Are you looking to go back to school for a master’s degree but don’t want to break the bank? Check out our 20 affordable graduate schools listed below. Earning your master’s degree or doctoral degree is a significant investment, so you want to maximize your value.
It’s not easy finding the most affordable grad school, but we’re here to help. Review the information below to gain a better understanding of your options and the factors to consider when comparing programs.
|1. Fort Hayes State University
|University of North Georgia
|University of the Cumberlands
|University of West Georgia
|North Carolina A&T
|Greensboro, North Carolina
Here are the 20 Most Affordable Grad Schools
What Is a Graduate Program?
What is graduate school, and who should consider it? Graduate programs, pursued after completing a bachelor’s degree, offer specialized study in a particular field. Unlike undergraduate degrees, which provide a general education with some focus, graduate degrees delve deeper into specific topics, equipping students with advanced knowledge and skills. These programs are tailored to align with an individual’s educational and professional goals, often preparing them for specialized careers or licensure in their chosen field.
1. Fort Hayes State University
Fort Hays State University, located in Hays, Kansas, offers a diverse array of graduate programs across various disciplines. These include Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, Health and Behavioral Sciences, Business and Entrepreneurship, and Science and Technology. Each program has its specific focus, catering to a wide range of academic and professional interests. The university emphasizes the importance of a bachelor’s degree and a minimum GPA for admissions, alongside other program-specific requirements.
University of North Georgia
The University of North Georgia (UNG) offers a range of graduate programs, including doctoral and specialist programs, master’s degrees, and graduate-level certificates and endorsements. These programs are designed to enhance professional skills through research and practice, catering to diverse academic and career interests. UNG is known for its regional, national, and international accreditations, part-time and online program options, affordable tuition, financial assistance, and opportunities for resume-building experiences and research. The university’s commitment to student success is evident through its support services and recognition as a value-driven educational institution.
University of the Cumberlands
The University of the Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, provides a wide range of graduate programs. These programs are predominantly offered online and cover diverse fields such as Business, Counseling, Criminal Justice, Education, Health Sciences, Human Services, Information Technology, Leadership, Medical Science, and Ministry. The programs are designed to incorporate the latest research and developments, ensuring practical and modern education. The university’s focus is on providing a student-first experience, with an emphasis on accessibility and flexibility in learning formats.
University of West Georgia
The University of West Georgia offers a variety of graduate programs including Master’s, Doctoral, Specialist degrees, and Certificate programs. These programs span disciplines like Business, Education, Nursing, Psychology, and more. The university emphasizes flexibility with options for online, face-to-face, or hybrid learning formats, catering to both full-time students and working professionals. Each program is designed to advance careers and open new opportunities in various fields.
North Carolina A&T
North Carolina A&T State University offers a variety of graduate programs, including 11 doctoral degree programs, 32 master’s degree programs, and 18 graduate certificate programs. These programs cover a wide range of fields, emphasizing rigorous academics, real-world applications, and cutting-edge research. Options for online study are available in many programs, allowing for flexible learning.
West Texas A&M University
West Texas A&M University offers a diverse range of graduate programs including Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate courses. These programs cover various fields such as Accounting, Agriculture, Business, Communication, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, and more. They offer flexible learning formats including classroom-based, online, and hybrid options.
University of Montana
The University of Montana offers a comprehensive range of graduate programs, encompassing various fields of study. These programs are designed to foster innovation, imagination, and intellect, contributing to the scientific, economic, and cultural needs of the community and beyond. The university emphasizes student advocacy, diversity, research, and dynamic educational paths, including interdisciplinary programs. Located in Missoula, Montana, the university attracts a diverse student body and is committed to enriching both the academic and local communities.
New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University offers a wide range of graduate programs aimed at providing affordable access to high-quality education. The university focuses on new modes of graduate education, supporting students from diverse backgrounds to achieve success. Their mission and vision emphasize empowering students through meaningful education and dedicated faculty involvement.
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University offers a comprehensive array of graduate programs across multiple disciplines, including doctoral, master’s, and specialist degrees. The programs span fields such as Arts and Letters, Business, Education, Engineering and Computer Science, Medicine, Nursing, Science, Social Work, and Criminal Justice. Each program is designed to meet the needs of a diverse student body, with options for various learning formats and professional focus areas.
Wichita State University
Wichita State University offers a comprehensive array of graduate degrees, including Master’s, Doctorates, and various Certificate programs. Their programs span a wide range of disciplines, from Accounting to Engineering, Education, Health Sciences, and the Arts. These programs are tailored to meet the needs of diverse students, providing them with advanced education and training in their chosen fields.
University of Wyoming
The University of Wyoming offers a diverse range of graduate programs designed to cater to the academic and professional aspirations of students. These programs focus on fostering excellence and innovation, providing various options for learning, including online and on-campus formats. The university is dedicated to supporting graduate students in achieving their goals and making significant contributions in their fields.
University of Nevada – Reno
The University of Nevada, Reno offers over 150 graduate degrees and certifications, including master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs across diverse fields. These programs are tailored to ignite passion and ensure success, with varying requirements such as GRE scores.
Dakota State University
Dakota State University offers a wide range of graduate programs, focusing on areas such as Education, Business, Health Sciences, and Technology. The programs are designed to cater to the evolving needs of today’s students, emphasizing hands-on experience and industry relevance.
Arkansas State University
Arkansas State University offers a diverse range of graduate programs aimed at enriching students’ lives locally, nationally, and globally. The university’s Graduate School plays a vital role in research, teaching, and service, contributing significantly to the academic and research enterprise.
University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) offers a diverse range of graduate programs across various disciplines. These include programs in Business, Education, Health Sciences, Arts, and Sciences, among others, with options for different modes of delivery like online, accelerated, and campus-based formats. This variety caters to the specific needs and schedules of students.
California State University – Los Angeles
California State University, Los Angeles offers a wide array of graduate programs across diverse fields such as Arts, Science, Business, Engineering, Nursing, and many others. These programs cater to a range of interests and career aspirations, combining academic rigor with practical application.
Indiana University – Southeast
Indiana University Southeast offers various graduate programs, including Master’s, Specialist Degrees, Graduate Certificates, and Teaching Licenses. These programs cater to diverse fields and career goals, providing quality education with different learning formats.
East Tennessee State University
East Tennessee State University offers a variety of graduate programs including Doctoral Degrees, Master’s Degrees, Certificate Programs, and Online Programs. These programs cover a broad range of academic and professional disciplines.
CUNY – Brooklyn College
Brooklyn College offers over 60 master’s degrees, advanced certificates, and diploma programs in fields like business, education, humanities and social sciences, natural and behavioral sciences, and visual, media, and performing arts. These programs are designed to deepen knowledge and enhance career potential.
University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati offers more than 390 graduate programs, encompassing a wide range of fields from master’s and doctoral degrees to graduate certificates and artist diplomas. Their programs are designed to meet diverse academic and professional needs, fostering a comprehensive research-intensive environment.
How Much Do Graduate Schools Cost?
The cost of attending graduate school in the 2021-2022 academic year varied, with factors like the type of institution (public or private), program format (online or in-person), competitiveness, location, and program nature (clinical, practical) influencing the total expense. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost for full-time students at public postsecondary institutions was $12,596. This figure represents a broad range of educational costs.
Tips for Grad Students Looking to Save Money
When seeking affordable graduate programs, it’s important to consider these enhanced strategies.
Consider Accelerated Programs
These programs offer quicker completion, with dense course content. This approach not only saves on tuition but can also expedite your entry into the workforce, potentially leading to earlier income generation.
Join Public Research Institutions
Working as a research assistant can provide valuable experience and networking opportunities in your field, in addition to financial benefits.
Explore Financial Aid
Beyond FAFSA, investigate school-specific aid programs. Some institutions offer unique financial aid packages or discounts for alumni or in-demand fields.
Look beyond the obvious sources; some industries offer scholarships to promote diversity or to fill skill gaps. Local community organizations and foundations can also be valuable scholarship sources.
Graduate School Scholarships and Financial Aid
Even at some of the cheapest graduate schools, you may want to find alternative opportunities for lowering your costs. There are a few ways to do that.
- Complete the FAFSA to determine if you qualify for any school- or federal-student aid programs.
- Some colleges offer grants to qualified applicants.
- Ask about available scholarships from the school.
Consider a few of the grant programs that may be available for graduate education:
- TEACH Grant: This grant is for eligible students who commit to teaching a high-need subject at the elementary or secondary education level for a set period of time. Qualified individuals may receive $4,000 per year to cover the costs of a graduate degree.
- Fulbright Grants: These grants are awarded by the U.S. Department of State to help encourage international studies.
Are Online Graduate Schools More Affordable Than On-Campus?
Online graduate schools can be very affordable graduate programs for several reasons. They offer affordability and flexibility. They often cost less as they eliminate the need for on-campus residency, thereby reducing room and board expenses. Their flexibility allows students to balance work and study, mitigating income loss typically associated with full-time education. Additionally, online programs provide access to a wider range of educational opportunities nationwide, which might not be available locally. They also offer the advantage of self-paced learning, accommodating different learning styles and schedules.
Are Online Grad Degrees the Same as Traditional Grad Degrees?
Online grad degrees provide high-quality education, much like traditional grad degree programs. They differ in the format of the education, but not in the quality or type of content. To ensure you are attending an online grad degree program that meets the standards needed, look for an accredited program. Review the educational options available from several providers.
Are All Grad Schools Expensive?
The cost of obtaining a graduate degree is dependent on many factors. There are affordable graduate programs available to many students, and these programs may significantly reduce what you pay for your education. Scholarships and grants may also help to lower those costs.
All colleges and universities will provide you with a cost of education before you enroll or apply. Research the cheapest graduate schools that fit your degree and career goals.
Tips for Funding Your Graduate Degree
Pursuing a graduate degree is a significant investment in your future, but it doesn’t have to be a financial burden. There are numerous strategies to fund your education and minimize debt. Here are some effective tips to help you finance your graduate studies:
- FAFSA and Federal Aid: Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for federal loans and grants.
- Institutional Scholarships and Grants: Research scholarships and grants offered by your chosen institution. These often target specific fields or demographics.
- External Scholarships: Look for scholarships from private organizations, industry groups, and nonprofits. These can be based on merit, need, or specific criteria like field of study or background.
- Work-Study Programs: Consider work-study options, which provide part-time employment while studying.
- Assistantships: Investigate research or teaching assistantships, which often include tuition waivers or stipends.
- Employer Sponsorship: If employed, check if your employer offers tuition assistance or reimbursement for graduate studies.
- Loan Forgiveness Programs: For certain professions, especially in public service or high-need areas, loan forgiveness programs may be available after graduation.
- Budgeting and Financial Planning: Develop a budget to manage expenses and explore options for minimizing costs, like opting for digital textbooks.
- Crowdfunding and Community Support: Explore crowdfunding platforms to raise funds for your graduate studies. Present your academic goals and how the degree will benefit your career and community. Engage with local community organizations, as some may offer support for local students.
- Part-Time Enrollment: Consider enrolling part-time. This approach can reduce the immediate financial burden, allowing you to continue working full-time and spreading the cost of tuition over a longer period.