Most Affordable Accounting Degrees Online 2024

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Updated March 25, 2024

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Higher education costs keep soaring to new heights. Online learning can help you save, but may include some trade-offs. Explore pros and cons with this accounting degree guide and ranking.

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Though artificial intelligence and software automation have changed the trajectory of accounting professions, technical accounting skills remain in high demand. Earning an accounting degree online is an efficient, affordable path to building versatile skills that have cross-industry transferability.

According to Payscale data from February 2024, professionals with a bachelor's degree in accounting earn an average wage of $79,000 per year. Thus, affordable online bachelor's programs in accounting reduce your schooling costs while helping you qualify for accounting careers with higher-than-average salaries. This, in turn, generates a positive return on investment (ROI).

In the context of online degrees, "affordable" generally refers to any accredited degree-granting institution that charges below-average tuition. For a quick check of a program's affordability status, compare its costs against the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) nationwide average tuition data.

With online learning, you also save on relocation, parking, and commuting costs. Flexible e-learning schedules make it easier to balance school with work, allowing professionals to pursue a degree without sacrificing income.

Start your journey by reviewing the ranked list of affordable online accounting degrees below.

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Cheapest Online Accounting Degrees of 2024

#1 Most Affordable Accounting Degrees Online 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 Accounting Degrees Online 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 Accounting Degrees Online 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 Accounting Degrees Online 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 Accounting Degrees Online 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 Accounting Degrees Online 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 Accounting Degrees Online 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 Accounting Degrees Online 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 Accounting Degrees Online 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 Accounting Degrees Online 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

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 net cost of attendance is the ultimate determiner of a program's affordability. Net cost is defined as tuition minus any nonrepayable forms of financial aid you receive. We explore tuition and other factors that determine affordability below.

Tuition


For online accounting degrees, schools often assess tuition on a per-credit basis. Some programs charge semester or annual rates instead.

According to NCES data from 2020, undergraduate business students paid an average of about $6,017 per year in tuition fees at schools offering fully online instruction. This average compares favorably to NCES data about nationwide averages for all institution types in the 2020–21 school year. These average costs were:

  • Public four-year colleges, in state: $9,374
  • Public four-year colleges, out of state: $27,091
  • Private colleges: $32,728

This data shows that compared to public in-state schools — the category with the lowest average tuition — studying online can save you over $3,000 per year on average. These savings equate to more than $13,000 over the course of a four-year accounting degree.

Enrollment Status


Studying part time can make it easier to keep working and earning money while you attend school. However, it also extends your graduation timeline. Given the higher-than-average average salaries accounting professionals with bachelor's degrees earn, it may benefit you to finish your degree as quickly as possible.

You should also consider how tuition policies affect your budgeting and financial pacing. If you pay flat rates per semester or year, taking fewer classes per term will cost you more in the long run. In contrast, overloading a full-time schedule can maximize savings.

Location


Public schools almost always charge differential tuition. In this system, in-state students pay less and out-of-state students pay more. However, online programs may offer in-state or online-only tuition rates for all distance learners, meaning an online degree can be more affordable than an in-person one. Beyond tuition, studying online can also help you save on expenses like relocation and transportation.

Some online programs run in hybrid formats, requiring in-person orientations, seminars, or coursework alongside virtual learning experiences. Investigate these requirements thoroughly to understand how they impact your budget, especially for hybrid programs in other parts of the country that may incur expensive travel costs.

Delivery Format


Online courses can use synchronous and asynchronous delivery formats. Asynchronous classes are typically more flexible, as they do not meet at set times and let learners complete coursework on less rigid schedules. This can benefit students who work while they earn their degree. Synchronous classes usually require live webconferencing sessions with instructors and peers, which more closely mirrors on-campus courses.

However, fully online learning comes with some trade-offs. Traditional face-to-face accounting programs often feature internships and other practical learning components. These double as excellent networking opportunities that can help you land a job.

Though some online programs incorporate internships and practicums into their structures, others omit them. Consider this factor as you compare the pros and cons of earning an accounting degree online.

Financial Aid


When considering affordability, consider more than just a school's upfront price. A 2023 CNBC analysis compared standard tuition costs — "sticker price" — at select U.S. schools against the actual net price of attendance.

Among the five private colleges CNBC analyzed, the actual cost of a four-year degree was nearly $58,000 lower than the sticker price once the school applied financial aid. This estimate does not necessarily include indirect costs that won't show up on a university bill, like class supplies or off-campus food and housing.

Not all private colleges offer these levels of financial aid, as private schools often extend larger aid packages to students than their public counterparts.

By pursuing an accredited accounting degree online, you can access federal financial aid, including scholarships, fellowships, and grants. You may also be able to take advantage of work-study programs, especially if you enroll in a hybrid program.

Federal and private loans can also help you meet your schooling costs. However, loans — unlike other forms of aid — require repayment with interest, so use them as a last resort.

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.

Outside of this list, students should ask their prospective colleges how those institutions treat external scholarships like these. Some schools may adjust their institutional funding depending upon a student's scholarship load.

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

How can I save money getting an accounting degree?

You can save money on an accounting degree by taking online classes, which may charge lower tuition than on-campus programs. Online degrees can also reduce or eliminate expenses related to relocation and commuting. Additionally, the flexibility of online accounting programs can help working students continue earning money as they attend school.

What jobs can I get with an accounting degree?

A bachelor's degree helps you meet the requirements for certified public accountant and certified management account licensure. Other accounting roles you can pursue with a bachelor's degree include auditor, personal financial advisor, and financial analyst.

Is an online accounting degree worth it?

Because they offer a favorable balance between affordability and practicality, online accounting degrees often generate positive returns on investment. For example, Payscale reported the average salary of workers with bachelor's degrees in accounting was $79,000 per year as of February 2024.

Is getting an accounting degree online hard?

Getting an accounting degree online is no easier or harder than completing a face-to-face program — both options require students to explore complex mathematical and economic concepts. Because of the less rigid learning structures of online degrees, succeeding in online learning environments demands self-discipline and independence. If you possess these traits, you may thrive in an online program.


The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by Accounting.com. Page last reviewed Feb. 22, 2024.

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