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Cheapest Online Master’s in Education in 2021

August 6, 2021 | Staff Writers

Cheapest Online Master's In Education
Degree Finder
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The cost of earning a college degree is likely a factor when an individual considers whether to earn a master’s degree in education. The decision is often complicated by the belief that earning a degree from an Ivy League school or another prestigious university is the only way for the degree to be a worthwhile endeavor. The fact is that multiple sources show that pursuing a master’s degree from a school that offers the cheapest online masters in education< programs is no different than earning a master’s degree in education from a more expensive school.

5 Cheapest Online Master’s in Education

Rank School Location
1Eastern Washington UniversityCheney, Washington
2American College of EducationIndianapolis, Indiana
3University of the CumberlandsWilliamsburg, Kentucky
4University of North TexasDenton, Texas
5Fitchburg State UniversityFitchburg, Massachusetts

Students that attend a school that offers the cheapest online master’s in education programs receive a degree that indicates that the graduate completed all requirements for the particular program. The degree itself does not indicate that the individual completed the program online.

There is no difference between a degree that comes from an expensive school and one that comes from a school that offers the cheapest online master’s degree. Several sources, including an NPR article, explains that when a student is motivated and engaged in the program curriculum, it has far more bearing on whether a person later feels engaged in their work. A survey discussed in the article had an outcome that showed no influence on ‘whether a person’s diploma cost $25,000 or $250,000.’

The name of the school where a teacher or other educator earned a master of education degree has no bearing on their salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) explains that ‘the more you learn, the more you earn.’

The BLS does not break down whether a person completes their master of education degree on-campus at a prestigious university or whether the person completes their degree at a school offering the affordable online masters in education degree. The BLS reveals that the median usual weekly earnings for a college graduate in 2019 was $1,497. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree made $1,248 as their 2019 median usual weekly earnings. This difference demonstrates another top reason for educators to earn a master’s degree in education.

Earning a master’s degree in education allows teachers and other educators to focus on a specific area that interests them or that aligns with their career goals. These schools that offer the cheapest online master’s in education degrees feature comprehensive programs that provide opportunities for students to enhance their knowledge and skills in education without attending a more expensive school. 

26 Cheapest Online Master’s in Education

1

Eastern Washington University

  • Cheney, Washington
  • Graduation Rate: 45%

Eastern Washington University has a mission to prepare educators to become professionals, practitioners, leaders and scholars in their field. Students learn new skills and to enhance their current critical thinking skills. They learn to mentor others, and to exhibit character and dispositions that are expected of educators planning a lifelong career in education.

Students choose from six programs offered online, including the Master of Education – Adult Education program, the Master of Education – Curriculum and Instruction program, and the Master of Education – Early Childhood Education program.

School Overview

Tuition: $263 per credit hour
Program length: 12 months
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2

American College of Education

  • Indianapolis, Indiana

The American College of Education offers nearly 20 online master of education degree programs. The school offers degrees such as the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Elementary Education. The program is designed for current teachers that want to advance their current skills and expertise in teaching students at the elementary school level. Students also learn how to incorporate technology into the classroom.

The Master of Education in Higher Education is a program that focuses on the ever-changing environments that impact the field of higher education. Students choose a concentration from options such as leadership, student development and affairs, or enrollment management. There are also three other concentration options. The school also offers unique programs, such as the Master of Education in Integrated Curriculum, and the Master of Education in Teaching English Learners.

School Overview

Tuition: $235 per credit hour
Program length: 17 months
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3

University of the Cumberlands

  • Williamsburg, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 78%

The online Master of Arts in Education program at the University of the Cumberlands features four concentrations. Choose your concentration from the Literacy Specialist P12, School Counseling, Principal, or Teacher Leader. The school also offers the Master of Arts in Teaching, and the Education Specialist degree.

School Overview

Tuition: $315 per credit hour
Program length: 12 months
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4

University of North Texas

  • Denton, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 64%

The University of North Texas offers master’s degree programs in education that prepares educators for the next step in their career. Some graduates decide to earn a doctoral degree after completing their Master of Education degree at the school.

The university offers several programs, including the Special Education Master of Education with a Concentration in Autism Intervention, the Master of Education in Educational Leadership, and the Master of Education in Higher Learning.

School Overview

Tuition: est. $277.79 per credit hour
Program length: 18-24 months
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5

Fitchburg State University

  • Fitchburg, Massachusetts
  • Graduation Rate: 53%

Fitchburg State University has a history of offering programs in education that dates back more than 150 years. Although the school offers just two online master’s degrees in education, the affordable tuition, along with the accelerated format, makes it one of the best opportunities to earn an online masters in education degree.

The Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching Online develops ‘student-centered teachers’ and provides the opportunity for current teachers to immediately apply new concepts from this program into their classroom. The Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Management Online assists teachers with expanding their skillset as an educator.

School Overview

Tuition: est. $372 per credit hour
Program length: 12 months
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6

University of South Florida

  • Tampa, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 69%

The University of South Florida offers several affordable master’s degrees in education, including the Master of Arts in Reading Education. The online program prepares effective and expert literacy educators and leaders. Some program features include Expanding Knowledge of Global Literacies, Developing Critical Literacy Pedagogies, and Developing Literacy Coaching Skills.

Some students pursue their online master’s in education degree by enrolling in the Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Intellectual Disabilities program or the Master of Arts in Exceptional Student Education program.

School Overview

Tuition: est. $217.77 per credit hour
Program length: 24-36 months
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7

Valdosta State University

  • Valdosta, Georgia
  • Graduation Rate: 36%

Valdosta State University offers several master’s programs in education that provides a deeper understanding of the theories, knowledge and research associated with the various concentrations. The Master of Education in Elementary Education builds on the bachelor’s degree in elementary education program, and focuses on developing learning environments that address the needs of young children. Students in the program learn to develop and implement assessment procedures in elementary education.

Some other programs to consider include the Master of Education in Health and Physical Education and the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in Accomplished Teaching.

School Overview

Tuition: $293 per credit hour
Program length: est. 18-24 months
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8

Anderson University

  • Anderson, Indiana
  • Graduation Rate: 58%

The Master of Education program at Anderson University is designed for teachers that want to ‘increase the effectiveness of their pedagogy and impact on student learning.’ One aspect of the program is the fact that students are permitted to enter the program at any time. This benefits students that do not want to wait an extended time to begin their master’s degree in education program.

Some courses in the program include Theories of Learning, Principles of Curriculum Development and Current Issues in Public School Education.

School Overview

Tuition: $380 per credit hour
Program length: 12 months
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9

University of West Georgia

  • Carrollton, Georgia
  • Graduation Rate: 39%

The University of West Georgia offers seven online Master of Education programs. Consider earning your degree in the Master of Education with a major in Elementary Education, the Master of Education with a major in Instructional Technology, Media and Design, or the Master of Education with a major in Physical Education. These programs and the other affordable online master’s degrees in education at the school focus on helping educators enhance their current knowledge and skills and to become emerging leaders in their chosen fields.

Some students continue their education by earning a doctorate degree in education in an online format at the school.

School Overview

Tuition: $241 per credit hour
Program length: est. 24 months
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10

Western Governors University

  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Graduation Rate: 42%

Western Governors University offers an impressive variety of online master’s degree programs in education. The school offers several STEM programs, along with programs such as the Master of Education in Instructional Design and the Master of Education in Learning and Technology program.

Learn to create curriculum that impacts the future of education in the classroom, and that engages students, schools, and communities.

School Overview

Tuition: est. $270 per credit hour
Program length: 24 months
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11

Lamar University

  • Beaumont, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 32%

Lamar University offers several options for the cheapest online master’s in education degrees. There are some unique programs offered at the school. Consider the Master of Education in Digital Learning and Leading online degree. This program focuses on giving teachers the skills and confidence to create interactive learning environments that use instructional technology to meet the needs of today’s teaching environment.

Some students enroll in the Master of Education in Special Education with Educational Diagnostician Certification program. This online program focuses on helping certified teachers develop the specialized skills to assess and diagnose exceptional students, to incorporate evidence-based practices, and to individualize intervention based on assessed needs.

School Overview

Tuition: $300 per credit hour
Program length: 20 months
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12

Louisiana State University

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Graduation Rate: 68%

Louisiana State University offers the opportunity for educators to earn the Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree. This program provides comprehensive instruction to prepare current teachers and other educators to become more effective leaders. It takes educators to the next level of their education career.

Some students choose to pursue the Master of Arts in Education with a specialization in Educational Technology degree, while other students choose the online Master of Arts in Education with a specialization in Higher Education Administration program.

School Overview

Tuition: $459 per credit hour
Program length: 15-18 months
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13

University of Wyoming

  • Laramie, Wyoming
  • Graduation Rate: 54%

There are several programs for educators that choose to earn a master’s degree in education at the University of Wyoming. One option is the Master of Arts in Education Curriculum and Instruction program. Students learn to develop a greater understanding in theories associated with curriculum and instruction, and to develop new strategies for teaching in the classroom. The program prepares graduates for leadership positions.

Some students consider other programs, such as the Master’s in Education: Special Education, or the Master’s in Education: Higher Education Administration.

School Overview

Tuition: $282 per credit hour
Program length: est. 24 months
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14

Indiana State University

  • Terre Haute, Indiana
  • Graduation Rate: 36%

Indiana State University challenges educators to make their mark on education and to challenge other educators to do the same thing. The Master of Education in Teaching and Learning features six concentration options, including assessment, curriculum and instruction, early childhood, elementary education, gifted and talented or the literacy K-12 concentration.

The school offers a few other master’s degrees in education. Some students pursue their doctoral degree in education at the school.

School Overview

Tuition: $426 per credit hour
Program length: 18-24 months
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15

St. Leo University

  • St. Leo, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 54%

St. Leo University offers seven online master of education programs for teachers and other educators that want to make a difference in their school and in their community. Choose your online masters degree from options that include the Master of Education in Reading concentration, the Master of Education in Exceptional Student Education program, or the Master of Education in Educational Leadership.

Each of these programs are offered fully online. The programs offer the opportunity for educators to make a greater impact on the lives of students and to become more effective educators.

School Overview

Tuition: $510 per credit hour
Program length: est.15 months
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16

Arizona State University

  • Tempe, Arizona
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

The online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an Early Childhood Education concentration at Arizona State University prepares graduates to meet the educational, social and emotional needs of children from birth through eight years old. Students gain advanced knowledge and specialized skills in early childhood education research, technology, administration, policy analysis and advocacy.

The school offers other online master’s degree in education programs including the Master of Education in Global Education, and the Master of Education in Educational Leadership with a Principalship concentration.

School Overview

Tuition: $627.55 per credit hour
Program length: 12-18 months
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17

Eastern New Mexico University

  • Portales, New Mexico
  • Graduation Rate: 36%

Strengthen your knowledge and skills as an education practitioner by attending Eastern New Mexico University. Earn the online Master of Arts in Elementary Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction and an Emphasis in Elementary Education. Students take courses that are offered entirely online, and that focus on curriculum, assessment, pedagogy in educational reform, and research.

The school offers other master’s degrees in education programs, including the Master of Education in Education Administration, and the Master of Education in Educational Technology.

School Overview

Tuition: $293.50 per credit hour
Program length: est. 24 months
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18

William Carey University

  • Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  • Graduation Rate: 75%

William Carey University offers several concentrations in its online Master of Education program. Students choose from a concentration in elementary education, secondary education, mild/moderate disabilities or emotional and behavioral disorders.

Students take courses from three categories, including professional education, electives, and specialized concentrations.

School Overview

Tuition: $430 per credit hour
Program length: est. 18-24 months
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19

Campbellsville University

  • Campbellsville, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 34%

The online Master of Arts in Education Teacher Leader program at Campbellsville University introduces students to developing teacher leadership skills, and explores the various leadership styles. The program prepares graduates to mentor and lead faculty members. Graduates are also prepared to apply technology in the classroom.

The school offers nearly a dozen other master’s in education programs in an online format, including the Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary Education – Middle Grades (5-9) program.

School Overview

Tuition: $299 per credit hour
Program length: 24 months
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20

Old Dominion University

  • Norfolk, Virginia
  • Graduation Rate: 51%

Old Dominion University offers a variety of master’s in education programs in online format, including the Master’s in Educational Leadership – Administration and Supervision K-12 program. This program, along with programs such as the reading specialist program, the elementary education program or the instructional design and technology program, features curriculum that helps educators expand their current knowledge and skills. Students study concepts and theories, along with completing an internship.

School Overview

Tuition: $551 per credit hour
Program length: est. 16-18 months
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21

Chadron State College

  • Chadron, Nebraska
  • Graduation Rate: 41%

Chadron State College offers a long list of concentrations in its Master of Education online program. Students choose from concentrations such as elementary education, career and technical education, mathematics, reading specialist, and language arts.

All concentrations offered in this program prepare students for a future that advances their professional development, their career opportunities and earnings potential. The school indicates that the program helps students to identify and use research-based practices, to become visionaries in education, and to stay competitive in their profession.

School Overview

Tuition: $380 per credit hour
Program length: est. 24 months
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22

Shawnee State University

  • Portsmouth, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 24%

Shawnee State University offers online master’s degrees that are student-focused and that prepare graduates for success. Choose to enroll in the online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction program and learn how to expand your current teaching skills while preparing for a role in administration. The program includes courses that focus on instruction, planning and assessment techniques, and other important components.

The Master of Education Intervention Specialist program focuses on a curriculum that prepares educators for leadership roles in special education or for focusing on earning a future doctoral degree. Students learn the strategies for working with children that have special needs, while providing instruction that offers a variety of hands-on learning opportunities.

School Overview

Tuition: $452 per credit hour
Program length: 18 months
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23

Wilmington University

  • New Castle, Delaware
  • Graduation Rate: 50%

Wilmington University offers nine options for earning an online master’s degree in education. Consider enrolling in the Master of Education in Instruction: Teacher of Reading program or the Master of Education in Instruction: Teaching and Learning program. Develop the skills to become a leader in education and to promote the success of every student when you complete one of these online masters in education degree programs.

Active duty service members receive a generous tuition discount.

School Overview

Tuition: $488 per credit hour
Program length: est. 15 months
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24

Brandman University

  • Irvine, California
  • Graduation Rate: 81%

Brandman University invites students to ‘become the teacher that inspired you.’ The school offers more than a dozen online options for earning a master’s degree in education in an online format.

Consider pursuing the Master of Arts in Education, Teaching and Learning emphasis or the Master of Arts in Education, Instructional Technology, Teaching the 21st Century Learner. This unique program prepares the teacher to become an online instructor. The program focuses on learning to teach in both online and in blended settings, and to maintain an engaging learning environment with hands-on, application-oriented learning experiences.

School Overview

Tuition: $670 per credit hour
Program length: 15 months
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25

University of Central Arkansas

  • Conway, Arkansas
  • Graduation Rate: 41%

The University of Central Arkansas features flat-rate tuition that is the same cost for all students, wherever they reside in the United States.

The online Master of Arts in Teaching is one of several online master’s degree programs in education offered by the school. It is designed for individuals that have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in an area outside of education. Students choose from the elementary, middle, or secondary track. Some courses include Analysis and Practice of Teaching, Theory and Practice of Classroom Management, and Pedagogy for Diverse Student Populations.

School Overview

Tuition: $325 per credit hour
Program length: est. 24 months
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26

Missouri State University

  • Springfield, Missouri
  • Graduation Rate: 54%

The University of Missouri offers 25 online master’s degree programs in education. The online Master of Education in Elementary Education program supports teachers in the early stages of their career. The program bridges research and practice, and helps teachers gain the knowledge to manage classrooms for learning, and to meet the needs of all elementary-level learners.

The Master of Education (M Ed) in Educational, School and Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Mental Health Practices in Schools guides educators through learning how to improve their classroom management skills, to promote positive mental health among students, and to build optimism and resiliency in children.

School Overview

Tuition: $394.90 per credit hour
Program length: 24 months
Visit School Website

Methodology

We researched and ranked schools that offer the cheapest online masters in education degrees in an online format. We considered the program length of each program and assigned a unique score based on these factors. When there was a tie, the school with the lower tuition received the higher ranking.

We do our best to be honest, fair and accurate in all of our rankings. All information was correct at the time we compiled this list of ranked schools.

How To Find The Most Affordable Online Master’s Degree in Education

Teaching is one of the noblest professions out there. If you want to dedicate your life to doing something that makes a real difference in the world, teaching is a great field to get into. 

It is not an easy job, either. Teachers educate and influence the next generation, and it’s an all-encompassing position. For instance, teachers help kids learn academic skills such as English, math, and science, but they also help kids learn basic life skills. They teach socialization, kindness, teamwork, and dedication. Further still, they often serve as caretakers, mentors, role models, and, of course, educators. 

Unfortunately, this important job is often sorely underpaid, particularly for those with a bachelor’s degree. Fortunately, seeking out a master’s degree in education can help teachers get ahead. Not only can a master’s program help you improve your capabilities, learn pedagogical tools, and keep your education current, but it can also help you receive a salary increase. Though most teachers aren’t in it for the money, an increased salary is much needed by many.

According to most studies, a teacher with a graduate degree earns far more than one with a bachelor’s of education. Of course, as you likely know, being a traditional graduate student can be very expensive. A salary increase can be of little value if you end up in serious debt after attending a degree program. Often, the interest on student loans can entirely cancel out the jump in pay grade you receive when going from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s, and this is a factor that you must consider when choosing a school. In the current era, pursuing a master’s no longer needs to cost an arm and a leg. Many online master’s in education programs are quite affordable, and with a little budgeting, possible to pull off. 

There are many benefits to enrolling in an online graduate program. These include accessibility, convenience, and flexibility. Also, the average cost of an online degree program is far less than attending a physical location. The overhead costs of an online degree are less than those of a traditional degree. Generally, the physical facilities tend to make up most of the tuition rate associated with an on-campus master’s degree program.

To help you out, we’ve broken down some of the basic facts regarding online master’s degrees in education, ways to find affordable programs, and ways to find funding and financial aid for studies. We also included a list of some of the most affordable online master’s programs in the country. Hopefully, these details will help you figure out how to take your teaching career to the next level without entirely draining your coffers. 

Benefits of Getting an Online Master’s Degree in Education

It is essential to remember that you cannot earn a master’s degree in education at any school. Only accredited universities and colleges offer master’s degrees. These programs need to meet many rigorous standards, which also means that if somebody has a master’s in education, they have completed all the requirements to receive the qualification. That does not mean that all schools are equal, but they all have to meet minimum requirements to ensure that you get a master’s level education.

A prestigious school matters to some people. Often, an online master’s program does not have the same prestige as an expensive, traditional four-year program and a lot of people look down on them. But recent studies have indicated that attending a highly prestigious program does not necessarily correlate to future success or happiness. The experience, education, and engagement while in school make the most difference to success and happiness. These things are not guaranteed just because a school has a certain level of prestige.

Salary is not necessarily correlated to the prestige of your college institution either. Those with a master’s in education usually earn about $250 more a week than those with a bachelor’s. This extra money comes regardless of whether they attended a physical campus or completed an online program. If you’re expected to get the same pay increase, regardless of where you attend, why not choose the option that will leave you with less debt when you graduate?

Beyond affordability, there are many benefits to completing an online graduate program. Some of the many benefits of enrolling in an online degree program, besides cost-effectiveness, include convenience, versatility, and flexibility. If you plan to work as you complete your degree, an online program is much more convenient. For prospective students, this approach is also better if you have family obligations or cannot travel to a physical campus. 

Online schools have opened doors for many people. It used to be that only a very select few could pursue higher education. For many who were fortunate enough to be able to attend a university, it’s a struggle to make ends meet financially while dedicating their lives to study. Not to mention, many relocate to go to the school of their choice. Now, prospective students have the option to enroll in an online college, study for their education degree on their schedule, from the comfort of their own home, and often at their own pace. This accessibility allows a wide range of people to attend school, including those with special accessibility requirements. 

Before committing to a master’s degree, it is worth taking stock of your situation. You must know why you plan to attend school, what you hope to attain from your degree, and exactly how much time, money, and energy you can commit to graduate school. Knowing the answers to these questions means that you can effectively plan your course of study.

While most teachers are not attracted to the profession to make money, you still want to know the likely return on investment from an online master’s of education. Typically, when you decide to pursue a master’s degree, most people expect to earn more money. However, we should also recognize that about 70% of students leave school with debt. As student loans gather interest, this can be very damaging.

Thankfully, those who can manage to pursue a degree without taking on excessive debt still have a good return on investment. According to recent statistics, graduates who pursue bachelor’s degrees earn nearly 60% more than those with a high school diploma. Those with a master’s degree will earn significantly more than both. The potential earnings out of a degree are referred to by financial experts as ROI (return on investment). Those with a master’s degree, and no debt, tend to have the best ROI.

When deciding whether or not to attend college, it is worth assessing your likely ROI. To calculate your ROI, you need to gather some data. First, you must know exactly how much your degree will cost. Then, determine how much funding you are likely to receive. This funding can come in the form of scholarships, grants, bursaries, or loans. If you have loans, you need to account for interest. Then, calculate how much money you will lose by taking time off work to study. Finally, figure out what the likely increase in pay will be once you complete your degree.

The good news is that a teacher with a master’s in education is likely to earn 16-22% more than a teacher with a bachelor’s in education. This increase can mean over $10,000 more a year in earnings. Of course, these earnings may vary. Generally, high school teachers make more than middle or elementary school teachers. This jump in pay often means that with financial assistance and an affordable program, the return on investment begins to pay off within a few years of graduation. An online master’s degree allows for the best ROI of any education degree

because there are no extra costs like those associated with a typical in-person program.

Average Cost of a Master’s Degree in Education

The cost of an online master’s degree in education can vary greatly. People often forget that the costs of a graduate degree are not exclusively connected to tuition. Although tuition tends to be the largest single expense, other factors, like the living costs, books, and extra fees. will likely exceed the tuition cost considerably. However, one of the many benefits of an online master’s degree is that it greatly reduces the additional costs. Many times, the only significant cost of an online program is tuition. 

An online master’s degree program does not require extensive physical facilities. As a result, the overhead costs are far less, which also affects graduate tuition. Even programs offered at universities with excellent facilities often reduce costs for graduate students who do not make use of them. Remember, though, that some programs increase the cost of education for online programs. This cost increase is to offset digital transformation and information technology fees. 

Eastern Washington University offers a twelve-month online master’s of education program at $263 per credit hour. The program is usually 49 credit hours, making the overall cost of the program approximately $12,900. Likewise, an MA at another prestigious university that offers in-person and online programs costs approximately $16,000. 

The costs of each graduate program above is not, in any way, indicative of the average cost of a master’s degree in education. For instance, Harvard University’s School of Education costs approximately $52,000 per year; Boston College’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development costs approximately $57,700 per year; John Hopkins University offers a Master of Education in the Health Professions that costs about $48,000. Though these schools are particularly prestigious, many other schools charge similar rates for their degree programs. 

Public universities tend to have a lower average tuition rate than private schools. Also, state universities offer pretty big discounts to students who are residents of the state in question. For example, the tuition cost for a resident at the University of Washington is $10,000, while a non-resident must pay $24,000. This difference in tuition rates means that it could cost you less than a fifth of what somebody else paid to end up with the same degree. As a result, it is always a good idea for prospective graduate students to survey local in-state options for a graduate degree before looking at schools and tuition fees elsewhere. It can allow you to save a huge amount of money in the long run. More often than not, local options are as good – and are sometimes better – than out of state schools. 

As you can likely tell, the average cost of a master’s in education varies widely. Of course, the level of education offered does as well. However, the price of tuition is not equivalent to the value of education. Many times, a school’s overall cost will reflect a lot of things beyond the quality of education. Often, the more affordable options are every bit as good as those that charge a fortune, which means that it is essential to properly take stock of your options before deciding on the school you will attend. 

In terms of cost-effectiveness, degrees in education obtained through an online master’s program tend to be far more affordable than the alternatives offered on physical campuses. It used to be that there was a degree of stigma attached to an online program. As the digital era takes further shape, this stigma has dissipated entirely. Employers now understand that online education can be as rewarding and sophisticated as a physical alternative. Also, online education is much more accessible to many differently-abled people who are simply unable to relocate or cannot drastically alter their life to accommodate a traditional degree.   

Most Affordable Online Programs for a Master’s Degree in Education

Selecting a more affordable program is not the only way to reduce the costs of your master’s degree in education. It is also possible to save money by applying for scholarships, financial aid, grants, and bursaries. Sometimes, the department of education or school that you work for is willing to pay for your education if it is relevant to your position. Other times, they are willing to offer you paid time off to attend school. 

To offset the costs of a degree, it is important to apply for as much funding as possible. To help make this process a little clearer, we have laid out some of the basic financial aid options below. Here is a quick breakdown of the different types of funding commonly available to students attending online school:

  • Scholarship
  • Grant
  • Bursary
  • Employer Reimbursement

Scholarships tend to be offered by universities, private donors, public organizations, or government bodies. Scholarships tend to be based upon academic performance. They can be offered at the regional, state, or federal level. Generally, students are eligible for multiple scholarships at once. Several schools, such as American University, automatically consider all students who enter online studies for their base scholarships. 

A grant is not necessarily different from a scholarship or bursary. However, it is also not necessarily the same. A grant is simply an amount of money afforded to a certain student based upon particular criteria. It could be awarded based on research, merit, or necessity. These are often offered by charities or trusts.

A bursary is a need-based grant. These are generally offered to people with special accommodation requirements, low incomes, or marginalized backgrounds. These grants attempt to level the playing field.

Employer reimbursement programs are programs where employers offer to cover the costs of your education. These offers tend to occur as a benefit or because the employer believes that your education will eventually help them in some way. Corporations do this to increase profit, whereas schools tend to be concerned with improved performance and education.

The availability of these different options will likely vary depending upon your region, your school, your area of specialization, and your circumstances. Often, there are separate scholarships and bursaries available to students pursuing online degrees and to those pursuing them in person. When applying for scholarships, make sure to look into the particular requirements of the scholarship in question.

Before the application process, students should survey funding opportunities. Researching your options and preparing a potential funding budget can help you financially prepare for your education. Pursuing a degree is never entirely free. However, it is possible to reduce the costs as much as possible by supplementing or offsetting them with financial aid and scholarships. 

Most Affordable Online Programs for Master’s Degrees in Education

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different online options for graduate schools for education. Some of these schools cost so much that most students either graduate with tremendous debt or choose not to attend in the first place. It is a fairly slim number who can afford to attend any school they desire without significant financial trouble. 

Fortunately, there are a large number of affordable programs available. There are enough affordable options for you to be somewhat picky in your selection. Since education should be about your personal development, it is worth taking the time to pick the right school for you. Ensure that the school not only fits into your life, but also provides you with a good experience, a valuable education, and is enjoyable.  

Selecting a school is not an easy task. To figure out which school is right for you, you might need to figure out which schools offer the right concentrations and specializations. Often, a general master’s in education is enough. However, other times it is necessary to find a school specializing in Early Childhood Development, Autism research, High School Mathematics, or another niche area. Deciding on the right specialization is an important part of your career path, your future success, and the value of your education.

Different programs are better suited to certain candidates. For example, the American College of Education offers a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, which delves deeply into the theory and research behind the pedagogical tools of curriculum and teaching to help educators better understand how to structure courses and gauge the success of students. It also offers a Master of Education in Advanced Studies, which caters its curriculum to teaching high school students and adults. Of course, deciding which of these programs is better would depend upon the specialty of the teacher attending college. 

As the example above indicates, there are many factors to consider when deciding on a school. Though cost is a big factor in decision making, cost alone should not be the determining factor in your quest for higher education. When looking at programs, it is a good idea to assess the program’s suitability to your current life. If you work, have a family, and are constantly on the go, a program that is flexible and accessible online is probably better than a demanding program on a physical campus two states over. Likewise, an affordable program specializing in childhood literacy or early childhood education is unlikely to be particularly beneficial to a high school chemistry teacher. 

There are many great and affordable M.Ed programs available. Some of the most affordable online graduate schools for education include:

  1. Eastern Washington University
  2. American College of Education
  3. University of the Cumberlands
  4. University of North Texas
  5. Fitchburg State University

The five schools listed above are not just cheap schools – they are well respected and accredited institutions that offer quality grad school programs at an affordable cost. With these selections, we looked for quality in addition to cost-effectiveness because the degree is no longer a good option if the degree itself does not provide a solid education. If trying to select a program that will offer you the best return on investment, we believe that the five options above are a great place to start looking. 

Other affordable online master programs are offered at universities such as:

  1. Graceland University
  2. Winston-Salem State University
  3. Western Governors University
  4. Capella University
  5. University of Massachusetts 

The schools mentioned above offer some of the most affordable education programs in the country. They are not, of course, the only schools that offer online master’s degrees in education. Make sure to look at a range of schools before zeroing in on any single option. To demonstrate that the list above is not exhaustive, we’ve pulled together another list of great schools offering online programs. Other great options for online master’s in education include:

  1. California State University, Bakersfield
  2. University of Central Florida
  3. Purdue University
  4. University of Alaska Southeast
  5. University of Minnesota, Duluth
  6. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  7. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  8. Michigan State University
  9. Martin Luther College
  10. Boston University

The ten schools listed above are all great options. However, these schools vary hugely in cost. Some, such as California State University, Bakersfield, and the University of Central Florida, are very affordable. Others, such as Boston University, have far higher tuition costs. These schools are included to provide a sample of the different options out there, the different price ranges available, and as examples of other well-respected master’s of education programs. 

A master’s degree in education can be just the thing you need to take your career to the next level. It can also be a great way to get your teaching career started. Whether you’re already working or are just entering the workforce for the first time, a graduate program in education can give you both the educational edge you need to land a position, and the pedagogical toolkit you need to teach effectively. 

If you’re interested in pursuing a master’s degree in education, it is worth looking into the online options. The days where online degrees are considered inferior are gone. Now, the digital era has made high-quality education more accessible and convenient than ever. Without the additional costs associated with physical programs, online degrees can also be much more affordable than a traditional program.

Another advantage of a master’s degree in education is that it makes it easier to move into administrative positions if you choose to. While the administration is not for everyone, these educational leadership positions are an integral component of the education system. Of course, as you likely already know, administrative positions tend to pay more than teaching jobs. Administrators can make between $96,000 and $148,000 a year, which means that the ROI for a master’s degree in education can be far higher than anticipated. 

The average tuition fees of a master’s degree program for an online student is around $18,000, far less than the average cost of a private physical college, which tends to be approximately $35,000. Public and state universities tend to be in the same range. However, some online learning programs cost more than their physical alternatives. If this is the case, it is likely because the costs of information technology and digital transformation have been high for the university in question. Generally, this occurs at institutions that do not typically rely upon online programs. 

It is important to save money while attending school. To do so, online students can work, earn scholarships, apply for financial aid, and practice fiscal responsibility. Some of the most affordable master’s degrees in education include Eastern Washington University, the American College of Education, University of the Cumberlands, University of North Texas, and Fitchburg State University. These schools are all respected, accredited institutions that offer sophisticated and well established online programs. In many cases, these programs can be taken at least partially physically, if the student desires. 

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