Most Affordable Online Master’s Degree Programs Ranked for Students

Most Affordable Online Master’s Degree Programs Ranked for Students

The online master’s degree program is an increasingly popular option for students and working adults in search of an affordable pathway to an advanced degree.

Key Takeaways

  • The online master’s degree is a cost-effective way to earn an advanced degree from a university in your state. A growing number of public colleges and universities now offer fully online master’s degree programs in a wide range of subjects including business administration, computer science, early childhood education, and much more.

  • The online master’s degree program is an especially valuable option for working professionals who are interested in advancing in the careers without disrupting everyday work responsibilities. Online graduate students have the power earn and learn at the same time.

  • Graduate students who pursue their master’s degree online may be required to visit campus to complete some requirements. This is a good reason to choose an affordable master’s degree program close to home.

The length of time it takes to complete your online master’s degree will vary depending on your subject and concentration, but in most cases, it will take two to three years to earn an online master’s degree. Online graduate programs offer a great way to save money on expenses like housing, transportation, and certain campus fees.

An Overview of the Master’s Degree

Can you earn a master’s degree online?

You can absolutely earn a master’s degree online. In fact, a growing number of highly regarded and fully accredited graduate schools are offering online learning opportunities. As demand increases among working adults for online master’s degree programs that are both flexible and affordable, graduate schools are making strides in serving the needs of online students.

Is an online master’s degree more affordable?

The online master’s degree program can be more affordable. The cost of tuition for online graduate programs is roughly equal to the cost of a traditional master’s degree program. However, you will save money on additional expenses like housing, transportation and certain campus fees.

Equally as important, the online master’s degree program makes it possible for you to complete your grad school education at your own pace. This means you can continue working while completing your online master’s program. The ability to earn a living while completing your advanced degree program can significantly reduce your dependency on federal financial aid, private student loans, and other sources of student debt.

Is an online master’s degree respected?

The online master’s degree is highly respected as long as it is conferred by a graduate school with accreditation from the colleges and schools commission in your region. Many of the top graduate institutions offer fully online master’s degree programs that are nearly identical to traditional programs in content, curriculum, and credit requirements. In fact, in many schools, online and in-person courses will be taught by the same instructors. In other words, as long as you choose an excellent institution with regional accreditation, employers and colleagues will view your online master’s degree with respect.

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How We Rank the Most Affordable Online Master’s Degree Programs

In most cases, the most affordable online master’s programs will be those offered by universities in your state. Online grad students who attend public universities enjoy access to in-state tuition rates just like traditional on-campus students.

That’s why we’ve ranked these online master’s programs by placing the highest weight on in-state tuition rates. The tuition price listed below may not reflect the lower rate extended to in-state residents. Click on each school to learn more about in state tuition discounts. Other factors included in our ranking are Influence–the measure of a school’s excellence based on the real-world impact of its professors, students, and alumni; and the percentage of full-time students enrolled in online degree programs at each institution.

Below is a mix of both public and private universities offering the most affordable online master’s degree programs on the higher education landscape.

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Most Affordable Online Master’s Degrees for In-State Students

  1. #4

    Waldorf University

    Forest City , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/19

  2. Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    841/18

  3. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Student body

    2K

  4. #10

    University of West Alabama

    Livingston , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    5K

  5. #11

    Stevenson University

    Stevenson , MD

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    3K

  6. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Student body

    <1K

  7. #15

    Post University

    Waterbury , CT

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Graduation

    20%

    Student body

    12K

  8. Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/22

  9. #19

    Lamar University

    Beaumont , TX

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1041/20

  10. Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

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More on the Cost of Grad School

How much does grad school cost on average?

The average cost of grad school is somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 per year for both private and public grad schools. However, you can pay as much as $100,000 per year to attend some of the nation’s most prestigious private grad schools. The most affordable online master’s programs may cost as little as $5,000 to $12,000 per year for in-state students.

How can I cut my grad school costs?

Financial aid, scholarships, and geographical considerations all offer ways to offset the sticker price of your online master’s degree program. Financial aid and scholarships are both central considerations as you look for ways to cut your grad school costs. Finding a grad school in state can also offer various opportunities for state-specific financial aid and tuition discounts.

Why attend an online grad school close to home?

Earning your advanced degree from a public college or university in your state will be your most affordable option. State schools typically offer deep tuition discounts for in state students, whether you take online courses or earn your advanced degree on campus. You may also be able to offset some expenses by earning your graduate degree online. While tuition for online grad school is generally in line with tuition for the traditional grad school experience, you may be able to save on housing, transportation, and certain campus fees.

For more tips on getting an affordable online education, check out our Guide to Financial Aid in Higher Education