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Education Reference Desk | Online Education Resources for Students and Teachers

Most Affordable Online Colleges Offering Master’s Degrees

most_affordable_online_colleges_masters_degrees It’s no secret that obtaining a master’s degree is difficult in more ways than one, and there are any number of obstacles that could get in your way. Whether it’s the student loan debt, crappy insurance, or hectic personal life you’re convinced is holding you back, we’re here to tell you otherwise. With today’s technology and easily accessible resources, there is a way to accomplish even the most daunting of personal goals. That includes earning your master’s degree. Through the online programs that we’ve compiled below, you can achieve professional advancement as well as personal fulfillment while learning and becoming proficient in a field that you truly love–all at minimal cost to you.

Methodology

All schools considered for these rankings

  • Are regionally or nationally accredited
  • Offer at least one fully online master’s degree (with no more than two weeks of required in-person work)
  • Were collected from official accrediting agency websites.

Schools are ranked solely by the average net price as released in the most recent IPEDs database collected in July of 2020.

2021 Most Affordable Online Colleges Offering Master’s Degrees

Rank School Average Net Price
# 1 University of North Georgia $10,730
# 2 Columbia Southern University $10,951
# 3 Minot State University $11,635
# 4 Fort Hays State University $12,108
# 5 Southeast Missouri State University $12,350
# 6 West Texas A & M University $12,982
# 7 University of Central Missouri $13,098
# 8 Valdosta State University $13,502
# 9 Eastern Illinois University $14,146
# 10 The University of Texas at Arlington $14,445
# 11 University of Central Arkansas $14,796
# 12 Western Illinois University $15,802
# 13 Missouri State University $16,134
# 14 University of Arkansas $16,263
# 15 University of the Cumberlands $16,340
# 16 Texas Tech University $16,463
# 17 Old Dominion University $16,681
# 18 Georgia Institute of Technology $16,883
# 19 Campbellsville University $17,788
# 20 Union College – KY $17,824
# 21 Graceland University $17,952
# 22 Prescott College $20,965
# 23 University of Valley Forge $21,182
# 24 Ohio Christian University $24,515
# 25 Strayer University $25,902

10 Best Affordable Colleges for Online Colleges Offering Master’s Degrees

1. University of North Georgia

Average Net Price: $10,730
School Type: Public College
School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Acceptance Rate: 81%

Part of the University System of Georgia, the University of North Georgia is a public university comprising of five campuses. It has an enrollment of 13,323 students, making it the seventh-largest university in the state. It offers more than 100 programs of study, including certificates, associate, bachelor, master and doctoral degree programs. It also offers several online master’s degree programs.

Master of Arts in International Affairs
Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction
Master of Education in Middle Grades Math and Science
Master of Public Administration
Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Master of Science in Kinesiology
Master of Science in Nursing Education

U.S. News & World Report gave the University of North Georgia the following rankings in 2020.

#16 Top Public Schools
#17 Most Innovative Schools
#24 Best Colleges for Veterans
#31 Best Undergraduate Teaching
#40 Regional Universities in the South
#55 Best Value Schools
#98 Top Performers on Social Mobility

Niche.com ranked the University of North Georgia #8 among Top Public Universities in Georgia.

2. Columbia Southern University

Average Net Price: $10,951
School Type: For-profit online university
School Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission as well as several program-specific accreditations
Acceptance Rate: 100%

Columbia Southern University is an online university with an enrollment of 8,397 undergraduate students. It offers several masters degree online programs.

Master of Business Administration
Master of Science in Organizational Leadership
Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration
Master of Business Administration with Health Care Management Concentration
Master of Public Health
Master of Business Administration with Human Resource Management Concentration
Master of Science in Occupational Safety and Health
Master of Public Administration
Master of Science in Emergency Services Management

U.S. News & World Report ranked Columbia Southern University #263 among Best Public Affair Programs in 2020. SR Education Group ranked CSU among the top ten most affordable online colleges in 2019. Columbia Southern University was also ranked #13 among Best Value Colleges in Alabama by niche.com.

3. Minot State University

Average Net Price: $11,635
School Type: Public university
School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Acceptance Rate: 50%

Minot State University is a public university and one of the largest in North Dakota. It has an annual enrollment of about 1,979 undergraduate students. Minot University offers not just on-campus undergraduate and graduate degree programs, but also several online masters degree options. MSU offers online courses, certificates and bachelor’s degree programs as well as the following online master’s degree programs.

Master of Education with concentrations in Curriculum and Instruction; English and Special Education
Master of Science in Information Systems
Master of Science in Sports Management
Master of Science in Disability Human Services
Master of Science in Special Education with emphasis in Deaf or Hard of Hearing Education; Special Education Strategist; Early Childhood Special Education or Specific Learning Disabilities
Master of Science in Management

U.S News & World Report gave Minot State University the following rankings in 2020.

#32 among Top Public Schools
#111 among Regional Universities in the Midwest
#145 among Top Performers in Social Mobility

Niche.com ranks Minot State University #4 among Best Colleges in North Dakota.

4. Fort Hays State University

Average Net Price: $12,108
School Type: Public university
School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Acceptance Rate: 89%

Located in Hays, Kansas, Fort Hays State University is one of six universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents and the third-largest of that group. It offers several different colleges and departments and has an enrollment of about 15,900 students. Graduates have a 96 percent job placement rate. In addition to offering online degree programs at all levels, Fort Hays State University offers the following online masters degree programs.

Master of Business Administration with concentrations in 12 areas
Master of Science in Counseling with concentrations in College Counseling/Student Affairs; Clinical Mental Health, and School
Master of Science in Education with concentrations in Instructional Technology; Library Media Specialist, and School Psychology
Master of Science in Education with concentrations in eight areas
Master of Science in PreK-12 Leadership with concentrations in Educational Administration and Non-Degree District Leadership
Master of Science in Special Education with several concentration areas
Master of Professional Studies with several concentration areas
Master of Liberal Studies with several concentration areas

U.S News & World Report gave Minot State University the following rankings in 2020.

#117 – #153 among Best Regional Universities in the Midwest
#119 among Top Performers in Social Mobility

Niche.com ranks Fort Hays State University #30 among Best Online Colleges in America.

5. Southeast Missouri State University

Average Net Price: $12,350
School Type: Public university
School Accreditation: Northcentral Association of Colleges and Schools and the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation
Acceptance Rate: 85%

Southeast Missouri State University is a regional comprehensive university with a large number of academic offerings, including more than 145 undergraduate programs and more than 75 graduate programs as well as more than 200 areas of study. Southeast Missouri State University’s main campus is located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. SMSU has four different campus locations, five colleges and an annual enrollment of almost 12,000 students. The following masters degree online programs are offered at Southeast Missouri State University.

Master of Business Administration with concentration in Accounting
Master of Arts in Applied Business Analysis
Master of Science in Applied Computer Science
Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Master of Arts in Elementary Education with three areas of emphasis
Master of Arts in Elementary or Secondary School Administration
Master of Arts in Teaching with emphasis in Exceptional Child
Master of Arts in Teaching with STEM emphasis
Master of Business Administration with emphasis in General Administration or Health Administration
Master of Science in Healthcare Management
Master of Science in Management
Master of Public Administration
Master of Arts in Secondary Education
Master of Business Administration in Sport Management
Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership
Master of Science in Technology Management

U.S News & World Report gave Southeast Missouri State University the following rankings in 2020.

#16 – among Top Public Schools
#31 among Top Performers in Social Mobility
#78 among Best Regional Universities in the Midwest
#177 among Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs

Niche.com ranks Southeast Missouri State University #825 among Colleges With the Best Professors in America.

6. West Texas A & M University

Average Net Price: $12,982
School Type: Public University
School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Acceptance Rate: 61.4%

Located in the Amarillo area of Canyon, Texas, West Texas A & M University is a public university that was originally started as one of seven state-funded teacher colleges. West Texas A & M University is comprised of six colleges and a graduate college. A variety of bachelor and master’s degree programs is offered at this college. West Texas A & M University offers online and hybrid degree programs. A large selection of online masters degree options are available through this university’s distance learning program.

Master of Professional Accounting
Master of Business Administration in Business with five areas of emphasis
Masters in Communication
Master of Science in Computer Information Systems and Business Analytics
Master of Arts in Counseling
Master of Education in Counseling
Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction
Master of Education in Educational Diagnostician
Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Master of Science in Engineering
Master of Arts in English
Master of Science in Finance and Economics
Master of Education in Instructional Design and Technology
Master of Science in Mathematics
Master of Science in Nursing
Master of Education in School Counseling
Master of Science in Sports and Exercise Sciences
Master of Arts in Teaching

U.S. News & World Report gave the West Texas A & M University the following rankings in 2020.

#35 among Top Public Schools
#74 among Top Performers on Social Mobility
#75 among Best Regional Universities in the West

Niche.com ranked the West Texas A & M University #9 among Top Public Universities in Texas.

7. University of Central Missouri

Average Net Price: $13,098
School Type: Public University
School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as several program-specific accreditations
Acceptance Rate: 86%

The University of Central Missouri is a public university known not just for its excellent academic programs but also for being very affordable. Although about 90 percent of UCM’s students are from Missouri, they have students from almost every state as well as from about 50 countries. They offers more than 150 areas of study and about 37 graduate programs. Job placement for graduates of UCM is about 97 percent. Aspiring online students have several online master’s degree programs available.

Master of Science in Aviation Safety
Master of Science in Behavior Analysis and Therapy
Master of Science in Career and Technology Education
Master of Art in Communication – Applied Communication
Master of Art in Communication – Studies Option
Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction
Master of Science in Education in Educational Technology
Master of Science in Elementary Education in Curriculum and Instruction
Master of Science in Education in Elementary Mathematics
Master of Science in Kinesiology
Master of Science in Industrial Management

U.S. News & World Report gave the University of Central Missouri the following rankings in 2020.

#16 among Top Public Schools
#54 among Top Performers on Social Mobility
#78 among Best Regional Universities in the Midwest

Niche.com ranked the University of Central Missouri #8 among Top Public Universities in Missouri. Additionally, Princeton Review named the university as one of the “Best in the Midwest”.

8. Valdosta State University

Average Net Price: $13,098
School Type: Public University
School Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International as well as many program-specific accreditations
Acceptance Rate: 74%

Located in Valdosta, Georgia, Valdosta State University is a comprehensive university that offers a little of everything, including certificates, associate, bachelor, master and doctoral degree programs in a variety of fields of study. VSU also offers study-abroad opportunities as well as various hybrid and online programs. There is a variety of online master’s degree programs offered at Valdosta State University, including some of the following.

Master of Education in Adult and Career Education; in Curriculum and Instruction; in Education Leadership; in Elementary Education; and Health and Physical Education among many others
Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration
Master of Public Administration
Master of Arts in Teaching with focus on Special Education
Master of Library and Information Science

U.S. News & World Report ranked Valdosta State University #125 among Top Universities and #293-#381 among National Universities in 2020. VSU was also ranked among the best online schools by USNWR in 2020. Niche ranked the university #76 out of 1,407 among Best College Athletics in America and #470 out of 1,692 among Most Liberal Colleges in America.

9. Eastern Illinois University

Average Net Price: $14,146
School Type: Public University
School Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Acceptance Rate: 51.5%

Eastern Illinois University is a small public university with a student enrollment of about 7,415 students. The university, located on 320 acres, is made up of seven colleges and schools and offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs. Eastern Illinois University has an extensive list of online masters degree programs. Here are just a few of the many.

Master of Arts in Art with emphasis on Art Education or Community Arts
Master of Arts in Aging Studies
Master of Arts in History
Master of Arts in Art
Master of Arts in Political Science
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
Master of Science in Education with emphasis in Special Education or Curriculum and Instruction
Master of Business Administration with three emphasis areas
Master of Science in Human Services Program Administration

Niche ranked the Eastern Illinois University #5 among Top Public Universities in Illinois and #80 out of 431 among Best Colleges for Kinesiology and Physical Therapy in America. U.S. News & World Report gave Eastern Illinois University these rankings in 2020.

#8 among Top Public Schools
#26 among Best Colleges for Veterans
#40 among Regional Universities in the Midwest
#42 among Top Performers on Social Mobility
#43 among Best Value Schools

10. The University of Texas at Arlington

Average Net Price: $14,445
School Type: Public University
School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Acceptance Rate: 71.2%

The University of Texas at Arlington is a large research-based public university with an enrollment of more than 42,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers about 13,728 undergraduate and graduate degrees. In addition to the numerous on-campus programs, the university also offers various online master’s degree programs, including:

Master of Science in Nursing
Master of Public Administration
Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction
Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Texas at Arlington #20 in Top Performers on Social Mobility; #120 among Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs and $293-#381 among National Universities. Niche ranked the University #5 Best Online Colleges in America; #96 Best Big Colleges in America and #58 among Best Colleges for Nursing in America.

 

Sources
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