Online MBAs have been proliferating in recent years, and understandably so. Many are self-paced, meaning busy MBA students, who are often working full-time and sometimes supporting families as well, can earn their online MBAs when it best suits their schedule. Another benefit is cost—a good thing for a business expert to evaluate. Most of the online MBAs listed below are both accredited, whether nationally, regionally or as online-only programs, and they cost less than $12,000.
Featured Top-ranked Programs
Ranking the Top 10 Best Affordable Online MBA Programs 2013
10. Grantham University
Executive summary: This Kansas-based university is renowned as an excellent place for military professionals and veterans to study. A large university, Grantham offers good networking opportunities, even for those studying via distance courses.
Unique features: Grantham University has been accredited as a distance-learning institution since 1961. A well-known university with more than 13,500 students, Grantham has dozens of government agencies and companies reimbursing students for tuition.
9. University of North Dakota
Executive summary: The University of North Dakota offers in-state tuition for state residents and non-residents alike, an excellent deal for those interested in studying at an accredited state school.
Unique features: An emphasis on problem-solving, strategy and decision-making makes this a good online MBA for administrators and those working in public service. Once a week, students must ‘attend’ a live webcast class.
8. California Coast University
Executive summary: California Coast University has enabled distance learning since being founded in 1973. Today, the California Coast University online MBA enables interest-free payment plans for tuition, offers academic credit for work experience and also provides a library for renting textbooks.
Unique features: Self-paced courses and the ability to use prior work experience as credit makes this a very flexible online MBA. Service members and their immediate families also receive a discount.
7. Aspen University
Executive summary: Aspen University, founded in 1987, is an online-only university with seven unique degree programs. This university is under the umbrella of a series of companies now run by the controversial and brilliant Michael Milken, a trader who gained notoriety in the 1980s, and who has gone on to be a most successful businessperson in the broader sense.
Tuition: $8,100 (under prepayment plan)
Unique features: The Aspen University online MBA is geared for global business skill development, with a focus on creative thinking and decision-making that takes political and social components into account. Team-building and communication are also emphasized.
6. Amberton University
Executive summary: A Christian university that accepts students of all denominations and faiths, Amberton University has a special focus on students who are older than 21 years of age, including those with families and who work full-time.
Unique features: Online courses are the same ones taught in the resident facility. All students must be fluent English-speakers. Students can access books at the university’s virtual bookstore. MBAs in project management, management, general business and strategic leadership are available.
5. Southeast Missouri State University
Executive summary: Founded in 1873, Southeast Missouri State University teaches in more than 200 specialized areas of study. In addition to an MBA, students can earn an MA in business.
Tuition: Missouri residents pay $8,000, while non-residents are charged $14,173
Unique features: A self-paced program, the Southeast Missouri State online MBA offers a wide range of electives, enabling students to earn a well-rounded education in their chosen subfield of study. A core strength of the university is the field of management, specifically, learning to work well with others, honing decision-making skills, learning different management methodologies and effectively applying various methods as situations call for them.
4. Wayne State College
Executive summary: Located in northeast Nebraska, Wayne State College offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in business, and its MBA is one of the better deals around for residents. The Wayne State online MBA is available to anyone in the world for a very affordable flat fee.
Unique features: The Wayne State online MBA maintains a low faculty-staff-student ratio, and transmits Wayne’s focus on community and development to a much wider audience. The Wayne State College online MBA is a good fit for those seeking a well-rounded business education, with a high-level overview of all the working parts of mastery in business.
3. Heriot-Watt University
Executive summary: Based in Scotland, Heriot-Watt is a research-centric university that was founded in 1821. It is a popular MBA in global circles. It is also a very cost-efficient MBA, especially given its international prestige. The school also has campuses in Orkney, Dubai and Malaysia.
Unique features: Entirely self-paced, this course lets you take exams on your own schedule. The online MBA is also offered in several different languages. It has a global focus, and is recognized around the world as a valid and well-known MBA degree. Notable alumni of Heriot-Watt include the former CEO of Barclays Private Equity and the founder of Kinron Gold Corporation.
2. Chadron State College
Executive summary: This state college of Nebraska was founded towards the end of the 19th century. A small school, Chadron State has approximately 3,000 students studying at its physical campus.
Unique features: Unlike some other MBA programs, the Chadron State College online MBA only requires 24 credit hours (or more) for completion. It is specifically geared towards managers who are either mid-level or in some kind of supervisory role.
1. New Charter University
Executive summary: The New Charter University, formerly Andrew Jackson University, was founded in 1994 and adopted an online-only education model in 2006. Its innovative technology, combined with an emphasis on skills, makes it a good option for those with some work experience.
Unique features: Student progress is measured by competency in the subject matter rather than time spent studying material. Exams are proctored—students must take their tests in front of webcams. Once students show that they have earned the appropriate skills, they may progress more quickly in earning their online MBA.