Top 100 Affordable Leadership Schools

Most Affordable Leadership Programs

Search Programs

Are you considering earning a degree in leadership? A career in this field is generally appealing to individuals with an aptitude for business, communication, and organization. Graduates can often find employment in both the public and private sectors, from non-profits to large corporations. If you feel this describes your skills and interests, it may be time to enroll in an affordable and accredited leadership degree program.

Students enrolled in leadership degree programs tend to spend much of their class time learning about business-related topics such as business law, strategic management, human relations, and systems analysis. Coursework is generally designed to help develop a variety of skills that can be applied to almost any industry in the future. Graduates will be prepared for numerous employment opportunities, but most enter business-related fields, such as marketing or human resources.

Search Programs

Top 100 Affordable Leadership College Rankings

Prospective students can utilize published school rankings to make finding an affordable leadership program easier. These reports provide valuable, data-based insight into the academic options available. When possible, students can utilize rankings to help them find the perfect solution to help them achieve their academic and career goals.

Our school rankings data collection process is focused solely on institutions that offer affordable leadership programs. As a result, the information we provide is easy to understand, highly relevant, and applicable to prospective students across the United States. Our teams consider a wide range of data points, but some of the most prominent areas of interest include cost of tuition, online programs offered, and graduating salary.

As previously mentioned, tuition prices often vary significantly between schools. Reviewing rankings can help you determine which degree programs in leadership offer the best value for your money. Cost can be a huge determining factor during the decision-making process and knowing which colleges and universities fit your budget is essential prior to applying for any degree.

Students interested in online learning opportunities will need to find a college or university that offers remote leadership degree programs. While more and more institutions have online degrees, not all of them do. Our rankings make it easy to identify which schools are worth considering.

Similarly, not all colleges and universities maintain records regarding the salaries of graduates. Others make it difficult to find this information. This data can be extremely useful, which is why we do our best to find reliable information and provide it whenever possible.


CUNY Lehman College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,410
    • Out-of-state: $15,360
  • Net Price: $3,913
  • Retention Rate: 83%
  • Total Enrollment: 15,143
  • Undergrad Students: 13,002
  • Graduate Students: 2,141
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • CUNY Lehman College
  • Tuition
    • In-State: $4,740
    • Out-of-state: $11,484
  • Net Price: $4,784
  • Retention Rate: 48%
  • Total Enrollment: 5,636
  • Undergrad Students: 5,636
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 25%
  • Colorado Mountain College
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
  • Tuition
    • In-State: $4,837
    • Out-of-state: $9,745
  • Net Price: $7,424
  • Retention Rate: 63%
  • Total Enrollment: 5,283
  • Undergrad Students: 4,347
  • Graduate Students: 936
  • Graduation Rate: 41%
  • The University of Texas Permian Basin
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings

Urshan College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $5,556
    • Out-of-state: $5,556
  • Net Price: $7,558
  • Retention Rate: 64%
  • Total Enrollment: 309
  • Undergrad Students: 309
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 12%
  • Urshan College
  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,512
    • Out-of-state: $19,366
  • Net Price: $8,387
  • Retention Rate: 73%
  • Total Enrollment: 12,852
  • Undergrad Students: 9,415
  • Graduate Students: 3,437
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Marshall University
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings

Olympic College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $3,971
    • Out-of-state: $9,362
  • Net Price: $8,416
  • Retention Rate: NA
  • Total Enrollment: 6,278
  • Undergrad Students: 6,278
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 30%
  • Olympic College
  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,450
    • Out-of-state: $15,870
  • Net Price: $8,442
  • Retention Rate: 67%
  • Total Enrollment: 4,142
  • Undergrad Students: 3,816
  • Graduate Students: 326
  • Graduation Rate: 23%
  • Cameron University
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings

The University of Texas at El Paso

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $9,450
    • Out-of-state: $24,516
  • Net Price: $8,758
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Total Enrollment: 25,177
  • Undergrad Students: 21,427
  • Graduate Students: 3,750
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • The University of Texas at El Paso
  • Tuition
    • In-State: $5,754
    • Out-of-state: $13,026
  • Net Price: $9,209
  • Retention Rate: 65%
  • Total Enrollment: 6,265
  • Undergrad Students: 6,229
  • Graduate Students: 36
  • Graduation Rate: 31%
  • University of Arkansas-Fort Smith
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings

Northern Kentucky University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $10,296
    • Out-of-state: $20,256
  • Net Price: $9,664
  • Retention Rate: 72%
  • Total Enrollment: 15,664
  • Undergrad Students: 11,868
  • Graduate Students: 3,796
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Northern Kentucky University
Full Ranking Report

Why a Degree from an Affordable Leadership School?

It’s important to realize that few degree programs focus solely on leadership. Most options pair leadership with a related and more specific field.

Some examples include:

  • Organizational Leadership
  • Global Responsibility and Leadership
  • Applied Communication, Leadership, and Culture
  • Human Resource Management and Leadership
  • Leadership and Team Working
  • Business Leadership
  • Christian Leadership
  • Community Leadership
  • Community Development and Leadership

One of the most common and well-regarded degrees is organizational leadership. These programs usually cover numerous topics related to both leadership and business including human behavior in organizations, strategic human resources management, leadership and systematic change, and corporate leadership.

While some management occupations require only a high school diploma or equivalent, most employers expect candidates to have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree. Some higher-level jobs require master’s degrees. As enrolling at a college or university can be expensive, opting for an affordable leadership program is often prudent.

Many students choose to pursue leadership degrees because they are interested in careers as management professionals. Graduates often master the fundamental skills necessary to be successful in business and/or advance the organizations they work for. Other benefits of pursuing a degree in leadership include developing business connections and earning an above-average salary.

Leadership curriculums are often designed to enhance abilities in effective communication, employee development, ethics, mentoring, supervision, and teamwork, all of which can easily be applied to almost any profession. Every program is different, but most place a strong focus on assessing worker behavior, which makes it easier to appropriately appraise performance and encourage talent development. Students are also likely to learn how to analyze effective organizational structures, incorporate team-building skills, and practice ethical decision making in the workplace.

Depending on the level of education attained, graduates often enjoy employment opportunities in the following positions:

  • Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Public Relations and Fundraising Manager
  • Administrative Services and Facilities Manager

Earning a degree of any kind can be difficult. Not only does it require a significant amount of work, dedication, and time, but it can be quite expensive as well. Prospective students with few financial resources may find it particularly hard to pay for tuition and all the other expenses associated with enrolling in an academic program.

Fortunately, there are many forms of financial aid available to assist students. While award amounts vary, scholarships and grants are ideal, as the funds awarded do not need to be paid pack after graduation. These funds are rarely sufficient to cover all the expenses related to earning a degree, however. In most cases, prospective students also rely on loans for additional assistance. Unlike scholarships and grants, funds obtained through loans must be paid back with interest.

Financial aid can help counteract the cost of higher education, but it’s important to consider the affordability of colleges and universities as well. Not all leadership degree programs are prohibitively expensive. Tuition rates and fees should never be the sole deciding factor when selecting an institution but opting for a less expensive program can be beneficial.

Choosing an Affordable Leadership College

There are actually several factors you should keep in mind when looking for a leadership degree program. Comparing and contrasting various elements can help ensure you find an institution that fits your goals and circumstances. Some of the most important features to consider include cost of attendance, location, accreditation, program structure, and graduation requirements.

  • Cost
    The cost of earning a leadership degree is an important consideration, but it should never completely dictate your selection. Everyone’s financial situation is different, however, and your budget must play a role in your selection. Some institutions are more expensive to attend than others. These differences often stem from school type, location, and reputation. Community colleges and public schools also tend to have lower tuition rates than private institutions.
  • Location
    The locations of possible schools are also significant. Not only does this often impact tuition rates, but it also determines where you will reside while attending classes on campus. Additionally, some areas have high costs of living, which can make it even more difficult to afford attending school. Many public institutions also charge out-of-state students more for tuition, while residents pay a lower rate.
  • Accreditation

    You should always check the accreditation status of the college or university where your program is offered. Accreditation means that the degrees offered meet certain educational standards as set by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Not all institutions choose to become accredited, however, which can cause complications.

    CHEA recognizes the following regional accrediting agencies:

    • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
    • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
    • North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCACS)
    • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC)
    • Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Schools (WASC ACS)
  • Program Structure
    Every leadership program is different. As previously mentioned, many colleges and universities combine the subject with other similar areas to create a single major. This means most options you find are likely to include varying curriculums. Fortunately, most departments provide a detailed list of required courses on their websites. It may also be helpful to review average class sizes, common instructional methods, and other graduation requirements.
  • Graduation Requirements
    Many colleges and universities share similar graduation requirements, such as total credit hours, internships, keystone courses, and minimum grade point averages needed. While expectations tend to be relatively standard, each institution sets their own guidelines. As a result, it’s important to review all requirements carefully prior to enrolling.

Online Options

Some colleges and universities offer leadership programs online. Pursuing one of these degrees can lead to a successful career in management and/or business. Distance learning is often extremely flexible, offering students the opportunity to attend classes from nearly anywhere with internet access. Individuals with personal obligations that make living and learning on campus difficult may find online leadership programs particularly appealing. Current professionals interested in expanding the knowledge or changing fields are also good candidates for distance learning degrees.

While many online programs take approximately the same amount of time to complete as on-campus programs, some colleges and universities offer accelerated options. These provide the same type of instruction, but in a condensed format delivered over shorter periods. It’s important to note that these programs are often more demanding and intense.

Those interested in online leadership programs should also be aware of the potential drawbacks. Distance learning typically requires students to be highly self-motivated, otherwise assignments may not be completed and submitted on time. Some resources normally available on campus may be limited or unavailable. Additionally, students studying remotely have significantly fewer opportunities to network with peers and professionals in the field.

In order to decrease the number of drawbacks commonly associated with online degrees, some institutions offer hybrid programs. These are designed to help bridge well-known gaps by requiring short residencies on campus between extended periods of online learning.

Are Leadership Programs in High Demand?

Many colleges and universities offer leadership programs for students interested in business and/or management. Overall, the outlook for professionals in this field working in the United States is a little better than average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for management occupations is projected to grow by 5% from 2019 to 2029. This is faster than the average for all occupations, making this profession a viable solution for individuals seeking stable employment opportunities. An increase of this size is expected to add approximately 505,000 new jobs to the market.

Demand for qualified leadership professionals is high in many sectors and is expected to continue rising as the formation of new organizations continue. The expansion of current businesses also necessitates more workers to manage operations.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Leadership?

There are a few different career paths available after earning a degree in leadership. However, the prospects available to you will depend greatly upon degree type, as well as the level of education achieved. The most prominent positions require, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree will be necessary for some jobs. Identifying your ultimate career goals now can help you determine how much education is needed. Some of the most common career paths for leadership graduates include marketing manager, sales manager, human resources manager, public relations manager, and administrative services manager.

  • Marketing Managers
    Marketing managers are responsible for developing advertising or merchandising sales campaigns for the businesses they work for. Depending on the situation, they may be assigned a single product, brand, or an entire company.
  • Sales Manager
    Sales managers are responsible for working directly with company sales teams to establish goals and creating sales strategies to meet them. These professionals spend a lot of time analyzing data to determine potential shortfalls, as well as ways to address problems as they arise.
  • Human Resources Manager
    Human resources managers are responsible for overseeing their company or organization’s employee policies, procedures, and compliance. They must be familiar with state and federal laws regarding employment and ensure all activities are legal.
  • Public Relations Manager
    Public relations managers are responsible for cultivating good press for their companies. They may also solicit donations in order to fundraise at both the local and national levels. These professionals tend to work closely with top executives to ensure their visions are met.
  • Administrative Services Manager
    Administrative services managers are responsible for overseeing the daily tasks necessary to keep their organization productive. They often create company policies and supervise administrative staff members.

Leadership Graduates Earn More After College

The earning potential for leadership and management professionals tends to be above average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for management occupations was $109,760 in May 2020, which is well above the median annual wage of $41,950 as reported for all occupations. This was the highest wage of all the major occupational groups. However, salary amounts will depend on the type of job obtained; many occupations had median pay ranges that were much lower.

Education level often has a significant impact on pay. More education generally translates to more money. According to PayScale, those with associate degrees earn an average salary of $55,000, whereas those with bachelor’s degrees in organizational leadership earn an average salary of $68,000. Master’s degree graduates in leadership also earn an average base salary of $68,000 per year.

Additionally, business and management professionals make more money based on the amount of experience they have in the field. Average base salaries tend to rise significantly over time, especially at the 20-year mark.


  • What are the admission requirements for leadership students?
    Most colleges and universities maintain strict admissions standards, although requirements are not the same for every higher education institution. Reviewing potential schools’ applications ahead of time can improve your chances of acceptance.

    Some of the most common expectations for incoming freshmen include:

    • Official High School Transcripts or College Transcripts
    • Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)
    • Application and Fees
    • Letters of Recommendation
    • Personal Statement or Supplemental Essay
    • Academic Work Samples
    • Scores from College Entrance Exams (SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT etc.)

    Associate degree-seekers applying to community colleges are unlikely to need standardized test scores like the SAT and/or ACT, although most four-year institutions offering bachelor’s degrees require them. Those seeking admittance into master’s degree programs must take and submit GRE test results. It’s important to realize that some schools have minimum requirements for standardized test results.

  • How long will it take to complete a leadership degree?
    The length of time needed to complete a leadership degree will depend upon the program level you select. Upper-level degrees tend to take longer, but they often result in more advancement opportunities and higher earning potentials. You must determine whether or not the time commitment is worth your while.

    Associate degrees in leadership can consist of between 30 and 60 credit hours. They typically take full-time students about two years to complete. This option is ideal for individuals interested in entry-level employment and may not be enough to qualify graduates for some types of positions.

    Most business and management professionals have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree. These programs typically consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately four years to complete. Some colleges and universities do offer accelerated online programs that take as little as two years to finish.

    Master’s degree programs are also available. These generally consist of approximately 60 credit hours and take full-time students two years to complete.

    Semester hour credits earned previously can be transferred to most undergraduate degree programs. For higher schoolers, advanced placement (AP) credits from passing the examinations can be applied to associate and bachelor’s degrees. It is also possible to transfer associate-level work from a community college to a four-year institution after being admitted to a bachelor’s degree program.

Search Programs