Most Affordable Graduate Schools Ranked for 2023

Most Affordable Graduate Schools Ranked for 2023

Are you considering attending graduate school, but worried about the cost of a top-notch education? We share our look at the most affordable graduate schools.

Key Takeaways

  • Graduate school can be costly but there are many excellent and affordable graduate programs.

  • The most affordable grad schools will typically offer reduced in-state tuition, generous financial aid packages, and access to online graduate education programs.

  • Prospective students looking for affordable master’s degrees and doctoral programs can find many excellent graduate programs for less than $10,000 per year.

Graduate degrees can be expensive. For graduate students searching for top master’s degree programs or doctoral degree programs, the price of tuition may be intimidating. Fortunately, there are ways graduate students can get an affordable graduate school education. From public university options and online master’s degrees to those schools which simply specialize in affordable tuition fees, it may be possible to attend graduate school without taking on a ton of student debt.

One popular way to save on the cost of a master’s program is to search for an affordable online master’s degree. Students enrolled in online degree programs often save on peripheral expenses like housing and campus fees. Whether you are choosing degree programs in business administration, computer science, or one of the liberal arts, you can look for an affordable grad school by searching for top online graduate programs in your area of study.

Or, to learn more about affordable graduate schools with excellent on-campus programs, read on...

What is a graduate program?

Graduate programs are advanced degree programs. Graduate degree programs may refer to master’s degree or doctoral degree programs. In most cases, you would be required to earn a bachelor’s degree before entering into a graduate school program.

Earning a master’s degree can qualify you for specialized roles, leadership positions, and higher earning potential in your field. Earning a doctoral degree, which is a terminal degree in many fields, will qualify you to lead research or teach at the post-secondary level.

It is important that your graduate college or university is accredited by the colleges and schools commission in your region. Accreditation from the proper schools commission on colleges is critical for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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How Much Does Grad School Cost?

The average tuition for grad school at a public research university is a little over $12,000 per year. The average cost for grad school at a private nonprofit college or university is more than $28,000 for year. But of course, students pay as much as $80,000 or more per year to attend a top law school, access one of the nation’s leading engineering programs, or pursue a top ranked master of business administration (MBA) degree.

Fortunately, there are many affordable grad programs available to traditional graduate students as well as many excellent and affordable online master’s programs. In fact, in our ranking below, the most expensive degree program does not exceed $8,000 per year in tuition.

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How Graduate Students Can Save Money

In addition to searching for the most affordable graduate schools based on tuition, there are a few key factors to consider if you’re looking for ways to cut costs:

Look for a Public Research Institution

In many cases, the most affordable master’s degrees and doctoral degrees will be from public research university options in your state. This is because students who live in state will usually receive a significant tuition discount for completing master’s degree programs offered by state schools. Out of state students will typically pay more for these same public university options. This offers an incentive to stay close to home.

In fact, many online graduate programs offer access to the same in state tuition discount rates. That means you may wish to attend a public university in your state, even if you plan to pursue an online master’s degree program.

Take Advantage of All Financial Aid Options

As a graduate student, you may not qualify for as many financial aid benefits as undergraduate students. However, it is important to complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year that you plan to enroll in graduate school. In addition to making your federal aid determination, your FAFSA will determine whether you are eligible for any state or college-based assistance or grant programs.

For instance, many schools will offer special teacher education assistance programs or incentive programs for nursing students. Be sure you capitalize on every financial aid opportunity available to you.

And once again, be sure that any degree programs on your list are fully accredited by the colleges and schools commission in your region. You will only be eligible for financial aid when you complete your master’s degree program or doctoral degree through a graduate school with recognition from a Department of Education-approved accrediting agency. This is true whether you plan to pursue an online master or a traditional on campus degree program.

Choose a Hybrid Graduate Program

Some of the most cost effective graduate colleges offer access to both traditional and online learning. Hybrid degree programs allow you to earn your master’s degree or doctoral degree through a combination of in-person and online courses. An affordable master’s degree program may allow you to offset certain traveling and housing expenses through a partial online program while also allowing you to be a part of the student body through in-class attendance.

How to Save on Online Graduate Programs

Looking for other ways to save while attending graduate school? You could jump directly to our list of the most affordable online master’s degrees. Online graduate degrees are growing in availability, popularity, and accessibility. If you are open to online learning, check out our look at the most affordable online master’s degree programs.

Otherwise, read on...

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How We Rank the Most Affordable Graduate Degrees

We ranked the most affordable graduate schools based on the annual cost of tuition for brick and mortar schools offering either master’s degrees, doctoral programs, or both. We vetted for effectiveness in awarding graduate degrees by selecting only higher education institutions with a 60% or better graduation rate.

The result is a ranking of affordable master’s degree programs and doctoral degree programs that includes only top graduate degrees for $8,000 per year or less.

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The 50 Most Affordable Graduate Schools

  1. Tuition + fees

    $1K

    Acceptance

    25%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1290/27

  2. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    <1K

  3. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Student body

    <1K

  4. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Student body

    <1K

  5. #5

    Sioux Falls Seminary

    Sioux Falls , SD

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Student body

    <1K

  6. #6

    Taft University System

    Lakewood , CO

    Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Student body

    <1K

  7. #8

    Huntsville Bible College

    Huntsville , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    100%

    Student body

    <1K

  8. #9

    Curtis Institute of Music

    Philadelphia , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    <1K

  9. #10

    University of Wyoming

    Laramie , WY

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/24

  10. Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    100%

    Graduation

    100%

    Student body

    <1K

  11. #12

    Missio Seminary

    Philadelphia , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    100%

    Student body

    <1K

  12. #13

    University of North Florida

    Jacksonville , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/23

  13. #14

    City Vision University

    Kansas City , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Student body

    <1K

  14. #16

    Manna University

    Fayetteville , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    <1K

  15. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Student body

    <1K

  16. #18

    American College of Education

    Indianapolis , IN

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Student body

    6K

  17. #22

    World Mission University

    Los Angeles , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    100%

    Student body

    <1K

  18. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Student body

    <1K

  19. #25

    Bethlehem College & Seminary

    Minneapolis , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    <1K

  20. #27

    Logan University

    Chesterfield , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Student body

    <1K

  21. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Student body

    <1K

  22. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    <1K

  23. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    36K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/20

  24. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    <1K

  25. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/20

  26. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/25

  27. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Student body

    2K

  28. #41

    Pacific States University

    Los Angeles , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    <1K

  29. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/23

  30. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    100%

    Student body

    <1K

  31. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    8K

  32. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Student body

    1K

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More About Online Master’s Degree Programs

Online master’s degree programs are growing in popularity. If you’re considering an online master’s degree as a way to save money, read on for answers to a few of your key questions...

Can you earn a graduate degree online?

You can earn a graduate degree online. In fact, a growing number of highly regarded and fully accredited graduate schools now offer affordable online masters programs. 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 without sacrificing academic excellence.

Are online programs more affordable for graduate students?

Online programs can be more affordable for graduate students. 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.

How can I reduce the cost of my online master’s program?

Financial aid, scholarships, and geographical considerations all make it possible to get a more affordable online master’s degree. 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.

Are online graduate school degrees respected?

The online master’s degree or doctoral 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. Regional accreditation is generally more respected that national accreditation.

For example, if you plan to attend a graduate school in a southern state like Florida or Texas, be sure that your graduate school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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.