Foodie Entrepreneur: Top 15 Affordable Degree Programs 2024

You’re the consummate foodie entrepreneur in search of a degree program that goes easy on the wallet, because you’re determined to start your own food business come graduation day, if it’s the last thing you do. But you also want a program with high-quality student support in order to access an education of value.

Check out this healthy mix of bachelor’s degree options in the fields of Culinary Arts; Foods, Nutrition, and Wellness; and Food Science and Technology based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator. Our initial pool of 197 schools was narrowed down to 15 so that you can choose among US programs with an amazingly affordable annual tuition under $14,900 (in-state where applicable). And as an indicator of the quality student support you seek throughout the educational process, our 15 affordable finalists are ranked according to institutional graduation rate, with our #1 school graduating the highest percentage of its students.

15. The Art Institute of St. Louis

St Charles, Missouri

A bachelor’s in Culinary Management will teach you all the aspects of running a food service business, from cooking to team management to cost control to marketing. Courses entrepreneurial foodies will love include World Cuisine, Wine and Spirits Management, and Garde Manger. Though graduation statistics were not available through College Navigator, quality-minded students will appreciate the fact that the Art Institute of St Louis has a student body of less than 500 and keeps its student-to-faculty ratio at 18:1.

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Tuition and fees: $13,776
Graduation rate: n/a

14. San Ignacio College

Doral, Florida


The BS in Culinary Arts is a live option for the foodie entrepreneur because it gives course and hands-on lab training with instructor chefs. But beyond that, it is geared toward future global entrepreneurs in the food service and hospitality industries. Fun course offerings include French, European Cuisine, and Marketing and Promoting Food.

Tuition and fees: $10,250
Graduation rate: n/a

13. Baker College

Flint, Michigan


Baker is unique among our ranked finalists in offering a Bachelor’s in Food and Beverage Management. This degree is aimed to produce graduates competent in all areas of running a food service operation and ensuring an excellent guest dining experience. What a great option this program would be for foodies looking to lay the foundation for their food service business.

Tuition and fees: $8,640
Graduation rate: 9%

12. Lincoln University

Jefferson City, Missouri


The Wellness major at Lincoln University would provide a broad background for the foodie entrepreneur looking to position herself in the health and wellness sector. In the program students will study physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and environmental wellness. Fitness-minded foodies will feel comfortable with the fact that the Wellness major is housed in the same department as the BS in Physical Education.

Tuition and fees: $7,042
Graduation rate: 25%

11. Art Institute of Indianapolis

Indianapolis, Indiana

The bachelor’s degree in Culinary Management will provide essential culinary and business skills for your future foodie business. This is the perfect degree for someone who wants to own and run their own restaurant, including menu management, inventory and cost control, and good nutrition. Check the program website for some inspiring entrepreneurial foodie student success stories.

Tuition and fees: $14,820
Graduation rate: 35%

10.University of Central Oklahoma

Edmond, Oklahoma

The BS in Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Management is offered at an amazing tuition rate for the foodie entrepreneur looking for a solid start to their career. Passing the post-graduation Registered Dietitian exam is a key goal of the program. Besides scientific courses in human nutrition, entrepreneurial students will appreciate learning the basics of accounting, marketing, and management.

Tuition and fees: $6,096
Graduation rate: 37%

9. SUNY College of Technology at Delhi

Delhi, New York


Two interesting bachelor of business administration options are offered at SUNY-Dehli. In the first, the bachelor of business administration in Culinary Arts Management, students will learn about the financial and management duties of an executive chef. The second option, the bachelor of business administration in Restaurant and Food Services Management, trains future front line restaurant managers. Either degree would be a sturdy foundation on which to build a foodie’s entrepreneurial dream.

Tuition and fees: $7,855
Graduation rate: 39%

8. Alcorn State University

Alcorn State, Mississippi

Alcorn State is a place where, according to the school motto, both “knowledge and character matter.” This is true in its preparation of future registered dietitians who will work competently and ethically in the 21st century marketplace. As a registered dietitian, a foodie entrepreneur would have the industry credential that earns respect and the knowledge base necessary to market services and products to help people eat well.

Tuition and fees: $6,386
Graduation rate: 40%

7. Southwest Minnesota State University

Marshall, Minnesota


The Culinary Science undergraduate degree at Southwest Minnesota State is known as a Culinology program. Culinology blends the culinary arts with food science to place nutrition in the context of the chef’s artistic expression. The immediate business applications of such a program will not be lost on the foodie entrepreneur looking to start a holistically minded restaurant or line of food products.

Tuition and fees: $8,326
Graduation rate: 43%

6. University of Central Arkansas

Conway, Arkansas


The BS in Nutrition at University of Central Arkansas has a tuition that is hard to beat. Entrepreneurial foodies who want to focus on nutrition will receive a foundation in food systems management while learning the scientific connection between food and human behavior. Graduates have the opportunity to continue on to their official internship before taking the Registered Dietitian exam.

Tuition and fees: $7,889
Graduation rate: 45%

5. Framingham State University

Framingham, Massachusetts


The BS in Food and Nutrition prepares graduates to be nutrition educators and healthcare specialists in today’s changing food environment. Some students seek out an internship and Registered Dietitian status after graduation. One practical business application of this degree would be the personal health and wellness arena.

Tuition and fees: $8,700
Graduation rate: 51%

4. CUNY Hunter College

New York, New York


Students in Hunter College’s BS in Nutrition and Food Science program will learn about food and its health effects. Facets include food preparation, food service, and community nutrition education. The degree does not prepare graduates to take the Registered Dietician exam, but the strong science base will allow many different application for foodie entrepreneurs. Take note of the school’s low student-to-faculty ratio (11:1).

Tuition and fees: $6,782
Graduation rate: 52%

3. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Scottsdale

Scottsdale, Arizona


Le Cordon Bleu aims to graduate culinary wizards. The Culinary Management online bachelor’s completion degree will allow students to learn the managerial skills necessary to start a thriving food business. Online learning methods of the program include multimedia presentations, discussion forms, and chat sessions.

Tuition and fees: $11,377
Graduation rate: 54%

2. South Dakota State University

Brookings, South Dakota


At an amazing tuition rate, the foodie entrepreneur can study Dietetics and Nutrition at South Dakota State. Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist would be a great step in starting a online business where you counsel others about eating well and enjoying food. This exam is taken after completion of the program and the dietetic internship.

Tuition and fees: $8,172
Graduation rate: 57%

1. Brigham Young University-Provo

Provo, Utah

Our number one spot goes to the Food Science major at BYU-Provo, where you can take the Food Science Technical Track or the Food Industry Management Track. The Technical Track points you toward further studies, while the Management Track would propel you into business. Either way students become familiar with the many facets of bringing food from harvest to consumer, whether you want to start a large business or keep it small. BYU-Provo graduates a high percentage of its students, indicating excellent student support.

Tuition and fees: $5,150
Graduation rate: 79%

This concludes our ranking of the top 15 affordable degree programs for the foodie entrepreneur.

By CVO Staff