Earning a master’s degree is an excellent professional move, as it provides you with opportunities for higher earning potential and career growth. While all master’s degree programs are challenging due to their academic demands, steep tuition fees often deter potential students from enrolling. This is where our list of the cheapest online master’s programs can help.
This article shares the most affordable online master’s degree programs you should attend in 2022 to take that first step towards your career goals. Continue reading if you want to take control of your life, career, and finances, and earn a postgraduate degree from one of the best online master’s programs.
How Much Does the Cheapest Online Masters Cost?
The tuition cost for an online master’s varies depending on the school and program. However, online learning is cheaper than traditional learning. To understand the scope of cost for your program, there are four key components you must calculate. Below is a breakdown of some of the expenses you should consider when enrolling in any online programs.
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Cheapest Online Masters Costs Breakdown
- Tuition fees. Tuition prices for online master’s programs vary greatly based on a number of factors. One major factor is the in-state vs out-of-state consideration, where tuition is higher if the student is out-of-state. The cost also depends on your preferred course and whether or not you’re in a private or public institution.
- Textbooks. Textbooks are expensive, with the average price of textbooks costing $1,240 per year. To save on these costs, most students use ebooks, apply for scholarships, look for discounts, or buy second-hand books.
- University fees. Various fees also apply, such as application, graduation, and thesis fees. The average application fee is around $100, while graduation and miscellaneous fees vary depending on course requirements and the institution.
- Technology costs. Enrolling in an online program means you need to have the minimum requirements including an Internet connection, a laptop, and other necessary devices to make online learning possible.
Why You Should Attend a Cheap Online Masters Program
The biggest advantage of attending an affordable master’s program is the cheaper tuition and miscellaneous fees. In online degree programs, you can save on transportation and gas fees, food, and lodging. Even learning materials are cheaper because of digital options.
You should choose an online program because it carries the same repute and value as traditional on-campus schooling at a lesser cost. Online master’s degree programs are tailored for working professionals. Class schedules are held after work hours or during the weekend for easier scheduling and time management.
Best Online Masters Career Options
The most in-demand master’s course, a Master of Business Administration (MBA), can land you a high-paying job. Alternatively, master’s programs like healthcare administration, engineering, and information technology (IT) courses are great for lucrative career paths. Still, the best master’s degree course is the one that is in line with your field of study and expertise.
Job opportunities requiring a master’s degree are growing. A bachelor’s degree used to be the minimum requirement for obtaining a good career, but with tougher competition in the job market, a master’s degree seems to be the qualification employers are now looking for.
Online Master’s Degree Salary
Earning a master’s degree, whether in-person or online, increases your chances of landing a high-paying job. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, holders of a master’s degree earn a median annual salary of $70,000. It also opens you up to promotions and leadership opportunities which typically pay a higher salary than jobs in which a lesser educational background is required.
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Can You Attend an Online Master’s Program for Free?
No, you cannot attend an online master’s program for free. Public schools, private schools, or online schools require some form of tuition. However, you can consider applying for a scholarship or fellowship from programs like Foreign Fullbright Student Program, Humphrey Fellowship Program, or colleges and universities with scholarships.
Some companies offer employee benefits packages regarding higher education, where they may reimburse the tuition fees as long as you maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) and are consistent in school rankings. In special cases for people who work at a college or university, the institution may offer tuition fee remissions.
Cheapest Online Master’s Programs That Won’t Break the Bank
|School||In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||Graduation Rate|
|Eastern Illinois University||$8,875||$11,045||53%|
|Fort Hays State University||$3,990||$14,070||43%|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||$10,258||$31,370||90%|
|Missouri State University – Springfield||$6,540||$14,850||56%|
|Oklahoma State University||$5,366||$20,877||61.3%|
|Sam Houston State University||$5,856||$8,536||64.6%|
|Southeast Missouri State University||$6,606||$12,636||50.9%|
|Texas A&M University – Kingsville||$4,801||$18,191||81.9%|
|Valdosta State University||$4,371||$15,426||40%|
What Is the Cheapest Online Masters?
Eastern Illinois University
Eastern Illinois University is a public school offering online degrees at an estimated $3,438 per full year depending on the degree program. They offer online master’s degree programs in public administration, master of arts, and biological sciences. Prospective students can inquire about financial aid and Federal Direct Student Loans.
Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays University offers a free application for Federal Student Aid, grants, loans, scholarships, and military education benefits. They offer online degree programs in fields of fine arts, history, communication, and special education. You can contact Fort Hays Financial Assistance Office to inquire about tuition financing options.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia State University in Atlanta is a research institution that offers several online courses in the field of elementary education, special education, and IT. They offer graduate students federal financial aid and accept outside scholarships. You can also inquire about Cashcourse, a financial education resource for on-campus and online students.
Lamar University offers an online option for master’s degree programs in fields of business, political science, education, nursing, and health sciences. They offer scholarships and federal financial aid to both online students and on-campus students.
Missouri State University – Springfield
Missouri State University is a public school offering online graduate programs in education, cyber security, business, social work, IT, nursing, and history. For graduate education, they offer financial services through scholarships, loans, grants, and graduate assistantships.
Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma State is a research university offering online master’s degrees in healthcare, education, engineering, forensic sciences, and aviation. They offer a block rate model of tuition payment that encourages an online graduate student to enroll in 15 credit hours per semester, which costs the same as those taking only 12 hours.
Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University is a public university located in Texas that offers online master’s degrees in the fields of business, banking, communication studies, criminal justice, and digital forensics. They offer student financial aid through FAFSA and scholarships.
Southeast Missouri State University
Southeast Missouri State University is a public school that offers online graduate programs and degrees in education, healthcare, human resources, criminal justice, accounting, and computer science. The school offers free tuition for eligible online students through the Copper Dome scholarship.
Texas A&M University – Kingsville
Texas A&M University offers master’s programs in education, arts, healthcare, engineering, science, and philosophy. Their Office of Student Financial Aid offers a combination of grants, loans, scholarships, waivers, and work-study.
Valdosta State University
Valdosta State University is a public school in Georgia offering affordable master’s programs online in healthcare, criminal justice, education, and business management. The Office of Financial Aid offers several tuition financing options including grants, scholarships, veteran benefits, loans, and work-study.
Options to Help Pay for the Best Online Masters
There are three main options to help pay for the best online master’s. Prospective students should consult with each online school to inquire about their rates. Below is a detailed look at financial aid options to consider for the most affordable online master’s.
Grants and Scholarships
Almost every learning institution offers grants and scholarship programs these days, but it’s not always a guarantee that you will receive full funding. A major requirement is typically grade consistencies and academic excellence. Check out the lists of scholarships for IT and business-related courses as there are a lot of full-funding options in these fields of study.
Public and Private Student Loans
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most common type of public student loan, provided by the US government. It is available in almost every university, online college, and educational institution. Private loans are funded by privately-owned institutions such as banks and credit unions.
An assistantship is a special position granted to an enrolled graduate student. This position is along the same lines as a student or research assistant. In exchange for work, the student is given a wage or a stipend to help pay their tuition and school fees.
Tips for Saving Money While Attending Online Masters Programs
- Work while studying. Online learners have the advantage of choosing their study time. With proper time management, they will still be able to keep their jobs while earning their postgraduate degree.
- Check eligibility for tax deductions. Look into the IRS Tax Benefits for Education website to see which tax deductions are applicable to you. You can claim education credits as long as you are enrolled in an eligible institution.
- Use digital textbooks. The advantage of online courses is that most of the learning materials can be sourced digitally. Look for second-hand books, ebooks, or digital alternatives to save on textbooks.
- Choose the right program. Online graduate degree students have the advantage of choosing a part-time study schedule to manage time between work. If you prefer to finish the online classes as fast as possible, you can look into one-year MBA accelerated programs.
- Choose affordable master’s schools. Prospective students can save money by choosing affordable online schools located within their state. Check for in-state affordable tuition rate discounts if the school offers them.
Find the Online Masters That’s Right for You
There are many online options for earning an advanced degree in graduate school, which means that there is an option out there that is right for you. Based on your area of expertise, choose the program that will help in career advancement.
If you’re worried about expenses but eagerly want to finish a master’s program, then you’re in luck because our list of the most affordable online master’s degree programs will give you that opportunity. Choose the school that stands out most to you and graduate from one of the best online master’s universities in the country.
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Cheapest Online Masters FAQ
A master’s degree will generally take two years for a full-time student. Degree courses have different required courses and credit hours, which can play a factor in how long it will take to finish. Other factors include an application for transfer credits, or whether you enroll in a part-time or full-time online program option.
Yes, master’s or bachelor’s degrees earned through a hybrid format or an online format from a reputable school are respected by employers. Employers typically only look into the quality of education and school rankings. Online learning is gaining popularity in the digital age so distance learners are seen as versatile and self-motivated people.
You can finish a master’s degree in one year if you apply for an accelerated master’s program. This program provides undergraduate degree students an option to simultaneously earn their master’s degree. However, this option is not always offered in online graduate schools and there are courses you need to take in undergraduate studies before you’re eligible.
Yes, being enrolled in an educational institution generally categorizes you as a student. Students enrolled in an online graduate program, whether it’s a master’s or doctoral program, are also given the same privileges and discounts as any other student.
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