Most Affordable Online Accounting Degrees 2023


Updated February 23, 2023

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It's no secret that college is expensive. But, many accredited schools offer affordable or lower-cost accounting degrees. Some things that can lower your total college costs are enrolling at a public university as an in-state student and applying for financial aid.

Accounting is widely considered a stable and practical career path with excellent resilience to changing economic conditions. The field also pays well. According to Payscale, the average wage for BA in accounting graduates was $75,000 as of September 2022.

Students can get the greatest return from their educational investment by choosing lower-cost programs. This guide connects readers with the leading affordable online accounting programs.

Cheapest Accounting Degrees Online

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.

#1 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degrees 2023

Western Governors University

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online

Known as the world's most student-centric university, Salt Lake City-based Western Governors University offers fully online, self-paced programs. The institution was founded in 1997 to help people learn anywhere, anytime.

Bachelor of Science Business Administration – Accounting

Western Governors University's BSBA accounting program is a combination of accounting coursework and management, finance, and human resources courses. The fully online curriculum is flexible with no set class times. Students can complete a course at their own pace and then take an assessment demonstrating their mastery of the material.

Completing the BSBA accounting program helps students earn 120 of 150 credits required to be eligible for the certified public accountant exam. WGU reports that graduates see an increase of $18,200 in salary after two years and $25,900 after four years.

WGU's Specializations

Business Management | General Education | Human Resources

WGU's Affordability

Instead of charging per credit, WGU charges per term, helping control the program expenses. Students can also complete the program as quickly as they want. The faster they learn, the less they pay for their degrees.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition: $3,775 per term
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: 6 months - 4 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
  • Admissions
    • Process: Apply online; Send in official transcripts; Complete financial aid application process; Complete intake interview
    • GPA: 3.15
    • Standardized Tests: None 
    • Cost: $65
Average Tuition
Retention Rate
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
Institution Type
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#2 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degrees 2023

The University of West Florida

  • Pensacola, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Established in 1963, the University of West Florida is based in Pensacola and offers over a 100 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. As of 2021, the university had an enrollment of 13,265 students.

Accounting, BSBA

Offered on campus and online, the University of West Florida's BSBA accounting program combines core business courses, such as marketing and strategy, with financial accounting and auditing. Students may also choose to secure an accounting internship.

The program helps develop problem-solving and communication skills, while strengthening students' chances of passing the CPA exam on the first attempt. 

The faculty at UWF's College of Business are CPA professionals who use their real-world experience to help students learn to apply their knowledge in the workplace.

UWF's Specializations

Communication | Mathematics | Social Sciences

UWF's Affordability

UWF offers merit- and need-based scholarships and grants.  Military and veterans may qualify for additional educational benefits.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Tuition: $212 per credit (in-state); $514 per credit (out-of-state); $317 per credit (Alabama resident)
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: Up to 48 months
  • Delivery Format: Hybrid (online and on campus)
  • Admissions
    • Process: Apply online; Pay the application fee; Submit official transcripts; Submit ACT or SAT scores; Complete the residency application; Submit a financial responsibility statement
    • GPA: 2.70
    • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT 
    • Cost: $30
Average Tuition
Retention Rate
Admission Rate
Students Enrolled
Institution Type
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degrees 2023

Thomas Edison State University

  • Trenton, NJ
  • 4 years
  • Online

New Jersey-based Thomas Edison State University is one of the oldest higher education institutions in the country. TESU is known for its generous credit transfer policy and affordable online programs.

Business Accounting Program

Thomas Edison State University offers a business accounting program for learners interested in accounting or auditing careers. The program also aligns with the aspirations of students aiming for a CPA designation.

The business accounting program covers principles of finance and business as well as arts and sciences. Students can accelerate the program by transferring up to 90 credits. TESU's BSBA program is offered on campus and is four years long.

TESU's Specializations

Accounting | Business Administration | Macroeconomics

TESU's Affordability

Students registering for nine credits or more in a single term are eligible for a discounted flat-rate tuition. TESU also offers various scholarships to help students cover the expenses.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Tuition: $411 per credit (in-state); $511 per credit (out-of-state); $3,686 flat-rate tuition (in-state); $4,778 flat-rate tuition (out-of-state)
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) 
  • Admissions
    • Process: Apply online anytime; Pay the application fee; Submit official transcripts and scores
    • GPA: 2.0
    • Standardized Tests: None 
    • Cost: $50
Average Tuition
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
Institution Type
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degrees 2023

Santa Fe College

  • Gainesville, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online

First formed as a community college in 1966, Gainesville-based Santa Fe now offers certificate, associate, and bachelor's degree programs. The school has satellite campuses in Alachua and Bradford counties.

Accounting, B.S.

The B.S. in accounting at Santa Fe College covers essential business skills such as managerial accounting, auditing, financial statement analysis, and management principles. Students learn to solve real-world problems by applying their knowledge to prepare for different accounting positions.

Students can gain hands-on experience by participating in an internship. The program is conducted online, on campus, or in a hybrid setting.

SF's Specializations

Business Finance | Business Law and Ethics | Principles of Management

SF's Affordability

Besides low in-state and out-of-state tuition, the program's online and hybrid formats also help students reduce expenses. The school offers financial aid and scholarships to pay for the program.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $126 per credit (in-state); $429 per credit (out-of-state)
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: 5 terms
  • Delivery Format: On campus, hybrid, online
  • Admissions
    • Process: Apply online; complete residency declaration; submit transcripts; complete online training modules; register for classes 
    • GPA: 2.5
    • Standardized Tests:  SAT, ACT, CPT
Average Tuition
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
Institution Type
Percent Online Enrollment
73% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degrees 2023

Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus

  • Portales, NM
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Portales-based Eastern New Mexico University is the state's largest comprehensive higher education institution. The school focuses on affordability, and offers small classes and on-campus and online programs.

Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

The BBA in accounting is offered by Eastern New Mexico University through its college of business. This fully online program has a flexible schedule that combines live and self-paced classes. The accounting major requires a minimum 40 hours of upper-division courses.

Online students can seek help and assistance over phone and email. The school extends its tutoring services, online databases and library resources, and career counseling services to all students. 

ENMU's Specializations

Data Analytics | Marketing Management | Income Tax Auditing

ENMU's Affordability

ENMU has the second-lowest tuition in the state. Applying to the university is free. Students can apply for scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid. 

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: ACBSP, HLC
  • Tuition: $187 per credit (in-state); $271 per credit (out-of-state)
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous and asynchronous)
  • Admissions
    • Process: Apply online or by mail; Complete FAFSA application; Submit transcripts and ACT or SAT test scores.
    • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT 
    • Cost: $0
Average Tuition
Retention Rate
Admission Rate
Students Enrolled
Institution Type
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Yes Higher Learning Commission

How Much Does an Accounting Bachelor's Degree Cost?

Some institutions calculate costs on a per-credit basis. Others charge part-time and full-time rates per semester or academic year. Rarely, schools may also set flat-rate pricing for the entire program. Attending an in-state public college or university offers the lowest tuition rates.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), reports that the average tuition and fees for bachelor's students at in-state public schools was $9,377 in 2020-2021. The average cost of attending a private college was $37,641 for that same year.

Use these figures as benchmarks when evaluating the affordability of an accounting program.

Making the Cheapest Accounting Degrees Even Cheaper

Cost-conscious students can draw on other proven methods for reducing education expenses. Reducing your costs improves long-term returns on your educational investment and helps you avoid a heavy debt load after graduation.

Creating a personal budget plan can help, along with these strategies:

  • Accelerate Your Learning.

    Ambitious students can take advantage of accounting programs that charge flat rates per semester or year. Overloading your schedule with an extra course can shave one semester or more off your program length. This could potentially reduce your net cost by thousands of dollars.
  • Rent Your Books.

    Numerous services offer students the chance to rent their textbooks for a fraction of the cost of buying them. Along similar lines, you can also purchase used books instead of new ones. You can source used books through your campus bookstore or search online.
  • Live at Home.

    Attending a local school that does not require you to relocate can drastically reduce your room and board costs. Room and board rivals tuition as the largest cost students face, so minimizing those expenses can save you a great deal of money. Studying online while living at home is another option if you do not have an appealing program in your immediate area.
  • Start at a Community or Junior College.

    Most public and private institutions allow students who have earned college credits at other schools to apply those credits toward their degree. This allows you to study at lower-cost junior or community colleges for the first 1-2 years of your program before completing your degree at a more recognizable institution.
  • Balance School with Work.

    Learning online has opened up a whole new set of scheduling possibilities that make it easier than ever to work while you study. Earning an income while in school can help you reduce or avoid debt, and shoulder inevitable expenses more readily.

What Factors Into an Accounting Bachelor's Affordability?

Many students look at tuition rates first to determine whether a program is affordable. However, many other factors can reduce a student's net costs, including:

  • Enrollment status (in state vs. out of state)
  • Program location
  • Delivery format (online vs. in person)
  • Financial aid availability

The following sections explore each of these affordability factors in detail and how they relate to bachelor's degrees in accounting.

Enrollment Status

Campus-based, hybrid, and online programs typically allow students to choose between part-time and full-time enrollment. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages from a cost perspective.

Attending part-time creates fewer scheduling demands. Cost-conscious learners can use the opportunity to work while they study. This can help you absorb your educational costs more easily, but it also extends your completion timeline.

Full-time learning requires a greater up-front time commitment. However, it also speeds up your graduation time, letting you pursue accounting jobs sooner.

In general, balancing work with part-time study works best if you attend an institution that charges on a per-credit basis, which is the case in most schools from 1-11 credits. The numbers may not add up in your favor if you pay a flat rate per semester or per year, as is typically seen from 12-18 credits.


Most public institutions charge in-state students less than out-of-state learners. Many states participate in tuition exchange or reciprocity agreements that offer in-state rates to students from neighboring states.

Hybrid programs that blend on-campus and online learning have different cost considerations. You must factor in occasional commuting and parking costs if you live close to school. You may need to meet airfare and accommodation costs to fulfill your on-campus requirements if you live far away.

Room and board also add a considerable cost for campus-based learners. Studying online can lower these costs. It also helps to consider differences in living costs in various cities.

List of States With Online Accounting Schools

Alabama Louisiana Ohio
Alaska Maine Oklahoma
Arizona Maryland Oregon
Arkansas Massachusetts Pennsylvania
California Michigan Rhode Island
Colorado Minnesota South Carolina
Connecticut Mississippi South Dakota
Delaware Missouri Tennessee
Florida Montana Texas
Georgia Nebraska Utah
Hawaii Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico West Virginia
Iowa New York Wisconsin
Kansas North Carolina Wyoming
Kentucky North Dakota

Delivery Format

Studying exclusively online offers multiple cost benefits:

  • It can relieve students of room and board expenses
  • Public institutions sometimes offer in-state rates to all online learners regardless of their location status
  • Asynchronous online course structures make it easier to balance studying with paid employment

On the downside, online learning may impact your ability to network in-person with classmates and professors or participate in field-based learning. Many accounting students use these opportunities to build their networks and land jobs.

Financial Aid

The median cost of an accounting program is more than 4.6% times higher at private colleges than in-state tuition at public institutions, according to Data USA. However, private school tuition can become comparable or more affordable than out-of-state public school tuition after factoring in financial aid.

Private institutions, such as Ivy League schools and liberal arts colleges, are increasingly offering generous financial aid to students meeting specific income requirements. For example, Stanford University provides free tuition to students from families earning less than $150,000 a year.

Students should also pursue forms of non-repayable student aid, including:

  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Work-study programs

Tax benefits for students and their parents can also be an indirect form of financial aid.

How Can You Pay for an Accounting Degree Online?

Scholarships are the best form of student aid because they do not need to be repaid as long as students meet academic requirements. These awards can reduce the cost of your attendance and 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

AICPA Foundation Scholarship for Future CPAs

  • Requirements: Up to 25 scholarship awards are available to students in accounting and related programs. Evaluation criteria include academic performance, leadership ability, and the applicant's planned career path.
  • Award: $5,000

Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance (AFWA) Foundation Scholarship

  • Requirements: This scholarship is open to women students in the third, fourth, or fifth year of an undergraduate accounting program. The AFWA considers academic transcripts, extracurricular activities, community involvement, and the applicant's current financial situation.

CMA Scholarship Program

  • Requirements: The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) offers this scholarship to academically gifted aspiring certified management accountants (CMAs). The award covers the fee to the IMA's CMA study program, plus CMA exam registration fees and three years of IMA membership.
  • Award: Variable

Will Getting Your Online Accounting Degree Pay Off?

Accountants and auditors earn a median annual salary of $77,250, which is $30,000 more than all other workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This figure suggests that accounting degrees generate excellent long-term returns. Even so, you should still conduct your own analysis comparing program costs to your expected salary after graduation.

Some tools that can help your analysis include:

  • Debt-to-income calculator worksheet offered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Statistics regarding employment outcomes for accounting graduates of the schools you are considering
  • Comparing the average incomes of people with your current qualifications against those of professionals with bachelor's degrees in accounting

Job Outlook for Accounting Graduates

Also, consider the various careers available to accounting majors. You can do more than just become a bookkeeper or accountant. Other career paths open to accounting majors are:

Some of these paths pay higher average salaries than those typically earned by accountants. For example, the BLS cites a median income of $95,570 for financial analysts, which is nearly $20,000 more than the median annual salary for accountants and auditors.

Common Questions About Accounting Programs

What should I major in to become an accountant?

Aspiring accountants often pursue BA or BS degrees in accounting. Other options include a bachelor's in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

How can I save money getting an accounting degree?

To reduce tuition costs, consider an in-state public institution, studying online, or overloading credits at a school that charges flat rates per semester or year. Online learning can also reduce your secondary costs, as can living at home and studying part-time while you work.

What jobs can I get with an accounting degree?

Many accounting graduates go on to earn their certified public accountant or certified management accountant license. Some become bookkeepers or account clerks, while others pursue careers as financial analysts, advisors, or examiners.

Is an online accounting degree worth it?

Professionals with accounting degrees generally benefit from strong labor market demand in all economic conditions. Accounting is a practical academic path that can lead to many well-paid careers in accounting, finance, or business. Many students can earn excellent long-term returns on their educational investments.

Page last reviewed Oct. 12, 2022.
Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by

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