Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs of 2024

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Updated February 6, 2024

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If you're looking for an affordable route into the finance field, these online accounting degree programs can save you a lot of money.

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If you're thinking about an accounting degree, then you've probably already crunched the numbers and realized that going into debt for school doesn't always pay off.

Good news: There are many affordable accounting programs out there that won't totally break the bank. We've rounded up the most affordable online options that offer good financial aid, lower-than-average tuition, and excellent professional training.

Choose from one of these programs to save money on school while preparing for a lucrative, in-demand career.

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Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs Rankings Summary

Rank School In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition Acceptance Rate
#1 The University of West Florida
Pensacola, FL
$3,735 $16,004 53%
#2 Western Governors University
Salt Lake City, UT
$7,162 $7,162 Not provided
#3 National University
San Diego, CA
$13,320 $13,320 55%
#4 Santa Fe College
Gainesville, FL
$1,872 $7,418 Not provided
#5 Walsh College
Troy, MI
$19,785 $19,785 Not provided
#6 Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, NM
$4,074 $6,114 33%
#7 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
$29,950 $29,950 70%
#8 Thomas Edison State University
Trenton, NJ
$7,182 $9,342 Not provided
#9 University of Minnesota-Crookston
Crookston, MN
$10,822 $10,822 48%
#10 Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, NH
$15,000 $15,000 92%

Cheapest Online Accounting Degrees

#1 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs of 2024

The University of West Florida

  • Pensacola, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $219

Out-of-State | $648  

Credits to Graduate: 120

The University of West Florida's online bachelor's in accounting program teaches students accounting concepts, problem-solving techniques, and communication skills to pursue a career in accounting. Graduates of the program qualify to sit for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination in Florida. 

Program enrollees must complete 60 credit hours of upper-division courses, including 30 credits in specialized accounting courses. Out-of-state students can request a tuition waiver, which reduces the out-of-state portion of tuition by 75%. Successful waiver applicants must reapply each semester. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$3,735
Out-of-state
$16,004
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,088
Out-of-state
$22,166
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
13,288
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
88% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs of 2024

Western Governors University

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online

Programmatic Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $264

Out-of-State | $264

Credits to Graduate: 120

Western Governors University's online accounting degree program provides a flexible schedule that allows students to complete courses on their own timeline. Enrollees can start classes and take exams asynchronously. Since students have the ability to work as quickly as they would like, many graduate within three years. 

The school offers a unique tuition payment program, which charges $3,955 per six-month period. Graduates of the school's business management program received an average salary increase of $15,053, according to the school's internal data. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,162
Out-of-state
$7,162
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,500
Out-of-state
$7,500
Retention Rate
63%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
150,116
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#3 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs of 2024

National University

  • San Diego, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online

Programmatic Accreditation: International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $246

Out-of-State | $246

Quarter Units to Graduate: 180 

National University’s bachelor of science in accountancy offers the entire program online for California residents. The degree will prepare students in accounting and complete courses in fundamentals in accounting, taxation, government and nonprofit accounting, ethics, and data analytics.

Upon completing the degree, students can pursue careers in public and corporate accounting, internal auditing, and accounting for nonprofit organizations. The prerequisite for all accounting courses students must have completed ACC 201 with a passing grade of a “C” or higher. 

The program prepares students to sit for accounting certifications, which include the CPA exam. The school recommends students meet with an advisor before applying to the program.   

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,320
Out-of-state
$13,320
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,480
Out-of-state
$15,480
Retention Rate
100%
Acceptance Rate
55%
Students Enrolled
17,135
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#4 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs of 2024

Santa Fe College

  • Gainesville, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $126

Out-of-State | $429

Credits to Graduate: 60

Santa Fe College's BS in accounting program prepares students to pursue accounting careers by teaching accounting theory, financial analysis, and accounting rules for different industries. Applicants must have an associate degree from an accredited institution, 36 credit hours of general education, and foreign language competency credits completed. 

Attendees can choose between online, in-person, and hybrid formats for courses. A proctored testing center must oversee exams. Full-time students can finish the program within five semesters. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$1,872
Out-of-state
$7,418
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
12,830
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs of 2024

Walsh College

  • Troy, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $596

Out-of-State | $596

Credits to Graduate: 120

Walsh College bachelor’s of Accountancy offers flexible, personalized online and in-person classes. The program includes an introduction to financial accounting, ethics in accounting, auditing, forensic accounting, and tax and business taxation. 

A nationally recognized program, Walsh College reports having alumni in almost every Fortune 500 company in Michigan. The program also prepares graduates to complete certifications as certified public accountants (CPAs), certified management accountants (CMAs), and business accountants. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$19,785
Out-of-state
$19,785
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$16,401
Out-of-state
$16,401
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,492
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs of 2024

Eastern New Mexico University

  • Portales, NM
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $298

Out-of-State | $380

Credits to Graduate: 120

Eastern New Mexico University offers an online bachelor's in accounting that includes a mix of synchronous and asynchronous courses. Enrollees can utilize the class variety to interact with students and professors while also having flexibility in some courses. The curriculum includes general education, business foundation, business core, and accounting major courses. 

The school provides virtual advising, tutoring services, and online databases for accounting students. Attendees can also utilize the counseling and career services center, which assists with job placement. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,074
Out-of-state
$6,114
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,351
Out-of-state
$7,110
Retention Rate
59%
Acceptance Rate
33%
Students Enrolled
4,991
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs of 2024

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

  • Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $496 

Out-of-State | $496 

Credits to Graduate: 120

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods' bachelor’s in accounting program is offered as an in-person and online degree. SMWC's accounting offers core accounting classes like principles of accounting, microeconomics, tax preparation, business and marketing classes. 

Although the curriculum prepares students for many accounting certification exams, some certifications require work experience. The program does not meet the requirements to sit for the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam until the required 125 study hours are added. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$29,950
Out-of-state
$29,950
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,500
Out-of-state
$13,500
Retention Rate
74%
Acceptance Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
1,127
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs of 2024

Thomas Edison State University

  • Trenton, NJ
  • 4 years
  • Online

Programmatic Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $419

Out-of-State | $545

Credits to Graduate: 120

Thomas Edison State University offers a BSBA degree in accounting that focuses on learners who wish to study finance, accounting, and business. Students can enroll in various courses, including auditing, financial, and managerial accounting. 

The bachelor's program does not guarantee graduates can sit for the CPA exam in their home state. The school offers a CPA and master's degree track, which provides additional accounting credit hours for students to meet CPA exam sitting requirements. Enrollees in the CPA and master's degree track can pursue a CPA and master's degree simultaneously.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,182
Out-of-state
$9,342
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,024
Out-of-state
$12,024
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
9,721
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#9 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs of 2024

University of Minnesota-Crookston

  • Crookston, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $441.50

Out-of-State | $441.50

Credits to Graduate: 120

University of Minnesota Crookston's accounting degree is a bachelor of science program. Students will learn theoretical and analytical skills in accounting. Career paths include accounting professionals, financial managers, and cost and management accountants. 

This program offers four CPA review courses. The University of Minnesota Crookston's business department partnered with Gleim CPA Review to provide a 12-credit review for the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam. Credits can be applied toward the 150-credit requirement to sit for the CPA exam. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,822
Out-of-state
$10,822
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
70%
Acceptance Rate
48%
Students Enrolled
2,304
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Programs of 2024

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Manchester, NH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $330

Out-of-State | $330

Credits to Graduate: 120

Southern New Hampshire University’s online bachelor’s in accounting ensures students are prepared to become U.S. Certified Public Accountants. The online program prepares students to complete courses in accounting information systems, intermediate accounting, federal taxation and volunteer income tax assistance. 

The program was fully revised in 2022 to meet the needs of students and align to 2024 CPA exam changes. The school offers multiple term start dates. Students can complete their degrees at their own pace. Other benefits include 24/7 online accessibility. The degree qualifies the 120 out of the 150 credits needed for the CPA exam. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$15,000
Out-of-state
$15,000
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$18,900
Out-of-state
$18,900
Retention Rate
62%
Acceptance Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
145,533
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

Choosing an affordable online accounting degree requires time and effort. Our ranking gives you a headstart by covering the top five programs.

Our ranking methodology takes into account accounting programs' affordability, reputation, and academic standards. You can learn about our methodology and individual program requirements below.

What Factors Into the Affordability of an Accounting Bachelor's?

The primary factor that determines the affordability of an online accounting degree program is the total tuition cost. But other factors — like student enrollment status, program delivery format, school location, and financial aid availability — can also influence the net cost of your degree.

Here's how to think through those factors.

Enrollment Status


Many institutions charge a flat rate for full-time enrollees. In that case, you may be able to save money by taking heavier courseloads each semester in order to reduce the total number of semesters you pay for.

Some schools also offer accelerated programs, which make it easier to complete a degree in under four years.

Part-time enrollment may be a better choice if you have a job or caretaking responsibilities in addition to your studies. Some schools offer lower per-credit rates relative to their full-time flat rates, which can save you money in the long run.

Location


The average cost of tuition for in-state public schools is lower than for both out-of-state public institutions and private schools.

Some public institutions charge online learners in-state tuition rates regardless of where the student lives.

Fully online learning can also help students save money on relocation, commuting, and on-campus costs.

Delivery Format


Online courses are typically offered in two formats: synchronous and asynchronous.

Synchronous classes require set meeting times and often use web conferencing technology to foster real-time conversation.

Asynchronous classes allow students to complete coursework on more flexible schedules.

Financial Aid


Financial aid for college includes several types of assistance, including:

  • Federal loans
  • Private loans
  • Work-study programs
  • Grants
  • Scholarships

You will have to pay back your private and federal loans, usually with interest. You won't have to pay back grants or scholarships, which are typically based on need, merit, or other criteria.

Grants and scholarships can have a drastic impact on your bottom line, so be sure to look into the accounting-specific scholarship options we've listed further down the page.

Making the Cheapest Online Accounting Degrees Cheaper

There are a number of additional strategies you can use to reduce the cost of an online accounting degree. Creating a personal budget can help you keep track of your expenses and manage your income. Here are a few more things you can do:

  • Rent or Buy Used Textbooks

    Textbooks can be costly, so renting, buying used, or even acquiring digital copies of required course materials can lower a student's total expenditures each semester. Students should ensure that used textbooks match the current edition.
  • Find Free Online Resources

    In addition to course materials your instructors provide, look for resources like lectures and open-source textbooks online to supplement your learning at no extra cost.
  • Earn Income While Enrolled

    Working part time or taking advantage of work-study opportunities can help learners earn income while they complete their degree. They can apply this money directly toward their tuition to reduce the size of the loans they borrow.

How Can You Pay for an Accounting Degree Online?

Scholarships reduce your debt burden. The following section reviews three scholarships specific to accounting students. It is not an exhaustive list, but it can help familiarize you with available scholarship opportunities.

Scholarships for Accounting Students

Awards from $3,000-$10,000 for outstanding undergraduate or graduate accounting students planning to pursue CPA licensure. Various awards available for undergraduate women in their third, fourth or fifth year of an accounting or finance degree program. Awards $7,500 to an outstanding junior or senior student who is pursuing a career in management accounting, financial management, or information technology.

Do Accounting Programs Online Pay Off?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of $78,000 in 2022 — more than $30,000 higher than the average salary across all occupations.

This higher-than-average figure suggests accounting degrees can provide a positive return on investment (ROI) — so long as your salary is enough to pay your student loans when you graduate.

To analyze the ROI of an online accounting program for yourself, you can:

  • Consult the debt-to-income calculator worksheet offered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Research statistics regarding employment outcomes for accounting graduates of the schools you are considering.
  • Compare data about the average incomes of people with your current qualifications against those of professionals with the educational credential you plan to pursue.

Job Outlook for Accounting Graduates

An accounting degree can set you up for a variety of interesting jobs that pay well. Take a look at some popular roles for accounting grads and their average salaries as reported by Payscale:

Auditor

These professionals maintain the accuracy of business records, prepare reports, and develop financial processes and protocols.

Average Annual Salary (2023): $62,710

Personal Financial Advisor

These advisors assist individuals with retirement planning, investments, taxes, and meeting their personal financial goals.

Average Annual Salary (2023): $76,430

Finance Manager

These workers develop and monitor budgets for companies. They provide information, insight, and recommendations to guide major business decisions.

Average Annual Salary (2023): $99,780

Business Consultant

Business consultants work closely with clients to help them understand financial goals, challenges, objectives, and opportunities.

Average Annual Salary (2023): $80,010

Chief Financial Officer

CFOs oversee the money operations of an entire company, especially those departments involved in purchasing, investments, taxes, and payments.

Average Annual Salary (2023): $147,100

Frequently Asked Questions About Studying Accounting Online

What should I major in to become an accountant?

At the very least, you'll need a bachelor's degree in accounting or business (typically, about 120 college credit hours). But if you want to get your CPA license — which greatly increases your access to good jobs — you'll need to complete 150 college credit hours first.

One good way to do that is to pursue a master's degree in accounting.

How can I save money getting an accounting degree?

There are a few tactics that can help you save money while you earn your online accounting degree.

  • Choose a public, in-state school that charges lower-than-average tuition and offers financial aid that lowers your bottom line (like scholarships and grants).
  • Consider an accelerated program that will help you finish faster and start making money sooner.
  • Prioritize online programs that give you the flexibility to work while you study, thereby reducing your opportunity costs along the way.
  • Select a fully online program with lower tuition to save yourself the expense of relocating, commuting, or living on campus.

What jobs can I get with an accounting degree?

An accounting degree can prepare you for many roles, including staff accountant, tax accountant, financial analyst, financial planner, internal auditor, financial controller, forensic accountant, or budget analyst.

Accountants with more years of experience can leverage their degrees into leadership roles like finance director or chief financial officer (CFO).

Is an online accounting degree worth it?

If you are good with numbers, analytical, and looking for a secure, well-paid career, then yes: an online accounting degree is worth it. An affordable online program will save you money, offer the flexibility you need, and prepare you for an in-demand career with an upward trajectory and good pay.

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