only recognize degrees and credits awarded by other regionally accredited schools.

CHEA also recognizes several national accrediting agencies, which typically evaluate career and religious schools. Students at regionally or nationally accredited schools can qualify for federal financial aid. However, regional accreditation is considered more prestigious and can lead to additional opportunities for graduates.

Courses in Online MBA Programs

Most affordable MBA online programs require 52-62 credits of coursework, during which learners hone advanced management and leadership skills. MBA curricula typically include advanced courses in key business disciplines such as accounting, finance, marketing, and economics. Other core course topics may include business communications, business law, and business ethics.

Depending on their concentration, MBA students may take specialized courses in international business, sports management, and real estate management. Online MBA programs usually incorporate a capstone project or internship experience that allows enrollees to practice analysis, leadership, and communication skills. Although courses vary by program, many online MBA programs feature the courses below.

Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership
Learners often take this core course early in their MBA program. Students learn how to understand organizational culture, design work teams, and ensure effective team performance. This crucial course often emphasizes experiential learning, and students typically complete team projects to develop collaboration and leadership skills.
Managing Emerging Enterprises
Sometimes part of a concentration, this course prepares learners to manage a new organization seeking to enter the market and scale quickly. Enrollees acquire skills and strategies for developing organizational processes and acquiring human and social capital.
Financial Accounting for Decision-Makers
This core MBA course teaches degree-seekers to prepare and analyze financial statements. Enrollees learn how to use financial data to create business decisions, strategies, and plans. Students practice with case studies, and they learn how to present financial reports and make recommendations to executives.
Marketing Management
A core course in most MBA programs, marketing management surveys crucial marketing skills and strategies for developing, pricing, and promoting products and services. Students learn about market targeting, segmenting, and positioning. Enrollees also become familiar with marketing principles, strategic planning, buyer behaviors, and marketing information systems.
Managing Organizational Change
This class explores strategies, processes, and skills for adapting and thriving in a changing environment. Students may learn about mergers and acquisitions, managing growth and change, corporate transformation, and business process outsourcing. This course often proves particularly valuable for aspiring consultants and general managers.

Scholarships for MBA Students

Online MBA students may qualify for various scholarships based on academic merit, identity, financial need, or field of study. Scholarships do not require repayment and can help students cover various educational expenses. Learners can apply for scholarships from nonprofits, schools, private donors, and governmental organizations. The list below includes a few of the scholarships available to MBA students.

Association of Latino Professionals for America Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports Hispanic citizens and permanent residents with a minimum 3.3 GPA. Candidates must be enrolled full time in a business-related program at an accredited four-year school.
Amount: Varies

Goldberg-Miller Public Finance Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Full-time students in graduate programs related to local government finance can apply. Candidates need U.S. or Canadian citizenship or permanent residency. Applicants submit a statement of purpose, a recommendation letter, a resume, and transcripts.
Amount: $15,000

Golden Key International Honor Society Graduate Scholar Award

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports Golden Key members attending graduate programs at accredited schools. Applicants submit a resume, a recommendation letter, a personal statement, and transcripts.
Amount: $10,000

Lagrant Foundation Graduate Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The Lagrant Foundation offers financial awards to high-performing U.S. students who belong to racial minority groups. Candidates need permanent residency or DACA status and a minimum 3.2 GPA. Applicants must be enrolled full time in an advertising-related graduate program at an accredited school. Applicants submit essays, a resume, a reference letter, and official transcripts.
Amount: $3,500

Corporate Aviation Business Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Full-time business students interested in corporate aviation can apply for this award from the National Aircraft Finance Association. Candidates must demonstrate citizenship or permanent residency and need a minimum 3.0 GPA. Learners should visit their school’s financial aid office to apply.
Amount: $1,000-$5,000

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