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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.

What are the Best Online Colleges in Michigan?

Online enrollment is quickly outpacing enrollment in traditional programs. Online programs are ideal for working professionals and non-traditional learners. The best online colleges in Michigan help students with time management and work-life balance. Online students work at their own pace to complete degree programs, which often include accelerated courses. This resource provides detailed information about online schools in Michigan, including tuition costs, estimated completion time, required credit hours, and specialized degree programs.


University of Michigan-Ann ArborAnn Arbor, MI

Admissions Rate 26%
Default Rate 2%
Retention Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 90%
Online Enrollment 1%

One of the top research universities in the country, UMich also ranks as one of the best online colleges in Michigan. The university was founded in 1817, 20 years prior to Michigan becoming a state. The school’s online degree programs focus mainly on professional training, with offerings in many fields, such as dentistry, engineering, nursing, and public health. Online learners choose from several unique degree programs, including a master’s in dental hygiene and an executive master’s in health management and policy. The college of engineering’s integrated systems and design program offers several interdisciplinary degree programs in unique technical subjects, including automotive engineering, energy systems engineering, and manufacturing. UMich offers most programs asynchronously, requiring no scheduled course meetings and allowing students to fit in coursework around their own schedules.


Central Michigan UniversityMount Pleasant, MI

Admissions Rate 69%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 59%
Online Enrollment 19%

Another of the top online schools in Michigan, Central Michigan offers distance education programs at the bachelor’s, graduate, and doctoral levels, with unique offerings, such as fashion merchandising and design, nutrition and dietetics, and community development – all available 100% online. The college offers online courses in eight, 12, and 16-week blocks, making it easy for students to find a format that accommodates their schedules. Central Michigan maintains a variety of support services for distance learners, including the Online Ally program, which pairs new online students with experienced mentors who have been successful in online courses. These online allies help new students acclimate to the online learning environment and offer tips for academic success. The college also hosts both math and writing tutoring online, allowing students to receive synchronous and asynchronous academic help from experienced peer tutors.


Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, MI

Admissions Rate 66%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 92%
Graduation Rate 77%
Online Enrollment 4%

A public college in East Lansing, Michigan State serves more than 50,000 students, making it one of the largest schools in the country and one of the largest online colleges in Michigan. Distance students choose from dozens of degree programs in both fully online and hybrid formats, including unique options such as food safety, sport coaching and leadership, judicial administration, and integrative pharmacology. Online courses may include proctored exams, which students typically take within their own communities. MSU also maintains several brick-and-mortar education sites around the state that serve as satellite learning centers, and some hybrid degrees allow students to take courses at these sites. Some programs are also available through in-person courses at these satellite locations, allowing students to earn a degree through traditional courses without ever visiting the MSU main campus.


Spring Arbor UniversitySpring Arbor, MI

Admissions Rate 69%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 52%
Online Enrollment 17%

A Christian college associated with the Free Methodist Church, Spring Arbor is also one of the top online schools in Michigan. Students choose from a dozen online degree programs at both the bachelor’s and master’s level, with varied options that include nursing, social work, education, and business. The school’s online nursing program is notable for offering several different degrees, including a combined MSN/MBA program. Education students can choose from several different programs, including reading, teaching English to speakers of other languages, and special education. Spring Arbor structures its curriculum in a concentrated modular format, allowing students to take one course at a time in seven-week blocks. This unique arrangement allows online students to stay engaged without having to juggle schoolwork for several different courses at once.


Andrews UniversityBerrien Springs, MI

Admissions Rate 39%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 54%
Online Enrollment 9%

Located in the village of Berrien Springs, Andrews is the oldest Seventh-day Adventist college in the country and the flagship institution of the Adventist school system. Home to more than 3,300 students, it is also among the largest Christian online colleges in Michigan. The school’s online offerings include both religious and secular programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level. While online undergraduate students can pursue a small selection of associate and bachelor’s degrees, Andrew’s graduate programs are the college’s centerpiece, with more than two dozen programs in business, education, and healthcare. Some of the school’s uncommon graduate offerings include programs in physical therapy, leadership design, and orthopedic manual therapy. Most online courses are offered asynchronously with no scheduled class meetings.


Northwood University-MichiganMidland, MI

Admissions Rate 69%
Default Rate 12%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 57%
Online Enrollment 28%

A small private college in the city of Midland, Northwood University is home to approximately 3,500 students, giving the school a low student-faculty ratio of just 12:1. Befitting its smaller size, Northwood offers just one online degree program: a bachelor’s in business administration. However, this business program is robust, offering 11 distinct concentration options, including accounting, finance, entrepreneurship, and marketing. Northwood also offers innovative options like aftermarket management and automotive marketing and management, two programs focused on the auto industry. Unique among online colleges in Michigan, Northwood offers the first and only bachelor's program in franchising management in North America, training students to launch their own franchise concepts, take over existing franchises, or expand existing businesses. Northwood also offers its online students a minor in operations and supply chain management.


Lawrence Technological UniversitySouthfield, MI

Admissions Rate 55%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 56%
Online Enrollment 7%

Based in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Lawrence Tech is a highly respected professional and technical college that also ranks among the top online schools in Michigan. Lawrence Tech offers online programs in the fields of architecture, engineering, and management. The school’s unique offerings include construction engineering management and civil engineering. All the school’s online degrees are master’s programs, most of which are 18-24 months long. Courses use a modular, asynchronous format in which new course material is offered weekly but there are no scheduled course meetings. Students collaborate frequently on assignments, and professors are available to answer questions during scheduled online office hours. Given the school’s professional focus, most programs prepare degree candidates for professional licensure or certification, and students learn alongside other professionals from the region, giving online students opportunities for local engagement and networking.


Grace Bible CollegeWyoming, MI

Admissions Rate 81%
Default Rate 3%
Retention Rate 56%
Graduation Rate 60%
Online Enrollment 53%

Grand Rapids is home to Grace Bible College, an evangelical institution that ranks as one of the top Christian online schools in Michigan. Enrolling approximately 900 students, the school offers a small selection of associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees online. Available in both secular and non-secular subjects, Grace’s undergraduate degrees include leadership and ministry, business, human services, and psychology, with all four programs available at both the associate and bachelor’s level. Students pursuing their bachelor’s can specialize in one of eight concentrations, including adult development and aging, human services, and women’s ministry. At the graduate level, Grace offers programs in ministry and organizational leadership. All online programs use a cohort format, which allows a cohesive group of students to move through the same course sequence together.


Michigan Technological UniversityHoughton, MI

Admissions Rate 75%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 87%
Graduation Rate 65%
Online Enrollment 2%

A prestigious technical college in the northwestern city of Houghton, Michigan Tech ranks as one of the top colleges in the Midwest and one of the best online schools in Michigan. Befitting its focus on technology, Michigan Tech offers several online graduate degrees at the forefront of science and engineering, include a particularly innovative graduate program in hybrid electric drive vehicle engineering designed in conjunction with General Motors. Other online degree options include integrated geospatial technology, medical informatics, and science education. Michigan Tech offers its programs primarily synchronously, with video conferencing and live streaming tools that allow students to interact with classmates and faculty. Some coursework may be offered asynchronously, but students must be available to attend class meetings at set times each week.


Siena Heights UniversityAdrian, MI

Admissions Rate 77%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 37%
Online Enrollment 29%

A Catholic college based in the city of Adrian, Siena Heights first began offering online degrees in 2004 and today it ranks as one of the top online colleges in Michigan. Siena Heights’ online student body numbers around 300, but that figure represents online learners from 37 U.S. states and Canada. The school also boasts the country’s second-highest graduation rate among online students at private schools. Siena Heights’ undergraduate degrees are all degree completion programs, requiring students to complete their lower division credits at another institution. The school’s bachelor’s programs include accounting, nursing, marketing, management, and professional communication. At the graduate level, Siena Heights focuses on leadership and management, with programs in healthcare leadership, organizational leadership, and higher education leadership.


University of Detroit MercyDetroit, MI

Admissions Rate 73%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 63%
Online Enrollment 2%

Affiliated with both the Society of Jesus and the Religious Sisters of Mercy, Detroit Mercy is the largest Catholic college in Michigan, serving more than 4,900 students from its campus in northwest Detroit. The school is also home to several online programs at the graduate level, including health systems management, financial economics, computer information systems, and engineering product development. Detroit Mercy is large among religious colleges, but it offers small online classes with a student-faculty ratio of just 15:1. Many online programs use a cohort format, in which students move through the same sequence of courses together, building a close learning community. Classes are often held synchronously, with one or two virtual meetings scheduled each week, though most coursework is completed asynchronously.


Davenport UniversityGrand Rapids, MI

Admissions Rate 89%
Default Rate 12%
Retention Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 39%
Online Enrollment 41%

One of the top online schools in Michigan, Davenport hosts online programs in a variety of fields, including business, technology, health professions, and arts and sciences. Available at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s level, Davenport’s online offerings include unique options, such as sports management, cyber defense, and data analytics. The school’s college of business hosts a unique competency-based MBA, a highly self-directed online degree that allows professionals to gain credit for existing knowledge, rather than just course completion. Davenport offers its online courses both synchronously and asynchronously. While many degrees include a mixture of both styles, most programs tend toward one or the other. The school’s synchronous, "real-time virtual learning" courses feature set schedules and often allow online students to interact with classroom students.


Ferris State UniversityBig Rapids, MI

Admissions Rate 78%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 41%
Online Enrollment 10%

Ferris State is home to more than a dozen professionally-focused online degrees at both the graduate and undergraduate level, with several unique programs, including automotive management, respiratory therapy, and dental hygiene. The school also offers a particularly uncommon bachelor’s program in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) engineering technology and energy management, one of just two such programs in the country. Most of the college’s bachelor’s degrees are completion programs, meaning students typically complete an associate degree at another college before transferring their credits to Ferris State. Given the hands-on, technical nature of most of the school’s online degrees, some require at least one campus residency to complete laboratory work or other experiential learning activities. The HVACR program, for example, requires one seven-day on-campus laboratory session, which is held during the summer.


University of Michigan-FlintFlint, MI

Admissions Rate 74%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 38%
Online Enrollment 15%

One of the University of Michigan’s two satellite campuses, Flint ranks as another of the top online colleges in Michigan, offering over a dozen graduate, undergraduate, and doctoral degrees online. At the bachelor’s level, many of the college’s online degrees are completion programs that require students to fulfill their lower division credits at another institution, such as a community college. These bachelor’s completion programs include applied science, business administration, and nursing. The school also offers three bachelor’s degrees available fully online: substance use treatment and intervention, respiratory therapy, and accounting. At the graduate level, students choose from degrees mainly in health and education, with options such as literacy education or nurse anesthesia practice. Many of the graduate and doctoral programs use a blended format that offers online classwork along with required campus visits every four to six weeks.


Cornerstone UniversityGrand Rapids, MI

Admissions Rate 73%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 60%
Online Enrollment 1%

A non-denominational Christian liberal arts school based in Grand Rapids, Cornerstone has added a host of new degree programs and significantly expanded its focus on online education over the past two decades. Today, Cornerstone ranks among the top Christian online colleges in Michigan, offering online degrees in the areas of business, counseling and psychology, human services, ministry, and education. Students can pursue associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in both religious and secular topics, such as global business, ministry leadership, and teaching English to speakers of other languages. Many of Cornerstone’s programs use an accelerated cohort model in which students take courses one at a time in concentrated blocks, allowing them to move through the curriculum sequence faster.


Northern Michigan UniversityMarquette, MI

Admissions Rate 70%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 48%
Online Enrollment 5%

Based in Marquette, Northern Michigan serves around 8,000 students annually, making it the largest university in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Along with a comprehensive online program, Northern Michigan offers some of the lowest tuition rates in the state, making it one of the most affordable online schools in Michigan. Online students have several unique degree choices, with undergraduate offerings in laboratory medicine, loss prevention management, and applied workplace leadership. At the graduate level, programs tend toward education, with advanced degrees including learning disabilities, reading specialist, and American Indian education administration. The school also offers a unique hybrid program in clinical molecular genetics, which combines online and campus classes. Northern Michigan’s online students can take advantage of the state’s Educational Access Initiative, which provides high speed wireless internet service free of charge to rural areas of Michigan.


Oakland UniversityRochester Hills, MI

Admissions Rate 80%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 44%
Online Enrollment 3%

Located outside Detroit in the suburbs of Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills, Oakland is a public college that serves more than 20,000 students. The school’s online offerings include both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, with programs available in a variety of subjects, including environmental health and safety, engineering management, and safety management. Most programs are highly flexible, offering full-time or part-time course options and multiple start dates throughout the year. Unlike most online colleges in Michigan, Oakland offers the same in-state tuition rate to out-of-state students enrolled in many programs, making the school an affordable choice regardless of state residency status. While this tuition discount doesn’t apply to all degrees, the school maintains an active list of eligible programs for out-of-state residents.


Eastern Michigan UniversityYpsilanti, MI

Admissions Rate 75%
Default Rate 11%
Retention Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 40%
Online Enrollment 6%

A public college based in Ypsilanti, Eastern Michigan offers more than a dozen undergraduate and graduate programs available fully online, focusing on the fields of science, nutrition, education, and business. Some of the school’s less conventional degree choices include dietetics, educational psychology, quality management, and social foundations of education. Eastern Michigan is unique among most online schools in Michigan in that it charges the same tuition rate regardless of state residency. Since most degrees can be completed without ever visiting campus, the college’s online programs are a practical, affordable choice for students around the country. However, some programs, particularly those with licensure components, can be subject to state-specific restrictions, so it’s important for out-of-state students to check with their local education board to determine their eligibility before applying.


Wayne State UniversityDetroit, MI

Admissions Rate 80%
Default Rate 12%
Retention Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 35%
Online Enrollment 5%

A public college based in Detroit, Wayne State enrolls more than 20,000 students annually in both campus and distance courses, making it one of the largest online schools in Michigan. Students choose from several bachelor’s and master’s degrees available entirely online, and Wayne State is home to several uncommon programs, including theater and dance education, sports administration, and library and information science. Many degrees include a hybrid option that allows students to take core courses online and elective courses on campus. Wayne State provides several resources for online learners, including an online orientation program that introduces the school’s learning platform and other important information. Students can also work with online advisors who help determine course selections and field any other questions that arise.


Rochester CollegeRochester Hills, MI

Admissions Rate 58% Default Rate 8% Retention Rate 59% Graduation Rate 35%

The Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills is home to Rochester College, a Christian liberal arts school with a student body of around 1,000. Rochester is primarily an undergraduate institution, and its online programs are all bachelor’s degrees, with four choices available: early childhood studies, Christian ministry, strategic leadership, and an RN-BSN nursing program. Rochester offers its 120-credit degrees in an accelerated 16-month format (though this requires students to transfer in lower division credits). While there are no required on-campus courses, the nursing and education programs require a practicum or observational component to help students build professional experience. Degree candidates who reside outside of the Detroit area can typically arrange practicum experiences within their own communities or in nearby areas.

What are the Best Online Community Colleges in Michigan?

Community colleges offer associate programs, which require two to three years to complete, whereas universities offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs, which require four to eight years to complete. Many community college graduates continue to four-year programs. Oftentimes, community colleges maintain partnerships with universities, enabling students to easily transfer credits. Community colleges save students time and money while they complete their prerequisites.


Gogebic Community CollegeIronwood, MI

Default Rate 15% Retention Rate 72% Graduation Rate 39% Online Enrollment 10%

Founded in 1932, Gogebic Community College serves the small rural community of Ironwood, Michigan. The school boasts a small, connected student body of about 1,400 students, allowing for close student-faculty interaction and individualized attention with an average student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. Gogebic has a home campus in Ironwood and a country center in Houghton.

Students looking specifically for online community colleges in Michigan may be interested in Gogebic's fully online business programs. Students can choose to earn an associate degree or certificate in many fields, including business administration, accounting, computer programming, and entrepreneurship. Students in the business administration transfer program may also opt to transfer to a university to complete their bachelor's degree upon earning an associate degree at Gogebic.


Kirtland Community CollegeRoscommon, MI

Default Rate 15% Retention Rate 56% Graduation Rate 21% Online Enrollment 29%

As the state's largest community college, Kirtland Community College serves more than four full counties over 2,500 square miles. Kirtland's central campus in Roscommon provides general education courses as well as several vocational programs. Kirtland's Grayling campus is home to many health science programs, including nursing and health information technology.

Kirtland is also one of the most popular online community colleges in Michigan, thanks to its growing list of online offerings. Students can earn associate degrees and certificates online at Kirtland in areas such as accounting, business administration, and health information technology. Students in these online programs may also take courses on campus, creating a hybrid-format degree program.


St Clair County Community CollegePort Huron, MI

Default Rate 17% Retention Rate 59% Graduation Rate 20% Online Enrollment 9%

Located alongside the Black River in Port Huron, St. Clair County Community College serves more than 3,000 students on campus and online. Its home campus sprawls more than 25 acres, and emphasizes sustainability and positive environmental practices. In addition to extensive degree offerings on-campus, St. Clair also offers web-based degree programs for students seeking the flexibility of online community colleges in Michigan.

At St. Clair, students can earn associate degrees in business, general education, and nursing entirely online. Coursework can be completed asynchronously and away from campus, apart from some nursing courses that may require occasional on-campus attendance. St. Clair uses Canvas as its online learning platform. Students in the business associate program may choose to transfer to a four-year university upon completing the program.


Mid Michigan CollegeHarrison, MI

Default Rate 21% Retention Rate 60% Graduation Rate 12% Online Enrollment 14%

Mid Michigan Community College has served students since 1965. Its two physical campuses in Harrison and Mt. Pleasant boast contemporary learning facilities where students can choose from nearly 50 different degree and certificate programs. In addition to these on-campus offerings, MMCC is a great option for students seeking online community colleges in Michigan, with more than 600 students currently enrolled in online programs.

Students at MMCC can pursue fully online associate degrees and certificates in areas such as criminal justice and liberal studies. The Michigan Transfer Agreement also allows students to transfer to a four-year university after completing degree work at MMCC. Students can choose from more than 100 online courses offered each semester.


Lansing Community CollegeLansing, MI

Default Rate 25% Retention Rate 62% Graduation Rate 11% Online Enrollment 16%

Lansing Community College is guided by the principle of emphasizing the areas of career development, general and developmental education, and personal enrichment. Since it opened in 1917, LCC has offered associate degree and certificate programs that serve those guiding principles. Citing itself as a “comprehensive community college,” LCC is also one of many online community colleges in Michigan offering a growing roster of online program options.

LCC offers fully online associate and certificate programs in areas such as criminal justice, psychology, sociology, and computer programming. Using the D2L learning platform, students can complete coursework asynchronously. Training is available for students who feel they might need assistance prior to starting an online degree program.


Delta CollegeUniversity Center, MI

Default Rate 17% Retention Rate 61% Graduation Rate 15% Online Enrollment 8%

Located in Bay County north of Detroit, Delta College is one of the largest community colleges in the state. Its body of enrolled, credit-seeking students exceeds 10,000, with students pursuing associate degrees and certificates both on campus and online. Delta offers 150 degree and certificate programs, and 100 pre-approved transfer programs for students wishing to move onto a four-year college.

In 2016, Delta offered more than 900 courses entirely online. These courses represented degree and certificate paths in areas including management and business studies, among other exciting programs. Like at other online community colleges in Michigan, prior to starting coursework, students complete an online training course to prepare them for online learning. Delta offers online programs through the D2L learning platform.


Washtenaw Community CollegeAnn Arbor, MI

Default Rate 22% Retention Rate 62% Graduation Rate 15% Online Enrollment 11%

Washtenaw Community College has served thousands of students in and around its home campus in Ann Arbor for more than 40 years. WCC emphasizes small class sizes, with an average of just 23 students in each course, maximizing individual student attention. For nontraditional students, WCC offers a unique seven-days-per-week course schedule, allowing students to take classes on the weekend. WCC is also one of the many online community colleges in Michigan offering fully online associate degree and certificate programs that can be completed anywhere.

Students at Washtenaw Community College can pursue online associate and certificate programs in areas such as information technology, business and entrepreneurial studies, and apprenticeship and occupational studies. WCC boasts low tuition rates, flexible scheduling, and easy transfers to four-year colleges.


Macomb Community CollegeWarren, MI

Default Rate 15% Retention Rate 60% Graduation Rate 11% Online Enrollment 8%

Macomb Community College serves Macomb county in eastern Michigan, encompassing some of metropolitan Detroit. MCC serves thousands of students in various capacities each academic year, offering approximately 200 distinct degree and certificate programs. Macomb has also joined many other online community colleges in Michigan by offering a growing number of fully online degree and certificate options that can be completed anywhere, anytime.

Many of MCC's programs are available at least partially online, but there are some that require absolutely no campus presence, including programs in finance, business, accounting, and information technology. MCC provides a tutorial in online learning for students who may wish to test drive an online course prior to enrolling. Students can also take a self-assessment to determine if online learning at MCC is right for them.


Grand Rapids Community CollegeGrand Rapids, MI

Default Rate 25% Retention Rate 56% Graduation Rate 15% Online Enrollment 7%

Grand Rapids Community College hosts more than 25,000 students in a number of academic programs at campuses across western Michigan as well as online. Students pursuing a degree at one of the online community colleges in Michigan will find GRCC's course and program offerings to be affordable and flexible. While GRCC is working to grow its list of fully online offerings, students can currently earn an associate degree in computer information systems online, as well as a number of other programs that are offered in hybrid format.

GRCC takes pride in its small class sizes, with an average of 22.9 students in each class. Many of the students at GRCC ultimately end up transferring to four-year colleges, as credits earned at GRCC are honored by the Michigan Transfer Agreement.

How We Ranked the Schools

To determine the best programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in management information systems programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.

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.

View Scholarship

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.

View Scholarship

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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