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Colleges in Michigan

Why go to College in Michigan?

Michigan boasts some of the best colleges and universities in the United States. Michigan students pursue degrees at colleges and universities in major cities such as Grand Rapids, Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Lansing. Scholars attend public, private, faith-based, and online schools in Michigan. The state is part of the Midwest Student Exchange Program, which allows students to attend other Midwestern universities at a discounted rate.


Michigan’s sizable population continues to grow. According to the latest census, Michigan has well over 9 million residents, over 20% of whom are less than 18 years old and nearly half of whom are female.


Michigan’s climate is temperate and cloudy due to precipitation from the Great Lakes. Northern regions of the state receive heavy snowfall, and southern areas have warmer temperatures with high humidity levels that cause thunderstorms. The humidity in Detroit can reach 81%.

Number of Higher Learning Institutions

Michigan is home to more than 300 public and private institutions. Schools throughout the state offer specialized disciplines, such as the Academy of Court Reporting in Southfield, Michigan. Students choose from schools in urban, rural, and suburban communities.

Sporting Events

Michigan holds year-round sporting events. The Great Lakes provide the landscape for water sports, and colleges and universities hold homecoming weekends to celebrate their sports teams. Michigan maintains four major league sports teams, all based in Detroit.


Michigan’s bustling nightlife offers many opportunities for adventurous residents. Enjoy state-made wine and beer at local bars and wineries, or experience plays and jazz at the various arts centers.

What Options are Available for Colleges in Michigan?


Living on campus builds camaraderie and a sense of community. College campuses are filled with clubs, organizations, events, and shops, and on-campus events help students meet others with similar interests. In the classroom, visual and sensory learners appreciate the interaction with professors, and on-campus classes create a support system. Group projects provide social interaction and collaboration.

Online Programs

Online colleges in Michigan are ideal for working professionals. Online programs are offered entirely or partially online. Students use internet applications, such as Blackboard, to access class materials, communicate with instructors, and receive syllabi. Many schools have designated administrators who monitor online classes and help students register and stay on track to graduate. Some online programs are accelerated, with shorter completion times than traditional programs.

Hybrid Programs

Among online schools in Michigan are certification and degree programs. An online certification program enhances the skillset of a worker in a particular industry and may be required for some fields. Online degree programs, on the other hand, comprise courses within a set curriculum and are typically completed fully online. Hybrid programs involve online and in-class coursework and are perfect for students who want components of both online and traditional programs.

Popular Degree Programs in Michigan

Popular degree majors vary by state, according to the industries driving the state’s economy. Major industries in Michigan include automotives, advanced manufacturing, food and agriculture, freshwater technology and services, and Christmas tree cultivation. Many students in Michigan complete degrees that lead to careers in these industries.

  • Cognitive science and biopsychology

    Cognitive science studies how the human mind functions and processes information and is the basis for linguistics, psychology, and neuroscience. Biopsychology studies the relationship between psychology and biology, which is vital to human behavior.

  • Business management and administration

    Students learn basic principles of marketing, finance, economics, and accounting and how to use these disciplines to effectively manage workers and expand business. This degree is popular in Michigan due to the booming car industry.

Education Trends in Michigan

The following table illustrates higher education cost and distribution in Michigan. Almost 10% of Michigan residents obtain an associate degree, and nearly 20% of residents hold a bachelor’s degree. Michigan residents are highly educated and contribute greatly to the state’s economy.

  Michigan United States
Source: SHEEO and U.S. Census
Postsecondary Education Spending per Full-Time Student $5,097 $6,954
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education 5.6% 5.8%
Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree 8.9% 8.1%
Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree 16.5% 18.5%
Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher 10.5% 11.2%

Paying for College in Michigan

Higher education can be costly, and several factors influence the cost of a program. In-state students typically pay cheaper tuition than out-of-state students, and private institutions are more expensive than public institutions. Faith-based institutions offer incentives and scholarships to students coming from faith-based schools. Regardless of the type of institution, financial aid is available to all students who qualify.

Tuition Prices

The following table highlights the median cost of attending a public institution and compares two-year and four-year tuition in Michigan to the national averages. These figures do not include books, transportation, rent, on-campus housing, or out-of-state tuition.

Financial Aid

Students in every state apply for loans, scholarships, and grants to finance their education. The Department of Education offers loans and grants to undergraduate and graduate students. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is used to determine aid eligibility based on income. Federal aid and scholarships are the most desirable forms of funding, but loans are available to make up the difference.

Cost for Online Programs in Michigan

Along with traditional tuition and expenses, federal aid applies to online program costs. Most online tuition costs the same as that for on-campus programs. Students pay for ebooks and other miscellaneous fees. Despite the cost of tuition, students pursuing online degrees save money on transportation, housing, and childcare. To be eligible for federal aid, students must complete the FAFSA before the deadline. Online colleges in Michigan send reminders, and academic advisors assist students in completing the FAFSA.

Cost of Living by Region

The cost of living in Michigan varies greatly. Cities are more expensive than suburban or rural communities. Cost of living, which includes covers housing, food, and transportation, is especially important for college students, considering the rising cost of education. Students should select an affordable and convenient area. Many students live on or near campus to lower transportation costs.

Scholarships for Michigan College Students

Young & Free Michigan Scholarship Competition

$3,000–$10,000; must be a high school senior or current college student aged 17 to 25.

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ACI West Michigan Chapter Scholarship

$1,000; must be entering junior or senior year at a Michigan institution and have a construction-industry related major.

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Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan Scholarship

$2,500; must be a Michigan resident with a bleeding disorder or an immediate family member of a resident with a bleeding disorder.

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Automotives & Composites Division Scholarship - Michigan Chapter

$2,000; must be a Michigan undergraduate or graduate student majoring in an engineering discipline.

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Energy Education for Michigan

$500; must be pursuing a degree in the crude oil or natural gas industry from a Michigan institution; must be a state resident and full-time student with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

View Scholarship

Can all Scholarships be Used for Online Programs?

Students use scholarships to finance both traditional and online colleges in Michigan. Scholarships cover any educational-related costs, including books, tuition, fees, housing, and transportation. If there are concerns regarding the usage of scholarship money, including its application toward an online program, contact the scholarship administrators.

Employment Outlook in Michigan

Detroit, Michigan, is the car capital of the United States. Michigan’s positioning in the midwest, coupled with its close proximity to the Great Lakes, makes it a hotbed of economic opportunities. Many residents work in the automotive or advanced manufacturing industries, and online colleges in Michigan prepare students for long-term employment in these industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan’s unemployment rate is well below the national average; fewer than 4% of the state’s residents are unemployed. Michigan’s annual mean wage is on par with the national average.

  Michigan United States
Source: BLS and BLS
Unemployment Rate, May 2017 3.9% 4.3%
Annual Mean Wage, May 2016 $47,350 $49,630

Top Employers and Industries in Michigan

Top Industries in Michigan

  • Automotive industry: Popular American car manufacturers Ford and General Motors are located in Michigan. In 2014, more than two million cars were produced in Detroit. Michigan is at the forefront of the automotive industry.
  • Advanced manufacturing: Michigan boasts nearly 50 equipment manufacturing assembly and component plants and more than 1,700 automotive manufacturing plants. Despite the recession, advanced manufacturing job opportunities increased 37% within the last eight years.
  • Food and agriculture: The food and agricultural industry provides jobs to residents in rural communities. Each year, Michigan exports more than two billion dollars worth of agricultural products internationally.

Top Employers in Michigan

  • Dow Chemical Co.: 88,000 employees
  • University of Michigan – Ann Arbor: 23,316 employees
  • GM Tech Center: 17,096 employees

Accreditation for Colleges in Michigan

Reputable degree programs will have regional or national accreditation. Accrediting agencies evaluate degree programs to ensure curricula meet academic standards. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools provides regional accreditation to Michigan colleges and universities; all state universities and colleges are regionally accredited. The ED and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) validate regional accreditation agencies. Regional accreditation is highly respected, and credits from regionally accredited schools are easily transferable. Students receive grants, loans, and scholarships from the ED to fund education from regionally accredited institutions.

National accreditation is primarily reserved for vocational and distance-learning programs. Programs are evaluated every three to five years by CHEA-regulated agencies. Some online programs receive accreditation from industry-specific organizations, which cater to unique disciplines such as nursing or mechanical engineering. Reputable online schools in Michigan hold regional or national accreditation, which is crucial for transferring credits.

Resources for Students in Michigan

  • Michigan Finance Authority – Student Loan Programs: The Michigan Department of Treasury oversees the state’s Federal Family Education Loan Program. The program ceased lending in 2010, but many Michigan residents still owe money to the program. The treasury department helps recipients make loan repayments, and request forbearances and deferments.
  • MI Student Aid – Paying for College: The Michigan Department of Treasury offers this resource as a financial literacy tool for incoming and current college students. The Paying for College resource includes information about account ownership and education funding. Special calculators estimate expected family contribution, savings, and borrowing.
  • Affording College in Michigan Guidebook: This 24-page ebook provides information regarding planning and applying for college. Students learn about standardized tests, degree types, and federal- and state-based financial aid programs, along with information for students attending online schools in Michigan.
  • Michigan Tuition Grant: The Michigan Tuition Grant administers financial assistance to Michigan residents in need. Funds may only be used at nonprofit colleges and universities, including nonprofit online schools in Michigan.
  • Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver: The Department of Civil Rights administers tuition waivers to Michigan residents with a certain amount of Native American ancestry. Applicants must have certified ancestry and must attend a public college or university in Michigan.
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