In general, earning a bachelor’s degree isn’t cheap. Students spend tens of thousands of dollars – at some institutions, tens of thousands of dollars per year – to get their undergraduate education. If $80,000 isn’t in your budget, it’s worthwhile for you to dig deeper into the cost and value of an online accounting education at your school. With a little research, you can find out how much you’ll have to pay for an education – and what ways you can make college more affordable.

The Average Cost of College

According to the most recent data available, the average cost of college for all types of schools was $20,234 per year, the National Center for Education Statistics reported. Public community colleges had the lowest costs, at $8,928 per year, while private universities cost a whopping $35,074 annually.

However, you don’t have to pay a fortune to earn your accounting degree online. You can get a great education at a great value by choosing one of the top affordable online degree programs in the nation. At Colorado State University, for example, online students pay just $350 per credit. That’s $10,500 per year of full-time study, or a total of $42,000 paid over four years for the student’s entire education. Choosing an affordable degree program like CSU nearly cuts the cost of your education in half.

One thing to pay attention to when you’re calculating college costs is how different schools present that cost. For example, Colorado State University doesn’t actually have the lowest tuition costs on the affordable programs list. Both the New England College of Business and Finance ($975 per course) and Southern New Hampshire University ($960 per course) are cheaper per credit, but to figure that out, you need to break the tuition information down so you’re comparing apples to apples.

Getting a Great Value in Education

Choosing an affordable online accounting degree program doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality. A number of the top affordable online programs are also regionally accredited, which means that the institution as a whole meets the high standards set forth by the six regional accrediting agencies in the United States.

Applying for financial aid opportunities can also help you earn your college degree at a lower cost. Like students of traditional on-campus college programs, online students are eligible for a variety of types of financial aid, including loans, grants and scholarships. At some of the top online accounting programs, distance learning students are encouraged to apply for the same scholarships as traditional students. When you earn scholarships to pay for your education, you never have to pay that money back.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting will cost you some money, but exactly how much money is up to you. When you choose an online school that offers a great value education at half the average price, you are making a smart investment in your future.