Cheapest Online Business Administration Programs of 2024

Looking for a good return on your college investment? Learn more about the cheapest online MBA programs, what they cost, and post-college job prospects.
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Updated on April 1, 2024
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Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Programs in Business Administration

Thinking about going into business as your major? If so, you would be in good company — undergrads pursue business more than any other major in the U.S. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), colleges granted 391,400 business degrees in 2020-2021, accounting for roughly 19% of the total 2.1 million degrees awarded.

But earning your degree can be expensive. The cheapest online business administration programs can allow you to continue working while you study, helping you save money and increase your return on investment. “There was a time when there were a large number of naysayers of online education," explains Norma Feriz-Gordon, a high school postsecondary planning counselor. “An online bachelor's degree in business provides a timesaving opportunity that enables students to work full time and manage other responsibilities.”

Upon earning your degree, you can either continue your education or enter the industry to pursue roles like marketing manager, sales manager, and financial analyst.

Check out our ranking of the cheapest online business degrees. Learn more about tuition and find tips to make your education more affordable.

Featured Online Business Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Most Affordable Online Business Administration Programs

We use trusted sources like Peterson's Data and the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#1 Cheapest Online Business Administration Programs of 2024

Indiana University-East

  • Richmond, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $242

Out-of-State | $353

Credits to Graduate: 120

Indiana University East's fully online BSBA program provides plenty of flexibility for working professionals who want to propel their business careers forward. The curriculum can help you get a grasp on the foundations of business, including finance, economics, management, and business analysis. 

If you're looking for an affordable business administration degree, you'll appreciate the low tuition rates per credit and the opportunity to apply for financial aid, including scholarships. The program accepts up to 90 transfer credits, which can help you save money if you've taken college classes in the past.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,170
Out-of-state
$20,277
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,613
Out-of-state
$17,935
Retention Rate
61%
Acceptance Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
3,111
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
84% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Cheapest Online Business Administration Programs of 2024

Dordt University

  • Sioux Center, IA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $390

Out-of-State | $390

Credits to Graduate: 124

Dordt University's business administration degree program can show you how to succeed in business from a Christian perspective. The flexible, fully online program lets students continue working and making money while in school. 

In another show of its affordability, the program doesn't charge registration or application fees. Also, if you've already completed college coursework, the program will work with you to transfer in prior academic credit, potentially saving you money.

The curriculum includes classes like computer literacy for business majors, corporate finance, leadership studies, and project management. The business administration degree offers a management emphasis.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$33,010
Out-of-state
$33,010
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,750
Out-of-state
$9,750
Retention Rate
83%
Acceptance Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
1,784
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#3 Cheapest Online Business Administration Programs of 2024

Northern Kentucky University

  • Highland Heights, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $275

Out-of-State | $275

Credits to Graduate: 120

Northern Kentucky University's online BSBA in management program can help you build leadership and communication skills so that you succeed in business. Students learn project management, business management, and human resources management, as well as accounting, finance, and marketing principles. 

The transfer-friendly program accepts up to 90 transfer credits if you've completed college coursework in the past, which can potentially save you a lot of money. All distance learners pay the same low tuition rate per credit, no matter where they live.  

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,008
Out-of-state
$20,064
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,900
Out-of-state
$15,210
Retention Rate
70%
Acceptance Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
15,979
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
76% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#4 Cheapest Online Business Administration Programs of 2024

Texas A&M University-Central Texas

  • Killeen, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $260

Out-of-State | $668

Credits to Graduate: 120

Texas A&M University - Central Texas's online BBA in marketing can prepare you to launch a career in the field. The program explores topics like ethical business leadership principles, market research development, and brand communications. You'll take classes like financial management and consumer behavior.

While earning your BBA, you can also pursue a micro-credential that demonstrates marketable skills in an area like business analytics and intelligence, project management, or financial management and analysis. 

Applicants must possess at least 60 transferable credits to apply to this bachelor's degree completion program. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,593
Out-of-state
$16,385
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,558
Out-of-state
$12,920
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
96%
Students Enrolled
2,219
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#5 Cheapest Online Business Administration Programs of 2024

Columbia College

  • Columbia, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $375

Out-of-State | $375

Credits to Graduate: 120

Columbia College's bachelor's in business administration program is offered through its Robert W. Plaster School of Business. The affordable online degree features a flat tuition rate per credit for all distance learners, no matter where you live. Online students can apply for various scholarships to help pay for their business administration degree. 

The curriculum provides a foundation in business best practices and operations and covers management, accounting, marketing, and business strategy. The program accepts up to 90 transfer credits.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,636
Out-of-state
$11,636
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,442
Out-of-state
$8,442
Retention Rate
65%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,765
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
77% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#6 Cheapest Online Business Administration Programs of 2024

Sam Houston State University

  • Huntsville, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $244

Out-of-State | $244

Credits to Graduate: 120

Sam Houston State University's online bachelor of business administration degree lets you customize the curriculum with electives that reflect your personal interests and career goals. 

Core business classes include principles of macroeconomics, principles of management, business legal environment, and principles of financial accounting. Business administration majors can develop skills in business risk identification, financial analysis, and business presentations and communication. 

The program offers a concentration in PGA golf management that can prepare you for a career in golf and holds accreditation from the Professional Golfers' Association.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,856
Out-of-state
$15,648
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,765
Out-of-state
$13,108
Retention Rate
73%
Acceptance Rate
97%
Students Enrolled
21,612
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
65% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#7 Cheapest Online Business Administration Programs of 2024

Mercer University

  • Macon, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Semester:

In-State | $6,300

Out-of-State | $6,300

Credits to Graduate: 120

Mercer University's online and evening BBA program offers six majors, including accounting, general business, management, and marketing. Designed with working adults in mind, the flexible degree program lets students take classes completely online or through a combination of online and in-person evening courses. 

Students must complete at least 32 credits at Mercer, but the school accepts the rest as transfer credit. You can get personalized academic and professional guidance through Mercer's Center for Career and Professional Development for the Stetson-Hatcher School of Business.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$29,024
Out-of-state
$29,024
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,244
Out-of-state
$15,244
Retention Rate
86%
Acceptance Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
9,009
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#8 Cheapest Online Business Administration Programs of 2024

Bethel University

  • Mishawaka, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $465

Out-of-State | $465

Credits to Graduate: 120

Bethel University's BA in business administration degree incorporates Christian principles with core business fundamentals. The fully online, asynchronous program offers six start dates each year and features accelerated seven-week classes. Students can transfer up to 90 previously earned credits and graduate in as little as two years. 

The curriculum explores management, finance, Christian ethics in business, and accounting. The program also offers electives in conflict management, leadership, and healthcare administration. The program offers internships that can help you gain real-world experience. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$30,270
Out-of-state
$30,270
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,500
Out-of-state
$7,500
Retention Rate
72%
Acceptance Rate
98%
Students Enrolled
1,339
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#9 Cheapest Online Business Administration Programs of 2024

SUNY Empire State College

  • Saratoga Springs, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $295

Out-of-State | $353

Credits to Graduate: 124

SUNY Empire State University's BS in business administration program can prepare you for business leadership careers. Students can take courses online, in person, or both. The program accepts up to 93 transfer credits toward the degree.

The curriculum covers management, economics, business fundamentals, and accounting. Students can customize their degrees with electives or choose a more structured degree plan. 

To apply to the program, students must submit proof of high school completion and an essay discussing how they will succeed during their studies. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,070
Out-of-state
$16,980
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,310
Out-of-state
$23,100
Retention Rate
62%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
9,462
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
89% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#10 Cheapest Online Business Administration Programs of 2024

Clayton State University

  • Morrow, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $169

Out-of-State | $169

Credits to Graduate: 120

Clayton State University's bachelor of business administration program features a global-focused plan of study that lets students customize their degrees to align with their career goals. You can choose from five majors, including accounting, general business, management, and marketing. The program offers internships, business-focused student groups, and a mentor program. Courses take place online and in person. 

Business administration majors benefit from access to various research centers and initiatives, including the Small Business Development Center, the Center for Social Innovation and Sustainable Entrepreneurship, and student pitch competitions. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,064
Out-of-state
$14,786
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,513
Out-of-state
$11,232
Retention Rate
65%
Acceptance Rate
63%
Students Enrolled
6,817
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
86% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

These rankings were compiled by our BestColleges Ranking Team and include sponsored results from our partners. We use publicly available provisional datasets from Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to inform the data for these schools. All data is current as of the date this article was published. Program-specific information may vary.

How Much Does an Online Bachelor's in Business Administration Cost?

Average Net Cost of Tuition by Institution | 2020-2021

Public, Four Year
$14,700

Private, 4 Year
$28,400

Source: NCES

Tuition rates for online bachelor's in business administration programs vary depending on the school. A student's residency status may also influence what they pay — institutions tend to charge in-state students lower tuition than out-of-state learners. The type of university also matters, as private schools often cost more than public institutions. Colleges often set cheaper rates for online learners. In fact, many online programs do not charge out-of-state residents higher tuition than in-state residents when they study virtually.

According to NCES, in 2020-2021, the average net cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public institution was $14,700 per year. In contrast, the average annual net cost of attending a private nonprofit institution was $28,400.

When calculating the true cost of an online program, students should factor in additional fees on top of tuition, such as for room and board, technology, and transportation.

How Can I Make an Online Bachelor's in Business Administration Affordable?

You can make the cheapest online business degree even more affordable by utilizing resources accessible to all college students. Begin by visiting your school's financial aid office and completing the necessary paperwork to assess available financial aid.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Students who need federal financial aid — either loans or grants — to help pay for college must first submit the FAFSA. This online form requires personal financial information from independent and dependent students to determine their eligibility for aid. Students must submit their FAFSA no later than June 30 of every year.

Loans

Students can take out federal and/or private loans. The federal government offers parent and student loans, often with lower interest rates than private loans provided by banks, credit unions, and colleges. Federal loans also do not require co-signers if students have poor credit.

Undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need can apply for federally subsidized loans, which do not accrue interest until after graduation. Parents of undergraduates can also apply for additional money through Direct PLUS loans.

Grants

Both the federal government and state governments offer students grants to help pay for tuition. Grants differ from loans because they typically do not need to be repaid. However, grants may come with stipulations, such as work commitments. The federal government offers Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants to students who show “exceptional financial need.”

Work-Study Programs

Another option to earn money for school is federal work-study programs. These programs allow undergraduate and graduate students to work part time for a paycheck, which they can put toward tuition or other fees associated with their education. If available, programs allow students to work in their field of study.

Scholarships

Scholarships, much like grants, do not require repayment. Students can find scholarships through their financial aid office or their local community foundation. Schools, state governments, nonprofits, companies, and individuals also establish trusts to award scholarships to students to meet eligibility requirements. Scholarships may only go to business majors or students who meet GPA and financial need requirements.

Featured Online Business Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Business Administration Program?

Business attracts people of all personality types and with diverse interests. A business major can prepare students to become entrepreneurs, rise to the C-suite ranks in a traditional organization, or apply to grad school after graduation.

Many affordable online business degree programs allow students to specialize their education depending on their specific goals and interests. Popular concentrations include accounting, finance, hospitality, international business, and management. Deciding on a specialization, however, can be tricky.

“A good first step is researching the positions you are interested in or even learning which positions are available based on the degree you would be earning,” says Feriz-Gordon. “As you begin to tune into the roles available for that career trajectory, you can fine-tune the actual major or specific program that you pursue.”

Most business programs consist of 120 credits, which include general education and elective courses. Colleges may accept transfer credits based on work or life experience. Internships in your field of interest can count as core credits, giving you the opportunity to work with a mentor.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Business Administration Program?

  • Minus

    Business Law

    Students enrolled in this course study laws that govern contracts, employment discrimination, product liability, and sales. A business law course surveys the history of the U.S. legal system as it relates to the operation of small and large businesses. Lessons may also cover business ethics. Degree-seekers specializing in human resources also study employment law.
  • Minus

    Principles of Marketing

    A course on marketing principles teaches students how to use marketing and consumer research to make informed decisions about launching products and services. Students learn about promotional campaigns, product planning, and pricing. The course also covers consumer behaviors, pricing strategies, and identifying target markets.
  • Minus

    Public Speaking

    Business professionals need strong interpersonal and professional communication skills. Degree-seekers pursuing an online bachelor's in business administration often take public speaking courses, sometimes called oral communication, to learn about communication theories and practices. Students practice public speaking through presentations and learn informative and persuasive public speaking techniques.
  • Minus

    Business Management

    This course teaches students how to lead an organization and its team members. Materials cover how to apply management theories to a business environment. Topics covered include ethics, corporate structure, decision-making, organizational structure, and strategic management. Students also learn business management terminology and the role of a manager in an organization, particularly the decision-making process.
  • Minus

    Principles of Finance

    Business majors often take finance courses covering corporate and personal financial principles. Students learn how to apply financial theories to solve problems within companies and how to use financial managerial tools. Lessons also teach business analytics, international financial management, and entrepreneurial finance.

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Business Administration Program?

Do not expect less rigorous admission standards for an online bachelor's in business administration degree. Business schools often ask for standard application materials from students — whether they take online or on-campus courses. A candidate can apply as a first-year student right out of high school or, in some cases, as a transfer applicant with 12-60 transferable credits.

  • Check Circle

    Application

    Application requirements for an online bachelor's degree program depend on a candidate's standing. Programs offer pathways for second bachelor's applicants, transfer students, or first-year applicants. Candidates submit their applications online with a fee of $40-$65. Some online programs do not charge application fees.
  • Check Circle

    Test Scores

    Admissions committees may require incoming students to take an entrance exam to measure their language and math proficiency. The specific test required depends on the program and a student's status. First-year candidates may need to submit SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students who have prior college credits do not typically take an entrance exam. International students may need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam.
  • Check Circle

    Letters of Recommendation

    Applicants commonly submit 1-3 letters of recommendation. Professors, supervisors, mentors, or school counselors write letters of recommendation attesting to a student's abilities, accomplishments, and goals. Be sure to ask for letters of recommendation far in advance to give the writers plenty of time.
  • Check Circle

    Essays

    Most schools ask applicants to write an essay or personal statement. An application may include prompts, asking specific questions about your personal life or academic experience. Essays are your chance to stand out from other potential enrollees — admissions officers want to learn details about who you are that they can't glean from your academic record alone. Write your essay with enough time to spare so you can ask someone to look it over for you before you submit it. Pay special attention to grammar and spelling.
  • Check Circle

    Official Transcripts

    All colleges require students to submit official transcripts. Students applying to college straight from high school and community college students alike must submit their academic records. This is usually free or costs a nominal fee of about $5-$20. When an online bachelor's in business administration program requires a minimum GPA, transcripts serve as academic proof. If candidates do not meet GPA requirements, schools may extend conditional admittance, if applicants agree to take an entrance exam.

Featured Online Business Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Business Administration Degree?

Median Annual Salary by Career | 2022

Human Resources Specialists
$64,240

Financial Analysts
$96,220

Sources: BLS, BLS

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects business and financial occupations to grow faster than average between 2022 and 2032. The Bureau projects the creation of 911,400 new jobs during that time.

Graduates with bachelor's in business administration degrees can work as operations managers, human resource managers, financial analysts, and bank managers. Professionals can find work at banks, healthcare organizations, hotels, insurance firms, and real estate brokerages.

Career Paths

Financial Analyst

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Employers typically hire financial analysts who have at least a bachelor's degree, with many majoring in business. This business professional understands market trends which allows them to provide clients with investment advice. They can also perform operational tasks, such as generating financial statements to evaluate a company's value.

Financial analysts may gain certification through the Chartered Financial Analyst to become portfolio managers or fund managers.

Median Salary (2022): $96,220 Learn More

Human Resources Specialist

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Bachelor's in business administration degrees often feature concentrations in human resources. This degree can help graduates launch profitable careers managing staffing. Students may need to gain work experience in entry-level positions as staff recruiters or as staff training and development coordinators. They can also take on an internship to gain hands-on skills.

Credentials from the Society for Human Resource Management and the HR Certification Institute can give human resource specialists the added recognition to advance as managers. Job duties often include checking potential hires' references and conducting orientation for new employees.

Median Salary (2022): $64,240 Learn More

Marketing Manager

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Students earning a bachelor's in business administration can choose a concentration in marketing to become marketing managers, a position held by roughly 358,200 professionals, per the BLS. Marketing managers target audiences to develop marketing plans for businesses and nonprofits.

Some 10% of marketing managers have positions at finance and insurance companies, while about one-quarter of the workforce hold jobs in professional, scientific, and technical services.

Median Salary (2022): $140,040 Learn More

Sales Manager

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Sales managers work in wholesale trade, retail, professional and science services, manufacturing, and finance and insurance. It takes about 1-5 years of sales experience to advance from sales associate to sales manager, which requires possible evening and weekend hours.

Sales managers resolve customer complaints, prepare budgets, and set sales quotas. They also recruit and manage staff.

Median Salary (2022): $130,600 Learn More

Accountant

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Accountants have jobs in tax preparation, finance and insurance, government agencies, and management companies. An accountant may maintain financial records for individuals, families, or companies. Accountants can advance in their careers after earning a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification.

Median Salary (2022): $78,000 Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions About Affordable Online Business Administration Programs

How hard is an online business degree program?

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Expect to take a full course load in a broad range of topics while pursuing an online business degree. While the courses may not challenge you the way a mathematics degree would, you will need to complete rigorous coursework in marketing, financial management, analytics, and statistics, often in addition to an internship experience.

How long does it take to get a business administration degree online?

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The average business major takes four years to earn, including the time it takes to complete general education credits. Transfer students who hold credits from an accredited college can cut their time in half. Additionally, accelerated programs can lead to a degree in only three years.

Is an online business degree respected?

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Yes. Respected colleges offer online business degrees. Especially after the pandemic, the stigma of online learning has dissipated. Students in online business degrees receive the same education as their counterparts on campus, often with the same faculty.

Is business administration a good major?

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Yes, a business degree degree program can prepare graduates for diverse and lucrative work opportunities in a range of fields. Graduates may become accountants, market research analysts, project managers, and human resources specialists, all of whom earn higher-than-average salaries.

What is the easiest degree to get in business?

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If by "easiest" you mean "fastest," then consider pursuing an associate degree in business. This two-year program can kickstart your business career or provide you with general education credits for transferring to a four-year college. The easiest business degree to pursue is the one that matches your interests. For instance, if you have an interest in management, pursue a business administration degree.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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