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 most 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||1. Fort Hayes State University||Hays, Kansas|
|2||West Texas A&M University||Canyon, Texas|
|3||University of North Georgia||Dahlonega, Georgia|
|4||University of Wyoming||Laramie, Wyoming|
|5||University of Montana||Missoula, Montana|
Here are the 20 Most Affordable Grad Schools
1. Fort Hayes State University
Located in Hayes, Kansas, FHSU is one of the best values in higher education today. It offers many programs both online and on-campus, so it is incredibly flexible for people in all stages of life and their careers. Programs include History, Business, Speech Language Pathology, and many others. Check out their programs today.
West Texas A&M University
You would be hard pressed to match both the cost and the quality of graduate education offered by West Texas A&M. WTAMU has more than 30 graduate programs, including 2 doctoral programs, on offer.
University of North Georgia
UNG is a regional multi-campus institution and premier senior military college that offers a diverse selection of graduate programs. Study Public Administration, Accountancy, Cyber Security, Nursing, teaching, and more.
University of Wyoming
Our first entry from Big Sky country! Become a Cowboy today by enrolling at the University of Wyoming Graduate School. Study Atmospheric Science, Food Science & Human Nutrition, Soil Science, Statistics, or check out all their other offerings online today.
University of Montana
Wyoming and Montana not only share some beautiful scenery, but also affordable and well-respected universities! At the University of Montana, you enjoy a great value for your dollar. Not only will you receive an excellent education, but you can count on a return on your investment!
University of West Georgia
Another university in Georgia, but we cannot help that they are a great quality choice! UWG has a diverse graduate courses, offered online and in-person, to help you on your path to an advanced degree.
University of Nevada – Reno
Just a stone’s throw from beautiful Lake Tahoe, the University of Nevada-Reno is a great place to earn your graduate degree, either in person or online. They have programs in over 80 different disciplines with several programs being nationally ranked. The University is classified as a Carnegie R1 institution which shows the very high level of research activity.
Arkansas State University
Arkansas State University offers low-cost, high-quality graduate education that is flexible enough for anyone’s life! Based in Jonesboro, this thriving campus is an ideal place to spend a few years, if you are pursuing your degree in person. Sticking to online? No problem! ASU offers plenty of online degrees, as well.
East Tennessee State University
Nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, ETSU is a highly-respected part of the Tennessee University system with the graduate programs to match their reputation! Get your graduate degree in Allied Health, Clinical Nutrition, Human Services, and Sports Management, to name just a few!
University of the Cumberlands
This beautiful college is home to an entirely-online graduate school with unique and affordable programs. Earn you degree from University of the Cumberlands in Coaching, Digital Forensics, Business Administration, and much more. Get online and check their website out today.
Wichita State University
Based out of one the largest cities in Kansas, Wichita State University is a fantastic university with comprehensive online and in-person graduate programs. There are many degrees offered and the strong online offerings make this an ideal institution for working professionals and parents.
Dakota State University
Whether you are looking to earn an MBA, Masters of Computer Science, or Masters in Cyber Defense (to name just a few!), look into Dakota State University. DSU prides itself on helping students achieve their best by offering world-class programs at an excellent price.
Indiana University – Southeast
Indiana University – Southeast is one of best campuses within the IU system! Located in New Albany, IUS offers graduate degrees in Mental Health Counseling, Nursing, Liberal Studies, Strategic Finance, and Business, and more!
New Mexico State University
Earn your graduate degree at New Mexico State today! We put NMSU on our list because of its expansive graduate program offerings, almost all of which can be earned online. Choose from Wildlife Sciences, Physics, Kinesiology, Finance, Family and Consumer Science, Criminal Justice, Communication Studies, and many more programs. Affordable, quality education that is definitely offers a great return on investment.
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University is not just located in beautiful Boca Raton, but it also happens to be one of the cheapest graduate schools on our list! How about that for a wonderful combination? FAU offers degrees in the departments of Computer Science, Nursing, Multicultural Education, to just name a few. Whether you want to move to the beach or are more interested in moving to the beach — FAU is an excellent destination for your graduate education.
CUNY – Brooklyn College
Brooklyn College is one of the pillars of the CUNY system. It is an incredible well-respected institution with lots to offer potential graduate students. CUNY-Brooklyn College offers 74 graduate programs to date, meaning there’s a course of study for just about anyone. Notably, they offer several graduate degrees for K-12 educators and plenty of MFA degrees for those of you who have always wanted to pursue your creative side!
California State University – Los Angeles
Whether you plan on attending class online or want to move out to sunny Los Angeles, Cal State-LA has you covered in terms of affordability and quality of education. Similar to some of the programs offered at CUNY – Brooklyn, CSU-LA has many creative degree options, but that is not all! You can also earn a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering, Special Education, Information Systems, Spanish, and Nursing!
North Carolina A&T
Based out of Greensboro, North Carolina A&T offers affordable graduate education across several different programs. You can study Adult Education, Applied Mathematics, Bioengineering, Food and Nutritional Sciences, or Social Work. Whatever your goals, NC A&T probably has a program that matches your ambitions.
University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley
UT-Rio Grande Valley boasts a huge catalog of graduate programs, from doctoral programs to masters degrees to graduate certificates. This includes several accelerated online programs, with classes lasting just 7 weeks! Some of the programs available for accelerated study include Accountancy, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Social Work.
University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati is one of the nation’s best value universities across the board, so no surprise it ended up on our list. From Chemistry to Classics to Computer Science to Geology, UC offers a comprehensive catalog of programs that fit your ambitions.
What Is a Graduate Program?
What is graduate school, and who should consider it? Graduate programs are academic degrees obtained after earning a bachelor’s degree. They provide a more in-depth examination of a specific topic or area of study. While an undergraduate degree, such as a bachelor’s degree, is typically a general education program with some focus, graduate degree programs tend to be very specifically targeted to provide students with knowledge and skill in a particular area.
The graduate program often is specific to the understanding of educational and professional career goals a person has. Most often, these programs prepare students for licensing or work in the field.
How Much Do Graduate Schools Cost?
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) states that students attending a public postsecondary educational institution in the academic year 2021 full time spent $10,949 to do so. Many factors play a role in that cost, including:
- Is the school a public or private organization?
- Is the program online or in-person?
- What level of competition is there for the program?
- Where is the school located?
- What type of program is it (hands-on, clinical, etc.)
Tips for Grad Students Looking to Save Money
There are many affordable graduate programs available. Before finding the cheapest graduate schools, it is important to ensure the curriculum matches your expected long-term career goals, accreditation requirements, and licensing requirements, if applicable. If it does, consider these additional tips to help you save money:
Attend an accelerated program
An accelerated graduate degree program may allow a student to study at a faster-than-normal pace. Some educational programs allow a student to earn a bachelor’s to a master’s program without having to complete them at separate times. Generally, the courses are shorter but pack a significant amount of educational content in them. By attending school for a shorter period of time, you save money on tuition as well as other costs, such as commuting to and from school.
Seek enrollment at a public research institution
A public research institution can provide an opportunity to complete a graduate degree but does so with a heavy research focus. If you can find a position at a public research institution as a research assistant, you will earn your degree alongside earning money for the work you do. Many research programs across the country pair with colleges to offer this type of opportunity.
Apply for financial aid
Financial aid may be available to students that qualify for it, and that may include your graduate education program. Generally, the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form allows schools to determine if you may qualify for any financial aid. This may include federal, state, or school-provided aid. Students enrolled in these professional studies or graduate programs are independent students, which means their parent’s financial state is not considered for their qualifications.
Some students may also qualify for private loans to help cover some or all of the cost of graduate school. Graduate students may qualify for work-study programs, federal student loans, or grants though fewer options are available for these educational paths than for undergraduate degrees.
Research scholarship opportunities
Many graduate school programs have scholarship opportunities. A scholarship is money that the student does not have to repay as long as they meet the qualifications. However, you must apply, be selected, and then be awarded those funds.
Often, graduate scholarship programs are for specific areas of study. Some are for tech-based education, while others could be available to students with a medical education path. Scholarships may also be available from organizations that the student is enrolled in or professional organizations. Sometimes even employers will help by offering a scholarship to their employees going back to school.
Here are the 20 Most Affordable Grad Schools
We hope that our list has been helpful in guiding your research into graduate school and programs. Our list does not include any paid or preferred listings. It is prepared subjectively, using several metrics, including (but not limited to): tuition per credit hour, acceptance rate, number of programs offered, and availability of funding. If you are a representative for a university and want to contact us about a) your school’s ranking or b) the fact your school is not included, please feel free to get in touch. We welcome feedback and input. Thank you for reading our list!
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 can be lower costing because the student does not have to live on campus, which reduces the cost of room and board. They are also more flexible, which means many students can work and study at the same time, reducing the loss of income that going back to school may create.
Also notable is that students completing online graduate programs have access to more options across the country, which could help to make some educational programs more accessible that would otherwise not be available. And they provide the student with the ability to work at their own pace.
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. Yet, there is still often an out-of-pocket cost.
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.
Are Online Grad Degrees the Same as Traditional Grad Degrees?
Online grade degrees provide high-quality education, much like traditional grad degree programs. They differ only 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. You can also research what type of work alumni do.