On this page

Back to top

Explore the Most Affordable Online PhD Programs in Education

Affordable online PhD programs in education give you the tools you need to reach your potential without straining the resources you currently have. Keep reading to learn more.

Search hundreds of top schools for the doctorate YOU want.

Written By

Kenya McCullum

Last updated

Feb 20, 2024

Are you currently an educator thinking of ways to advance in your career, such as entering an administrative role, becoming a college professor, or even starting your own business? Are you an undergraduate student thinking about the educational and career path you may want to take so you can plan for the future? Whatever your situation is right now, chances are you’re considering the cost of earning a terminal degree. Enrolling in an affordable online PhD program in education can help you get where you want to go, and there is financial aid available so you can achieve your goals.

There are several reasons why earning an doctorate in education is a good idea. Not only are you able to advance in your career and earn more, you can also gain valuable skills to help your job performance now. Also, affordable online PhD programs in education may be extremely flexible, so you can continue working as you complete your degree.

To learn more about affordable online PhD programs in education, continue reading. You’ll find information on how students can cut the cost of earning a doctorate, as well as the types of positions available to graduates. Also, we feature three affordable schools offering education doctorates, so you can learn more about the qualities to look for as you search for programs.

School Spotlights: A Look at Affordable Online Education PhDs

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are several schools around the country that offer advanced education degrees, and many of them may have PhD programs online. However, they may not all be the right choice for you — especially if you’re keeping a close eye on the price tag.

Although you may be looking for affordable online PhD programs in education, it doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice quality. To help you in your search, we have curated programs that offer both affordability and a quality education, so you can prepare for the next stage of your career and still save money.

Liberty University

Liberty University offers an online PhD program that allows you to choose from several specializations, including educational law, instructional design and technology, special education, and organizational leadership. The program takes three years to complete and is affordable, with a per-credit tuition cost of $595.

Liberty University also supports students’ education goals by offering several ways to save. There is a military tuition discount for online students, and a 25 percent tuition discount for first responders. Small business owners can receive a 15 percent discount and earn course credit for life experience. There are several scholarships available to students who qualify.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University offers a PhD program in curriculum and instruction focused on the ethical, political, cultural, and philosophical contexts that influence curriculum design and evaluation. The program also addresses the delivery of a curriculum, for a deeper understanding of curriculum issues inside and outside of the classroom. This online program combines synchronous and asynchronous coursework, meaning students are required to attend some classes on a set schedule, and can access others on demand when convenient.

To help make this program more affordable, the school offers several financial aid options, including assistantships and fellowships. 

The University of Arizona

Whether you aspire to become a program administrator, instructional coordinator, or curriculum and instructional director, the education PhD program offered by the University of Arizona Global Campus provides the foundation you need. This four-year, 59-credit program includes coursework covering education trends, learning and cognition, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and curriculum design assessment. Students are required to complete a dissertation to graduate.

To help reduce the cost of this degree, UAGC allows students to transfer up to 30 credits. Scholarships and grants are available, as well as a tuition discount for military students. UAGC’s corporate partnerships offer employee tuition savings to help companies thrive and grow.

Cutting Costs: What Makes an Online PhD Program Affordable

Looking at the tuition of affordable online PhD programs in education is important, however, there are other things to keep in mind that can contribute to the cost. Let’s take a look at some strategies to help cut those costs.

Application Fees

Although many people thinking about affordable online PhD programs in education may not figure application fees into their costs, these expenses can add up quickly if you apply to multiple schools. Luckily, many programs do offer help. For example, those who apply to the education doctoral program at the University of California, Berkeley may be able to get the $155 application fee waived. Similarly, Texas Tech University and Liberty University waive application fees for students who qualify. Ask about application fee waivers when you apply.

Credit Transfer Policies

If you earned a master’s degree, or started doctoral coursework at another school, some programs will allow you to transfer credits when you enroll in their education PhDs. Every school has different requirements. For example, Walden University allows students to transfer up to 43 quarter credits toward its PhD in Education; the required six credits in doctoral support cannot be waived.

Employer Sponsorship

Many employers recognize that helping a workforce advance their education is a powerful benefit that cultivates employee loyalty and boosts recruitment efforts. Some employers pay for their employees’ doctoral degrees, and for those who work for colleges and universities, institutions may provide an education discount for employees and their children. Take a look at these well-known companies that offer tuition reimbursement for their employees’ graduate education.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Financial aid, including scholarships and grants, can help with funding for online PhD programs in education. Some schools, including the University of San Francisco and the University of Colorado Boulder, provide scholarships to help students defray the cost of their education. Students can also find financial aid opportunities, such as the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, from the federal government, as well as organizations like the American Federation of Teachers.

Flexible Schedule

One major benefit of enrolling in an affordable online PhD program in education is the ability to enjoy a flexible schedule. This is perfect for those who work full-time because they can continue to earn while balancing work and studies. Flexibility can mean multiple start dates like those at National University or the option to enroll for full- or part-time study at the University of Rochester.

Residency Status

Where you live can play a role in how much your tuition costs, so you may want to find a school located in your state to take advantage of lower rates. The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition can be quite significant. For instance, at the University of North Dakota, in-state students pay $498.45 per credit for the education PhD program, while the out-of-state tuition is $747.68 per credit.

University Classification

Just as your location can play a role in how much you pay for tuition, choosing a public or private school also makes a difference. New York students can save a substantial amount of money by enrolling in a public school. Those enrolled in the education PhD program at the public State University of New York at Albany pay $532.76 or $626.76 per credit, depending on if they’re in-state or out-of-state students, and people attending the private New York University are charged $2,020 per credit.

Veteran Benefits

Some schools provide certain financial benefits to veterans and active service members, as well as their spouses and children. Schools like the University of Arizona and Liberty University offer special tuition rates for the military community. In other cases, people in the military, as well as veterans, may be able to have fees waived when they apply.

Explore the Highest Paying Careers for Program Graduates

One benefit of pursuing affordable online PhD programs in education is that you get the training you need to move into higher-level, higher-paying positions. You can enjoy a healthy return on your financial investment when you earn an education doctorate, and the following are some of the highest-paying jobs available for graduates.

College or University Administrator

College and university administrators are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a specific department at a school. This can include managing the department’s budget, working directly with students, recruiting instructors, and planning graduation activities. Specific college administration positions include admissions directors, provosts, financial aid directors, and deans of student affairs.

National Average Earnings: $85,255-$148,251

Educational Consultant

Educational consultants are responsible for providing guidance to schools on how they can improve their operations inside and outside of the classroom. These professionals may work with primary, secondary, or postsecondary institutions to advise instructors on strategies that improve the way they work with students. They also provide valuable insights to administrators and often communicate directly with students and parents to determine their needs.

National Average Earnings: $108,801

Policy Analyst or Researcher

A policy analyst or researcher helps institutions craft policies that are most beneficial for the school, and they provide feedback on the effectiveness of existing policies. This work involves conducting extensive research and drafting reports detailing the findings.

National Average Earnings: $100,949


College professors help shape the next generation of educators by passing on their knowledge in the classroom. Whether they’re teaching courses about general pedagogical principles, instruction strategies for specific subjects or grade levels, or working with certain student populations, professors shape learning through classroom lectures, assigned reading, and tests.

National Average Earnings: $80,840

School District Superintendent

School district superintendents are charged with ensuring that multiple schools in a public or private school district perform well. To do this, these professionals make decisions about everything from finances to curriculum to policies. Also, superintendents report on their schools’ progress to the state and federal government, as well as members of the district’s administration.

National Average Earnings: $177,019

FAQs about Affordable Online PhD Programs in Education

Do you still have questions about affordable online PhD programs in education? To help you make an informed decision about pursuing these degrees, we’ve put together answers to the questions prospective students ask most.

Are online PhD programs eligible for employer tuition reimbursement?

Possibly. Although the policies for employer tuition reimbursement depend on the specific company, some organizations may provide this benefit for those in affordable online PhD programs in education. In fact, some employers may encourage workers to enroll in online programs because the flexibility makes it easier for them to continue working.

Are there opportunities for teaching or research assistantships?

Yes, students enrolled in education doctoral degrees may be able to receive teaching or research assistantships. These opportunities are available at schools like the University of Iowa, Stanford University, and Drexel University.

Do I need to purchase textbooks or do online programs offer digital alternatives or open educational resources?

In some cases, digital copies of textbooks may be available, which can help students save a significant amount of money. However, if you do have to purchase a physical textbook, you may be able to receive a discount depending on your school. You may also purchase used copies of textbooks at a lower price.

How do programs support students in securing funding or grants for research projects?

When it’s time to work on a dissertation, getting funding for research can make a world of difference in students’ success. To help aid students in their research projects, some schools provide funding to help them lower out-of-pocket expenses. However, if funding isn’t available directly from your school, you may be able to receive help with grant writing so you can win outside awards.

What is the average cost of an online PhD program in education?

According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of an education doctoral degree is $112,350. However, it’s important to remember that the cost will vary from one school to the next.

What support services are available for online students to find employment after graduation?

Schools are invested in their graduates’ success, so when people choose an affordable online PhD program in education, they can take advantage of services to help them in their career. Schools like Liberty University and Regent University provide career support so students can get leads on jobs, as well as assistance with job search activities like resume writing.