Top Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Business Degrees

James M. Tobin, MFA
Updated November 7, 2023
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Affordable online business degree programs can help budget-conscious learners obtain valuable and marketable educational credentials. Professionals with business degrees are in demand across virtually every industry, and business is one of the most popular majors among college students.

Data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) quantifies the value of business education. In 2021, there were approximately 12.97 million business degree-holders working in the United States. They represented 21.7% of the country’s entire college-educated workforce and earned a median wage that was nearly 10% higher than the median for non-business degree-holders.

Accredited online business programs can lead directly to careers or prepare learners for advanced business studies at the graduate level. This guide examines the value proposition of affordable online business degrees and provides comparison-based details of top programs.

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Is an Affordable Bachelor’s Degree Worth It?

From an academic perspective, affordable online business degree programs are on par with campus-based learning. Students sacrifice some of the social aspects of the traditional college experience, and they must make extra effort to network with peers and faculty. However, strong a return on investment (ROI) can compensate for these drawbacks.

Educational ROI depends on the cost of the program you attend. According to the BLS, a business degree-holder’s median salary was about $69,000 in 2021. Based on this figure, the 10-year educational ROIs of the programs profiled below are strong.

To quickly understand your savings potential, consider the following average costs of tuition at different institutions of higher education in the United States during the 2020-2021 school year:

Considering recent average costs, affordable online business degrees tend to make good sense from a financial standpoint.

Top Affordable Colleges for Online Bachelor’s in Business

The following list profiles four-year nonprofit and for-profit institutions that offer affordable online business degrees. Use the table to make quick price and student population comparisons, and follow the program links to learn more about each study opportunity.

Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs
SchoolLocationAverage Total Net PriceStudent Population Size
Arizona State UniversityScottsdale, AZ$57,396 (in state)
$66,212 (out of state)
112,177 (undergraduate)
Colorado State UniversityAurora, CO$33,60033,400
Excelsior UniversityAlbany, NY$61,20015,160
Florida Institute of TechnologyMelbourne, FL$61,7107,223
Johnson & Wales UniversityProvidence, RI$29,700 (program is designed for students with 60 transfer credits or an existing associate degree)4,500
Los Angeles Pacific UniversitySan Dimas, CA$22,4553,142
National UniversitySan Diego, CA$49,02640,000
Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park, PA$75,120 (in state)
$80,520 (out of state)
20,000 (online enrollment)
University of Arkansas GranthamLittle Rock, AR$35,4004,217
University of Wisconsin, ParksideKenosha, WI$29,868 (in state)
$39,420 (Minnesota reciprocity)
$62,944 (out of state)

What to Expect in an Online Bachelor’s in Business Program

Business programs generally appeal to learners with high levels of financial awareness, good organization and communication skills, and a genuine interest in the subject matter. An aptitude for mathematics and quantitative reasoning is also beneficial.

Affordable online business degrees cover the same set of academic topics featured in campus-based programs. Exact details vary among schools and programs, but bachelor’s business degrees typically focus on a common set of core concepts, including:

  • minus Business management theory and practice
  • minus Business policy and applied strategy
  • minus Project management
  • minus Innovation, change management, and leadership
  • minus Essentials of economics, finance, and business law

Some programs offer concentrations and specializations. Their availability varies among schools. If you are interested in a specialized area of business, you can seek out study opportunities that match your objectives. Some popular concentration and specialization options cover:

  • minus Finance
  • minus Healthcare management
  • minus Human resource management
  • minus Marketing
  • minus Organizational leadership
  • minus Project management

Depending on the program, students may also have access to supplementary learning opportunities. Examples include internships, field-based practicums, career recruitment programs, and peer, faculty, and professional networking events. Note that some such opportunities may not be available online and instead require an in-person presence.

Program designs also incorporate electives, which allow for further degree customization. In concentrated programs, students tend to have fewer open electives as these course slots are typically applied toward the specialization. Learners in general business programs can use their electives to explore business topics of personal interest or to further develop targeted skills.

General education requirements round out the structure of most bachelor’s business programs. These courses lead to well-rounded learning experiences and help learners build important soft skills and research proficiencies.

The typical completion timeline for a bachelor’s degree in business is four years of full-time study. If you have existing college credits to apply toward your degree requirements, you can reduce this timeline considerably. Some schools allow students to transfer up to three-quarters of the degree’s total requirements.

You can also reduce your completion timeline by seeking accelerated online business programs. Some students elect to load their schedules with extra courses or study during the summer to graduate sooner.

Common Questions About Affordable Online in Bachelor’s in Business Degrees

Are online bachelor’s degrees cheaper?

Online degrees tend to cost less than in-person degree programs for several reasons. First, schools may offer reduced tuition rates to online learners or offer the same tuition fees to all online learners regardless of their residency status.

In addition, online learning eliminates relocation and commuting costs. The flexibility of learning virtually also makes it easier for students to earn money by working while enrolled in school.

How hard is an online business degree?

Online business degrees are every bit as academically challenging as traditional campus-based programs. Students should not expect online coursework to be easier or less rigorous.

What is the cheapest way to get a bachelor’s degree?

Many institutions offer affordable online business degrees with lower tuition rates and other financial advantages. Studying online also reduces or eliminates many of the costs associated with campus attendance.

What is the easiest business degree to get?

General business degrees tend to be a better match for learners with limited background knowledge of the field. They begin by covering foundational essentials in detail, gradually introducing more technical and advanced material.

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