Accountants play a key role in the world of business, they are the ones that prepare and oftentimes manage the financial fitness of business and individuals. Professionals holding a bachelor’s degree in accounting can be employed in a variety of financial positions including certified public accountant, fraud investigator, auditor, budget analyst, or financial examiner. Those seeking to pursue a career in accounting need to have a high level of integrity and be very detail-oriented with the ability to see the bigger picture and long-term results of financial decisions. Now it is easier than ever for those interested in this field to earn a bachelor’s degree that enables them to be employed as an accountant.
Top 5 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degree Program
|Eastern New Mexico University
|Portales, New Mexico
|Southern New Hampshire University
|Manchester, New Hampshire
|Western Governers University
|Salt Lake City, Utah
|University of Memphis
There is no need to accumulate excess debt when earning a degree. We have rounded up the cheapest online accounting degrees available from accredited schools across the nation. With more schools offering high-quality online programs students can have the flexibility they need while earning their degree. Students can more easily meet employment or family obligations while they attend courses on a schedule that fits their needs.
When choosing an online accounting degree there are a few factors prospective students must look at: is the school accredited, cost, and requirements for admission and graduation. A School’s accreditation is very important when choosing an online degree program, this ensures that the program meets the rigorous standards of instructional quality and will be honored by employers and other institutions of higher learning. Affordability is important to any prospective student, no one wants to accumulate debt that will take years to pay off. There are many affordable online accounting degrees. Knowing admission requirements for schools you are applying to will help limit the number of applications and your chances of getting in. Knowing the requirements for graduation will also help students plan out their courses. Below is a list of the cheapest online accounting degrees that are offered by accredited institutions across the nation.
Finding the best option for an accounting degree may seem an uphill task if you are not armed with the right information. The usual way has been attending classes on campus for a long time now. But things have changed. You can now find an online accounting degree program to join to quickly earn your bachelor’s, master’s, or associate degree.
This article will take you through the cheapest online accounting degree programs to help you choose the one that best suits your affordable online school needs.
Pros and Cons of Getting Your Accounting Degree Online
If you are wondering why you should consider doing your accounting degree online, the benefits below are some of the many you will enjoy:
Benefits of Getting Your Accounting Degree Online
Online degree programs allow students to enjoy the flexibility of studying at their own pace. Students are free to balance between the online degree and their other equally important life aspects like work and family. In its distance learning model, the online accounting degree will allow you to learn as you work, so you can easily offset the fees for the degree. You can even take your bachelor’s, master’s, or associate degree without breaks so that it takes you less time to complete.
2. Saves Time and Money
Let’s say you enroll for a bachelor’s degree under the campus-based system. You will spend a lot of time and money attending in-person classes. In an online college system, you won’t have to go through this. The distance learning mode allows you to study from the comfort of your home. This cuts down on the time and money spent on traveling. This is money saved that you can channel into your online accounting degree program.
3. Income Scalability
The higher you go up the ladder between the bachelor level, master’s degree, and associate degree, the more you prop up your chances of earning higher incomes. Companies and organizations look for the best graduates in the labor market who have higher accounting knowledge compared to others.
Disadvantages of an Online Accounting Degree
Loss of Discipline
Students taking online accounting courses risk losing self-discipline and personal accountability. The freedom of having no direct pressure from the college may cause students to relax and let down their guard. Some may attend classes only when they feel like since there is no one to follow them around.
Least Expensive Online Accounting Degree Programs
Cost of an Online Accounting Degree
Money plays an important role when you want to enroll in an accounting program. Its availability determines the university you register with and whether or not you need financial aid to pull through the degree program. On average, online accounting degree programs cost students between $18,000 and $100,000 in tuition fees. It falls upon the student to find the most affordable online bachelor program that is in line with their purse.
Factors That Can Drive Up the Cost of An Online Accounting Degree
The overall cost of online accounting degrees varies from one institution to another. The following are some of the factors that can greatly push up the total cost of the accounting degree.
1. Institutional Rank and Prestige
Some institutions, especially those that have been in the education industry for longer enjoy the benefit of near-automatic credibility. Students already know the university they are planning to join as a center of decades of academic excellence that cannot be rivaled adequately by newer colleges. Such institutions tend to charge a bit higher for an online accounting program taken under their tutelage.
2. Purchases of Textbooks and Other Resources
One of the main requirements for any accounting degree program is that students should have the relevant textbooks. An online student may find that most of the accounting textbooks they require are not available in electronic format. Since they do not go to the university where they could use some from the school library, most often have to buy them on their own. Where no financial aid is available, these purchases can push up the cost of the degree program, the tuition fees aside.
3. Credit FacilitiesWhere financial aid is not available in form of grants that are not repayable, online students on a budget have to go for other sources of funding for the online program. Credit facilities are available from various financial institutions. These come as an extra cost since every graduate student who took such loans when studying has to repay the loan with interest. This applies across the board from a bachelor’s degree, online master’s, and associate degrees.
19 Most Affordable Online Accounting Degrees
Eastern New Mexico University
A public institution Eastern New Mexico University offers a unique blend of synchronous and asynchronous courses for their online bachelor of business administration in accounting degree. Some courses can be completed at any time while others are attended at specific times where students can engage with professors and other students. This blended model provides flexibility and collaboration. Students have access to advisors that will guide them through the most efficient path to completing their degree. Other online support services are available to online students as well, such as their online writing center.
Southern New Hampshire University
As one of the fastest-growing institutions for higher learning, Southern New Hampshire University specializes in online education. With over 130,000 students enrolling each year, SNHU continues to develop engaging and up to date education models to train and educate students across the globe. Students receive support services upon enrolling to help them succeed in their educational goals. SNHU operates under an open enrollment policy with flexible eight-week schedules to allow students to accelerate or take their time with their degree. All online students pay a flat tuition rate with opportunities for military service discounted rates.
Western Governers University
Developed to provide a flexible and affordable option for working adults to earn a degree, Western Governors University was created by the governors of 19 western states. It repeatedly ranks among the top online schools in the nation providing high-quality and flexible degree programs. Western Governors University is an entirely online institution with no physical campus, just administrative offices in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students seeking a degree in accounting will find a very affordable online accounting degree that is primarily aimed at working bookkeepers that require academic credentials, students seeking a degree completion, and those desiring an accounting degree to enter the field of accounting.
Founded over a century ago as the Cleary School of Penmanship, Cleary University has since expanded to become a leader in business education. The School of Business offers an online business degree in accounting that provides students with a well-rounded background in business and accounting. Students will take courses specific to accounting, economics, ethics, business finance, and more. Students that earn a bachelor of business in accounting and finance will qualify to take the CPA licensure exam. The program is organized in cohorts and provides students with hands-on experiences while they learn to use the real-world tools that current accountants utilize in their day to day careers.
University of Memphis
The University of Memphis Global offers a degree in Business Administration with a major in Accounting with a very prestigious accreditation from AACSB. The demand for professional accountants continues to rise across the country, the University of Memphis provides a rigorous and competitive program that engages students in necessary skills and competencies. Students will learn critical thinking skills, problem-solving, communication skills, become aware of ethical issues, and how to make decisions in a global business environment. Graduates will be adequately prepared to participate in the CPA exam for licensure should they choose to obtain that upon graduation.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
The Northwestern State University of Louisiana is home to the comprehensive e-NSU, the school’s cyber division with all of its online learning programs offered by the institution, including their accredited online accounting degree. The bachelor of science in accounting program can be earned entirely online, anytime, anywhere. The rigorous program is accredited by AACSB and provides courses in managerial accounting, taxes, cost accounting, auditing, governmental accounting, and information systems. Graduates are adequately prepared to take the CPA licensure exam should they choose to do so.
Dakota State University
A very technologically advanced institution, Dakota State University prides itself on integrating technology into every degree program offered. Incoming freshmen even receive a personal laptop upon enrolling to ensure that every student has access to current technology during their educational career. The virtual campus offers robust accredited programs that utilize blending core courses with modern technology available to engage students and enhance their appeal in the job market. Students of the accounting program learn financial accounting, taxes, cost accounting, and auditing as well as the current technological tools available for accounting in the current job market.
Old Dominion University
An institution with a long history in distance learning, Old Dominion University has been providing affordable education to students for decades. Students of the accounting major at Old Dominion will learn technical accounting knowledge, communication, analytical skill, and computer skills. Old Dominion is one of the select colleges with accreditation from AACSB for their online accounting program. Students will need to first matriculate as ODU degree-seeking students and then apply to the Strome School of Business and be accepted before enrolling in their accounting program.
A small private institution for higher learning, Trine University Online provides bachelor degree competition programs at an affordable cost enabling adult learners to earn degrees entirely online. Students of the online bachelor’s degree in accounting are engaged in an experiential learning program that allows for hands-on experience. Graduates will gain practical knowledge and hands-on experience while working with companies and learning applications such as Peachtree and QuickBooks. Graduates will have the knowledge and skills to sit on many of the national accounting exams such as CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner, and Certified Management Accountant.
A private institution for higher learning, Liberty University is the nation’s largest private, non-profit institution. Over 110,000 students enroll each year, with most of those being online students from around the world. Liberty University knows how to provide engaging virtual classrooms and instruction in over 100 areas of study. As an evangelical institution, students learn the language of accounting from a Christian perspective. They will learn not only the crunching numbers side of accounting but also the analytical and decision-making process that is affected by finances through hands-on experiences under the direction of experts in the field.
Northwestern Oklahoma State University
A public institution in Oklahoma, Northwestern Oklahoma State University offers an affordable online accounting degree that students can earn entirely online. Students that have already completed their general education courses can complete the Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting online in as little as 5 to 6 semesters. Courses are offered in an asynchronous format that allows students to work around their schedule, making it an ideal program for working adults or others that have personal obligations.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
As one of the top public institutions for higher learning in the nation, the University of Massachusetts Amherst began offering distance learning options for its programming. UMass now offers many online programs that students across the nation can enroll in. The Isenberg School of Management provides a degree completion program for a bachelor in business administration in accounting. This particular program teaches students imperative decision making and problem-solving skills to ensure that students not only know how to crunch numbers but how to analyze and interpret the data they have. Aside from learning the basics of accounting, students are also exposed to finance, information management, marketing, and leadership.
University of Mary
Having offered quality online education for decades, The University of Mary continues to be one of the most affordable private institutions for higher learning in the nation. As a small Catholic institution for higher learning of the Benedictine faith, students have benefited from small class sizes and personalized instruction regardless of their faith, as students of all faiths are welcome. The online accounting degree is established to help prepare students to pass the exam to become certified public accountants. Students will also explore audits, IRS regulations, and reporting requirements for the SEC.
University of Alabama Birmingham
With humble beginnings as a small extension institution, the University of Alabama Birmingham has grown into a full university that serves over 19,000 students each year. Not only has it physically grown to include multiple degree programs and research capabilities, but it has also grown to include expansive online programs to students across the nation. Those seeking an online bachelor’s degree in accounting will quickly learn the language of business and finance as students are taken through each aspect of accounting. The accounting program is accredited by the prestigious AASCB. The online courses are offered asynchronously and take four years to complete the online accounting bachelor degree program.
Northwood University Texas
Northwood University Texas has campuses across the nation, with its bachelor’s in accounting program hailing from the Texas campus. An institution that focuses solely on educating students in Business, students learn from experts in their field and receive a thorough business education. The bachelor of business administration-accounting degree provides students with knowledge of accounting, management, taxation, and other related business courses. Graduates will be prepared to take the CPA exam should they choose to do so. The online accounting program can be completed in three years allowing for students to earn a Master’s degree in accounting in their fourth year.
An institution in Nebraska, Bellevue University offers a very affordable and flexible accounting program online. Students can complete the entire degree program online with an optional internship where they can gain hands-on experience using the knowledge they have gained through the courses. Students will gain knowledge and skills in financial accounting, cost accounting, auditing, cost accounting, and analysis. Students will not only learn how to crunch the numbers but analyze and interpret them as well. Graduates are prepared to sit in on the Certified Public Accountant exam should they choose to.
Indiana Wesleyan University
A private institution, Indiana Wesleyan University is an evangelical Christian university that offers an extensive array of online degree programs. Designed with working professionals in mind, the online bachelor of science degree in accounting focuses on accounting theory, taxation, and auditing. Students can complete the degree entirely online while they learn analytical skills, problem-solving, and practical application. Graduates are prepared to enter or transition into the field of accounting and sit in on the exam to become Certified Public Accountants should they choose to.
Opening as a small women’s only institution, Maryville University has expanded into a larger private coeducational institution. Maryville offers an entirely online bachelor of science in accounting, this is a business degree program that ensures that students develop skills, gain the necessary experience, and build the expertise in analyzing and understanding the financial decisions in business. There are 13 core business courses and seven accounting courses in more specific areas such as forensic accounting, financial reporting, ethics, and more. Maryville also offers an Early Access program for those seeking to earn a Master’s degree in accounting.
A small private, non-profit institution, Peirce College was originally a small business school. Now Peirce College delivers a focused and career-centered education for adult learners in non-traditional methods. Students can qualify for accelerated pathways to earn their degrees with previous transfer credits, work experience, and testing out of courses. The accounting program is delivered through an online format but students will be required to complete either a capstone or internship as part of their degree. Most courses are offered in a seven-week format each term. Graduates are adequately prepared to take the following certification exams: Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, or Certified Fraud Examiner.
As more institutions are offering high-quality education online, earning a degree from an accredited program and school has never been easier or more affordable. Students don’t have to relocate to earn a degree or transfer to a larger university, they can enroll online. The cheapest online accounting degree can be earned from several different online colleges that are accredited and engaging. Enroll today for a brighter future.
Ways Students Can Reduce the Cost of an Online Accounting Degree
Most accounting graduates go on to become accountants and auditors earning about $71,550 annually and keeping most of it since they found ways to reduce the cost further.
Other than attending the cheapest online colleges, students can reduce the cost of their degree program in the following ways:
1. Seeking Student Aid
By seeking financial aid like grants and scholarships, students can considerably lower the cost of their online accounting degrees. This financial aid may come from private, state, federal, or school sources.
Grants are a good way to cut back on the cost of an online accounting degree. It doesn’t require repaying unless you drop out or fail to deliver on the service obligation.
Sources of Grants and Scholarships
Some federal grants available include Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants.
Federal grants are usually featured at Federal Student Aid, so students should be on the lookout for their availability.
The American Accounting Association also offers accounting grants.
There are also honor societies such as Beta Alpha Psi that offer grants to financial information professionals and students. College-based honor societies also offer grants on a merit or need basis.
Scholarships based on academic excellence, certain study focus areas, or talents are another good way to reduce the cost of online degrees. These are from private sector organizations or nonprofit bodies and are free monies for students to facilitate their tuition needs.
2. Work-As-You-Study Plans
Work-as-you-study arrangements are also available for students. They allow you to work on a part-time basis to be able to earn money for the payment of your online degree program.
3. Student Loans
While loans may not be the best option for cheap education, they come in handy when a student can’t find any other financial assistance to facilitate their education. The key thing is to compare different loan options and pick the one with the lowest interest rates, little to no hidden charges, and a flexible repayment basis.
4. Military Families Financial Aid
If you have served in the military or are a child or spouse of a veteran, you can find special financial aid offered to military family members seeking to further their education.
Points to Note on Student Aid
- If you are obtaining your degree from an international institution, you can find federal student assistance for international studies.
- Students should check their eligibility for financial aid from their state by reaching out to the education grant agency in their state.
- In most cases, students save a lot of money through these federal, state, private, and college-based grants and scholarships because they usually cater for student expenses like tuition, books, other stationery, dependent care, and computer fees.
- To enjoy the cost reductions, ask your favorite school about the federal, state, internal, and private student aid programs they are involved in.
- US citizens and permanent residents can obtain the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students. These are renewable scholarships that provide financial aid to minority students seeking accounting as a major. Payments sent to the student’s financial assistance office cater for tuition and other expenses for acquiring the accounting degree. Students have to apply each year for the renewal. The scholarship is open for both undergraduate and graduate students looking for an accounting degree or certified public accountant licensure even if they are not currently a CPA.
Other Ways to Save Money on An Online Accounting Degree
1. Renting Books
Students seeking bachelor’s or master’s degrees in accounting can further save money by renting out books and other study materials instead of directly purchasing them. Textbook rental systems from online book sales companies like Amazon help students borrow books at lower rates. Students can also reduce the costs of books by opting to use E-books or fetching books from local libraries.
2. Co-existing and House Sharing
Since housing costs account for most of the expenses in college education, students in an online program can still save money through co-existence. If you can still live with your parents or guardians and be able to study online comfortably, it is advisable to continue staying with them rather than going out on your own. If you really have to be out of the home, you can find another student seeking a similar accounting certification to live with and split housing costs.
3. Sharing or Reselling Internet Packages
Students enrolling for accounting degree programs can also reduce the cost by sharing or reselling their internet package to other accounting degree students within close reach. Internet costs when taking an online accounting degree may prove well out of the financial capability of most students. You can cut back on this by sharing the costs with other students living near you where the internet bandwidth can serve you all. To reduce internet costs further, you can find an internet service provider that allows you to resell internet packages to make an extra buck that you can dedicate to your online bachelor or master’s degree.
You can further reduce the costs of the internet by studying from places like libraries or cafes that have free or cheaper WI-FI hotspots. The downside to this is that you run the risk of cyber attacks or rampant distractions in such public spaces.
4. Co-shared Accounting Software
Where the financial accounting or managerial accounting course requires the use of accounting software, students can avoid costs by using free software which is usually readily available on the internet. If it comes to pay, some software companies allow users to come together and cut down on costs by paying as a group. As such, finding other CPA exam or certified public accountant students can help so you split the software costs equally among the allowed number of members.
Most Affordable Online Programs for Accounting Degrees
What to Look For in an Online Degree Program for Accounting
The following are some of the major aspects you should consider when looking for a good online accounting degree program.
Does the online master or bachelor’s degree program allow you to learn at your own pace? Are the study hours and class durations consistent enough to allow you to come up with a regular timetable for attendance? If you are on a tight budget, can you juggle between classes and part-time work? These are some of the criteria questions to answer to find how flexible or fixed an online accounting degree program is.
You will want one that can allow you to work as you study if you are on a tight budget so you can have some extra bucks to offset some of the tuition and upkeep expenses.
If you wish to finish up the classes and be done with your CPA exam in the shortest time possible, you should go for a university or college that offers the degree program on a water-tight timeframe. This would mean having to attend your online bachelor or master’s degree classes for a larger part of the day to quickly reduce the time you take as an accounting student to a graduate with a master’s or bachelor’s degree.
The degree program you choose should be affordable enough for you depending on the amount of funds you have available to dedicate to the business administration course. You should be keen not to overstretch your limits in a way that would leave you with heavy student debt or force you to drop out before completion.
As a way to supplement your finances, check to see if the university has options for student aid such as federal grants and scholarships from the school or private partners.
You should look for schools with accreditation from a well-known accrediting body. Taking your degree course in, say, forensic accounting or business administration from an unaccredited university runs you the risk of ineligibility for the CPA exam and certification.
4. Student-to-faculty Ratio
If the university has a smaller student-to-faculty ratio, you can expect to receive more personal attention and assistance in your online master or bachelor’s degree from the program instructors.
How to Compare Online Programs for Accounting Degrees
When it comes to comparing different options in life, one of the best ways is to draw up a table with columns indicating the different main aspects you have identified as most important in the comparison.
To compare different online programs for accounting degrees, you can have columns indicating aspects such as student-to-faculty ratio, duration of the study, flexibility, cost, and accreditation. You can also have some columns showing the specific options the accounting program offers such as CPA exams, bachelor’s degree, accounting major, and master’s degree. A spare column can indicate the focus study areas such as managerial accounting, business administration, financial accounting, or forensic accounting.
The rows can indicate the online program or the university offering it, with each row carrying one specific accounting program.
This tabulation system is recommendable for its high visibility, ease of use, and ease of recalling the specifics of each online accounting degree program. From the table, you can easily see how each accounting course pits itself against the others.
It is important to note that when it comes to cost, the numbers might dupe you into thinking that the cheaper options have less quality than the more expensive ones. As such, you can refer back to this article to the factors we outlined that may push up the cost of the degree program. Cheap doesn’t always mean poor quality. And expensive doesn’t always equal high quality.
As seen earlier, some universities ride on the prestige tide to raise the cost of their programs since more people want to be associated with them and are actively fighting for a chance to join their online programs. Cheaper programs usually have less competition, which is why they are able to keep their tuition costs relatively low compared to most other universities.
From the table, you can come up with a shortlist of the most viable and friendly degree types in which you can take your courses in accounting. From there you can narrow the list further by considering other aspects like the ratings for each accounting degree based on reviews from recent students.
Most Affordable and Respected Online Programs for Accounting Degrees
Since college tuition fees have been rising over time, students have to try their best to find the most affordable online programs to suit their needs and financial levels. Generally, online programs are way cheaper than the traditional, campus-based education system.
The following are some of the most affordable and widely recognized online programs for accounting degrees:
- American Public University System certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Associate degrees, and Masters degrees
The undergraduate and graduate tuition fees are about $6,600 per year.
The following programs are available:
- Graduate Certificate in Accounting
- Undergraduate Certificate in CPA Examination Preparation
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting
- Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics – Accounting
- Associate of Science in Accounting.
- Associate Degree in Accounting from Surry Community College, which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
- Associate of Arts with a major in accounting from Foothill College in Los Altos, California.
- Associate of Applied Science from Fox Valley Technical College, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
- Associate of Business Administration in Accounting from Atlanta Technical College, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
- Associate of Applied Science in Applied Accounting from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which is entirely online and is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
- Graduate Certificate in Accounting Practice from the University of Miami, with a graduation rate of 82% and accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
- Graduate Certificate in Accounting Fundamentals from the University of Connecticut, which has a graduation rate of 85%.