By OADP Staff
March 2017 (updated)

Accountants know better than anyone that it’s important to weigh all the options – and consider both the costs and benefits – before making any financial investment. And getting a college education is one of the most important investments that students will ever make. But how far will their tuition dollars go?

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For future accounting and financial professionals, earning an affordable accounting degree online is often the best choice. Many top schools have accredited online programs, giving students flexibility to work, live at home, and learn at their own pace.

Ranking the Top 15 Online Accounting Degree Programs 2017

To determine the top online accounting degrees, we looked specifically for online programs that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The AACSB has been recognized as one of the longest-standing, most prestigious forms of accreditation that a business school can earn. Colleges can earn AACSB accreditation for business or both business and accounting. We considered schools with both types of accreditations for this ranking.

We then compared these programs by looking at their flexibility as well as the depth of their academic options. Evidence of flexibility included features like part- and full-time scheduling and evening and weekend classes in addition to online coursework. Schools earned an additional boost if they also offered related programs (in finance or taxation, for example) in an online format.

For depth, we looked primarily at the type of online program; full four-year degrees earned a higher spot than degree completion programs. Colleges also earned extra points for having dual accreditation in both business and accounting.

Information about these accredited, online accounting programs came primarily from the AACSB online database, Data Direct. We also checked that we had identified all the eligible schools by cross-referencing the full list of AACSB-accredited universities in the United States with College Navigator’s search results for online bachelor’s degrees in accounting. Other data came from the AACSB member profiles and directly from the schools’ websites.

15. Clarion University of Pennsylvania: Online BSBA Accounting

AACSB-Accredited in Business

Although Clarion’s program is only available part-time, many working adults actually prefer to take just one or two classes per semester. For these students, Clarion’s online program provides a convenient option and a thorough education in both business and accounting. Clarion’s curriculum is rare among online accounting degrees in that it provides specializations within the BSBA: Accounting track. Majors have their choice of a concentration in Industry or CPA. Those who pick the latter path may also be interested in the university’s part-time CPA Exam Eligibility Program online. This unique, 20-month certification program helps undergraduates acquire the additional coursework they need to sit for the CPA exam.

Tuition: $302.00 per credit (Residents) / $326.00 per credit (Non-residents)

14. Georgia Southwestern State University: Online BBA Accounting

AACSB-Accredited in Business

The BBA eMajor at GSSU is meant for anyone who wants to take online classes, although working professionals and those with prior college experience will find the program format especially useful. Students take all of their business core classes (24 credits) and accounting major classes (24 credits) entirely online. 12 “free” electives provide some flexibility for program members to explore their professional interests. Georgia Southwestern State’s online BBA in accounting functions primarily as a degree completion program for individuals who already have an associate’s degree. However, the university’s unique eMajor partnership with several schools in the University System of Georgia makes the transition a near seamless one.

Tuition: $199.00 per credit

13. Old Dominion University: Online BBA – Accounting

AACSB-Accredited in Business and Accounting

As a degree completion program, ODU’s online BBA in Accounting requires students to transfer in most of their required lower-division coursework. To make transferring easier, ODU offers guaranteed admission from any school in the Virginia Community College System. Once accepted, online BBA students have access to nearly two-dozen upper-division classes in business and accounting, from “Microeconomics” and “Principles of Finance” to “Managerial Accounting” and “Taxation”. Old Dominion University has been recognized by multiple sources for the caliber of its online accounting program. In fact, both College Factual and College Choice named it one of the best online colleges for accounting in 2016-2017.

Tuition: $325.00 per credit (Residents) / $355.00 per credit (Non-residents)

12. Southern Illinois University Carbondale: Online Accounting BS

AACSB-Accredited in Business and Accounting

Undergraduates who enroll in SIU Carbondale’s accounting degree online completion program will need to have completed their first two years of coursework prior to applying. Most participants graduate in 18-24 months, although there is plenty of flexibility for students to move at their own pace. SIU Carbondale stands out from other affordable online accounting degrees by locking in tuition rates for four years (as long as the student is continuously enrolled in courses). However, there is also one additional, minor expense for the program. Because the SIUC College of Business delivers all exams through remote proctoring, online learners must purchase an external USB web cam in order to take their tests.

Tuition: $348.00 per credit

11. Northwestern State University of Louisiana: Online BS in Accounting

AACSB-Accredited in Business

Students who earn their BS in Accounting at Northwestern State University of Louisiana may attend part- or full-time and can complete all the requirements necessary to take their CPA exam before they graduate. One of the most distinctive features of this program is its completely asynchronous distance learning platform. Known as eNSU, the university’s “global campus” allows students to log in at any time to complete assignments. There are no due dates and no mandatory meetings. NSU also offers “compressed video courses” where students can interact with their professors in real-time using microphones and cameras.

Tuition: $375.00 per credit (up to 12 credit hours, then $100 for each additional credit)

10. Montana State University Billings: Online BSBA – Accounting

AACSB-Accredited in Business

MSUB’s College of Business offers a BSBA major with options in Accounting, General Business, Finance, Marketing, and Management. Each of these options is also available as a minor. However, only the Accounting and Marketing programs are available both on-site and online. Like most online accounting degree programs, students complete a large business core plus 30 credits of major-specific coursework. Although MSU Billings lacks some resources compared to larger schools, it more than makes up for it with excellent faculty. One of the school’s accounting professors even received the “Outstanding Accounting Educator Award” in 2011 from the Montana Society of CPAs.

Tuition: $2,360.00 to $8,130.00 per semester (Residents) / $2,770.00 to $9,960.00 per semester (Non-residents)

9. Indiana State University: Online BS in Accounting

AACSB-Accredited in Business

Indiana State’s flexible program welcomes both full- and part-time students, freshmen and transfers. And although the program is labeled as a BS in Accounting (as opposed to a BBA in Accounting), the curriculum includes 50 credits worth of “business core” classes in addition to 27 credits of required accounting coursework. Indiana State’s is one of the only programs on this accounting degrees online ranking to also offer online minors in topics such as Insurance and Risk Management, Forensic Accounting, and Finance. Accounting students can also take advantage of ISU’s long list of scholarships, which includes a number of options specifically for undergraduates majoring in accounting and finance.

Tuition: $4273.00 per semester (Full-time, Resident) / $5,384.00 per semester (Full-time, Non-resident)

8. Pennsylvania State University Harrisburg/World: Online BS in Accounting

AACSB-Accredited in Business

This public college’s large size enables it to offer a wide variety of classes each semester, including online, evening, and weekend courses. Those who earn their accounting degree online at Penn State World have the foundational skills to pursue certification as a CPA, CFE, CIA, or even a CGMA. Penn State’s World Campus doesn’t just have one of the best online accounting degree programs. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report awarded the university with the #1 spot on its ranking of the best online bachelor’s programs.

Tuition: $6,587.00 to $7,129.00 per semester (Full-time)

7. Florida Atlantic University: Online BBA Accounting

AACSB-Accredited in Business

Applicants to FAU’s accounting program may enroll in any term and can attend part- or full-time. To declare their major in accounting, FAU students must complete all their pre-business courses with a minimum 2.5 GPA and meet the minimum foreign language requirements. Online accounting degree students at FAU can expect a rigorous course load. In order to advance to the upper-level classes in the major, participants must first pass an Accounting Competency Exam. The school also supports a unique Accounting Scholars Program for high-achieving students. Graduates of this program enjoy extremely high job placement rates, and more than 90% go on to careers in public accounting.

Tuition: $201.29 per credit (Residents) / $719.84 per credit (Non-residents)

6. Auburn University: Online Bachelor of Science in Accounting

AACSB-Accredited in Business and Accounting

Auburn’s online accounting program is only for students who have already earned an undergraduate degree. Most applicants are working adults who are interested in making a career change to become certified public accountants (CPAs). Students earning their accounting degree online at Auburn receive the exact same education as their on-campus peers. There is no separate curriculum – instead, “smart classrooms” automatically record all in-class lectures, which online participants can stream live or watch later at their convenience. The internet portal also includes online discussion boards to add an element of interactivity.

Tuition: $775.00 per credit

5. Temple University: Online BBA – Accounting

AACSB-Accredited in Business

Temple University’s Fox School of Business houses an undergraduate BBA that is available fully online for both freshmen and transfer students. Individuals living outside of Philadelphia may also choose to take traditional classes at one of Temple’s satellite campuses in Harrison, Ambler, or Fort Washington, PA. The curriculum covers a wide range of concepts related to the accounting profession, from cost analysis and control to foreign operations. Temple offers a distinctive experience for online students. Interactive features like real-time web conferencing make it easy to collaborate with professors and classmates. The degree culminates in a senior seminar in Accounting or Management Accounting.

Tuition: $821.00 per credit

4. Washington State University: Online Accounting Major

AACSB-Accredited in Business and Accounting

Like all the most flexible, top online accounting degrees, WSU’s program offers classes on both a part-time and full-time basis in the spring, summer, and fall. Most business courses feature a condensed six-week format, while non-business classes adhere to the traditional 16-week semester. Washington State’s accounting program is uniquely competitive. In order to advance to upper-level coursework, program members must achieve a business administration certification with a concentration in accounting. WSU only grants certification to the top students in each class (based on GPA). This program also includes a required international experience, which can be fulfilled through study abroad, an international internship, or approved coursework in global business.

Tuition: $272.22 to $492.00 per credit (Residents) / $316.28 to $570.00 per credit (Non-residents)

3. University of Massachusetts Amherst: Online BBA Accounting

AACSB-Accredited in Business and Accounting

The Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has both online finance and online accounting degree programs. Due to the breadth of the program, graduates are positioned to find jobs in a wide range of careers, including interdisciplinary fields like financial information systems and consulting. UMass Amherst’s program provides a much more thorough education than most online accounting degrees. In addition to general education and “breadth” requirements, the curriculum includes 11 business courses and nine upper-level accounting classes. Topics span from information systems and cost accounting to individual and corporate taxation, CPA law, and auditing.

Tuition: $525.00 per credit

2. University of Memphis: Online BBA Accountancy

AACSB-Accredited in Business and Accounting

The University of Memphis features multiple course options, allowing students to complete their accounting degree online and in traditional classrooms. To meet the degree requirements, students may need to take some courses on campus or transfer in “a limited number” of courses from another institution. Part-time, full-time, and evening class options are all available. As a BBA degree, this program requires members to complete upper-level credits in both business and accounting. Required electives also enable students to explore specific topics within the field, such as auditing and assurance or taxation.

Tuition: $412.00 to $900.00 per credit (depending on residency status)

1. University of Alabama at Birmingham: Online BS in Accounting

AACSB-Accredited in Business and Accounting

The online bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Alabama Birmingham is extremely flexible. In addition to online courses, the program also offers evening classes and has part-time and full-time options. Accounting students can choose a general track or concentrate in Forensic Accounting and IT Auditing. Undergrads can also help run a $550k investment portfolio called the “Green and Gold Fund” and get 24/7 access to top industry info in the Bloomberg Finance Lab. The school even hosts an annual Accounting Boot Camp that connects majors to potential employers and helps prepare them for job interviews. UAB is also one of fewer than 50 schools in the world to receive designation as an International Audit Education Partner.

Tuition: $400 – $667 per credit hour

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