As the demand for MBAs has risen in the marketplace, so has their cost. Students can pay upwards $150,000 or more for a traditional campus-based MBA program from an elite school like Columbia or Penn. And this doesn’t even include the hidden costs of earning a traditional MBA, such as loss of earnings and potential career advancement during the 2-3 years spent earning the degree.
Featured Top-ranked Programs
The Advantages of Online MBA Programs
An increasing number of business students choose to enroll in online and distance MBA programs every year. The flexibility of online MBA programs offers numerous benefits to working students. In addition to maintaining their income and career paths, distance MBA students enjoy being able to spend more time with their families and avoid the stress and cost associated with moving to another location.
The Costs of Online MBA Programs
But while distance MBA programs may come with lower overall costs than their campus-based counterparts, they can still take a big bite out of a student’s pocketbook and leave them burdened with heavy debt. When all is said and done students can spend $100,000 or more on some online MBA programs. In order to save money on tuition, some students simply look for the cheapest online MBA program they can find. But this decision can come with its own hidden costs if the program lacks the accreditation or reputation to make an impression on the job market.
Ranking the Best Value Online MBA Programs 2013
In order to help prospective online MBA students navigate this dilemma we decided to do the research and find out which online MBA programs offer students the best value. The result is Business MBA’s Top 25 Best Value Online MBA ranking. All of the schools on the list are top-rated AACSB or regionally accredited business schools and offer an online MBA program at a relatively affordable cost. There are more prestigious online business schools out there, and cheaper online MBAs, but we’re confident that the combination of high quality and low cost offered by the programs on our list give students looking to get the biggest bang for their MBA buck a great place to start their search.
Note: all tuition costs quoted are for the 2011-2012 academic year as published by each school.
#1. Arizona State University (W.P. Carey School of Business)
Arizona State University’s W.P.Carey School of Business is ranked among the top 20 business schools in the United States by several business publications and enjoys a global reputation for excellence and innovation.
Program: The ASU Online MBA is an AACSB accredited distance MBA program. The program is 48 credit hours long and can be completed in two years. Multiple fields of specialization are offered.
Cost: $53,200 for tuition and fees. Financial aid available.
#2. University of Texas at Dallas (Jindal School of Management)
Located in the business hub of one of the most business friendly states in the Union, the Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas makes most every list of top American business schools.
Program: UT-Dallas offers their AACSB accredited Professional MBA Online on a part-time basis. The entire program is 54 credit hours and self-paced, with the opportunity for students to craft their own specialization.
Cost: $45,000 for tuition and fees. Financial aid available.
#3. University of Florida (Hough Graduate School of Business)
There are four Florida schools on our list, but the Hough Graduate School of Business at the University of Florida outshines its statewide (and most of its nationwide) competitors when it comes to reputation and prestige.
Program: The University of Florida offers its AACSB accredited Internet MBA as either a one-year or a two-year program. All students are required to make a trip to campus each term to meet with faculty and other students.
Cost: $46,000 (1 yr.)/$52,500 (2 yr.) for tuition. Financial aid available.
#4. University of Massachusetts (Isenberg School of Management)
The Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts rates among the top business schools in the country and is backed by the reputation and resources of one of the premier public university systems in the world.
Program: The Isenberg Online MBA through UMassOnline is an AACSB accredited distance MBA that can be completed in as little as two and a half years. Students may take up to two courses before deciding whether to enroll in the program.
Cost: $27,750 for tuition. Financial aid available.
#5. Auburn University (College of Business)
Auburn University’s College of Business has been rising in national and international reputation, recently moving into the top 25 on U.S. News & World Report’s business school rankings.
Program: Auburn University’s Distance Learning MBA is a 36 credit hour AACSB accredited program normally completed in 2.5 to 3 years. All students are required to complete one 5-day on-campus residency prior to graduation.
Cost: $26,064 for tuition. Financial aid available.
#6. Florida State University (College of Business)
Florida State University’s College of Business has established itself as one of the leading public university business schools in the country, ranking especially high in graduate job placement and minority graduation.
Program: The Florida State University Online MBA is a 39 credit hour AACSB accredited program that can be completed in a little over two years. Specializations are offered in Marketing, Management Information Systems, Real Estate, and Risk Management and Insurance. No travel is required.
Cost: $28,350 for tuition. Financial aid available.
#7. Oklahoma State University (Spears School of Business)
Established in 1904, the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University has a long track-record of excellence and innovation in business education, evidenced by its high rankings in multiple publications every year.
Program:The Oklahoma State University Distance Learning MBA is an AACSB accredited online MBA offered in a part-time format. The program requires 36-48 credit hours to complete. No travel is required.
Cost: $14,000 (OK residents)/$37,000 (OK non-residents) for tuition. Financial aid available.
#8. Washington State University (College of Business)
Few business schools can match Washington State University’s College of Business’s combination of national rankings and online business education experience, which goes back over twenty years.
Program: The WSU Online MBA is an AACSB accredited program that can be completed in two years. All students are required to complete a full business plan prior to graduation. No travel is required.
Cost: $29,250 for tuition and fees. Financial aid available.
#9. Florida International University (Chapman Graduate School of Business)
Among the highest ranked international business schools in the country, Florida International University’s Chapman Graduate School of Business enjoys an outstanding reputation for entrepreneurship and minority achievement.
Program: Florida International University’s Online Corporate MBA is an AACSB accredited accelerated program that can be completed in as little as 18 months on a part-time basis. No travel is required and students journey together through the program with a cohort of their peers.
Cost: $37,500 for tuition and fees. Financial aid available.
#10. Quinnipiac University (School of Business)
An up-and-coming school recognized for significant recent investment and advances in academics and facilities, Quinnipiac University has built an already highly regarded business schools with an even brighter future.
Program: Quinnipiac University’s 46 credit hour online MBA program is AACSB accredited. Students can choose from several different concentrations. No travel is required.
Cost: $39,330 for tuition. Financial aid available.
#11. Saint Joseph’s University (Haub School of Business)
The largest Jesuit business school in the country, Saint Joseph’s University’s Erivan K. Haub School of Business has earned top rankings from all the major business publications for both its undergraduate and graduate business degree programs.
Program: The Online Professional MBA at Saint Joseph’s University is a 53 credit hour AACSB accredited program. Students may transfer up to 20 hours of previously earned credits into the program. Several different concentrations are offered with even more to come soon. No travel required.
Cost: $45,898 for full 53 credit hours. Financial aid available.
#12. Colorado State University (College of Business)
The Colorado State University College of Business has established itself as an innovative and creative leader in business education, as well as one of the most family and environmentally friendly business schools in the country.
Program: The Online Professional MBA from Colorado State University is a 40 credit hour AACSB accredited program flexible enough to be completed in as little as 21 months or as long as five years. Certifications are offered in Finance, CIS and Federal Financial Management. No travel is required, though an optional international business trip is offered.
Cost: $31,020 to $31,800 covers tuition and fees. Financial aid available.
#13. Michigan Technological University (School of Business & Economics)
The nationally ranked School of Business and Economics at Michigan Technological University is known for its commitment to the business of technology as well as the technology of business education.
Program: MTU’s Tech MBA Online is an AACSB accredited online MBA program that can be completed in two years. The unique program focuses on the integration of technology and business. Some travel is required for summer residencies.
Cost: $41,000 covers tuition as well as room and board for residencies. Financial aid available.
#14. University of Scranton (Kania School of Business)
The largest Jesuit school of business, Scranton University’s nationally ranked Kania School of Business offers a top-notch business education rooted in the Catholic tradition of ethical reflection.
Program: The Online MBA Degree at the University of Scranton is an AACSB accredited program requiring a minimum of 36 credit hours for completion. Special concentration are offered in Enterprise Resource Planning, Healthcare Management and Operations Management. No travel required.
Cost: $30,312 covers tuition and fees for 36 credit hours. Financial aid available.
#15. University System of Georgia
Bringing together a consortium six different AACSB accredited schools, the University System of Georgia has put its substantial resources and reputation as one of the best public university systems in the country behind an effort to make a quality business education available to all.
Program: The Georgia WebMBA is a 30 credit hour AACSB accredited online MBA program that can be completed in two and a half years. All students are required to attend a two-day orientation class in Atlanta, GA prior to starting the program.
Cost: $20,100 covers tuition and fees.
#16. University of Memphis (Fogelman College of Business & Economics)
Students at the nationally ranked Fogelman College of Business & Economics at the University of Memphis benefit from the school’s relationships with a number of major corporations and a commitment to nurturing new start-up companies.
Program: The University of Memphis Online MBA Program is 33 credit hour AACSB accredited program with no prerequisites. Classes are taught by the same faculty as the campus-based MBA programs. One three-day, on-campus residency is required.
Cost: $17,556 (TN residents)/$20,889 (non-residents) covers tuition and fees. Financial aid available.
#17. Mississippi State University (College of Business)
Mississippi State University is a nationally ranked public university and its College of Business is frequently recognized for its commitment to affordability and value.
Program: The Mississippi State University Online Distance MBA is a 30 credit hour AACSB accredited program that can be completed in 18 months to two years. Minors are offered in Business Information Systems, Geographic Information Systems, Forestry and Finance. No travel required.
Cost: $15,645 covers tuition. Financial aid available.
#18. University of North Texas (College of Business)
The University of North Texas is a top ranked public university with one of the largest business schools in the country recognized for its strengths in management education and tuition value.
Program: UNT’s online MBA is a 54 credit hour AACSB accredited online degree program. Concentrations are offered in Marketing, Strategic Management and Health Services Management. Some classes may require travel for proctored examinations.
Cost: $28,890 (TX residents)/$45,792 (non-residents) covers tuition and fees. Financial aid available.
#19. Texas A&M University-Commerce (College of Business & Technology)
Texas A&M University-Commerce is one of the oldest public universities in the country and its College of Business & Technology has received several awards and accolades for its online business degrees.
Program: TAMU-Commerce’s online MBA is an AACSB accredited degree program. The program ranges from 30-48 credit hours depending on the prerequisites required. Students may also transfer in a limited number of prior credits. Students may choose to mix their online courses with campus-based courses, but may complete the whole program online.
Cost: $21,216 (TX residents)/$36,240 (non-residents) covers tuition for 48 credit hours. Financial aid available.
#20. University of Texas Online Consortium (UTOC)
The highly respected and heavily resourced University of Texas System brought together six AACSB accredited business schools within its system to provide students the opportunity to earn a top-notch business degree at a distance.
Program: The UTOC MBA Online is an AACSB accredited program. The exact curriculum and number of credit hours required depends on which UTOC university a student chooses to enroll in. No travel or campus visits required.
Cost: Tuition varies based on which university student enrolls in but averages around $14,000 (TX resident)/$36,000 (non-resident). Financial aid available.
#21. Wisconsin Online Consortium
One of the largest and most prestigious university systems in the country, the University of Wisconsin System brings together four of its AACSB accredited business schools to offer a flexible, affordable business education available to all.
Program: The University of Wisconsin Consortium MBA is a 30 credit hour AACSB accredited program. Some students may be required to complete the online Foundation Program to prepare them for graduate level business work. Electives are offered in Accounting & Finance, Healthcare, IT, Management and Marketing. No travel required.
Cost: $20,250 covers tuition and fees. Financial aid available.
#22. Saint Leo University (Donald R. Tapia School of Business)
With brand new multi-million dollar business school facilities funded by and named after a graduate of their online MBA program, the nationally ranked Saint Leo University has demonstrated a serious commitment to business education and results that are hard to argue with.
Program: Saint Leo University’s Online MBA is a 36 credit hour IACBE accredited program with flexible scheduling allowing students to take anywhere from one to five years to graduate. Multiple concentrations are offered. No travel required. On-campus graduation ceremony is optional.
Cost: $22,760 covers tuition. Financial aid available.
#23. University of Maryland University College (Graduate School of Management & Technology)
Just about every major distance education organization has recognized the University of Maryland University College’s pioneering online MBA program with some kind of award for its quality and distinction.
Program: UMUC’s online MBA is a 42 credit hour IACBE accredited online program offered in one-year and two-year formats. Several dual MBA degree programs are offered as well. Students complete the program in the company of a cohort group. No travel is required.
Cost: $29,148 covers tuition and fees. Financial aid available.
#24. Regis University (College for Professional Studies)
Regis University is small Catholic university that has emerged as a leader in online education, receiving multiple rankings and awards for the value-centered online degree programs offered through its College for Professional Studies.
Program: Regis University’s online MBA degree is a 36 credit hour regionally accredite program that can be completed online, on-campus or in a blended format. Multiple concentrations are offered. Class sizes are intentionally kept small (15 student maximum). No travel required.
Cost: $29,160 covers tuition. Financial aid available.
#25. Liberty University Online
The largest Evangelical Christian university in the world, Liberty University has the majority of its students completing degrees online, including their online MBA program designed for students interested in understanding how faith informs business.
Program: Liberty University’s regionally accredited online MBA program is a 45 credit hour program designed to be completed on a full-time basis. Multiple specializations are offered. Students may receive credit for life experience and previous college-level work. No travel required.
Cost: $19,710 covers tuition. Financial aid available.
Also make sure to check out our ranking of the 10 best online MBA programs overall.