Most Affordable Master's In Higher Education Online

Updated November 22, 2022

Many teaching professionals today are choosing to pursue an online master's degree in higher education as a way to advance their careers. Find the most affordable online programs to earn your master's degree in higher education. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Online Master's In Higher Education

Many teaching professionals today are choosing to pursue an online master's degree in higher education as a way to advance their careers. Although some people are more than satisfied remaining in the classroom, some others seek to move into administrative positions in order to increase their salary potential. Specifically, supervisors, administrators, directors, and managers at colleges and universities have the ability to make more money than educators in nearly any other position.

If you're interested in earning an online degree in higher education or another similar area, you're probably looking for the school you choose to fill a few main criteria. Most people just want an affordable education at an institution with a decent reputation and the ability to aptly prepare them for a successful career. This is certainly not too much to ask, but unfortunately there are low-quality, for-profit institutions out there that charge a fortune without offering much in return.

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

Top 19 Most Affordable Master's In Higher Education Online

  1. Colorado State University

    Greenwood Village, CO



    Colorado State University offers an online master's degree in higher education that focuses on the importance of student affairs at colleges and universities. The program (typically three years in length) includes classes in "Financial Management in Student Affairs," "The Inclusive University," "Ethical and Practical Issues in Student Affairs," and much more. Colorado State has a reputation for providing great resources to military members and veterans, and it has landed on "Top Military Friendly" lists from G.I. Jobs for five consecutive years. And of course, it's worth mentioning that CSU offers the epitome of a cheap online master's degree in higher education, with a tuition rate less than $9,000 a year - regardless of student residency.

  2. Northcentral University

    Prescott Valley, AZ



    Students who are looking for a truly affordable online master's degree in higher education shouldn't overlook the potential of Northcentral University. The program incorporates an emphasis in leadership, allowing participants to gain all the knowledge they need to land administrative positions at the nation's top universities. Northcentral intentionally limits students from achieving certification through the curriculum in an attempt to make the degree accessible to the widest possible range of learners - including those living overseas. Course scheduling is lenient and convenient, giving adult professionals up to five years to complete the degree at their own pace. Northcentral also stands out from the crowd in its commitment to quality instruction, requiring 100% of faculty to hold doctoral degrees.

  3. University of Southern Maine

    Portland, ME



    The University of Southern Maine distinguishes itself from other higher education programs by taking a particular interest in adult education. The curriculum offers students all the knowledge and skills they need to become administrators at adult education public schools, as well as at K-12 schools and traditional universities. The core courses in this master's degree in higher education online only consist of nine credits, but students must also complete additional classes in the "Middle Core," "Senior Course," "Electives," and even a Field-Based Practice Course. There are no specific concentrations, but students may choose electives in thematic areas and create a specialty for themselves. U.S. News also includes USM on its list of top graduate education programs, placing it at #157.

  4. Walden University

    Minneapolis, MN



    Many students choose Walden University for their distance education needs. Walden is affordable, reputable, and offers flexible degree programs to suit a variety of interests. The school's top online master's degree in higher education offers numerous specializations in College Teaching and Learning, Online and Distance Learning, Enrollment Management and Institutional Marketing, Leadership for Student Success, and Global Higher Education - proving there really is something for everyone at Walden. Graduates find work in everything from admissions to student affairs, and often acquire coveted leadership positions. names Walden the #1 best online university in the nation.

  5. University of Mississippi

    University, MS



    The University of Mississippi, colloquially called "Ole Miss," has created an entirely online wing to its college specifically tailored to the needs of adult professionals. The affordable online master's degree in higher education costs just $443 per credit, or $1,329 for an entire 3-credit class. Online course delivery features a number of alternative teaching methods, including audio and video conferencing, streaming media content, and popular internet learning platforms. Classes include "Student Services in Higher Education," "Finance of Higher Education," "College Teaching," and "Practicum in Student Services." U.S. News ranks UM the 106th best education school in the country, but also the 35th best school for online education degrees.

  6. Capella University

    Minneapolis, MN



    Capella University is a relatively young institution of higher learning, but is quickly becoming a leader in distance education. The online master's degree in higher education comes with two specialization options: Community College Leadership and Higher Education Administration. The 48-credit hour program costs a mere $398 per credit, with classes organized into convenient 10-week segments. Students can also transfer up to 12 credits from a previous institution, significantly shortening their time to graduation. Student satisfaction ratings at Capella indicate that 93% of students are satisfied with the university, and that 86% would recommend the school to a friend. Common career destinations for graduates of this program include continuing education, community colleges, adult education organizations, and for-profit institutions.

  7. West Virginia University

    Morgantown, WV



    Students who want to work with college populations can open the door to a successful career at West Virginia University. The school's affordable online master's degree in higher education is an entirely virtual program, available in both full-time and part-time formats. Students can enroll from nearly any location and take anywhere from two to eight years to earn their degree. Full-time, experienced faculty utilize advanced learning technology to communicate pertinent skills in college student development, program evaluation, research, administration, instructional design, and educational psychology. The College Board ranked WVU as having the 6th most affordable in-state tuition, and the 11th most affordable tuition for out-of-state students.

  8. Indiana State University

    Terre Haute, IN



    Indiana State University's "Extended Learning" department gives students yet another choice for students who want to earn an online master's degree in higher education. The 39-credit hour program covers aspects of both administration and student affairs, exploring focus areas in student activities, health promotion, non-traditional student populations, residence halls, management, student development, financial aid, admissions, and more. Students only need an internet connection to participate, and can access the program from Indiana and many other states. Forbes lists ISU as the 162nd best university in the Midwest and the 254th best research school nationally.

  9. Penn State World Campus

    University Park, PA



    Penn State World Campus is a top online college that is nationally recognized for its education department. In fact, U.S. News places PSU as the 4th top online graduate school in education in the entire country. The education department offers a number of degrees, including one of the best online master's degrees in higher education available. The program comes with three areas of emphasis, including Administration, Institutional Research, and Student Engagement. Students can complete the program in one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study, with all classes available entirely through distance education.

  10. Kaplan University

    Augusta, ME



    Kaplan University is a popular choice for distance education college learners who want access to an affordable degree. The school's cheap online master's degree in higher education offers students the opportunity to build valuable critical thinking, writing, and research skills. The program offers a "standard" track, but also lets participants concentrate in Student Affairs, College Teaching and Learning, College Administration and Leadership, or Online College Teaching. Core courses cover everything from laws and regulations to research methods and instructional technology. College Prowler student reviews praise Kaplan for its knowledgeable professors, low-stress courses, and flexible scheduling.

Methodology: Here's How We Rank Schools

At Best Value Schools, we help students of all ages get the best possible value for their education. When choosing the best schools and programs, we prioritize tuition rates, student debt, financial aid opportunities, graduation rates, and the availability of online programs. We source unbiased data from government and educational databases like the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 6,374 schools across the U.S. We organize that data into five weighted categories to compile our school rankings.
Metric Data Used Percentage
Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 25%
Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 35%
Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 15%
Program Offerings Number of program options 10%
Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 15%
You can read more about our comprehensive evaluation process on our methodology page.

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See also: Top 15 Cheap Online Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Degree Programs

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