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2024’s Most Affordable Online Master’s in Education Programs

On this page we highlight 50 accredited online master’s in education programs that rank highly on affordability and discuss other ways to lower the cost of your master’s degree. Read on to learn how to fund your master’s degree and see if these affordable online M.Ed. programs are right for you.

For teachers, a master’s degree can mean a significant difference in pay over the course of your career, which makes it a must-have for any educator in 2024 wanting to increase their earning potential. Unfortunately, getting your master’s degree often means more student loans and possibly more time before you can begin your career, if you go straight from your bachelor’s into a master’s program. This is why cost is often top-of-mind for many prospective students.

An online master’s in education (M.Ed.) program may allow you to complete your degree from the comfort of your own home for less money than you might expect. You don’t become a teacher for the money, which is why you shouldn’t go deep into debt to get your degree. This guide reviews this year’s most affordable online M.Ed. programs, gives tips for lowering the cost of tuition, and tells you what to look for in an accredited and budget-friendly online graduate program.

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Education Programs for 2024

Factors to consider when looking for the most affordable online master’s in education programs include coursework focus, program alignment with your goals, and available student resources. The biggest factor for most students, though, is affordability. With these factors in mind, we ranked these master’s in education programs based on affordability and overall quality. These rankings were derived from data by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Learn more about these rankings by clicking on the “about the ranking” button below.

About the ranking
1
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

Southern Arkansas University offers master’s degree programs in education with specialization in educational leadership in administration and supervision; college counseling and student affairs; school counseling; special education; and library media and information, among others. The Master of Education in Special Education prepares students to engage in scholarly research to improve their practice. They’ll learn the importance of valuing diversity, recognizing individual differences among their students, and adjusting their practice based on those differences. The program also prepares students to meet licensure requirements according to Arkansas state law. Candidates applying to the program must hold a teaching license to be admitted.

Program Highlights:

Master of Education in Special Education

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Two years
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
2
Sioux City, Iowa
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

Students enrolled at Morningside University’s Graduate Education program earn their Master of Arts in Teaching with specializations in athletic program management, autism education, and curriculum studies. The curriculum studies track is meant for educators who are looking to broaden their scope of knowledge related to curriculum and instruction. Students choose which courses to take based on their goals. Courses include Curriculum and Methods for the Gifted; ESL Methods; Language, Culture, and Classroom Practice; Reading in the Content Areas; STEM Curriculum and Development; and Children’s Literature. All courses are taught entirely online.

Program Highlights:

Graduate Education Curriculum Studies

  • Credits: 32
  • Length: Two years
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
3
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

The Online Master of Education in Secondary Education at Eastern New Mexico University is both nationally and state accredited. Students complete readings, class discussions, assignments, projects and presentations, and tests and quizzes all online. Students also complete a capstone project. The university offers online tutoring services and access to databases, journal articles, and ebooks through the school’s Golden Student Success Center. To apply, you’ll need a 3.0 GPA, a letter of application, and if applicable, a photocopy of your secondary teaching license.

Program Highlights:

Online Master of Education in Secondary Education

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: Two years
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
4
Framingham, Massachusetts
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation NECHE
5
Jonesboro, Arkansas
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
6
River Forest, Illinois
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
7
Livingston, Alabama
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
8
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
9
York, Nebraska
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
10
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation MSCHE
11
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
12
Lynchburg, Virginia
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
13
Stephenville, Texas
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
14
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
15
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation TRACS
16
Milledgeville, Georgia
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
17
Carrollton, Georgia
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
18
Muncie, Indiana
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
19
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
20
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
21
Greenville, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
22
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
23
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
24
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
25
Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation ABHE
26
Ada, Oklahoma
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
27
Wilmington, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
28
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
29
Alcorn State, Mississippi
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
30
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
31
Ashland, Ohio
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
32
Pensacola, Florida
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
33
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
34
Fitchburg, Massachusetts
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation NECHE
35
San Angelo, Texas
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
36
Pembroke, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
37
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
38
New Ulm, Minnesota
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
39
Mayville, North Dakota
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
40
Defiance, Ohio
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
41
Valley City, North Dakota
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
42
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
43
Surprise, Arizona
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
44
Columbus, Georgia
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
45
Orange City, Iowa
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
46
Greenville, Illinois
Type:
Private not-for-profit
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
47
Dahlonega, Georgia
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC
48
Salem, Massachusetts
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation NECHE
49
Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
50
Statesboro, Georgia
Type:
Public
Cost:
$

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC

Funding Your Online Master’s Degree in Education: 5 Ways to Save

While tuition costs are important to consider, they aren’t the only indicator a program will fit in your budget. There are a variety of ways to make a master’s in education more affordable, and we’ve rounded up five of the most effective.

  1. Apply to scholarships, grants, and fellowships created for M.Ed. students.

    One of the most effective ways to lower the cost of tuition is to apply for scholarships, grants, and fellowships. There are a variety of general scholarships for those pursuing master’s degrees with some being designed solely for M.Ed. students, including the BHD Endowed Scholarship for Teachers and Hach Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Scholarship. When looking for scholarships, note that most are for specific fields of education, meaning there will be less competition but fewer you’ll qualify for. For more scholarships, check out OMD’s scholarships and resources guide.

  2. Work-Study or Assistantships

    Another way to fund your M.Ed. is through an assistantship or a work-study position. Assistantship availability is based on individual program needs and often means helping a professor as a teaching or research assistant. Check with individual programs for available assistantships and their requirements.

    A work-study position is a campus job, perhaps twenty hours a week for the Department of Education, to help offset tuition costs. Work-study programs are run through the federal government, and more information can be found on its website.

  3. Employer Tuition Reimbursement Programs

    Many schools will reimburse part or all of an employee’s tuition. This is especially common since many states have regulations around continuing education for teachers. The federal government also has a program, the Teach Grant, for reimbursing teachers for their master’s in education.

  4. Payment Plans

    Many schools offer payment plans where you can put money towards your tuition in more manageable quantities. If you don’t have enough money to pay for an entire semester upfront or are waiting on reimbursement for your employer, for example, payment plans allow you to make monthly installments. To find out if this is an option, check with each program you are applying to.

  5. Paid Teaching Opportunities

    A paid part-time or flexible teaching position provides an opportunity to utilize your coursework in a classroom setting while also earning money to offset the cost of tuition. This option is especially ideal for those who are not obtaining their master’s while working as full-time educators. There are some paid student teaching opportunities, but many are unpaid. Teach for America offers paid opportunities to give in-class experience and you don’t have to be a licensed educator yet to qualify.

FAQs about Affordable Master’s Programs in Education

Q. What impacts the affordability of an online master’s program?

Factors impacting whether an online master’s program is affordable include if a school is private or public, whether you’re paying in-state or out-of-state tuition, and the availability of scholarships, work-study positions, and assistantships. Public and in-state schools are often more affordable than out-of-state and private institutions.

Q. What is the ROI on an online Master’s Degree in Education?

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics found that a master’s degree in education often leads to a $10,000 to $13,000 annual salary boost. Those with master’s degrees also saw higher pay raises throughout their teaching careers. Of course, the ROI is greater the more affordable your master’s degree is.

Q. How can I ensure that an affordable Master’s in Education program is high-quality?

A high-quality master’s in education program is accredited and meets state licensure requirements for those seeking a teaching license. Beyond these criteria, pay attention to how the program aligns with your goals, the percent of students who finish the program and find jobs, and the resources available to help students do well in the program and advance their careers.

Q. Is an online master’s degree more affordable than an in-person?

An online master’s degree is usually more affordable than an in-person program because it is more affordable for universities to run. An online program doesn’t require in-person meeting space and resources, and one professor can teach larger class sizes. Additionally, it saves money on transportation costs because you don’t have to commute.

Q. Can job experience count towards a master’s degree and help cut costs?

Job experience can sometimes count towards a master’s in education. This is especially true if your program has a student teaching element or another requirement for in-classroom hours. However, each program is different, so check with each specific program to see if it counts job experience toward your degree.

Q. How can I know if an affordable master’s degree program is right for me?

To determine if a program is affordable for you, make a list of everything you want in a master’s program and determine how much you can realistically put towards tuition each semester. Once you have this list and your maximum budget, you can better determine if a program is both affordable and will help advance your career based on your specific professional goals.