Average Cost Per Credit Hour for a Master’s Degree

Average Cost Per Credit Hour for a Masters Degree

Making the decision to earn your masters may be a complex one. It takes time and hard work. It also requires considering the cost of your education. The cost per credit for master’s degree programs ranges widely. For some, financial aid may help. Financial aid may be available to those who are eligible. Each school sets its own pricing for that education. For students, this is one of the numerous factors to think about when choosing a school to attend.


What is cost per credit?

The cost per credit is a cost broken down based on how much an individual credit hour of education is charged. Instead of charging a flat rate, many colleges and universities charge a rate based on the number of credit hours enrolled. Many times, a single college course may be 3 credits. That means that the cost per credit is multiplied by 3 to determine the cost for that individual class. Many master’s programs require 30 to 36 credit hours of education, providing some idea of what the cost of that education is.

Instead of providing a specific dollar amount for the earning of a master’s, students pay based on the number of credit hours they take. Keep in mind that master’s programs set the number of credits the student are required to finish within approved courses to earn their masters. This differs by school and program.

What is the average cost per credit for a Master’s degree program?

The average cost for a post-secondary institution for graduate education for the 2018-2019 school year was $19,792 at all institutions, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The average cost for public institution graduate programs was $12,410. Additionally, the average cost for graduate programs at all private colleges was $26,597. Assuming an average of 30 credit hours per program, this would mean the average cost per credit hour for a master’s was $659.73 across all schools with data available.

Keep in mind that the average cost per credit changes each year. Schools raise rates and change fees often. Many schools provide their per credit hour rate on their website or in course documents. Be sure to look up a few schools to compare.

20 Schools with Master’s Programs with Cost per Credit Under $500

The following colleges and universities have a cost per credit hour under $500. This information comes from each school’s website, which is subject to change at any time. (Data accurate as of May of 2022).

The following 20 schools with master’s programs with credit hours under $500 may be interesting to those who are looking for a more affordable educational program.

*Sponsored Schools

School NameGraduate ProgramsCost per Credit
William Woods UniversityMBA, MHA, Organizational Leadership, EdD, EdS, MEdStarts at $400
Ball State UniversityAccounting, Actuarial Science, MBA, Education, Chemistry, Data Science, English, History, Math, Music, Nursing, Physics, and more$431
Hood CollegeNutrition Science, Humanities, Ceramic Arts, MBA, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, IT, Counseling, Education$500
National UniversityEducation, Business, Nursing, Social Sciences, Engineering, Criminal Justice, Arts, Science, Math$442
Fayetteville State UniversityMBA, Criminal Justice, Education, Nursing, PsychologyStarts at $224
University of NebraskaMBA, Business, Architecture, Engineering, Law, EducationStarts at $341
Amberton UniversityCounseling, Accounting, MBA, Agile Project Management, Enterprise Analytics, Family Studies, Human Relations, and Business$285
Georgia Southwestern State UniversityMBA, Education, Computer Science, Nursing$257
Purdue University GlobalMBA, Accounting, Finance, Management and Leadership, Criminal Justice, Homeland Security, Education, Public Health, Human ServicesStarts at $420
Queens University CharlotteEducation, Nursing, Communications, Business, Creative Writing, Health AdministrationStarts at $473
Grantham UniversityMBA, Business Intelligence, Management, Information Technology, Leadership, Nursing$350
Indiana Wesleyan UniversityAccounting, Athletic Training, Education, MBA, Theology, Counseling, Divinity$470
Capella UniversityBusiness, Counseling, Education, Health Sciences, IT, Nursing, Psychology, Social WorkStarts at $440
William Carey UniversityEducation, MBA, Criminal Justice, English, Psychology, Nursing, HistoryStarts at $460
Western Carolina UniversityAccountancy, Art, Athletic Training, MBA, Biology, Chemistry, Communications, Construction Management, Counseling, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Nursing, Human ResourcesStarts at $416
University at AlbanyAccounting, Chemistry, Biology, Education, Communication, MBA, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Data Science, Economics, Geography, History, Information ScienceStarts at $471
Florida Southern CollegeMBA, Business, Education, Nursing, Psychology$330
Central Methodist UniversityEducation, Counseling, Mathematics, Nursing, IT, Athletic TrainingStarts at $270
Missouri Western State UniversityMBA, Teaching, Applied Science, Nursing, Education$380
University of the CumberlandsBusiness, Education, Nursing, Counseling, Ministry, Criminal Justice, Information Technology, Leadership, Executive, Health ScienceStarts at $315
*Sponsored Schools

What affects the cost per credit?

The cost per credit for college tuition is dependent on numerous factors. Schools set the costs for many things, including based on the overall cost to provide that education. Profit and not-for-profit schools charge differently.

For-profit institutions aim to make a profit from the educational services they offer. These are businesses that make funds for all stakeholders. By comparison, non-profit institutions are designed to provide for the interest of the student and typically do not aim to charge more for the education beyond the costs of running the school.

Other factors impact the cost per credit as well. This may include whether the school offers online or hybrid educational models, which tend to be more cost-effective for the school overall. That may translate into lower costs for students if they attend online programs rather than in-person education.

There are also other fees students may need to pay, including application requirements and fees and miscellaneous student fees such as technology fees, library fees, and lab fees.

How to Pay for Your Masters Degree Program

Paying for your master’s is dependent on many factors. You could pay out-of-pocket for the entire cost of your education. For those that hope to find more affordable options, there could be a range of alternative ways to pay for your education.

Scholarships: Scholarships are distributed to students by issuing organizations which could be schools, non-profits, businesses, and many others. Students do not repay these funds, but students may need to meet specific requirements to maintain them. Students may be selected from a group of people who apply for the scholarship. You may be able to find scholarships at Unigo for what you hope to study.

Grants: Some individuals may apply for and earn grants. These also do not require repayment. Grants require students to meet specific qualifications and other requirements to apply for them. Some are need-based, while others are based on specific objectives set by the provider.

Loans: Student loans may be available to some students. Loans require repayment. There are government-based student loan programs and private loan programs available to many students in graduate school. Students may need to meet specific requirements to be eligible for the loan. Federal-based loan programs typically offer more lenient requirements than some private lenders. Both could be an option for many students to pay for their master’s.

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