The 25 Most Affordable Bachelor's Degrees in Accounting

Compiled and Written By Accounting-Degree.org Staff


Accountants, auditors, and financial service workers serve valuable roles across all sectors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 6% increase in employment of these professionals from 2018-2028, which bodes well for accounting professionals.

A bachelor’s degree in accounting includes coursework in business, economics, statistics, and finance. As the accounting field becomes more automated and technical, degrees in the subject also integrate information technology coursework.

When looking for the accounting degree that best meets learners' needs, rankings can provide students with the most current information. These rankings reflect how accounting degrees adapt to changes in the discipline, while factoring in quality and affordability.

What Are the Best Accounting Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

Rank School Location
1 University of Washington Seattle, WA
2 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
3 Purdue University-Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
4 CUNY Hunter College New York, NY
5 CUNY Bernard M Baruch College New York, NY
6 Berea College Berea, KY
7 Albion College Albion, MI
8 Washington and Lee University Lexington, VA
9 Valparaiso University Valparaiso, IN
10 Dominican University River Forest, IL
See more schools


Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Accounting Programs for 2020

How We Rank Accounting Programs

Want to know how we create our rankings? We assess schools based on academic quality, affordability, and online flexibility.

Subfactors for Affordability

When considering affordability, schools rank higher when they have a low net price, a high percentage of students receiving financial aid, and a low percentage of graduates defaulting on their student loans.

Subfactors for Quality

A variety of specialized accounting programs, a low student-to-faculty ratio, and a high retention rate (students returning after their first year) all play into high rankings for school quality.

Subfactors for Student Success

Student success is measured in these rankings by a combination of a high graduation rate and a high 20-year net present value (i.e., a student's projected return on investment from their tuition 20 years after graduation).

Subfactors for Online Flexibility

Hybrid programs (ones that allow for some online courses) get consideration for online flexibility, but more weight is put on those with a high percentage of fully online students.

University of Washington - Seattle Campus

Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with Accounting Concentration

The University of Washington's Seattle campus serves more than 54,000 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. UW's Foster School of Business offers a bachelor of business administration with an accounting concentration.

In addition to foundational business and advanced accounting courses, the curriculum includes courses on auditing and business taxation. The 120-credit program does not wholly prepare students for CPA certification, which requires 150 credits.

To become eligible for the CPA exam, students at UW can complete a master of professional accounting. For this master's program, students can pursue a concentration in either taxation or audit and assurance.

Average Net Price of Program: $9,765
Program Website

University of Florida

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

At Gainesville-based University of Florida, students can enroll in a bachelor's in accounting. The 120-credit program begins with foundational business and general education courses. More advanced courses include statistics for business decisions, international business, and federal income tax.

Learners may opt to participate in the 3/2 program, which allows students to earn a bachelor's and master's in accounting on an accelerated schedule. For this option, distance learners can choose to concentrate in auditing or taxation.

UF requires students to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA throughout the program in order to graduate. Learners must also earn a B grade in specific courses, like introduction to financial accounting, to advance to upper-division courses.

Average Net Price of Program: $11,313
Program Website

Purdue University - Main Campus

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

The 120-credit bachelor's in accounting at Purdue University includes courses in accounting, economics, and management. Graduates can spend an extra year of study pursuing a certificate of advanced accountancy, which prepares students for state CPA certification.

Full-time students can graduate in four years. Courses include auditing, tax accounting, operations management, and business writing. Students also complete general education courses in the sciences, a foreign language, and humanities.

Students can supplement their college experience by joining student organizations, including undergraduate accounting clubs like Beta Alpha Psi and the Purdue Accounting Association. These clubs host career fairs and mentorship programs, connecting students with experienced accounting professionals.

Average Net Price of Program: $11,898
Program Website

CUNY Hunter College

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

A constituent of City University of New York, Hunter College educates over 23,000 students from its Manhattan campus. The college offers several undergraduate and graduate programs, including a bachelor's degree in accounting.

Accounting majors take intermediate and advanced accounting courses and related business courses, including federal income taxation, financial statement analysis, and business taxes. Students take 35 major-specific credits, and they must maintain a 2.5 GPA in those courses to graduate. Learners can earn one credit for an internship at a government agency, private firm, or nonprofit institution.

The degree alone does not qualify students to sit for the CPA exam, which requires 150 college credits. A master's degree in accounting typically fulfills this requirement.

Average Net Price of Program: $4,332
Program Website

CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

Accountancy Bachelor of Business Administration

Located in Manhattan, Baruch College operates as a constituent of the City University of New York system. Baruch offers a bachelor of business administration in accounting at the Zicklin School of Business.

In addition to general education and elective courses, this bachelor's in accounting requires 30 business credits and 24 major credits. Possible electives include information technology audit, corporate finance and investment analysis, and securities law and business crime.

Students do not qualify to sit for the CPA examination through undergraduate coursework alone. However, Baruch offers a pathway to earn the necessary 150 credits by combining the undergraduate degree with a master's in accountancy, taxation, or information systems.

Average Net Price of Program: $4,119
Program Website

Berea College

Public Accounting Option

Located in Berea, Kentucky, Berea College offers a special program called the public accounting option for individuals seeking CPA certification. Unlike a traditional bachelor's degree, this program requires 150 credits of coursework.

While this program features a flexible curriculum, all students must take an auditing course, 27 credits of accounting courses, and 39 credits of business and economics classes. Students can add a concentration in finance or management information systems. Berea also offers a minor in computer science for accounting students. Graduates qualify to sit for the CPA certification exam.

Average Net Price of Program: $1,196
Program Website

Albion College

Bachelor of Arts in Accounting with CPA Emphasis

Albion College is a small undergraduate school of about 1,500 students in Albion, Michigan. The school's bachelor of arts in accounting offers a CPA emphasis to prepare students for public accounting certification.

Each course counts as 0.5-1 units. To earn the accounting degree, learners must complete 9.5-10 credits in accounting, economics, and management. Students also enroll in two cognate units, which include statistics and precalculus courses. Courses within the accounting major include the economy and financial markets, governmental and not-for-profit accounting, and advanced taxation and corporate transactions.

Average Net Price of Program: $17,663
Program Website

Washington and Lee University

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Established in 1749, Washington and Lee University is the ninth-oldest higher education institution in the country.. Based in Lexington, Virginia, the school educates over 2,000 students through diverse programs, including a bachelor of science in accounting.

Students take 45 credits of coursework within the major, with required courses including financial statement analysis and cost auditing. In addition, learners can choose from electives like anatomy of fraud, federal tax policy and planning in today's world, and volunteer income tax assistance.

W&L allows students to earn credits by studying abroad or completing an internship. Learners may also choose to complete a six-credit honors thesis if they possess a minimum 3.6 GPA by their junior year. Students seeking CPA certification must either enroll in a one-year master's program or take extra courses.

Average Net Price of Program: $21,918
Program Website

Valparaiso University

Bachelor's in Accounting

Located in Indiana, Valparaiso University is a private, nonprofit university educating over 3,700 students annually. The bachelor's in accounting degree consists of 125 credits and includes general education, foundational, and major courses.

Within major courses, students must take an international business course in addition to electives. Valpo also requires learners to complete a practical experience, such as an internship or a cooperative education experience combining full-time professional work with coursework.

In order to earn the 150 credits needed to sit for the CPA exam, students may add an area of study, such as business analytics or finance, and pursue a double major. Alternatively, CPA candidates can enroll for a fifth year in Valpo's MBA program.

Average Net Price of Program: $23,916
Program Website

Dominican University

Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

A Catholic-affiliated institution in the western suburbs of Chicago, Dominican University offers more than 50 undergraduate programs, including a bachelor of business administration in accounting.

The curriculum consists of business foundational courses, practicums, career development modules, accounting courses, and electives. During their third year, students must complete an internship worth 2-8 credits. Learners may also choose to participate in study abroad experiences in countries like France and Chile.

Business students can take advantage of the executives-in-residence program. In this program, business leaders guide students through the career search, offering advice on resumes, cover letters, and job interviews. Dominican offers an MBA for students who wish to earn the 150 credits needed to qualify for the CPA certification exam.

Average Net Price of Program: $18,037
Program Website

Holy Family University

Bachelor's in Accounting with a CPA Track

The Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth founded Holy Family University in 1954. The private, Catholic institution offers a bachelor's degree in accounting with a CPA track. The 120-credit program includes 45 major credits. Courses include advanced managerial finance, financial fraud and reporting, and estate taxation and advanced financial planning. Learners must complete a research project during their senior seminar.

The CPA track requires an additional 30 credits and qualifies students to sit for the CPA certification exam. Accounting majors at HFU can find many Philadelphia-based companies that offer accounting internships, including major consulting and finance organizations.

Average Net Price of Program: $18,037
Program Website

University of Pennsylvania

Bachelor's in Accounting

At the University of Pennsylvania, students can earn a bachelor's degree in accounting that includes general education, accounting, statistics, economics, finance, and general business courses.

Courses include accounting and financial reporting, strategic cost analysis, and financial measurement and disclosure. Students may choose from electives such as predictive analytics using financial disclosures and accounting for mergers, acquisitions, and complex financial structures.

Average Net Price of Program: $26,266
Program Website

University of Washington - Tacoma Campus

Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with Accounting Concentration

More than 5,000 students attend the University of Washington Tacoma, which has been educating students for over 150 years. The university's Milgard School of Business offers a bachelor of arts in business administration with an accounting concentration.

In addition to required general education courses, the 180-credit program requires 30 business core credits, 35 accounting credits, and five credits of business policy and strategic management. The university offers a fifth-year master's accounting for individuals who want to qualify to sit for the CPA certification exam.

Average Net Price of Program: $9,292
Program Website

Augustana College

Bachelor of Arts in Accounting

Operating out of Rock Island, Illinois, Augustana College is a private, nonprofit institution of about 2,600 students. The undergraduate-only college offers 90 majors, including accounting.

The BA in accounting consists of 124 credits, but Augustana designed the program for students to obtain the 150 credits needed to qualify for the CPA certification exam if they wish. The Accounting Extended Learning Program includes the extra courses CPA candidates need, offered at a discounted rate.

Students take courses like auditing, tax accounting, fraud detection and prevention, and government and nonprofit accounting. Students can also participate in up to 12 internship credits. According to Augusta, the majority of student internships end in job offers.

Average Net Price of Program: $24,110
Program Website

Oklahoma State University

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Accounting Concentration

At Oklahoma State University's main campus in Stillwater, students can enroll in a bachelor of science in business administration in accounting. The degree consists of 120 credits, and students need a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate.

Required courses cover accounting information systems, auditing and assurance services, and statistics for business. Learners choose from several elective options, like money and banking, real estate and commercial transaction law, and international financial management.

OSU's Spears School of Business awards $1.2 million in scholarships to students pursuing business and accounting degrees. About 94% of students find employment within three months of graduating from the accounting program.

Average Net Price of Program: $6,707
Program Website

Saint Vincent College and Seminary

Bachelor's in Business Administration with Accounting Concentration

Benedictine monks founded Saint Vincent College and Seminary in 1846. Located in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and affiliated with the Catholic Church, Saint Vincent offers theological and secular degrees.

Saint Vincent's accounting degree allows students to acquire the 150 credits needed to qualify for the CPA exam in just four years. In addition to foundational and major courses, learners choose from electives like analysis of financial statements, forensic auditing, and international accounting.

As a part of the program, students put together a business portfolio created from major assignments throughout the program, including a business ethics paper, experiential project, and information systems analysis project. Learners may also choose to complete a professional thesis. Graduates of the accounting program at Saint Vincent have the second-highest CPA examination pass rates in Pennsylvania.

Average Net Price of Program: $21,146
Program Website

CUNY Queens College

Bachelor of Arts in Accounting

Part of City University of New York, Queens College enrolls about 20,000 students in both undergraduate and graduate programs. The bachelor of arts in accounting requires 63 credits related to accounting, business, and economics.

Required accounting courses cover topics like auditing, federal and state income tax, and micro and macroeconomics. QC also offers a wide variety of electives, including financial markets, price theory, urban economics, and regulation of American business. Additionally, students can complete an internship. The internship experience consists of 140 hours of work and a 20-page final research paper.

This program does not provide graduates with the necessary 150 credits to qualify for the CPA exam. Students must also enroll in a master of accounting program if they wish to become a certified public accountant.

Average Net Price of Program: $4,776
Program Website

University of South Florida - Sarasota-Manatee

Bachelor's in Accounting

Students enrolled at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee can pursue an undergraduate degree in accounting. This four-year degree prepares them for jobs as certified public accountants, forensic accountants, tax managers, and consultants.

Although students follow a planned-out curriculum for the majority of their degree, the accounting program allows for several electives during the senior year. Elective options include governmental and nonprofit accounting, valuation of closely held businesses, and law and the accountant.

Students may also choose to study abroad, complete a research project, or participate in an internship. The full program consists of 119-120 credits, which means that students must take additional courses or earn a master's degree in order to qualify for the CPA certification exam.

Average Net Price of Program: $4,705
Program Website

University of Richmond

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Accounting Concentration

Operating as a private, nonprofit school in Virginia, the University of Richmond serves about 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The bachelor's in accounting degree from the university's Robin's School of Business prepares learners for careers as public accountants.

The degree consists of foundational business, accounting, economics, and statistics courses. Students take courses on topics like tax assistance and auditing. Accounting majors can also earn credit for internships.

Richmond provides scholarships and financial aid specifically for accounting students, helping make this accounting degree more affordable. About 70% of graduates find public accounting jobs, while others find roles in cost accounting, internal auditing, and government accounting.

Average Net Price of Program: $24,634
Program Website

Presbyterian College

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Accounting

Located in Clinton, South Carolina, Presbyterian College offers several academic programs, including a bachelor's in business administration with an accounting concentration.

Students can earn the 122-credit business administration degree before taking extra courses to complete the 150 credits needed for the CPA examination. In addition to required courses, like managerial finance and career preparation, students enroll in international business and accounting electives.

Accounting majors may participate in internships and travel courses or short-term study abroad opportunities. In addition, learners can join the college's accounting club.

Average Net Price of Program: $19,628
Program Website

University of Detroit Mercy

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Accounting

Established by Jesuits in 1877, the University of Detroit Mercy is a Catholic institution that offers a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

The 126-credit degree includes core, accounting, and business courses. Intermediate and advanced accounting courses prepare students for certification. Business courses cover subjects like financial management and organizational leadership. Students can supplement their coursework by joining Beta Alpha Psi, a national accounting fraternity.

About 95% of graduates pass the CPA exam on their first try. In order to qualify for this exam, students must take additional courses beyond the 126 credits required to earn the degree.

Average Net Price of Program: $22,016
Program Website

Luther College

Bachelor's in Accounting

Based in Decorah, Iowa, Luther College is a liberal arts school that maintains affiliation with the Lutheran Church. About 95% of students who obtain the bachelor's in accounting degree from Luther find employment after graduation.

The degree prepares students for careers as certified public accountants, although accounting majors should talk to their program advisors to plan out the 150 credits needed to take the CPA certification exam.

After required courses, students must enroll in a seminar and a senior project. The senior project involves both a presentation and a paper that demonstrate the student has mastered the information and skills learned throughout the degree. Learners may also complete an internship to gain credit.

Average Net Price of Program: $24,688
Program Website

Lehigh University

• Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics with an Accounting Major

• Bachelor of Science in Integrated Business and Engineering with an Accounting Major

Lehigh University enrolls nearly 7,000 students at its campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Students wishing to pursue a degree in accounting can choose from a bachelor of science in business and economics with an accounting major or a bachelor of science in integrated business and engineering with an accounting major.

Within the accounting majors, students can choose between three concentrations: public accounting assurance and tax services, financial services and corporate accounting, and information technology. Learners may need to take additional courses or enroll in master's programs to qualify for the CPA certification examination.

Most students enrolled in Lehigh's business programs complete an internship or an experiential learning opportunity. About 96% of graduates find employment or enroll in graduate school.

Average Net Price of Program: $26,782
Program Website

The University of Texas at Austin

Bachelor of Business Administration with Accounting Concentration

A large public institution, the University of Texas at Austin enrolls over 51,000 students. The university offers two bachelor's in accounting options: a four-year bachelor of business administration with a major in accounting and a five-year combined bachelor's and master's degree. The five-year option gives students the 150 credits needed to sit for the CPA exam.

Regardless of their chosen pathway, all students must complete the core curriculum and foundational business courses. Accounting majors take classes in economics, operations management, and advanced accounting concepts. Learners may add an additional concentration in auditing and financial reporting, managerial accounting and control, or taxation.

Average Net Price of Program: $14,156
Program Website

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bachelor of Business Administration with Accounting Concentration

A public university with over 43,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a bachelor of business administration in accounting. In addition to general education, business core, and accountancy courses, students can choose from electives like investment theory, corporate finance, and the real estate process.

Students can bolster their education by joining campus chapters of organizations like Beta Alpha Psi, the Institute of Management Accountants, or the National Association of Black Accountants.

UW offers several programs that qualify students to sit for the CPA exam: an integrated master of accountancy, an MBA, and a graduate-only master of accountancy. If students do not want to attend graduate school, they can add a double major to their bachelor's degree to earn the 150 credits necessary to sit for the exam. The university holds one of the highest pass rates for the CPA exam, with approximately 87% of students passing on their first try.

Average Net Price of Program: $14,169
Program Website

Making an Accounting Bachelor’s Degree Affordable

Accounting bachelor’s degrees vary in price. Traditional programs generally include 120 credit hours, which students complete in four years. Tuition, room and board, and transportation costs fluctuate by program. Students must also factor in costs for books and related course materials.

Online accounting degrees may provide more affordable options than on-campus programs for students. Many online institutions offer flat-rate tuition, giving learners an opportunity to complete more than the traditional 15 credit hours each semester. Online students benefit from not paying on-campus housing expenses or commuting costs.

Individuals with an associate degree or previous coursework in finance and accounting may shorten their program length, earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting in as little as two years. This significantly lowers the overall cost of an accounting bachelor’s degree.

The benefits of an accounting bachelor’s degree often outweigh the costs. For instance, accounting and auditing clerks, entry-level positions without degree requirements, earned salaries just over $40,000 in 2018. By contrast, accountants and auditors, who need at least a bachelor’s degree, earned a median annual salary of more than $70,000. With a bachelor’s degree in accounting, students can also advance into lucrative careers as financial analysts, budget specialists, and cost estimators.

Why Become an Accountant?

Accounting programs train students in accounting principles, practices, and processes. Students gain insights into financial analysis, business decision-making, and organizational structures, while also building quantitative skills.

Bachelor’s degrees in accounting lead to careers in accounting, auditing, budget analysis, and financial planning. In 2018, accountants and auditors earned an annual median wage of $70,500, while budget analysts took home about $76,220. Financial advisors earned even higher salaries, reaching $88,890 as of 2018.

Many accounting positions require CPA licensure. A bachelor’s degree in accounting includes coursework to prepare students for the uniform CPA exam. Administered by the American Institute of CPAs, this exam assesses competencies through four four-hour sections. Students answer questions in auditing and attestation, business environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation.

Learners must complete all sections of the exam in 18 months. To pass, students need a minimum score of 75 on each part of the exam. Once students pass the uniform CPA exam, they must meet state licensure requirements. Education and experience requirements vary by state. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy provides comprehensive resources about licensure and jurisdiction.

How to Choose an Accounting Degree Program

When choosing an accounting bachelor’s degree, students should consider which program meets their personal needs and professional goals. Bachelor’s degrees in accounting vary in specific coursework, but they cover core accounting principles and practices. Learners study finance, economics, and business fundamentals alongside statistics and mathematics.

Many accounting degrees allow students to specialize in an aspect of the field. Accounting concentrations include forensics, managerial accounting, and auditing. Accounting programs also often require learners to complete a comprehensive project, internship, or practical component to earn their degree.

Full-time students can opt to take classes on campus or online. Online courses provide more affordable, flexible options for working professionals and individuals with busy schedules. Part-time students also benefit from the convenience of an online accounting degree.

Accreditation status also factors into degree choice. Colleges and universities may hold regional or national accreditation. Accounting degrees and programs can also maintain specialized accreditation. Programmatic accreditation, awarded through discipline-specific organizations, indicates that a degree or program meets the standards set forth by that group. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is a major accrediting body for accounting degrees.