Most Affordable Online Master’s in Education Degrees

Earning your online master’s in education is cheaper than you think. Get started with this list of most affordable programs from top accredited universities.

Last Updated: 05/11/2022

Whether you are a licensed teacher looking to upgrade your salary and skills, have your bachelor’s in a different field and want to become a teacher, or wish to pursue advanced roles in areas like educational administration and instruction design, an online master’s degree in education can help you reach your career goals in a format that works with your busy schedule.

Finding a quality, affordable online education master’s program from an accredited university has never been easier. To help you get started, we’ve assembled a list of this year’s most affordable online education master’s programs. Keep reading to find an online master’s in education program that fits your budget and career goals, plus find additional tips on how to get help paying for grad school.

Top 50 Most Affordable Online Education Master’s Programs in 2022


Factors like academic rigor, learning flexibility, and student support are essential to consider as you search for a program. For many students, however, affordability is the deciding factor when choosing an online master’s in education. Knowing this, we ranked schools that provide the most affordable tuition rates without sacrificing quality. Schools are ranked based on key metrics and data supplied by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). You can learn more about how we ranked schools by clicking “About the Ranking” button below.

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About the ranking

Methodology for STEPS Most Affordable College Rankings

Step #1: Create Universe of Eligible Colleges

To be eligible for this ranking, colleges were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Program(s) in subject area offered at least partially online.

Step #2: Assign Weightings and Rank Colleges Based on Scores in Key Areas

After creating the list of eligible colleges, STEPS’ data science team assigned weightings and ranked colleges based on a combination of affordability, online learning availability, and student support performance metrics. Affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Affordability

  • Cost:Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid:Percentage of students who receive financial aid directly from the school.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.

Student Support Services

  • Academic Counseling:Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement:Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our College Rankings Data

Each ranking on STEPS utilizes the latest data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which colleges and universities across the country self-report via surveys from the U.S. Department of Education.

Accreditation Glossary

ABHE: Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation

ATS: Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

DEAC: Distance Education Accrediting Commission

HLC: Higher Learning Commission

MSCHE: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

NECHE: New England Commission of Higher Education

NWCCU: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

SACSCOC: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

TRACS: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission

WSCUC: WASC Senior College and University Commission

1
Morningside College Sioux City, IA
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $

Morningstar College in Sioux City, Iowa provides 11 different fully online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs to meet a variety of academic needs and professional interests. Its MAT degree options include:

  • Athletic Program Management
  • Autism Education
  • Curriculum Studies
  • English as a Second Language Education
  • Literacy Education
  • Elementary Education Initial Licensure
  • Middle Level Education
  • Special Education
  • STEM Education
  • Talented and Gifted Education
  • Teacher Leadership

Most programs require 33 credits that can be completed in as few as 12 months. All coursework takes place online through asynchronous classes to provide maximum flexibility for busy students. You can transfer up to three credits from a previous program. Admission requirements may vary slightly across programs but generally include an admissions application, valid teaching license/certificate, and official transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.75 GPA.

Program Highlights:

Master of Arts in Teaching

  • Credits: 33
  • Length: 1 year
  • Cost: $310/credit
  • Format: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); NC-SARA (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationHLC
2
Type: Public
Cost: $

Located in Kansas, Fort Hays State University provides several graduate-level teaching degrees to meet varied needs. Fully online options include an MS in School Psychology and an MSE with an Emphasis in Chemistry. The school psychology program requires one, five-day in-person workshop during a summer semester. Required classes include methods in school psychology, curriculum-based measurement, and advanced child psychopathology. The chemistry program consists of 36 credits and covers topics like utilization of technology in classrooms, instructional design and assessment, and chemistry education research and literature. Students must visit campus twice in the summer for week-long laboratory sessions.

Admission requirements differ somewhat between the programs, but general requirements include GRE scores, two recommendation letters, a personal statement, and a 3.0 or higher GPA. Within the chemistry program, students must also supply official transcripts showing they took required prerequisite classes.

Program Highlights:

MS in School Psychology and MSE with Emphasis in Chemistry

  • Credits: 30-36
  • Length: 12-18 months
  • Cost: $298.55/credit
  • Format: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
77%
AccreditationHLC
3
Dordt College Sioux Center, IA
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$

Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt College provides an online Master of Education with specializations in curriculum and instruction or administration. Regardless of concentration, Dordt emphasizes a Christ-centered education available fully online. Both programs consist of 30 credits and take two years to complete. Within the curriculum and instruction specialization, students select from options in teacher leadership, special education, developmental reading, early childhood education, educational technology, or instructional coaching. Within the administration specialization, they choose from school leadership or sports leadership.

As one of the most affordable MEd programs in the country, Dordt College charges only $375 per credit regardless of where a student lives. Admission requirements include official transcripts, minimum 3.0 GPA, resume, recommendation form, and at least one year of teaching experience.

Program Highlights:

Master of Education

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $375/credit
  • Format: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); Iowa Department of Education (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationHLC
4
Northwestern College Orange City, IA
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$

Northwestern College offers a variety of options through its 100% online Master of Education programs. Focus your education by choosing from one of eight different tracks.

  • Early Childhood
  • Early Childhood + Endorsement
  • Master Teacher
  • Special Education
  • Special Education + Endorsement
  • Educational Administration + Endorsement
  • Teacher Leadership
  • Teaching History

Classes begin every eight weeks, making beginning a degree easy even with a busy schedule. Degree requirements range from 30-42 credits and take two years to complete. Courses last eight weeks each and are taught asynchronously, which means you can complete coursework whenever it works best for you.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and a valid teaching license. Those applying for the M.Ed. in educational administration with a principal endorsement must possess at least one school year of teaching experience.

Program Highlights:

Master of Education

  • Credits: 30-42
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $340/credit
  • Format: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationHLC
5
Waldorf University Forest City, IA
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $

Waldorf University’s 100% online Master of Education program allows you to focus either on instructional design and technology, leadership, or teaching and learning. Each program consists of 36 credits with core courses – including building professional and community relations, culture of continuous improvement in education, learning theories for instruction, and online learning and management systems – shared across all three degrees.

Students schedule classes around existing responsibilities, making it easy for those with busy school days to earn a graduate degree. Application requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and a minimum 2.5 GPA. Waldorf also allows the transfer of approved credits. To qualify for graduation, you must pass all classes with a “B” grade or higher and maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.

Program Highlights:

Master of Education

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: 24-30 months
  • Cost: $410/credit
  • Format: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
85%
AccreditationHLC
6
Type: Public
Cost: $
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
59%
AccreditationNECHE
7
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
73%
AccreditationHLC
8
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
81%
AccreditationSACSCOC
9
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
97%
AccreditationSACSCOC
10
Type: Public
Cost: $
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
55%
AccreditationHLC
11
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
98%
AccreditationACCSC
12
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
70%
AccreditationHLC
13
Ashland University Ashland, OH
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
95%
AccreditationHLC
14
Type: Public
Cost: $
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
66%
AccreditationHLC
15
Martin Luther College New Ulm, MN
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
79%
AccreditationHLC
16
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
65%
AccreditationHLC
17
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
61%
AccreditationSACSCOC
18
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
79%
AccreditationHLC
19
Warner University Lake Wales, FL
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
96%
AccreditationSACSCOC
20
Type: Public
Cost: $
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
58%
AccreditationHLC
21
University of Wyoming Laramie, WY
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
67%
AccreditationHLC
22
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
59%
AccreditationHLC
23
Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, TX
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
69%
AccreditationSACSCOC
24
Chadron State College Chadron, NE
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
65%
AccreditationHLC
25
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
67%
AccreditationHLC
26
Elizabeth City State University Elizabeth City, NC
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
72%
AccreditationSACSCOC
27
Type: Public
Cost: $
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
36%
AccreditationSACSCOC
28
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
67%
AccreditationHLC
29
Type: Public
Cost: $
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
51%
AccreditationHLC
30
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
60%
AccreditationHLC
31
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
53%
AccreditationHLC
32
University of Sioux Falls Sioux Falls, SD
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationHLC
33
Carolina University Winston-Salem, NC
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
96%
AccreditationTRACS
34
Tusculum College Greeneville, TN
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
96%
AccreditationSACSCOC
35
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
41%
AccreditationHLC
36
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
32%
AccreditationNWCCU
37
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
46%
AccreditationSACSCOC
38
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
88%
AccreditationHLC
39
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
63%
AccreditationNWCCU
40
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
37%
AccreditationSACSCOC
41
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
84%
AccreditationSACSCOC
42
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
61%
AccreditationNWCCU
43
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
54%
AccreditationSACSCOC
44
Iowa Wesleyan University Mount Pleasant, IA
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
81%
AccreditationHLC
45
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
59%
AccreditationSACSCOC
46
Angelo State University San Angelo, TX
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
60%
AccreditationSACSCOC
47
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
62%
AccreditationHLC
48
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
96%
AccreditationHLC
49
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
54%
AccreditationHLC
50
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
66%
AccreditationHLC

Where to Get Funding for Your Online Master’s in Education

Students working towards an online education master’s degree can secure funding from a variety of places, including the government, the school where they’ll earn their masters, and their employers. The options below detail some of the most common ways to fund your degree.

1

Apply to scholarships, grants, and fellowships created for education master’s students.

You can find plenty of educational funding in the form of scholarships, grants, and fellowships if you plan to study education. For instance, the Leon Bradley Scholarship Program offered by the American Association of School Personnel Administrators provides $3,500 to qualified students. Start your search for scholarships, grants, and fellowships early with our STEPS financial aid guide and our Resources, Scholarships and Support Services for Education & Teaching Majors guide.

2

Look into Student Loan Forgiveness for teachers

Qualified teachers can receive up to $17,500 of loan forgiveness for their unsubsidized loans. Applicants must work full-time for at least five academic years at a school that serves low-income students. Requirements vary based on whether you teach elementary, middle, or high school, so be sure to review the eligibility information carefully before applying.

3

Ask about a tuition reimbursement program from your employer

If you work at a private school, you may be able to get a tuition reimbursement to help cover educational costs. Employers can provide up to $5,250 each year tax-free (amounts over this are not tax free) to cover expenses like tuition, textbooks and supplies, and required fees. Even if not advertised, ask your employer if this is an option.

4

Take advantage of work-study

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) indicates if you qualify for work-study funds. If you do, apply to in-person or virtual part-time jobs at your university and receive at least the federal minimum wage. In some cases, you can request work-study positions that directly relate to your master’s degree, thereby gaining valuable experience before graduating. Indiana University Southeast provides a solid example of what to look for in work-study opportunities.

5

Take on a research or teaching assistantship

You may qualify for a research or teaching assistantship within your school of education. Compensation for these positions varies across universities. Some provide stipends to help cover costs, while others provide tuition remission or specific scholarships. These positions tend to be highly competitive, so begin researching them early. The Graduate School at the University of Kentucky provides an example of a school offering these positions.

5 Key Factors That Can Impact the Affordability of Your Online Master’s in Education

If you’re looking for ways to keep your costs low before even seeking out additional funding sources, know that many factors can affect the true cost of your degree. In this section, we look at a few common ones students should consider.

Public vs. Private

Whether you attend a public or private university can have a huge impact on how much you pay for your online Master in Education. According to CollegeBoard, students enrolled in public institutions as of the 2020-2021 academic year paid an average of $8,950 while those studying at private schools paid an average of $29,670.

Resident vs. Non-Resident Status

Because public schools receive state funding for resident learners, attending one of these institutions in your home state can save serious dollars. During the 2020-2021 school year, resident students paid an average of $10,560 while non-resident students paid an average of $27,020 during the same year.

Online Student Tuition Rate

Some schools have lower online tuition rates than those charged for on-campus students. In the case of private schools, the institution may reduce the advertised price for online students. Finally, public schools sometimes let online learners pay the resident tuition rate regardless of where they live.

School-Based Funding

Many schools provide department-specific scholarships and other types of funding to students enrolled in education master’s programs. Some of these are awarded based on merit while others focus on supporting students with financial needs. Review the Laverne I. & Marvin L. Colness “Pay it Forward” Scholarship offered at the University of Minnesota Duluth as an example.

Fees

Students don’t always consider fees outside of tuition when creating a budget. While online learners avoid many campus-based costs such as parking passes, facilities usage, gym memberships, and campus-based housing, they still incur some added feels. Technology and student service fees are common for online students.