Top 100 Affordable Business Administration Schools

Best Most Affordable Business Administration Programs

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There's more to an education than mere cost. An education functions on many different levels which go beyond finances. However, those who are seeking a degree in business administration still need to find the best value program, even if that doesn’t mean the least expensive necessarily. In our rankings we strive to show not only how affordable a program is, but its overall academic value. Thus, the programs with the best academic statistics and the lowest tuition rates are deemed the best values in business education. 

This page discusses business administration degrees from a variety of angles. We cover online business degrees, associate degrees, and the almighty Master of Business Administration, which many professionals consider vital after spending a few years in their field. Within those degrees we also discuss various concentrations and specializations business students can pursue. This page should be helpful for all aspiring business administration students and professionals.

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100 Affordable Business Administration College Rankings

When we research and rank the top, most affordable business degree programs we strive to use the best possible data points from the best sources. Thus, we rely on the data reported by the U.S. Departments of Education, which is the most objective source. They provide educational data on areas such as retention rates, graduation numbers, tuition rates, and net cost of education, among other data points.

The retention rate is a figure that reflects how many first-time, full-time students return for a second year at any given institution. This data is important because it reflects whether new students are pleased with the educational features on campus. When students and their families are pleased with a school, they are more likely to return for the second year. This number is then closely tied to the graduation rate, which is itself augmented by the transfer-out number. That is, when students are able to leverage their academic achievements into enrollment in an equal or better program, it's assumed that the original program was able to prepare them for success.

We also evaluate the cost of tuition, room and board, and compare in-state vs out-of-state expenses for public colleges and universities. These costs often come down in response to financial aid packages, so students can evaluate the projected net cost of a business degree program. Once the academic and financial aspects of a program are evaluated, students can determine which is truly the most affordable, highest value education.


Berea College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $45,092
    • Out-of-state: $45,092
  • Net Price: $1,946
  • Retention Rate: 84%
  • Total Enrollment: 1,688
  • Undergrad Students: 1,688
  • Graduate Students: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 68%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 22

Elizabeth City State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $3,260
    • Out-of-state: $7,260
  • Net Price: $2,465
  • Retention Rate: 70%
  • Total Enrollment: 1,769
  • Undergrad Students: 1,692
  • Graduate Students: 77
  • Graduation Rate: 39%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 18

CUNY Lehman College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,410
    • Out-of-state: $15,360
  • Net Price: $2,709
  • Retention Rate: 83%
  • Total Enrollment: 15,143
  • Undergrad Students: 13,002
  • Graduate Students: 2,141
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 285

Sitting Bull College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $4,010
    • Out-of-state: $4,010
  • Net Price: $2,768
  • Retention Rate: NA
  • Total Enrollment: 285
  • Undergrad Students: 257
  • Graduate Students: 28
  • Graduation Rate: 13%
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA

Florida State College at Jacksonville

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $2,878
    • Out-of-state: $9,992
  • Net Price: $3,017
  • Retention Rate: NA
  • Total Enrollment: 24,605
  • Undergrad Students: 24,605
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 192

California State University-Los Angeles

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,781
    • Out-of-state: $18,661
  • Net Price: $3,255
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Total Enrollment: 26,671
  • Undergrad Students: 22,797
  • Graduate Students: 3,874
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 1,125

St Petersburg College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $2,682
    • Out-of-state: $9,286
  • Net Price: $3,315
  • Retention Rate: 0%
  • Total Enrollment: 28,853
  • Undergrad Students: 28,853
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 324

Texas A&M International University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,683
    • Out-of-state: $18,983
  • Net Price: $3,323
  • Retention Rate: 79%
  • Total Enrollment: 8,305
  • Undergrad Students: 7,220
  • Graduate Students: 1,085
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 162

CUNY City College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,340
    • Out-of-state: $15,290
  • Net Price: $3,397
  • Retention Rate: 84%
  • Total Enrollment: 15,816
  • Undergrad Students: 13,030
  • Graduate Students: 2,786
  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 70

City Vision University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,000
    • Out-of-state: $6,000
  • Net Price: $3,452
  • Retention Rate: NA
  • Total Enrollment: 83
  • Undergrad Students: 70
  • Graduate Students: 13
  • Graduation Rate: 100%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 1
Full Ranking Report

Why Earn a Degree in Business Administration?

A degree from an affordable business administration program is almost always a great idea. If the program has regional or national accreditation, that makes it not only affordable, but a good value. Students should aim to seek out programs that are within their budgets and which also provide solid general business education that can open up a variety of opportunities.

General business degrees are terrific options for nearly everyone. This is because business degree programs teach fundamental skills that are useful no matter what industry you're in. Since business, as a field, addresses human organizations and their relationship to money, the field can help anyone organize and administrate any group of people. Even people who desire a career in non-profit organizations can apply the lessons they learn in a business degree program. After all, even non-profits must create budgets, generate revenue, hire and manage personnel, and perform all the functions of a business. Even non-profits need accountants who can keep their books in compliance with the tax law that governs non-profits.

The flexibility of a business degree even extends to professions such as law, medicine, and dentistry. In fact, many of these professionals have private practices that require business acumen that goes beyond their ability to litigate or treat patients. On the other hand, students may choose a more specific business degree program. There are business degree programs that confer degrees in finance, human resources, supply chain management, and marketing, among many other concentrations. Nevertheless, general business degrees are often a perfect launchpad for a brilliant career in commerce, or whatever industry you choose.

Choosing an Affordable Business Administration School

There are many factors that students can weigh when deciding on the best, affordable business administration college or university. Keep in mind that an affordable business administration degree might be one that offers more value in relation to its initial price. Some of the factors students can consider include things like in-state or out-of-state tuition, accreditation, whether the program offers online courses, the overall flexibility of the program, as well as a school's reputation.

One of the first factors students and their families often weigh is the overall cost of the diploma including tuition, books, and living expenses. The list of possible schools may include out-of-state colleges or universities that might charge more for non-resident students. For students in the western part of the United States, this might not be such a problem if the school is part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange program, and there are similar exchange programs elsewhere once you know what you’re looking for.

Students and their families should also try to look deeper into the gross cost of tuition. Some institutions are able to offer stunning financial aid packages that can bring the cost of a degree down significantly. Thus, an out-of-state program might rival an in-state institution once financial aid is factored into the equation.

Accreditation should also weigh heavily in the decision-making process. Regional accreditation should be considered a minimum standard. If a student is accepted to a nationally accredited business program, they should strive to attend. When reviewing programs, look for accreditation from the AACSB, ACBSP, or IACBE. Employers are more likely to respond positively when they see those accredited programs on a resume. For students who are working and seeking tuition reimbursement, national accreditation can go far.

Working students might also seek out programs that offer online courses, if not a whole business degree that is conducted online. The online option may mean that a far-off program can be easily accessed without having to travel or move far away. There are also programs that off a hybrid of online and traditional classroom education. In fact, some undergraduate business programs insist that a certain portion of a student's work be online.

Online Options

Online education is still a relatively new phenomenon in the world of academia. Many professors and administrators question whether or not students are able to learn as well online as in person. However, educational research indicates that student outcomes are nearly even when comparing the two modalities. Furthermore, online education continues to expand and develop.

Business programs, especially at the MBA level, are flocking to online platforms. Since classes are comprised of lectures and reading, course materials are easily conveyed over the electronic media, which helps students access a level of education not previously available in their local area. There are fully accredited online business degree programs that boast the same regional, AACSB, ACBSP, and IACBE credentials of traditional campus programs. There are also a number of undergraduate programs that are 100% online.

While there seems to be a fair amount of skepticism regarding online education, the fact is that many, if not most, employers don't worry about where students took their classes. Online education requires an extra level of discipline and determination, two qualities that are highly valued in the business community. Students can also use the flexibility of online education to gain work experience while also attending a program full-time. For instance, a student might create a small business that provides income until they graduate. Then when they apply to a top firm, they can present a portfolio of success on top of their supreme academic credentials.

Are Business Administration Programs in High Demand?

Business degrees are continually in high demand. The world of commerce and finance is perpetually in need of young, talented professionals who bring top-notch knowledge and skills to the workplace. As the world of business adapts and changes to new technologies and market conditions, so do the academic programs that provide the well-prepared workers and business leaders of tomorrow.

According to the Princeton Review, business and economics rank fourth and fifth among top degree programs. Interestingly, the top degree in their ranking is computer science, which is a vital part of business today. In fact, many of today's computer science students will later return to school for an MBA with a concentration in computer science, or another related field. Academia recognizes the close bond between technology and business, and some of them are offering management information systems (MIS) degrees which bridge the gap between these parallel disciplines.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the governmental agency that tracks careers throughout the economy. Their research indicates great things for those with degrees in business. For those in business operations, management analysts and logisticians (supply chain managers) lead the pack in terms of median income. Management analysts also are leading in terms of job growth, which the BLS projects as likely to be over 93,000, or 11%, through 2024.

For finance majors, the BLS projects great things for personal financial advisors who are projected to grow their field by over 11,000 jobs. The general financial sector is also boasting terrific salaries, with median earnings ranging from $65,000 for insurance underwriters to $89,000 for personal financial advisors. Other top earning business majors are found in management, with computer and information system managers earning a median salary of over $130,000.

What Can You Do With a Degree in Business Administration?

A degree in business administration can lead to many different careers. Those who earn a general business degree might pursue work in management, marketing, or operations, if not finance or even IT. These students should consider pursuing internships to help them find a true focus to accompany their general business training.

On the other hand, many larger business schools offer specialized degrees in fields such as finance, operations, supply chain management, or technology. Such a focused degree will certainly help narrow down a person's job search and may help students land internships and even entry-level jobs. That's because their credentials will indicate a clear focus that employers can identify.

Business degrees can open up many opportunities. Some programs focus on topics such as entrepreneurship or leadership, for example. With an academic foundation in entrepreneurship, students will understand how to develop a sound business idea, test it against market data, and then secure business loans or interest from venture capital firms. Especially daring and creative students should consider programs that support their entrepreneurial spirit.

Leadership, on the other hand, is a degree that can lead students to pursue all sorts of careers. Many apply their knowledge and leadership abilities to management or sales careers while others might even pursue politics.

Over the long-haul, a degree in business administration will lead to terrific successes. Students who decide to pursue an MBA can further enhance their knowledge and skills while diving deeper into their area of specialty. While some MBA programs are general, most require that students complete a concentration in fields such as finance, accounting, supply chain management, information technology, human resources, or marketing, to name a few. Once they've earned an MBA, professionals find that their earnings and opportunities expand many-fold. In fact, the graduate degree will open the door to the life of a top executive.

Business Administration Graduates Earn More After College

Those who wish to launch a career that immediately begins to show a return on one's educational investment should major in business administration. After all, a business degree is targeted towards the generation of capital, and that extends to starting salaries. In fact, reports that top firms start their salaries in the low to high $50,000 range. J.P. Morgan Chase, for example, typically starts their degreed professionals out with a salary of around $59,000. That's before bonuses and other compensation are factored in, so it's easy to see how a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration can start paying off shortly after graduation.

Meanwhile, even those with a two-year Associate of Science in Business Administration can expect to enter the working world with a higher salary than those with no degree at all. Community colleges can still offer nationally accredited business curriculums and degrees that focus on specific parts of business administration such as finance, accounting, or marketing. reports that the average salary for associate degree holders is around $57,000. In fact, Payscale's research indicates that average salaries range from $43k for systems administration to $83k for systems analysts.

No matter what level of a degree you use to launch a career in business, those who excel in their positions may find that their employer will pay for them to earn the next level degree. Tuition reimbursement programs tend to favor BS and MBA programs with national accreditation, but employers are also pleased when their employees seek a regionally accredited business administration program.


  • What is the difference between business management and business administration?
    These two degrees certainly sound synonymous, but they have significant differences. Business administration is an umbrella term that includes a many specializations. For instance, an accountant might graduate with a diploma that reads: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Accounting. Meanwhile, business management can even be a sort of degree within a business administration program. Management is concerned with managing personnel so a person with a management degree might manage accountants, IT professionals, or an HR department.
  • Can you find an MBA in business management?
    Yes. In fact, management is a common concentration for MBA programs.
  • How much money can you make with a business management degree?
    Well, that would depend on your company and its payroll. Some managers start out earning around $50,000, but others may start with a lower base salary, but will strive for bonuses that come once their department succeeds. For instance, a sales manager may have part of their salary tied to the success of the sales professionals they lead.
  • I'm an IT worker. Is an MBA a good idea for me?
    Yes, absolutely. In fact, there are MBA programs that offer high-tech concentrations, and some students even seek a dual MBA paired with a master's degree in information technology or computer science, among other options. When tech workers earn an MBA, they can rise into a position such as CIO or CISO.
  • Are online MBAs taken seriously?
    Absolutely. In fact, an online MBA from a nationally accredited institution demonstrates not only top business knowledge and skill but an extra level of self-discipline and motivation not often found in traditional programs.

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