To compare the programs, we looked at the tuition and fees of the whole program for an out-of-state student enrolling in the 2014-2015 academic year.
Recommended Affordable Online Accounting Programs
Here are the 30 most affordable institutions based on our research. The tuition and fees of all the schools in our ranking are below $24,500 and the average price is just under $19,000.
#1 (tie). American Military University
Tuition and Fees: $12,650
Founded in 1991, American Military University (AMU) was one of the first universities to operate 100% online. Its classes start every month so you can begin earning your degree right away. Also, students can choose a course length of eight or 16 weeks for most courses.
With around 65,000 students with a military background, AMU is a leading provider of higher education for the military community. The average age of AMU students is 32 and 89% of them are working adults.
Although the school has “military” in its name, it also accepts civilian students. In fact, over 40% of its students are civilians.
Half of AMU’s students received academic credits for work experience or prior college coursework. Students earning a master’s degree transferred an average of seven credits.
#1 (tie). American Public University
Tuition and Fees: $12,650
American Public University (APU) has the same price as AMU because both schools are part of the American Public University System. Like AMU, APU delivers all of its classes online. The course format is asynchronous so you can work on your degree any time of the day.
APU’s Master of Science Degree in Accounting is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), a top accrediting organization for business programs.
The degree requires 36 credit hours for completion. For full time students, it takes two years to complete the program. Courses include Financial Statement Analysis, Advanced Auditing Topics, and Individual Tax Research and Planning.
The curriculum covers both Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) to help you understand and interpret U.S. and global accounting standards.
Tuition and Fees: $12,800
Western International University, or West, is one of the most affordable online schools because it reduced its tuition by more than half in 2013. The university has 35 years of experience teaching working adults and it has evolved its teaching format to use new internet technology.
The Master of Science in Accounting from West takes 15 months to complete for students with no transfer credit who enroll in one class each month.
The curriculum includes courses on communication, ethical leadership, accounting research, corporate finance, and multinational taxation.
West students and alumni have the opportunity to work with a career coach to create a plan for navigating the job market. Career coaches also provide advice on topics such as personal branding, career resources, building a resume, and interviewing.
Tuition and Fees: $13,120
Emporia State University is a public institution located in Emporia, Kansas. According to U.S. News and World Report, the school ranked 103rd among Regional Universities in the Midwest. In Washington Monthly’s rankings, Emporia State placed 201st in the category, Master’s Universities.
Emporia State’s Master of Accountancy program comprises 30 credit hours or 10 courses. The program prepares students to pass the CPA exam in Kansas and other states.
The School of Business of Emporia State is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or AACSB, the top accrediting agency of business programs worldwide.
Emporia State graduate faculty must meet the standards set by AACSB. The faculty participate in their fields of expertise by doing activities such as consulting businesses, leading professional organizations, and writing textbooks.
Tuition and Fees: $13,645
Western Governors University, or WGU, is an online institution with a unique competency-based approach to education. WGU was established by 19 U.S. state governors to use distance learning technology to provide education at low cost. Also, over 20 major companies and foundations support the school.
Unlike the traditional degree model, WGU does not award degrees based on completing a certain amount of credit hours or courses. Instead, WGU students earn degrees by demonstrating skills and knowledge through assessments.
You will interact with a mentor to develop a custom degree plan including determining which learning resources to utilize and scheduling times to complete assessments.
WGU’s Master of Science in Accounting includes the following subjects: strategic management, fraud accounting, advanced tax concepts, nonprofit accounting, and advanced financial accounting.
Tuition and Fees: $14,023
The Princeton Review named University of South Dakota (USD) one of the best colleges in the nation. USD was rated 168th among National Universities by U.S. News and World Report and Washington Monthly ranked the school 208th in its rankings of National Universities.
USD offers a Master of Professional Accountancy that consists of seven required courses and three electives for a total of 30 credit hours. Topics include cost accounting, tax planning, and business policy.
The program is designed to prepare students for careers in public accounting and meet the academic requirements of the CPA exam. Full time students can finish the degree in 12 months while part time students take two to four years for completion.
USD’s Beacom School of Business has been accredited by AACSB since 1949.
Tuition and Fees: $15,000
Colorado State University made The Princeton Review’s list of 379 Best Colleges: 2015 Edition. The school also ranked 65th in Washington Monthly’s 2014 rankings of National Universities. U.S. News and World Report gave the school a top 60 ranking among public National Universities.
Colorado State’s Master of Professional Accounting is a 30 credit program with courses in international accounting, ethics, assurance services, and cost accounting. Students can choose from five elective classes including Fraud Data Analysis and Strategy Planning.
The program trains you for jobs such as financial manager, cost estimator, and budget analyst. Also, the faculty and staff put emphasis on preparing for the CPA exam. For example, Colorado State offers a big discount for Wiley CPAexcel’s Video Gold Medal Review Course.
Tuition and Fees: $15,150
Indiana Wesleyan University, or IWU, is a private, Christian school located in Marion, Indiana. The school is the largest private university in the state. U.S. News and World Report gave IWU a 26th ranking in the category, Regional Universities in the Midwest.
The Master of Science in Accounting from IWU teaches students how to produce financial documents that meet accounting, ethical, and legal standards. Also, students learn about accounting information systems, tax theory, fraud examination, and advanced managerial accounting.
Traditional lectures are not a big part of the IWU online learning experience. Each student is required to participate in online discussions and the professors interact with the students in these discussions. Class sizes are capped to promote an intimate learning environment.
Upon completion of the program, online students receive the same degree as residential students.
Tuition and Fees: $15,750
With over 95,000 online students, Liberty University houses one of the most popular online universities in the world. The school is also the largest private, nonprofit university in the United States and it is the largest Christian university worldwide.
The Master of Science in Accounting from Liberty can be completed in one to two years. To graduate, students must take seven core courses and three elective courses. Electives include classes about entrepreneurship, marketing management, and international business.
Liberty was ranked 80th by U.S. News and World Report in the category, Regional Universities in the South. The university’s School of Business is accredited by ACBSP. Also, the business school placed 30th in Military Times’ 2014 survey of best business schools for veterans.
#10. Shorter University
Tuition and Fees: $16,300
Established in 1873, Shorter University is a Georgia Baptist Institution. The university is one of the best schools in the Southeast region according to The Princeton Review. U.S. News and World Report rated Shorter as a Tier 2 National Liberal Arts College.
Shorter’s Master of Accountancy is a 31 credit hour degree for students with a bachelor’s degree in accounting or related area of study. The program can be finished in one year. Courses are eight weeks long and each year has six eight-week terms.
The program starts off with a one hour course, Introduction to Online Graduate Learning, to help students adjust to the online learning format. Other courses include Corporate and Partnership Taxation, Current Issues in Accounting, and Legal and Ethical Issues for Accountants.
Tuition and Fees: $17,165
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is a private, comprehensive university affiliated with the Roman Catholic church. The school was ranked 181st in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of National Universities. Also, Saint Mary’s was named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review.
Saint Mary’s Master of Science in Accountancy emphasizes management theory and skills to prepare students for management positions in the accounting industry. Students take classes on communication, leadership, internal controls, and strategic management.
Each student receives an iPad with productivity apps and the school’s mobile learning platform to work through the courses and interact with students and professors in a cutting edge way.
The accounting faculty of Saint Mary’s are accomplished professionals. All of them have earned the CPA and CMA certifications and were hired because of their academic and professional expertise.
Tuition and Fees: $17,225
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine is a Catholic liberal arts school with an active Online Division. The school has provided distance education for nearly 40 years. Over 9,400 students have graduated with a Saint Joseph’s degree through distance learning study.
Saint Joseph’s Master of Accountancy Degree requires the completion of 36 credit hours, or 12 courses, to graduate. Courses last 10 weeks and the school has five terms each year.
The program prepares students with a business undergraduate degree for positions in the public accounting industry. Students who earned at least a B in Intermediate Accounting I and II during their undergraduate program will be able to waive up to six credits.
Program outcomes include critical thinking, interpersonal, and communication skills.
#13. Bellevue University
Tuition and Fees: $18,540
Bellevue University is a private, nonprofit school located in Bellevue, Nebraska. The school started offering online degrees more than ten years ago. Its online teachers undergo a six week training program to learn about online learning delivery methods. Also, they experience a class first-hand to understand the student’s point of view.
The Master of Science in Accounting from Bellevue is a 36 hour program. Students choose nine out of 11 accounting courses and take three required MBA courses. Students can add a Tax or Finance concentration to their degree by completing nine more credit hours.
The online format includes live lectures that are saved for later viewing. The faculty use various multimedia tools to make their lectures more interesting.
Bellevue was named a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs and it placed fifth in Military Times’ ranking of best online and nontraditional schools for veterans.
#14. Post University
Tuition and Fees: $18,750
Post University is classified as a Tier 2 Regional College in the North by U.S. News and World Report. The school serves over 15,000 online students. Courses are offered six times per year in eight week modules so you can complete a master’s program in 14 to 24 months.
Post’s Master of Science in Accounting consists of 10 courses for a total of 30 credit hours. Sample classes include Research and Writing for the Accounting Profession, International Accounting, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for Professional Organizations.
Faculty members assign case studies for analysis and give students opportunities to apply accounting principles to real-life business situations. The program helps students pass the CPA exam by exposing them to problems they could see on the test.
#15. Franklin University
Tuition and Fees: $18,865
Franklin University is a private, nonprofit school established in 1902 to focus on the needs of adult learners. Today, all of its degrees are offered online. Franklin provides courses at various lengths (6, 12, and 15 weeks) to give students flexibility with scheduling.
Franklin’s Master of Science in Accounting is geared for individuals who want to develop skills for occupying positions of leadership.
Students can choose from two tracks to gain specialized knowledge in relevant fields. The taxation track covers topics such as corporate taxation, estate taxes, and pass through entities. The financial operations track includes classes about data mining, risk analysis, and forensic accounting.
To prepare students for the workplace, Franklin trains students how to use accounting software including ACL Data Mining Software and Microsoft Dynamics ERP Software.
#16. Southwestern College
Tuition and Fees: $19,400
Founded in 1885, Southwestern College is a private, nonprofit college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The school placed 84th in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of Regional Universities in the Midwest. Washington Monthly rated Southwestern 215th in its Master’s Universities ranking.
Southwestern offers a Master of Accountancy for students who aspire for management careers in the accounting field. Program outcomes include the ability to prepare financial reports for different types of organizations and the skills to implement computer systems for accounting departments.
The curriculum includes courses on federal income taxes, auditing, legal aspects of commercial transactions, and regulatory compliance.
Southwestern is a great school for veterans. It tied for 29th in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of Best Colleges for Veterans.
Tuition and Fees: $20,105
Grand Canyon University, or GCU, is a private, for-profit, Christian institution. The school’s ranking on U.S. News and World Report is Tier 2 Regional University (West). GCU has a strong online learning reputation as over 50,000 online students are enrolled in its programs.
GCU’s Master of Science in Accounting spans nine courses for a total of 34 credits. The final eight credits, or two courses, are capstone courses designed to prepare students for the Uniform CPA Exam. Other classes go over subjects including financial compliance, accounting information systems, and business law for accounting.
The program is intended for students who hold an undergraduate degree in accounting. Students with a bachelor’s degree in another business discipline must finish a bridge program before they can register for graduate level accounting courses.
#18. Saint Leo University
Tuition and Fees: $20,385
Saint Leo University is a private, liberal arts, Catholic university located in Saint Leo, Florida. The school was rated 65th in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of Regional Universities in the South. Also, the publication gave the school a 27th ranking in its list of Best Colleges for Veterans.
Saint Leo’s Master of Accounting is 10 course, 30 credit hour program that prepares students to take the CPA and CMA exams. Degree requirements include eight accounting courses and two MBA courses (Managerial Economics and Corporate Finance).
To help students adapt to the online classroom, Saint Leo has a series of videos and a checklist to guide students through the important aspects of the online learning process. Students are graded on a variety of assignments such as papers, quizzes, case studies, and tests.
Tuition and Fees: $20,950
Georgia Southern University is a public research university that is part of the University System of Georgia. The school is classified as a Doctoral/Research University in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Georgia Southern serves over 20,500 students from 48 states and 89 countries.
Georgia Southern is one of the few schools with AACSB accounting accreditation to offer an online Master of Accounting. The program uses the cohort model. Students are placed in teams of four to five students and they help, motivate, and encourage each other for six semesters to reach the goal of graduation.
The curriculum consists of six core courses and four electives. Core courses include Seminar in Financial Accounting, Law & Ethics for Accountants, Fraudulent Financial Reporting, and Taxation of Corporations.
#20. Bay Path University
Tuition and Fees: $22,200
Bay Path University is a private institution ranked as a Tier 2 National Liberal Arts College by U.S. News and World Report. The school placed 113th in Washington Monthly’s rankings of Liberal Arts Colleges. The school’s main campus is located in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.
Bay Path’s Master of Science in Accounting has a unique schedule for accountants. Classes are not held between January and April because that is the accountant’s “busy season.”
Students can choose from three concentrations: Public Accounting (Tax and Audit), Private Accounting, and Forensic Accounting. Each concentration has a one year and two year plan for completing the degree.
In Bay Path’s 2010-2011 graduate alumni survey, 79.3% of respondents said they were promoted to a new job because of their degree.
Tuition and Fees: $22,572
With an enrollment of 30,000 online students, Southern New Hampshire (SNHU) boasts one of the largest online student bodies in the nation. Also, the university is known for reinventing the higher education sphere. In 2012, Fast Company ranked SNHU 12th in its list of most innovative companies.
SNHU offers a Master of Science in Accounting with three concentrations: Auditing, Forensic Accounting, and Taxation. Required courses include Cost Accounting, Auditing, and Advanced Topics in Financial Reporting. You can complete the degree in as little as 15 months. Tutoring is available as well as 24/7 tech support.
The GMAT or GRE is not required for admission. There are five terms each year and you can get an acceptance decision within days.
SNHU’s graduate business degrees are accredited by ACBSP.
Tuition and Fees: $22,857
University of Massachusetts Amherst, or UMass Amherst, tied for 76th place in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of National Universities. In Washington Monthly’s rankings, the school placed 151st. UMass Amherst is categorized as a research university with very high research activity by the Carnegie Foundation.
The Master of Accounting from UMass Amherst requires 30 credits for completion. The program has seven required core courses, or 21 credit hours, and 9 hours of electives. Core courses include Professional Responsibilities for Accountants, Information Technology for Accountants, and Taxes and Business Decisions.
UMass Amherst holds accounting accreditation from AACSB. The accrediting organization described the school’s faculty as committed to its students and having a reputation of being competent and caring.
UMass Amherst is a primary recruiting school for the Big 4 public accounting firms.
#23. DeVry University
Tuition and Fees: $23,020
DeVry University is a Tier 2 Regional University in the Midwest according to U.S. News and World Report. The school has flexible scheduling with enrollment. Classes start every eight weeks. Students have many options to customize their course load. DeVry’s advisors work with them to create a degree plan that fits their life.
The Master of Science in Accounting from DeVry University comprises 30 credit hours. There are only three core courses totaling nine hours: Current Issues in Accounting, Professional Research for Accountants, and Accounting Capstone. For the rest of the program, students choose from a variety of accounting, finance, and elective courses.
For those interested in sitting for the CPA exam, DeVry partnered with Becker Professional Education, a leader in CPA exam review, to offer nine hours of CPA exam prep courses.
Tuition and Fees: $23,130
Western New England University, or WNE, is comprehensive private university. The school is ranked 65th in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of Regional Universities (North). Also, WNE is a College of Distinction according to the college guide, Colleges Of Distinction.
WNE offers a Master of Science in Accounting with concentrations in Forensic Accounting/Fraud Investigation and Taxation. Each concentration comprises nine credit hours, or three courses. The program prepares students for management positions within the industry.
The academic year for WNE graduate programs is divided into four terms of 11 weeks. Part time students can finish in 15 months while full time students can complete their degree in 10 months. The average class size is 20 students.
WNE is accredited in business by AACSB.
#25. Regis University
Tuition and Fees: $23,475
Regis University ranks 194th among Master’s Universities in Washington Monthly’s college guide. U.S. News and World Report rated the university 29th in its list of top Western Regional Universities. Regis is a private, Roman Catholic, Jesuit school located in Colorado.
Regis’ Master of Science in Accounting is a flexible 30 credit (10 course) program. Only three courses are required including the capstone course, Business Planning and Strategy. The rest are electives. Students can choose from classes such as Case Studies in Management Accounting, Controllership, and Tax Influence on Business Decision Making.
Eligible graduates can purchase CPA exam review courses at a discount through Regis’ partnership with Becker.
Regis is a Military Friendly School according to G.I. Jobs. The publication gave Regis a strong rating for flexibility in scheduling and completion requirements.
Tuition and Fees: $23,600
California Baptist University (CBU) is a private, Christian university. Its faculty and staff are 100% Christian. CBU placed 38th among Regional Universities in the West in U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings. The school’s business programs are accredited by ACBSP.
Through its division of Online and Professional Studies, CBU offers a Master of Science in Accounting designed for working adults with full time employment. The program can be completed in one year.
The curriculum consists of seven accounting courses and three business courses. Sample classes include Contemporary Issues in Auditing and Assurance, Ethics and Professional Responsibilities for CPAs, and Organization Behavior & Leadership. The instructors utilize real-world case studies to draw connections between principles learned in class and the workplace.
#27. Stetson University
Tuition and Fees: $23,720
With accounting accreditation from AACSB, Stetson University is one of the best values for online master’s degrees in accounting. The school also ranked 12th in Washington Monthly’s rankings of Master’s Universities and sixth in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of Southern Regional Universities.
Stetson’s Master of Accountancy provides accountants with knowledge and skills to advance their career. The program has three start dates during the year and courses last five weeks. Students get a holiday break for two weeks in late December.
To complete the degree, students typically spend 15 to 20 hours each week studying and working on assignments. The program can be completed in one year.
Upon graduation, you will receive the same degree as on-campus students. Your diploma will not specify that you earned an online degree.
#28. New England College
Tuition and Fees: $24,156
New England College, or NEC, is categorized as a Tier 2 Regional University (North) by U.S. News and World Report. The school has an enrollment of close to 900 graduate students and a low student to faculty ratio of 12 to 1.
NEC’s Master of Science in Accounting comprises 36 credit hours and takes less than two years to complete. Learning outcomes include gaining skils in decision modeling, risk analysis, financial reporting, and accounting research.
For individuals interested in preventing accounting fraud and investigating criminal activity, NEC offers a concentration in Forensic Accounting. The concentration also helps you pass the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) exam.
NEC has rolling admissions, which allow students to enter the program every seven weeks. GMAT or GRE scores are not required for admission.
#29. Kaplan University
Tuition and Fees: $24,277
Kaplan University is a for-profit university that operates primarily as an online school. 90% of its students enroll in online programs and it boasts an enrollment of more than 40,000 online students. The average class size of Kaplan’s graduate courses is 13.
The Master of Science in Accounting from Kaplan is accredited by ACBSP. The degree consists of 52 quarter credit hours (36 hours of core courses and 16 hours of electives). Core courses include Regulation, Corporate Tax Decisions and Strategies, and Economics for Global Decision Makers. Students can specialize in four areas of study: Auditing, Finance, Government, and Tax.
Kaplan surveyed students who completed a degree and found 83% of respondents would recommend the university to others. Also, 89% believed their degree program met their expectations.
Tuition and Fees: $24,314
University of Maryland University College, or UMUC, is the largest public university in the United States. The school is also one of the largest providers of online education in the world. In fiscal year 2014, over 70,000 UMUC students took at least one course online.
UMUC offers two master’s degrees in accounting, Master of Science in Accounting and Financial Management and Master of Science in Accounting and Information Systems.
The first degree requires six financial management courses, five accounting courses, and one capstone course. The second degrees consists of five information systems courses, six accounting courses, and one capstone course. GRE or GMAT scores are not required for admission.
G.I. Jobs gave UMUC the distinction of Military Friendly School. The tuition and fees are $17,078 for military members and Maryland residents.