Top 100 Affordable Business Schools

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Studying business can give individuals the freedom to pursue some of the most flexible and fulfilling careers. Unlike certain career paths that are narrowly defined, business careers are present in every industry and cover many departments spanning operations, logistics, finance, accounting, human resources, marketing, and advertising. As such, students with varied interests, who are looking for a career that can both allow them to explore deeper into a functional area and industry while maintaining the flexibility to transfer to a different department later on, will tend to gravitate towards studying business. Additionally, business is a career path that values interpersonal communication, teamwork, and leadership, and business school curricula are tailored toward training students to build and acquire these skills. Given the applied nature of business degrees and the transferable skills that are afforded by this type of educational pathway, many employers look to hire students with a business background. This means that pursuing a business degree is oftentimes a good return on investment.

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Top 100 Affordable Business College Rankings

Students and families often gravitate towards school rankings pages published by renowned sources to help guide their educational decisions. University Headquarters offers many such rankings in the hope that they will provide prospective students enough information to make the best decision on what school they should attend. The many different factors that these ranking institutions consider when they evaluate different business programs are important in many ways, but mostly these statistics serve as an unbiased reason for students to choose one program or school over another.

Several key factors that are considered in our rankings include the school’s admissions rate, which helps measure a school’s selectivity and is usually a hallmark of the school’s popularity, as well as how difficult it may be for a student to secure a spot there. Other important factors include the graduation rate within 4 or 6 years, which is an indicator for how well the school does in actually helping their students master the knowledge in their field of study and achieve their degrees. Some schools may have a higher acceptance rate but a lower graduation rate and retention rate, meaning that the exclusivity of the school does not translate to students doing well and completing their studies at that school. This may indicate to some applicants that the school is less desirable than the admissions rate seems to suggest. Another factor for ranking schools includes the number of diplomas awarded, which helps students assess how “possible” it is to graduate from this school with your diploma within the timeframe that you expect.

Additionally, for students who are extremely financially sensitive, the percentage of students receiving financial aid can be a strong indicator of how readily the school can support students in weaker financial situations. Financial aid can come in the form of grant aid, which does not need to be paid back, and student loans, which accrue interest and must be repaid after you complete your degree program.


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: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 68%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 22
  • Berea College

St. Petersburg College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $2,682
    • Out-of-state: $9,286
  • Net Price: $2,702
  • Retention Rate: N/A
  • Total Enrollment: 28,853
  • Undergrad Students: 28,853
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 324
  • Petersburg College

Elizabeth City State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $3,260
    • Out-of-state: $7,260
  • Net Price: $3,270
  • Retention Rate: 70%
  • Total Enrollment: 1,769
  • Undergrad Students: 1,692
  • Graduate Students: 77
  • Graduation Rate: 39%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 18
  • Elizabeth City State University

Florida State College at Jacksonville

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $2,878
    • Out-of-state: $9,992
  • Net Price: $3,306
  • Retention Rate: NA
  • Total Enrollment: 24,605
  • Undergrad Students: 24,605
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 192
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville

Pensacola State College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $2,364
    • Out-of-state: $9,470
  • Net Price: $3,351
  • Retention Rate: N/A
  • Total Enrollment: 9,713
  • Undergrad Students: 9,713
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 28%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 164
  • Pensacola State College

Eastern Florida State College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $2,496
    • Out-of-state: $9,739
  • Net Price: $3,445
  • Retention Rate: N/A
  • Total Enrollment: 15,352
  • Undergrad Students: 15,352
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 357
  • Eastern Florida State College

Chipola College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $3,120
    • Out-of-state: $8,950
  • Net Price: $3,554
  • Retention Rate: N/A
  • Total Enrollment: 1,939
  • Undergrad Students: 1,939
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 28
  • Chipola College
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Why a Degree from an Affordable Business School?

When choosing a business school for your educational needs, it’s important to consider several factors, of which the ability to afford the degree is a large consideration. The majority of well-established and accredited educational institutions will offer business-related degrees in popular fields like business administration, finance, marketing, and human resources. This means that, while the curriculum may differ slightly between schools and majors, most students graduating with a business degree from an accredited institution can expect to be well-trained in core business concepts.

In particular, students may already have an idea of which business field they wish to specialize in before they commit to a school. Business careers are very flexible, so even if a student begins their career in one department, they will often have the opportunity to retrain for other functional areas while on the job or can return to school later on in their careers when they decide to pivot. For instance, a person beginning their career in marketing may decide to move into an operations management role a few years in - this is relatively normal. Unlike many other career paths, business is an area that often values work experience as much as one’s education history, so even if students know that they wish to complete their bachelor’s degree in the business field, it can be more affordable to finish their associate degree and continue their bachelor’s studies later on or even part-time, depending on their personal needs.

Additionally, it is important to note that regardless of the school one attends, a student’s major, level of degree, and job title may dictate the general salary range one can expect to be paid at. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2020, the median pay for accountants and auditors was $73,560 and for compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists, the median pay was $67,190. This means that, regardless of whether a student attended the top-ranked business program in their state or not, if they achieved these particular job titles in their careers, they could expect to earn this level of median salary. Therefore, while rankings can influence a person’s perception of a program’s prestige, network, and ability to signal to prospective employers, attending a more affordable business school can be a smarter financial move.

Choosing an Affordable Business College

Choosing an affordable business college can be a decision that involves many financial considerations, both present and future. First, a student should decide the level of business degree they are looking to achieve. Typically, students will be deciding between an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s program. Important factors to weigh in this aspect are the tradeoff between being able to work in the business field sooner or potentially netting a higher annual salary and lifetime earnings with a higher degree.

Students should also be careful to attend schools that have accredited business programs, whether it is recognized by a regional or national accreditation organization. Then, the student will need to decide if they must take out student loans for attending their post-secondary education. Some students may have a difficult time qualifying for certain types of student loans, so answering this question will be paramount to helping one narrow down the most affordable and best-fit educational institution for them. This is a large factor in considering the overall cost of attendance while at school, which should also be considered in light of the student’s post-graduation business career path. For instance, students looking to build careers in more lucrative business roles, like finance and accounting, may be able to justify slightly more expensive tuition and student loan costs for attending a business program.

Afterward, students should decide if they are looking to attend an in-state or out-of-state college, as well as if they are thinking of applying to public or private schools. Generally, in-state public schools will be more affordable than out-of-state public schools. Students who attend private colleges will generally be quoted the same cost of attendance regardless of if they are in- or out-of-state residents. Students can also expect many private colleges and universities to be smaller than public colleges, so students may gain benefits in the form of smaller class sizes and a closer teacher-student relationship if they choose to attend these institutions. On the other hand, students may prefer to attend a larger public university for their business education as having a larger graduation class could also mean more networking opportunities within one’s own class year and a larger alumni base that they can tap into post-graduation. For business schools, location can also be important to facilitate networking and the interview process, so students should also consider if they prefer to attend business school in a more urban environment or if they prefer a quieter school life. It’s important to note, however, that companies will normally tend to recruit either more locally or send representatives to travel to schools in major metropolitan areas that have a well-marketed reputation. This could mean that students attending some smaller business programs or ones that are situated in more rural locales may need to take some extra steps to get connected with potential employers.

Online Options

Attending business programs online instead of in-person in a traditional school setting can be a viable and attractive option. Unlike many science programs where research and lab work are often a requirement for graduation, business programs typically focus on subjects that can be fully mastered through instruction and exams. Students will likely have plenty of flexibility to choose between online business programs at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels since many institutions across the countries offer online options. Teamwork elements of business programs can also be done fully online through video programs like Zoom or Skype and email. Indeed, many business programs are working to train their students to be technologically savvy and to prepare them to work in global teams that may only be able to meet virtually. The content of business classes can vary from program to program, though, so it’s important that students who are thinking of getting their online business degree only attend programs offered by accredited institutions.

Studying business through an online program can provide many additional advantages. For one, many online programs offer flexible instruction times, meaning that students can choose to take classes in the evenings or even attend class asynchronously if they have conflicts during normal class time. This provides students with the ability to take charge of their schedules, taking classes while interning, working part-time, or even working full-time. This can help alleviate the financial burden for many students while also allowing them to gain important work experience that is also a key to standing out to employers after graduation. Furthermore, online programs can be more cost-effective overall, with students saving on both housing and tuition. Specifically, U.S. News found that online programs at private colleges cost an average of $488 per credit hour, while traditional programs cost $1240 per credit hour for the on-campus experience.

Are Business Programs in High Demand?

Studying business is one of the most popular career and educational choices in the United States, and there are continued growth opportunities in many business fields. Business is the most popular major area of study, with employers consistently ranking important core skills like business analytics, marketing, and sales as the most desirable traits they seek in job candidates. Since business careers span a wide range of industries and job functions, not all jobs are equally in demand and have the same future expectations for employment demand, but given the flexibility of business careers, students who attend business programs are highly likely to find gainful and rewarding employment throughout their lifetimes.

Even so, most business job areas have high demand and are projected to see consistent job growth in the next decade. Specifically, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field of accountants and auditors is projected to grow at 4% a year between 2019-2029, which is as fast as the average growth in the economy. Other business job functions, like financial examiners, are expected to see an uptick in employment demand to the tune of 7% between 2019-2029, which is faster than average. Positions like human resource specialists are also expected to see a higher-than-average job growth rate of 7% between 2019-2029. As such, although the demand for business positions can be dependent on the particular job function one is looking to attain post-graduation, most organizations will seek to hire employees with business and management skills.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Business?

A business degree is one of the most versatile educational degrees out there and many people will have the opportunity to work in many business functions throughout their careers. However, some people may find it helpful to specialize in certain concentrations like finance, accounting, marketing, operations management, logistics, or human resources. Some less common but equally important specializations include public administration, international business, healthcare management, and entrepreneurship. However, most entry-level positions will not require new graduates to have any type of specialization at all and many individuals may specialize in one area but end up working in a business area that is separate from their original concentration. Business administration and business management positions are equally employable, and many companies will offer on-the-job training to get employees to become well-acquainted with the demands of their particular position.

Although concentrating on a specific business major may help a new graduate network better for internships and their first entry-level business job, advancement can be highly dependent on one’s overall work experience and time in the field. Common job titles that new graduates can expect to attain include business analyst, marketing analyst, human resources specialist, sales representative, healthcare business analyst, and accountant. As time progresses and employees can show more initiative, problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and leadership ability on the job, they will then have more opportunities to achieve managerial roles. At mid- to later stages in one’s career, business professionals can find themselves working as product managers, project managers, marketing managers, sales managers, human resources managers, logistics managers, finance managers, department directors, vice presidents, or even C-Suite level executives.

Business Graduates Earn More After College

One reason why business careers are so popular is because of the ubiquitous need for organizations around the world and those businesses needs for employees and leaders who understand the world of business, which prompts employers to pay desirable salaries to workers with the necessary management and leadership skills. Salaries in the business field will tend to vary by expertise and experience but starting salaries for positions that can be attained after college can tend to be strong indicators for the lifelong earnings potentials of certain fields. For starters, The Street reported that using data from the fourth quarter of 2019, the average American earns an average annual income of $48,672. In comparison, those with business degrees will tend to earn more, even right out of college. According to Payscale, the average student with a bachelor’s in business administration can expect to earn $65,509 upon graduation. Someone who has a bachelor’s degree in human resources management can expect to earn an average salary of $62,069, while someone who studied marketing in college can earn an average salary of $62,567. A bachelor’s in operations management will typically net a worker an average salary of $76,489 and a bachelor's in finance is also very lucrative, with the average salary coming out to $71,186. As such, it is clear that pursuing business education can lead to post-college employment options that pay well, regardless of the business function area one specializes in.


  • What should students expect from online business degree programs?
    For online business programs, students should expect degree programs to offer coursework focused on core business subjects after they have completed their general education. This includes a required set of credit hours dedicated to helping students learn the standard practices in finance, economics, human resources, marketing, and operations management. Additionally, students should be able to take elective classes in areas that they are interested in, much like they would in a traditional classroom setting.
  • How much does a business degree cost?
    The cost of a business degree will vary substantially depending on the format and location of one’s business program. Typically, online programs will cost less, with lower tuition and no need for students to move to a new city for schooling. Some online programs, like Aspen University, can cost as little as $4,500 per year in annual tuition. To attend a business program in-person at a 4-year institution, students should be prepared to pay a higher cost. The average in-state tuition for a public university is $10,560 per year, while out-of-state tuition averages $27,020. Private institutions will vary in tuition costs, but many can cost upward of $50,000 per year without financial aid.
  • Is the GRE or GMAT required for admission into the program?
    Typically, the GRE or GMAT is only required for students who are looking to attain admission to a master’s degree in a business field or an MBA program. Usually, schools will require scores from either the GRE or GMAT, but not both. Historically, the GMAT has been more widely used in admissions to business programs.
  • How long does it take to get a business degree online?
    The amount of time it takes to complete a business degree online can vary depending on the institution one attends. Usually, however, attending business school online will not significantly shorten one’s educational journey, as a full-time, 120-credit online business school program will still take the average student 4 years to complete. The main draw of online programs is their locational and time flexibility, where students can attend from anywhere in the world and take classes at hours that work for their particular schedule.
  • Why attend a well-known business school?
    Well-known business schools can have several advantages over lesser-known ones. First, established business schools will tend to have a large alumni base, which can be helpful to current students and new graduates as they look to network and break into the industry. Additionally, many large companies will send representatives to connect with the career centers of well-known business schools, leading to a more robust on-campus recruiting experience.
  • Is a business degree a BA or BS?
    A business degree can be either a BA or BS. Programs that provide students with a BA in a business field will typically focus more on arts and humanities, while a BS degree will focus more on mathematics and science. Students with a BS in a business field may spend more time on analytics and modeling than those who achieve a BA, though both perspectives are important in business.

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