A mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree can be very expensive to get. Researching the cheapest mechanical engineering schools is a great way to find an education program that will fit your budget. Pursuing one of the cheapest mechanical engineering degrees will also reduce the financial burden of attending a higher education course and help you to start your career with little or no student debt.
This article lists the most affordable mechanical engineering schools, financial aid opportunities for mechanical engineering students, and the highest-paying mechanical engineering careers.
What Are the Most Affordable Mechanical Engineering Schools in the US?
The most affordable mechanical engineering schools in the US are Brigham Young University, Kennesaw State University, Lamar University, and Purdue University. These universities have affordable mechanical degree programs that match students’ budgets from any financial background.
How Much Do the Cheapest Mechanical Engineering Schools Cost?
The cheapest mechanical engineering schools cost between $6,120 and $11,852 per year. However, students will need to spend extra on other college costs such as books and supplies, health insurance, accommodation, and transportation.
Cheapest Mechanical Engineering Schools Costs Breakdown
- Tuition and fees. This is the most important student expense. It is the price you pay to enroll in a college. The exact cost depends on the school, the number of credit hours, and whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student.
- Accommodation. Colleges can provide accommodation and meal plans, though students can also choose to live off campus. The amount you pay for housing depends on the specific plan.
- Books. You will need to purchase books and instructional materials for your courses. However, you can reduce this cost by renting from the library or buying second-hand books.
- Health insurance. Most colleges require that students have a health insurance plan. This covers medical care that students may need during the course of their schooling.
- Personal expenses. This includes transportation, food, phone bills, laundry expenses, and anything the student normally spends money on.
Why You Should Attend a Mechanical Engineering School
You should attend a mechanical engineering school because of the wide range of mechanical engineering programs available. There are associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs that will help you learn mechanical engineering and provide you with the right mix of theoretical knowledge and practical experience you need to become a professional mechanical engineer.
Mechanical engineering schools equip students with the mathematical, problem-solving, listening, and analytical thinking skills they need for professional success in the industry.
Best Mechanical Engineering School Career Options
The best mechanical engineering school career options include instrumentation engineer, automotive engineer, and design engineer. There is a wide range of job opportunities for mechanical engineering graduates, especially in the pharmaceuticals, aeronautics, and nanotechnology industries.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), mechanical engineers have a projected job outlook of seven percent from 2020 to 2030. This translates to about 20,200 new job openings for mechanical engineers every year in the coming years.
Mechanical Engineering Salary
The average salary for a mechanical engineering graduate is $95,300 per year, according to the BLS. However, this amount depends on the experience, employer, and technical expertise of the person, in addition to the industry they have chosen. Mechanical engineers in scientific research and development services, computer and electronic product manufacturing, and agriculture have the highest annual salaries.
Can You Attend Mechanical Engineering School for Free?
No, you cannot attend a mechanical engineering school for free. However, there are free mechanical engineering online courses that teach the basics of mechanical engineering on elearning platforms such as edX, Alison, and Coursera.
Cheapest Mechanical Engineering Schools That Won’t Break the Bank
|Brigham Young University
|Kennesaw State University
|North Carolina State University
|Mississippi State University
|Oklahoma State University
|Iowa State University
|University of Houston
|Texas Tech University
What Are the Cheapest Mechanical Engineering Schools? A Deep Dive
Paying for Mechanical Engineering School With Financial Aid
Paying for a mechanical engineering school with financial aid is possible. Financial aid is money a student receives to help pay tuition and other college fees. Mechanical engineering students can obtain financial aid to alleviate the financial burden of a college education. It can come from the federal government, state government, schools, and private sources. Examples of financial aid are grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and loans.
Grants do not need to be repaid. They are usually awarded by the federal or state government. Mechanical engineering students can seek federal grant opportunities to fund their college education. Notable examples of federal grants include Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants.
Unlike grants, federal loans have to be repaid with interest. They also come with certain terms and conditions. Mechanical engineering students can seek federal loans from the US Department of Education. The four main types of federal loans include Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans.
Private loans come from banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. They are a great financial assistance option when you have exhausted federal loans. However, they have an interest rate that is typically higher than federal loans.
Work-study is a type of financial aid that allows students to work part time while enrolled in a degree program. It comes with certain conditions, such as a limit on work hours and working in a job that is related to your degree. Students can work on campus or off campus.
Just like federal grants, scholarships do not need to be repaid. Mechanical engineering students can seek scholarship opportunities from private companies, non-profit organizations, schools, and social organizations.
Best Schools For Your Area of Study
How to Apply for Federal Aid to Finance Your Mechanical Engineering School Program
You should look into how to apply for federal aid if you are trying to take advantage of financial aid opportunities. Below we’ve broken down how the financial aid application process works.
- Start planning early. You need to have a definite financial plan before you start your college education. Meet with school counselors and the financial aid office to learn about financial aid opportunities you may be eligible for.
- Fill out the FAFSA form. The most important step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This includes submitting your legal name, social security number, tax returns, and bank statements. The government and schools employ FAFSA to determine your eligibility for financial aid.
- Receive a FAFSA student aid report. This report comes a few days after filling out the FAFSA form. It restates all the information that you filled in the FAFSA form. You also have the chance to correct any errors on the form.
- Review the financial aid offer. The school will consider your FAFSA application to calculate your financial needs and financial aid eligibility. If you have admission to different colleges, you should compare the costs and the financial aid opportunities that work best for you.
- Reapply for financial aid each year. You will need to fill out the FAFSA form every year for as long as you are a student to remain eligible for financial aid.
Best Mechanical Engineering Scholarships
- ASNT Engineering Undergraduate Scholarship | Amount: $3,000. This is a cash award scholarship for undergraduate students enrolled in engineering programs who have an interest in non-destructive testing and evaluation. Students need to write an essay describing the role of NDT/NDE in their careers.
- Association for Iron and Steel Technology Steel Intern Scholarship | Amount: $7,500. This scholarship offers $7,500 and a paid internship opportunity at a North American steel-related company. It requires an online application, essay, and letter of recommendation.
- GeneTex Scholarship Program| Amount: $2,000. This scholarship supports the development of young scientists and students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in the STEM field. It is awarded twice a year.
Cheapest Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Schools
The cheapest undergraduate mechanical engineering schools are Brigham Young University, Kennesaw State University, Lamar University, Purdue University, and North Carolina State University. These universities offer mechanical engineering degrees that students can get without busting their budgets.
Most Affordable Mechanical Engineering Associate Degree Programs
- Ivy Tech Community College | Associate of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology | $149.55/credit (in state); $292.57/credit (out of state) This Ivy Tech program offers knowledge and hands-on experience in the creation and implementation of mechanical designs. Students learn about the testing and design of materials.
- Virginia Peninsula Community College | Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology | $156/credit (in state); $332.60/credit (out of state). This associate degree program teaches the application of scientific and engineering principles. Its coursework combines knowledge of math, science, engineering fundamentals, and computer-aided drawing.
- Central Texas College | Associate of Science in Engineering | $3,000/year (in state); $3,720/year (out-of-district); $7,500/year (out of state). This Central Texas College program introduces students to fundamental aspects of mechanical engineering. It prepares them for a bachelor’s degree or to become engineering technicians. It is a 60-credit program that can be completed in two years.
- Northcentral Technical College | Associate of Science in Mechanical Design Engineering Technology | $10,105 (overall cost of the program). This is a 65-credit-hour program from Northcentral Tech that teaches the design and preparation of engineering drawings for all types of machines. It covers core courses such as technical drafting, technical detailing, materials of industry, and applied mechanics.
- Seminole State College of Florida | Associate in Arts Mechanical Engineering Pathway | $3,131/semester. This is a 60-credit-hour program from Seminole State designed to provide fundamental knowledge of mathematics and science to later transfer to a bachelor’s degree. It covers general chemistry, differential equations, analytic geometry, and physics.
Most Affordable Mechanical Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Programs
- Brigham Young University | Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $453/credit (Latter-day Saints); $906/credit (non-Latter-day Saints). This program prepares students for a mechanical engineering career through a practical and open-ended engineering curriculum. It helps students gain the critical skills needed to land entry-level jobs after graduation.
- Kennesaw State University | Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $185.40/credit (in state); $654.33/credit (out of state). This program teaches foundational basic science and engineering principles and their application to design machines and devices. Students also learn computer-aided design, instrumentation, and planning and management of design projects.
- Lamar University | Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $5,293/semester (in state); $11,428/semester (out of state). This engineering degree immerses students in research, design, development, manufacturing, and testing of mechanical devices. Students gain job-ready skills to work in the automotive, aerospace, petroleum, textiles, and HVAC industries.
- Purdue University | Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $9,992/year (in state); $28,794/year (out of state). This program equips students with the practical knowledge needed to identify and solve engineering problems with mathematics and science principles. It focuses on training students to become professional engineers with a broad skillset.
- North Carolina State University | Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $9,128/year (in state); $30,869/year (out of state). This is a 126-credit-hour program covering major areas of mechanical engineering, including thermal systems, mechanical engineering design, heat transfer, and fluid dynamics.
Best Online Associate Degrees
Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees
Cheapest Graduate Schools for Mechanical Engineering
The cheapest graduate schools for mechanical engineering are Kansas State University, University of Alabama, Texas A & M University, Iowa State University, and Oklahoma State University.
Most Affordable Schools for Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering
- Kansas State University | Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $428.90/credit (in state); $959.10/credit (out of state). This program at Kansas State prepares students for careers in engineering, construction, and aviation. It covers courses such as fluid dynamics, environmental engineering, engineering analysis, and thermal systems design.
- University of Alabama | Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $635/credit (in state); $1,610/credit (out of state). This is a 30-credit program from the University of Alabama for mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree holders who want to increase their competence in the field. It covers major mechanical concepts such as mechatronics, heat transfer, control systems analysis, and fluid mechanics.
- Texas A&M University | Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering | $8,026/semester (in state); $17,558/semester (out of state). This is a 30-credit master’s degree program that teaches students how to use mathematics, science, and engineering to solve industry problems. Students can specialize in one or more areas of interest in mechanical engineering.
- Iowa State University | Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $5,286/semester (in state); $13.388/semester (out of state). This is a 30-credit program that provides a comprehensive understanding of the mechanical engineering field. It allows the student to specialize in a selected area of mechanical engineering.
- Oklahoma State University | Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering | $7,550/year (in state); $17,890/year (out of state). This is a 33-credit program that incorporates research and real-world application to train students to become expert mechanical engineers that create innovative solutions to societal problems.
Most Affordable PhDs in Mechanical Engineering Universities
- Texas Tech University | Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering | $9,518/year (in state); $17,698/year (out of state). This program provides the fundamental skills needed to take leadership positions in academia, government agencies, and industry. It involves innovative research in many areas, including renewable energy, autonomous systems, smart materials, and soft matter.
- University of Houston | Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering | $428/credit (in state); $936/credit (out of state). This program offers four research groups, including thermo-fluids, mechanics, materials, and controls. It engages students in research projects that contribute to the field.
- Mississippi State University | Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering | $514/credit. This program includes 21 hours of coursework, dissertation research, and direct study courses. It offers different areas of study such as fluid mechanics, system dynamics, thermal sciences, and energy systems.
- Southern Illinois University Carbondale | Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Science with an Emphasis in Mechanical Engineering | 14,085/year (in state); $35,213/year (out of state). This Southern Illinois University program is for students who want to pursue the highest level of knowledge in mechanical engineering. The coursework covers engineering data, engineering experiment design, and numerical methods in engineering.
- North Dakota State University | Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering | $445.89/credit (in-state); $668.83/credit (out of state). This North Dakota State University program involves research work in a variety of areas, including engineering mechanics, fatigue and fracture, fluid mechanics, controls, and mechatronics.
Best Online Master’s Degrees
Best Online PhD Programs
How to Choose a Good and Affordable Mechanical Engineering School
Attending an affordable mechanical engineering school will ensure you enjoy a high-quality education without breaking the bank. Students should consider factors such as accreditation, learning format, career services, cost, and graduation rate when choosing a mechanical engineering university.
Accreditation proves a college’s academic quality and commitment to high academic standards. It is important to ensure that a college is accredited by regional accreditation bodies. The college of engineering at a mechanical engineering school should also have accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
This depends on whether you prefer to take classes on campus or online. If you want to have the full on-campus experience, then you should choose an in-person mechanical engineering degree. But if you desire flexibility and asynchronous classes, you are better off with an online mechanical engineering program.
Before you enroll, you should find out how the school helps students achieve their goals. Career services in most schools offer internship and networking opportunities, resume reviews, interview prep, and loan counseling advice.
It is important to have a well-calculated financial plan before you enroll in a school. Ask yourself if you can afford the tuition at a particular school. You should narrow down your list of preferred schools to affordable mechanical engineering schools you can actually pay for. Remember to include possible financial aid opportunities in your calculations.
Retention Rate and Graduation Rate
When considering a mechanical engineering school, you should check out the retention rate and graduation rate. If the retention rate is low, that is a potential red flag. It is an indication that students are leaving or transferring out of the program. Also, check the graduation rate which determines how many students graduate on time.
Tips for Saving Money While Attending Mechanical Engineering School
- Have a solid plan for your degree. You should create a solid plan for the mechanical engineering program you wish to pursue before you enroll. This will help you adequately prepare and stay on top of any situation.
- Fill out the FAFSA every year. You need to fill out the FAFSA every year to remain eligible for financial aid. If you don’t fill it out, you may miss out on financial aid opportunities.
- Work during college. Starting a side hustle can help you make money which can be useful for your education. It will also teach you valuable skills such as communication, problem-solving, and business strategies.
- Apply for scholarships. There are a lot of scholarship and grant opportunities. Check online for financial aid opportunities that you may be eligible for.
- Minimize your textbook expenses. You can cut down on book and supplies expenses by buying used books or renting books.
Cheapest Online Schools for Mechanical Engineering
The cheapest online schools for mechanical engineering are University of Alabama, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Old Dominion University, University of Central Florida, and Kennesaw State University.
|University of Central Florida
|Kennesaw State University
|Old Dominion University
|$374/credit (in-state); $407/credit (out-of-state)
|University of Massachusetts-Lowell
|University of Alabama
Most Affordable Online Mechanical Engineering Bachelor’s Programs
- Indiana State University | Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology | $342/credit (in state); $738/credit (out of state). This program focuses on the design and management areas of mechanical engineering. Students learn the design of mechanical tools, machines, and products. They also learn how to manage people, systems, and resources.
- University of Alabama | Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $385/credit. This is a fully online, 126-credit degree program that teaches students to design complex machines. Students learn the various aspects of product manufacturing for a career in automotive, power generation, pulp and paper, robotics, and research industries.
- Old Dominion University | Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology | $374/credit (in state); $407/credit (out of state). This is an ABET-accredited program. It teaches core mechanical engineering courses, including thermodynamics, computer-aided statistics, and computational fluid mechanics. It offers four concentrations to choose from.
- University of Michigan-Dearborn | BSE in Mechanical Engineering| $6708/term (resident); $13,824/term (non-resident). This program is in a hybrid format. It teaches the basic principles of heat transfer, control, materials, thermodynamics, and statics and dynamics. Students gain a strong foundation in natural and physical sciences necessary for a career in engineering.
- University of Massachusetts-Lowell | Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology | 380/credit. This program offers a solid background in engineering technology. Students learn the skills to perform system design and products and device manufacturing. It prepares students for support operations roles in engineering, quality assurance, product testing, and manufacturing.
Most Affordable Online Mechanical Engineering Master’s Programs
- The University of New Mexico | Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $428.12/credit. This 34-credit program from the University of New Mexico prepares students for careers in the aerospace industry. It offers core courses in space systems engineering, such as spacecraft design, mission planning, project management, and spacecraft integration activities.
- University of Central Florida | Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $327.32/credit (in state); $1,151.72/credit (out of state). This 30-credit program is for mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree holders who want to increase their expertise in the field. It offers two tracks, including mechanical systems and thermo-fluids.
- Texas Tech University | Master of Mechanical Engineering | $403/credit (in state); $353/semester (out of state). This is a 36-credit program. It offers two specializations: materials and mechanics and design. Students can also choose between the report option and the course-only option.
- Old Dominion University | Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $595/credit. This program provides advanced knowledge in computer-aided design and manufacturing engineering. It focuses on employing product lifecycle management for a collaborative data environment. Its coursework includes advanced engineering thermodynamics, robot automation, and mechanics of composite structures.
- Kennesaw State University | Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $383/credit. This program was specifically designed to meet the needs of working professionals in the study of mechanical engineering. Its coursework consists of 30 credit hours of general mechanical engineering courses and graduate-level electives, including solid mechanics, dynamics and vibration, and computational mechanics.
Will Attending an Online Mechanical Engineering School Save Me Money?
Yes, attending an online mechanical engineering school will save you money. By taking your classes online, you are spared from schooling costs such as accommodation on campus, transportation, feeding, and other campus costs. You will also spend less on tuition because you won’t have to pay for building maintenance, classroom accessories, and other necessities that are included in on-campus tuition.
Benefits of Online Mechanical Engineering Programs
- Lower costs for the same degree. If you are looking to save money on the cost of tuition, you should consider earning your degree online. There is no distinction between an in-person mechanical engineering degree and an online mechanical engineering degree. The course content and career outcomes are the same.
- Flexibility. Online mechanical engineering degrees offer more flexibility than on-campus programs. You can customize classes to fit your schedule. This makes it an ideal option for working professionals.
- Accessibility. Anyone, regardless of location, can enroll in an online mechanical engineering school. Online students can easily open their laptops and take online classes straight from the comfort of their homes.
- New skill development. Online programs aid the development of important skills such as self-discipline, task management, technology know-how of online learning tools, and communication.
- Remote opportunities. An online mechanical school connects students to people from different parts of the world. This allows you to explore remote opportunities that are outside your current location.
Highest-Paying Mechanical Engineering Careers
|Mechanical Engineering Job
|Mechanical Engineering Degree
|Senior Mechanical Engineer
|Research and Development Engineer
|Mechanical Design Engineer
Best Mechanical Engineering Jobs Explained
The best mechanical engineering careers are senior mechanical engineer, instrumentation engineer, automotive engineer, research and development engineer, and mechanical design engineer.
Mechanical Engineering Schools Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Most Affordable Mechanical Engineering Schools
We chose the most affordable mechanical engineering colleges based on tuition and general costs information from the schools’ official websites, the US Department of Education’s database of accredited schools, and the US Department of Education’s College Scorecard tool.
Additional Reading About Mechanical Engineering
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Cheapest Mechanical Engineering Schools FAQ
Yes, a degree in mechanical engineering is worth it because it offers the required training, knowledge, and expertise that students need to become experienced professionals. Students with a mechanical engineering degree can pursue different types of engineering careers in the industry.
A mechanical engineering degree leads to high-paying roles in many industries. Graduates can work in aerospace, automotive, biomedical, construction, manufacturing, power, and railway industries.
Yes, you can get an engineering degree online. Online engineering degrees have a lower average cost than in-person degrees.
It takes four years to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and learn the fundamental technical knowledge required to practice as a mechanical engineer.
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