Most Affordable Online MHA Programs

As a healthcare worker, a master’s degree in health administration maybe the boost you need to take your career to a new level. This guide reveals some of the most affordable online MHA programs and gives additional insight through FAQs and tips.

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Written By

Michael Hoffman

- Bio

A former practicing attorney, Michael Hoffman has years of experience as a freelance journalist specializing in the research and writing of higher education content – from online learning to financial aid, and everything in between. Michael is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara College of Law. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael practiced for several years as a civil litigator in Los Angeles and worked in Santa Monica, California as a development executive for a major film producer.

last updated

08/02/2022

If you are a healthcare worker who is ready to uplevel your career, a leadership role might be the right next step for you. Management positions in healthcare typically require at least a Bachelor’s degree plus several years of experience in your area of specialization, but many of the highest-level positions do require a master’s degree like a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA). Thankfully, accessibility to online MHA programs is growing, making it easier than ever to advance your education while working full-time.

We surveyed dozens of online MHA programs, and highlighted some of the most affordable schools in this guide. You’ll also find advice on choosing the right program for you, learning how online MHA programs work, and how to fund your degree.

3 Affordable Online MHA Programs

The three online MHA programs spotlighted below are not only affordable but show you what to look for in a high-quality program. They were chosen based largely on affordability, taking into account factors like the cost of tuition, program fees, and available financial aid. They also feature other important elements like a quality curriculum, study convenience and flexibility, and availability of student support services. Learn more about how these ratings were calculated by clicking on the “About the Ranking” button below.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

When it comes to affordable online MHA programs, it’s hard to beat the Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MSHA) from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. The 30-credit curriculum consists of core coursework in topics like healthcare delivery systems, leadership, finance, informatics and data analytics, law and ethics, and more. Students also complete six credits of elective coursework in specialized subjects like business innovation and entrepreneurship, healthcare insurance and reimbursement, and long-term care administration. The program culminates with a capstone project where students apply skills learned to a real healthcare setting. Most coursework is 100% online in an asynchronous format, though some classes may require online attendance at specific times during evening hours via live stream. No campus visits are required.

Texas Tech’s MHA program offers one of the lowest in-state tuition rates available today, and students can apply for a number of financial aid opportunities. Admission requirements for this MSHA program include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a minimum overall GPA of 2.7 or higher on all previously-completed undergraduate and graduate coursework. GRE scores are not required. Program starts are in the fall, spring, and summer.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Healthcare Administration

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: Varies
  • Cost: $265/credit (resident); $673/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Fully-online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)

University of West Florida

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida offers its online Master of Healthcare Administration program with affordable tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state residents. The 42-credit program is designed with working healthcare professionals in mind and has 100% asynchronous online didactic coursework. Students complete their studies with either an internship in a real healthcare setting or a capstone project, which requires program approval, where students apply their skills by tackling a new venture for a healthcare organization. The entire program can be completed part-time in as few as two years.

Admission into West Florida’s MHA online program requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a 3.0 or higher GPA on undergraduate major coursework, and a personal statement. Two letters of recommendation discussing an applicant’s healthcare experience and/or potential are required of those with an undergrad GPA below 3.5. Previous healthcare experience is a significant factor in the admission process. Graduate admission test scores are optional, and active military and veterans may be eligible for free tuition.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Healthcare Administration

  • Credits: 42
  • Length: Two years
  • Cost: $384.60/credit (resident); $478.83 (non-resident)
  • Mode: Fully-online (capstone); Partially-online (internship)
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)

University of Nevada – Las Vegas

University of Nevada – Las Vegas

The online Executive Master of Healthcare Administration (EMHA) from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas is designed for students with professional experience in the healthcare field and/or administration or management experience in any field. The program takes a more strategic, as opposed to an operational, academic approach to healthcare administration studies. It consists of 37 credit hours of required courses plus a three-credit capstone course in which students complete either an in-depth project or take a comprehensive exam. Students attend two immersion sessions on the UNLV campus, a two-day orientation session before the start of the first semester, and a one to two-day session before the last semester. All other coursework is accessed and completed asynchronously online. New cohorts begin each fall and spring.

Along with a bachelor’s degree and 3.0 or higher GPA, admission into this EMHA program requires a minimum of three years of professional experience in administration or management in any field or five years of clinical (e.g., RN, OT, lab technician, etc.) experience. The program is also open to students who have or are currently working toward a terminal medical or healthcare degree along with some practice experience.

Program Highlights:

Executive Master of Healthcare Administration

  • Credits: 40
  • Length: Two years (full-time); Varies (part-time)
  • Cost: $314/credit (resident); $659.50/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: NWCCU (school); CAHME (program)

What Makes an Online MHA Program Affordable?

When it comes to online MHA programs, affordability means more than just a low tuition rate. Various other elements also impact your total program cost. Below is a look at seven of the most common factors impacting the affordability of an online MHA program.

Financial Aid, Grants, and Scholarships

Common forms of financial aid are available to many online MHA students. These include scholarships, grants, and student loans like those available through the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid program. Other potential funding sources include assistantships, work-study, employer tuition reimbursement programs, and VA benefits. Except for student loans, most funding opportunities are essentially “free money” that doesn’t need to be paid back.

Location, Location, Location

Some public colleges and universities charge a higher, sometimes substantially higher, tuition rate to students who reside outside their own state’s borders. The trend today is away from such differences in costs with some schools offering the same affordable in-state rates to all online students regardless of where they live. These residency-based differences in tuition typically only apply to students in public school programs, not private ones.

Private or Public School

Attending a public MHA program, even an online one, can be substantially more expensive for out-of-state students. That doesn’t mean you should eliminate public school programs in other states from your potential program list, though, since public school programs usually charge a lower tuition rate than private colleges. Carefully review the tuition rates and fees of all online MHA programs you’re considering before making your final program decision.

Online vs. In-Person Coursework

With some exceptions, most online MHA programs charge the same tuition rate for both online and traditional campus-based courses. So, your total program cost will likely not be significantly affected if you attend some of your courses in person, at least in terms of tuition costs. However, the more courses you take in person the more you’ll pay in travel costs to and from campus.

Software and Other Equipment Purchases

All programs provide a list of technology requirements, which include items like minimum computer requirements for your processor, operating system, RAM, HD or SSD memory, etc. You’ll also likely need up-to-date versions of browser or application software like MS Office. You may already have the software and equipment you need, and you may be able to obtain it at a discount or even free of charge through your program if you don’t.

Transfer Credits

The number of transfer credits allowed into your online MHA program depends on the specific program, and not all programs allow them. If you’re hoping to apply any previously-earned credits, confirm that it’s allowed by any program you’re considering before you apply.

Part-time or Full-time

Since tuition costs are typically charged per credit, your total program cost will likely be the same, at least in terms of tuition, whether you opt for full-time or part-time study. Some online MHA programs come with additional fees that are charged per semester or per term, which means you’ll pay more in fees the more semesters you take to complete your studies. These additional fees are usually negligible, but they can add up and should be considered when pricing a program.

How Can You Lower the Cost of Your Online MHA Degree?

A low tuition rate is a foundational factor in the affordability equation for an online MHA degree program. It’s not the only factor, though, and you’ll need to consider a variety of elements when making your program choice. Below are three of the most common ways to lower the cost of your online MHA degree.

1. Scholarships, Grants, and Other Financial Aid Designed Specifically for MHA Students

Many online MHA programs offer financial aid opportunities specifically designated for their students. These opportunities most often take the form of in-house scholarships and grants. A prime example is the MHA Online Program at the University of Utah, which offers several program-specific scholarships and tuition discounts. Contact the financial aid office at each program you’re considering to find out if you’re eligible for MHA-specific financial aid opportunities.

2. Employer Tuition Reimbursement Programs

Many online MHA programs offer financial aid opportunities specifically designated for their students. These opportunities most A lot of employers today appreciate the value of retaining their best employees. One way they do so is by offering an employer tuition reimbursement program. These plans reimburse employees for all or a portion of the cost of education programs like online MHA programs in exchange for a commitment to remain with the company for a stated period after studies are complete. If you like the healthcare organization you work for and want to continue working there once you’ve earned your MHA, ask about the availability of an employer tuition reimbursement program.

3. Work Study or Assistantships

Assistantships and work-study opportunities are two other funding options common to master’s degree programs. Given the nature of online study, finding an assistantship or work-study position can be difficult, especially for students in fully-online programs. It’s not impossible, though, so check with the programs on your MHA list to see if assistantship or work-study opportunities are available.

FAQs About Affordable Online MHA Programs

What is the ROI of an online MHA degree?

Return on investment (ROI) measures the value of a monetary investment over a given period. There are innumerable equations used to determine a degree’s ROI, each accounting for a range of variables (e.g., annual median income, inflation rates, professional working lifespan, etc.), and many of which are difficult to measure in any meaningful way.

You can be sure that your online MHA will provide you with a healthy ROI throughout your professional career. According to recent salary figures from Payscale, the median annual base salary for individuals with an MHA degree is $82,000. That’s just over 26% greater than the $65,000 current median annual base salary for workers with only a bachelor’s in healthcare administration. After subtracting an estimated $15,000 for the cost of an affordable online MHA program, that’s an additional income of nearly two-thirds of a million throughout a 40-year career for professionals with an MHA.

How can I ensure that an affordable MHA program is high-quality?

There are a few factors to consider as measurements of a program’s quality. One example is the availability of networking opportunities and the percentage of graduates who find employment in the healthcare administration field.

A fundamental measure of an online MHA program’s quality is accreditation. There are two primary forms of accreditation for MHA programs. Institutional accreditation refers to the overall quality of the school offering the program and is administered by several U.S. Department of Education recognized regional and national accreditation agencies. Some MHA programs are also programmatically accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).

Is an online MHA more affordable than an in-person MHA?

This depends on the MHA program. Some online programs charge additional remote access fees for online courses, while others offer program discounts for students studying online. While there’s also an additional cost for computer and internet access fees, you probably pay for those either way. Online students typically save enough money through the absence of transportation costs (e.g., fuel costs for travel to and from campus, parking fees, etc.) to make their online MHA program more affordable than an on-campus one.

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

While this depends on the specific program, it’s unlikely. Job experience in healthcare and administration or management is sometimes a requirement for admission into an online MHA program, particularly ones titled “Executive MHA” programs. When it comes to receiving program credits for that experience, though, most programs do not award it.

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

To help you know if an affordable master’s degree program is right for you, consider your answers to the following questions:

  • What are my goals, both academic and professional?
  • Is an MHA the best educational choice to help me reach my goals?
  • Is an online program the right approach for me?

If you’ve decided to move forward with an online MHA after answering these questions, move on to figuring out which program features you want most. Options to consider include:

  • Fully online or partially-online
  • Program cost
  • Completion time
  • School location
  • Available support services
  • Networking opportunities

Then, compare your preferred features list to your list of potential online MHA programs to find the one that appears to be the best fit.