Find inexpensive MBA options.
An online MBA doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Some online programs offer part-time students the chance to earn an MBA for only a few hundred dollars per credit. According to data reported to U.S. News in an annual survey, the average cost among the 10 most affordable online MBA options for out-of-state students is $358 per credit hour. Here are the 10 ranked public and private online MBA programs that charged the least per credit for part-time, out-of-state students during the 2020-2021 school year.
Dakota Wesleyan University (SD)
Part-time, out-of-state tuition per credit: $425
Rank: 157 (tie)
Three-year graduation rate (2019-2020): 81%
The story of Dakota Wesleyan University begins in 1885, when the school was established by Methodist pioneers. The school, founded when South Dakota was still a territory and not yet a state, was initially named Dakota University. George McGovern, a former Congressman, U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate, is among the most famous alumni of DWU. He once taught there and the library on campus now bears his name and his wife’s.
More on Dakota Wesleyan University.
New Mexico State University College of Business
Part-time, out-of-state tuition per credit: $412
Rank: 117 (tie)
Three-year graduation rate (2019-2020): 96%
New Mexico State University is another college that was established before the territory in which it was located became a state. NMSU was founded in a two-room building as Las Cruces College in 1888. It later merged with a nearby land-grant institution, New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. The school was officially renamed New Mexico State University in 1960 through a state constitutional amendment and now boasts a 900-acre campus — a notable upgrade from the original small building the college occupied in its earliest days.
More on the New Mexico State University College of Business.
West Texas A&M University
Part-time, out-of-state tuition per credit: $410
Rank: 67 (tie)
Three-year graduation rate (2019-2020): 83%
West Texas A&M University opened its doors in 1910, albeit under a different name than the one it bears now. Established as West Texas State Normal College, the school was initially a training ground for teachers. As it expanded its curriculum, the college underwent several name changes over the years before finally shifting to its current moniker in 1993 after becoming a member of the Texas A&M University system three years earlier.
More on West Texas A&M University.
Longwood University (VA)
Part-time, out-of-state tuition per credit: $407
Rank: 111 (tie)
Three-year graduation rate (2019-2020): 100%
Longwood University was founded in 1839 as Farmville Female Seminary Association, a women’s college, as the name implies. The name changed over the years, as did the student body with the college going fully coed in 1976. The current moniker, Longwood University, was adopted in 2002. The school website notes Longwood has been adjacent to one of the last skirmishes of the Civil War and one of the first battles of the civil rights movement.
More on Longwood University.
Southeast Missouri State University (Harrison)
Part-time, out-of-state tuition per credit: $374
Rank: 195 (tie)
Three-year graduation rate (2019-2020): 50%
Like other schools on this list, Southeast Missouri State University first opened as a college for training teachers. Founded in 1873, the college was initially known as the Third District Normal School. The school underwent several name changes over the years before finally settling on Southeast Missouri State University in 1972. It can be argued that SMSU was an early pioneer in distance education, as it offered educational programming via the campus radio station as early as 1922.
More on the Harrison College of Business at Southeast Missouri State University.
Oklahoma State University (Spears)
Part-time, out-of-state tuition per credit: $360
Rank: 32 (tie)
Three-year graduation rate (2019-2020): 71%
Oklahoma State University was founded at Christmas in 1890 as Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College. The school graduated its first undergraduate business degree student — the major at the time was called “commerce and marketing” — in 1916. The Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University draws its name from a 1962 alum, William S. Spears, who donated millions to the school.
More on the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University.
Fort Hays State University (KS)
Part-time, out-of-state tuition per credit: $350
Rank: 143 (tie)
Three-year graduation rate (2019-2020): 65%
Classes at Fort Hays State University were first taught in 1902 as the college opened in an abandoned military outpost outside of Hays, Kansas. In 1904, the college was moved into the city, which required the removal of a prairie dog town to accommodate the new campus facilities. Initially launched as the Western Branch of the Kansas Normal School, a teacher’s college, FHSU underwent multiple name changes and adopted its current moniker in 1977.
More on Fort Hays State University.
Sam Houston State University (TX)
Part-time, out-of-state tuition per credit: $320
Rank: 79 (tie)
Three-year graduation rate (2019-2020): 47%
Sam Houston State University began with a mission to train teachers. Founded in 1879, the college opened as Sam Houston Normal Institute on the former campus of a Methodist school for boys. SHSU also carried the names Sam Houston State Teachers College and Sam Houston State College before adopting its current name in 1969. Sam Houston was a Virginia-born lawyer, politician and military leader who served as a U.S. senator, governor of Tennessee and later of Texas, and was elected the first president of the Republic of Texas during the state’s brief run as a sovereign nation.
More on Sam Houston State University.
Fitchburg State University (MA)
Part-time, out-of-state tuition per credit: $275
Three-year graduation rate (2019-2020): 86%
Fitchburg State was established as the State Normal School in Fitchburg in an old high school in 1894 and began as a two-year program for training female teachers. It wasn’t until 1930 that the first bachelor’s degrees were offered and shortly thereafter, in 1932, the school became the State Teachers College at Fitchburg. The school would undergo more programmatic growth and two more name changes before becoming Fitchburg State University in 2010.
More on Fitchburg State University.
Northeastern State University (OK)
Part-time, out-of-state tuition per credit: $251
Rank: 210 (tie)
Three-year graduation rate (2019-2020): 53%
Founded in 1846 as the Cherokee National Female Seminary, Northeastern State claims to be Oklahoma’s oldest institution of higher learning. The seminary was purchased by the state of Oklahoma in 1909 and reborn as Northeastern State Normal School. Later incarnations were known as Northeastern State Teacher’s College and Northeastern State College. The school has operated under its current name since 1978.
More on Northeastern State University.
More about online MBA programs
Find out what questions to ask when paying for an online degree and get our complete rankings of the 2021 Best Online MBA Programs. For more advice and information on how to finance an online education, connect with U.S. News Education on Twitter and Facebook.
Least expensive online MBA programs
— Northeastern State University
— Fitchburg State University
— Sam Houston State University
— Fort Hays State University
— Oklahoma State University (Spears)
— Southeast Missouri State University (Harrison)
— Longwood University
— West Texas A&M University
— New Mexico State University College of Business
— Dakota Wesleyan University
More from U.S. News
Update 01/26/21: This slideshow has been updated with ranks and data from the 2021 U.S. News Best Online MBA Programs rankings.