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    Most Affordable Online Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Master's Programs

    Earning your online MFT degree doesn’t have to break the bank. Explore this year’s most affordable master’s programs and other ways to lower the cost of grad school.

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    Earning an online Master of Family Therapy (MFT) degree can be a convenient way to move into a formal counseling or therapy role, advance into clinical practice, or simply better support the families and individuals you already work with as a professional in a related field.

    While the financial commitment of earning a graduate degree can be high, many respected universities offer accredited online MFT programs at low tuition rates. If affordability is the highest priority on your online MFT program checklist, this page is for you. Read on to find a list of this year’s most affordable online MFT programs and get other tips that can help you keep costs low and graduate with less debt.

    Most Affordable Online MFT Master’s Programs in 2024

    With so many online graduate counseling and therapy programs available, knowing where find the most affordable options can be tough. To help you get started, these rankings provide quick details on some of the most affordable online MFT programs. This list was developed using the latest educational quality and cost metrics available from IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System). To learn more about how we used this data, click on the “About the ranking” button below.

    or
    About the ranking

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    Base Methodology for EduMed’s Most Affordable Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

    One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

    Two: Assign Weighting

    After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS.

    The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted.

    Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

    Institutional Aid – Percent of full-time undergraduate students who are awarded institutional grant aid, as self-reported by the school.

    Following metrics were all equally weighted.

    Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

    Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

    Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    Student/Faculty Ratio

    About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

    #School NameTypeTuitionOnline ProgramsMore DetailsSchool InformationOnline StudentsAcademic CounselingCareer PlacementStudents w/Institutional AidMedian Earnings 10yrs After EntryAccreditation
    1Western Michigan UniversityKalamazoo, MIPublic$$1

    The Master of Arts in Counselor Education from Western Michigan University offers four specializations, including Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling. Regardless of which focus a student chooses, they will be enrolling in a hybrid program, with most of the courses offered on campus, and the option of completing some program coursework online. In addition to on-campus coursework, students will need to complete in-person practicum hours, which they can do in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, or one of the affiliated counseling locations within the state.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Arts in Counselor Education: Marriage Couple Family Counseling

    • Credits: 61
    • Length: Varies
    • Cost: $764.76/credit (resident) and $1,147.14/credit (non-resident)
    • Mode: Partially online
    • Accreditation: CACREP
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    16/1
    Online
    Student %
    72%
    2University of West AlabamaLivingston, ALPublic$1

    The Master of Science in Family Counseling program at the University of West Alabama is perfect for licensed therapists and counselors who want additional training in the family counseling realm. Because of this, the program is relatively short, capable of being completed in just one year. The bulk of the coursework is online, however, there are experiential learning requirements that students must meet before they can graduate. In addition to most of the classes being online, each course lasts eight weeks, making it easier for students to complete their education while continuing to work.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Science in Family Counseling

    • Credits: 33
    • Length: 1-2 years
    • Cost: $429.00/credit
    • Mode: Partially online
    • Accreditation: SACSCOC
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    14/1
    Online
    Student %
    83%
    3University of Massachusetts GlobalIrvine, CAPrivate not-for-profit$$1

    The Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program from the University of Massachusetts Global prepares students to become licensed family and marriage therapists in 39 states. This is a hybrid program, with most of the didactic instruction offered online. However, students must complete six practicum courses that amount to nine of the required 60 credit hours. Taking the GRE isn't required to apply, but applicants must meet GPA requirements.

    Program Highlights:

    MA in Marriage and Family Therapy

    • Credits: 60
    • Length: Varies
    • Cost: $709.00/credit
    • Mode: Partially online
    • Accreditation: WSCUC
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    22/1
    Online
    Student %
    99%
    4Alliant International University-San DiegoSan Diego, CAPrivate for-profit$$$1

    Alliant International University's Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy degree program is offered in a hybrid format. All of the coursework is delivered online, but students must also complete 600 to 1,300 hours of hands-on training to achieve licensure after graduation. One unique feature of this program is that, in addition to the marital and family therapy academic focus, students can earn a specialization in chemical dependency. This CAADE-accredited concentration focuses on treating addiction within the familial context.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy

    • Credits: 60
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $1,008.00/credit
    • Mode: Partially online
    • Accreditation: COAMFTE
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    5/1
    Online
    Student %
    100%
    5University of Holy CrossNew Orleans, LAPrivate not-for-profit$$1

    The University of Holy Cross' Master of Arts in Counseling is a CACREP-accredited program that offers most of its classroom requirements in an online format. These online courses are held two to three times a week. However, because they are asynchronous, students can complete the class assignments at a time of day that's works best for them. Students can also choose from three possible specializations, including Marriage, Couple, and Family. This track consists of 20 courses, including one elective, two internship classes, and one practicum class.

    Program Highlights:

    MA in Counseling

    • Credits: 60
    • Length: 3 years
    • Cost: $735.00/credit
    • Mode: Partially online
    • Accreditation: CACREP
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    10/1
    Online
    Student %
    56%

    What Makes an Online MFT Program Affordable?

    There are several elements to consider when choosing an online MFT program. We discuss those below to help you find a quality grad program that’s also affordable.

    How much financial aid you can get

    The most significant ways to offset the cost of your online MFT program is through grants and scholarships, which you don’t have to replay, and student loans, which must be repaid. You can also apply for grants and scholarships while you’re in school, not just before entering a program. For more information, consult our guide detailing available financial aid opportunities.

    Whether you live in-state or-out-of-state

    Many colleges and universities offer online students a special rate for distance learning classes. Some schools have in-state or out-of-state tuition rates, but others do not. Look for online programs offering all their MFT distance learners in-state tuition rates, which is often substantially less expensive than out-of-state rates.

    Whether the college is private or public

    Public institutions typically offer lower tuition rates than private schools. The average 2018-2019 tuition at private schools for full-time learners was $35,700. For public institutions during the same academic year, average tuition was $9,700 for in-state learners and $21,600 for out-of-state students.

    How much of the MFT program coursework is offered online

    If your MFT program offers courses entirely online with few or no on-campus obligations, you’ll save money by avoiding costly commutes. Even if you live close to campus, don’t forget about parking fees, potential parking tickets, and gas. Students spending more time on campus also tend to spend cash at coffee shops, restaurants, and bookstores, which remote students can more easily avoid.

    If the MFT program has a class schedule that allows you to continue working while you complete your master’s

    MFT online programs offer a flexible schedule that most working professionals need. Even a part-time job while enrolled in a master’s program with asynchronous, self-paced courses can help you earn income while you move toward graduation.

    How much the college charges for you to apply

    The cost of applying to schools may seem somewhat insignificant. If you’re applying to several schools, however, you could be looking at $500 or more in application fees alone. Keep an eye out for programs that have minimal or no application fee. If you are an active duty service member or a veteran, many schools waive the application fee.

    Ways to Lower the Cost of Your Online MFT Degree

    There are many ways for remote MFT degree-seekers to keep their education costs down and reduce financial stress. The following three approaches can significantly help you spend less on tuition, fees, and expenses.

    1. Look into all the scholarship options you may be eligible for.

    Scholarships are essentially free money you do not need to pay back and are available at local, regional, and national levels. Many are also reserved for particular demographics of students, like those for BIPOC students, those pursuing degrees in certain academic areas, and students residing in a specific area. There are also often scholarships available directly through your graduate school or department. Check out EduMed’s scholarship page for a look at 50 of the best scholarships available.

    1. Ask about employer tuition reimbursement

    If you are currently a working professional, tuition assistance may be available through your employer. Federal tax law allows you to receive up to $5,250 in tuition reimbursement every academic year that you don’t need to claim on your federal taxes. Funds can be used for tuition, books, miscellaneous campus and technology fees, and some school-related supplies.

    1. Consider tuition payment plans

    Many schools offer short-term installment plans that allow you to split the total amount you owe into smaller monthly payments. Many schools offer these plans at no interest. There might be a one-time sign-up fee, but it’s less than what you would be charged for a late or unpaid balance.