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Online and On-Campus Colleges in MICHIGAN

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed March 2, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2014-15, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, accessed March 2, 2016, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • School pages, accessed May 24, 2017, 2017: Online and Off-Campus Programs, Michigan State University, https://reg.msu.edu/UCC/onlineprograms.aspx#Online; Ferris Online, Ferris State University, http://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/online/index.htm; Ferris Statewide, Ferris State University, http://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/statewide/index.htm; Our Undergraduate Programs of Study, Grace Bible College, https://www.gbcol.edu/undergraduate/programs-of-study/; Adult & Online Programs, Grace Bible College, https://www.gbcol.edu/adult/programs/; Course Search, NMU Online Learning, Northern Michigan University, http://www.nmu.edu/online/course-search; CMU Online Programs, Central Michigan University, https://www.cmich.edu/global/cmuonline/Pages/programs.aspx; Mission & History, Madonna University, https://madonna.edu/about/mission-and-history;
  • College Undergraduate Enrollment, MI School Data, accessed May 15, 2017, https://www.mischooldata.org/CareerAndCollegeReadiness/IheEnrollmentByIhe.aspx
  • Scholarships and Grants, MI Student Aid, State of Michigan, accessed May 15, 2017, http://www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid/0,4636,7-128-60969_61016 -- -,00.html
  • Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
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If you're getting ready to join the more than 250,000 Michigan students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities, it can be helpful to have some information about how the top schools measure up. Our methodology — available below this introduction — ranks schools based on their accessibility, affordability, flexibility and demonstrated commitment to student success. We chose, for this analysis, to look only at schools where you can earn a four-year bachelor's degree, and we approached the flagship campuses and satellite locations of large universities in the state as individual institutions.

Michigan community college students who plan to finish their bachelor's degree at a four-year university may be able to make the switch easier by using the Michigan Transfer Network. We've included a link to that service in our Additional Resources section.

Best 4-Year Colleges in Michigan

Our analysis for this ranking — based on a massive amount of data from U.S. Department of Education sources, including the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) — was conducted to find out which institutions were the best traditional and online colleges in Michigan. Here are the top 10:

Methodology
1University of Michigan-Ann Arbor+
ADMISSION RATE
29%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$75
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
9

Our No. 1 school practically swept the state rankings on this year's analysis. It had Michigan's top graduation rate in 2015-16, for starters, and also ranked No. 1 for its percentage of first-year students that returned to continue their education as sophomores. The size of its degree catalog was No. 1 in the state — more than 400 programs were available in 2016.

The flagship campus of U-M was also one of the top schools in the country for students with financial need. Average net price is a college cost estimate that subtracts the expected amount of grant and scholarship aid from the raw costs of tuition, fees, housing and other necessary expenses. Low-income students at the Ann Arbor campus paid the lowest average net price of any student cohort in Michigan.

Additional Info
2Michigan State University+
ADMISSION RATE
66%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$65
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
27

In the categories where our top school had No. 1 rankings, Michigan State University was usually not far behind. Its graduation and retention rates both placed in the top three among schools on our list, and it ranked No. 2 in the state for its selection of on-campus degree programs. MSU also took the state's No. 2 spot for its proportion of tuition paid for by institutional grant aid, and it posted a No. 3 ranking for the average net price it charged low-income students.

Online degree offerings were another bright spot for MSU. Just three other schools in our top ten offered a wider variety of programs in the virtual classroom, and the East Lansing school's array of hybrid degrees — study plans that split time between online and on-campus courses — was impressive as well.

Additional Info
3Ferris State University+
ADMISSION RATE
78%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
25

Students looking for an online school in Michigan that offers bachelor's degree programs shouldn't overlook Ferris State University, which offered the most distance education programs of any school on our list in 2015-16. Flexibility measures for on-campus students were big here as well, featuring weekend/evening degree plans and programs to award college credit for off-campus learning.

Ferris also has more than twenty campus locations throughout Michigan to help serve on-campus and hybrid programs to students around the state. Average net price rankings for low- and middle-income students at Ferris were No. 8 and No. 5 in the state, respectively. Just three other schools on our list saw their students graduate with a smaller median amount of student debt.

Additional Info
4Grace Bible College+
ADMISSION RATE
81%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Recommended
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
7

This tiny faith-based institution in the city of Wyoming had fewer than 900 students on its rolls in 2015, but the educational opportunities for Christian Michiganders are anything but small. The degree programs in ministry, business, education, criminal justice, human services, arts and more at Grace Bible College ranked No. 4 among schools on our list for their graduation rate in 2015-16, and no other school in the state charged its students less for books and supplies.

Grace Bible College also features adult-focused degrees in ministry, business and human services that are designed to fit into a busy schedule. These bachelor's degree programs typically take around 24 months to complete and can be earned either on campus with just one night of attendance per week or fully online.

Additional Info
5Northern Michigan University+
ADMISSION RATE
76%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$35
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
8

The lowest raw cost of tuition and fees of any school in our top ten can be found at Northern Michigan University, as well as the second-lowest average expense for books and supplies. The average net price for low- and middle-income students at NMU ranked No. 4 and No. 6, respectively, and the manageable median student debt of graduates earned it a No. 3 spot in that category.

The data also show that NMU focuses on helping its students access the courses they need. Some entire degree programs at the Marquette school can be earned through weekend and evening courses only, and dozens and dozens of both lower- and upper-division courses can be taken via distance education.

Additional Info
6Central Michigan University+
ADMISSION RATE
72%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$35
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
36

Central Michigan University was one of the best online colleges in Michigan by our analysis, in terms of enrollment as well as online degree variety. Only two other schools in the state posted a higher percentage of students taking at least some courses via distance education, and the online degree catalog at CMU ranked third in the state for the number of programs available.

CMU also had one of the more diverse online bachelor's degree selections in Michigan, featuring online degree programs in political science, psychology, leadership studies and fashion merchandising. There are also plenty of degrees to choose from for traditional, campus-based students — the more than 230 on-campus degrees at CMU earned its catalog the No. 8 spot statewide.

Additional Info
7Oakland University+
ADMISSION RATE
86%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
10

Student aid is a prominent feature of Oakland University's commitment to its students. The Rochester Hills school came in at No. 3 in the state for its average proportion of institutional grant aid awarded to students, and its average net price rankings were favorable for students across the spectrum of financial need. Oakland placed at No. 2 statewide for middle-income students, while low-income students paid the state's No. 6 most affordable out-of-pocket cost.

The institutional grants and scholarships available to qualifying students at Oakland also helped graduates keep their student loan debt among the lower average figures in Michigan. Just five other schools on our list reported lower median debt burdens among their alumni than Oakland.

Additional Info
8Eastern Michigan University+
ADMISSION RATE
73%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$35
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
15

Eastern Michigan University ranked No. 5 in the state for its affordable raw cost of tuition and fees, and its average net price for middle- and low-income students placed at No. 7 and No. 11, respectively. A degree catalog that contains more than 300 options gave it the No. 3 spot among schools in our top ten in that category. The school also had a higher distance education enrollment rate than all other schools on our list but three.

Campus-based assistance for non-traditional students also stood out at this Ypsilanti institution. Students who need schedule flexibility can earn certain degrees completely at night or on weekend. Those returning to school after a long absence can take advantage of remedial services and exams to award course credit for applicable life experience.

Additional Info
9Madonna University+
ADMISSION RATE
75%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
3

This medium-small school in southwestern Detroit provided its students with the No. 4 amount of institutional grant aid per student among our top ten schools. More than 250 degree programs were available on campus at Madonna University in 2015-16, ranking it No. 6 in the state on that metric. This school also had the second-highest distance education enrollment rate among our top colleges in Michigan.

The data show that students at this Catholic and Franciscan institution had a tendency to stick with their educations to the end. Madonna University reported the state's No. 4 rate of first-year student retention, and only two other schools on our list had a higher graduation rate by the most recent NCES statistics.

Additional Info
10Lake Superior State University+
ADMISSION RATE
91%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
6

Our No. 10 school had a lot going for it in the affordability department. Lake Superior State University had the No. 6 most-affordable raw cost of tuition and fees in the state, for starters, and its average net price rankings for middle- and low-income students came in at No. 1 and No. 2 statewide, respectively. It also reported the fourth-highest amount of institutional grant aid and the fifth-lowest median student debt for graduates among schools on our list.

The Upper Peninsula institution also works to help its students find a path to employment after finishing their degree programs. Academic and career counseling are available and encouraged while you're still in school, and job placement services can give graduates a boost toward getting their careers underway.

Additional Info

Most Popular Degree Programs in Michigan

If you're interested in picking a major that gives you a large number of potential study partners, it can be helpful to know which ones are the most popular among students in your state. Check out this list of the Michigan degree programs with the highest enrollment numbers.

In-Demand Careers in Michigan

Keeping an eye on the career landscape can help you work more accurately toward a degree that will carry high value on the job market after you graduate. Here's a list of some of the most in-demand careers in Michigan today.

Career TitleProjected Job GrowthTotal EmploymentAnnual Salary
Statisticians41.1%660$85,840
Biomedical Engineers40.6%220$78,260
Commercial Divers38.5%200$52,970
Credit Counselors36.1%890$47,760
Operations Research Analysts35.7%1,580$84,010
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists31.8%360$64,540
Interpreters and Translators31.2%1,040$45,440
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic30.6%10,220$37,180
Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic28.7%2,130$49,330
Dental Laboratory Technicians28.7%1,300$39,460
Geological and Petroleum Technicians28.6%120$54,360
Physical Therapist Assistants28.6%3,960$50,640
Medical Appliance Technicians27.8%140$46,490
Industrial Machinery Mechanics27.1%18,780$51,700
Personal Financial Advisors26.8%4,580$108,920
Orthotists and Prosthetists26.7%460$63,010
Home Health Aides26.2%30,420$22,560
Occupational Therapy Assistants26.1%1,140$51,520
Physical Therapist Aides25.2%1,620$25,950
Web Developers24.7%2,630$64,170
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians24.7%3,000$32,390
Actuaries24.4%420$103,130
Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters24.3%410$36,660
Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians24.3%400$24,660
Law Teachers, Postsecondary23.5%270$176,320
Nurse Practitioners23.5%3,520$97,790
Computer Systems Analysts22.6%15,250$86,770
Physical Therapists21.9%8,300$87,440
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists21.6%14,790$66,410
Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators21.4%300$68,710
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Michigan

Michigan residents can take advantage of a few state-run student aid programs.

  • The Michigan Competitive Scholarship (MCS) is a need- and merit-based annual award for first-time undergraduate students.
  • The Michigan Tuition Grant (MTG) is available to undergraduate degree seekers enrolled in independent, nonprofit colleges and universities in Michigan.
  • Aspiring educators can take advantage of Teacher Loan Forgiveness, which may forgive up to $17,500 in federal student loans after five consecutive years teaching at qualifying schools in the state.
 
King-Chavez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship
Applicant must be a U.S. citizen who is admitted to a master's or doctoral program at the University of Michigan and is in good academic standing. Must be a resident of the state of Michigan and planning and able to teach in postsecondary education. Cannot be currently in default status on any guaranteed student loan and/or a KCP loan. Personal statement, budget statement, three letters of recommendation, and current curriculum vitae (c.v.) required.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$35,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Not Available

 

 

 
Academic Excellence Scholarship
Applicant must be a law student at the Michigan State University College of Law. Minimum 155 LSAT score and 3.5 GPA required. There is no separate application. All law school candidates are considered.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$28,500

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Not Available

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if requirements are met

 
Lavina Laible Scholarship
Applicant must be a woman who is transferring to the U of Michigan for her junior year, and be a resident of Kent County, Mich. Selection is based upon academic achievement, extracurricular activities, personal statement, and financial need.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$25,002

APPLICATION DEADLINE

April 1

 

 

 
Moody's Mega Math Challenge
Applicant must be a high school junior or senior who is part of a team working to solve an open-ended, applied math-modeling problem focused on a real-word issue in 14 hours. Teams must be comprised of three to five students.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 17

 

 

Additional Resources

Article Sources
Methodology

To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,649 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the most recent data available from government sources. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The estimated cost of books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average net price for students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average net price for low-income students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Average retention rate for full-time and part-time students, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
    • Remedial services
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Guaranteed tuition plan
    • Tuition payment plan
    • Any other alternative tuition plan
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Eastern Michigan University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
202 Welch Hall
City
Ypsilanti
State
MI
Zip Code
48197
Website
www.emich.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
460-560
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-580
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
17,682
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$35
Admission Rate
73%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$11,209
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
17
Number of Online Programs Offered
15
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
27%
Ferris State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1201 S State St
City
Big Rapids
State
MI
Zip Code
49307
Website
www.ferris.edu/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
440-590
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
470-590
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Distant
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
12,866
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
78%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$11,144
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
16
Number of Online Programs Offered
25
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
25%
Grace Bible College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1011 Aldon SW
City
Wyoming
State
MI
Zip Code
49509
Website
www.gbcol.edu
Test Scores
Recommended
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
1,000
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
81%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$12,644
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
11
Number of Online Programs Offered
7
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
69%
Lake Superior State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
650 W Easterday Ave
City
Sault Ste Marie
State
MI
Zip Code
49783
Website
www.lssu.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
430-540
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
430-520
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
2,099
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$25
Admission Rate
91%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$11,019
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
16
Number of Online Programs Offered
6
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
7%
Madonna University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
36600 Schoolcraft Rd
City
Livonia
State
MI
Zip Code
48150
Website
www.madonna.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
18-23
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
2,629
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$25
Admission Rate
75%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$19,500
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
11
Number of Online Programs Offered
3
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
38%
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
503 Thompson Street
City
Ann Arbor
State
MI
Zip Code
48109
Website
www.umich.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
640-730
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
670-770
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
29-33
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
28,983
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$75
Admission Rate
29%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$15,310
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
12
Number of Online Programs Offered
9
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
1%
Michigan State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
N/A
City
East Lansing
State
MI
Zip Code
48824
Website
https://www.msu.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
450-590
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
540-670
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
24-29
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
39,090
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$65
Admission Rate
66%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$14,880
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
17
Number of Online Programs Offered
27
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
23%
Northern Michigan University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1401 Presque Isle Avenue
City
Marquette
State
MI
Zip Code
49855
Website
www.nmu.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
280-350
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
480-590
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
7,168
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$35
Admission Rate
76%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$10,024
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
21
Number of Online Programs Offered
8
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
19%
Oakland University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
2200 North Squirrel Road
City
Rochester Hills
State
MI
Zip Code
48309
Website
www.oakland.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
335-500
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
470-610
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-27
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
16,568
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
86%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$12,923
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
21
Number of Online Programs Offered
10
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
20%
Central Michigan University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
106 Warriner Hall
City
Mount Pleasant
State
MI
Zip Code
48859
Website
www.cmich.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
450-570
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
440-570
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Distant
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
19,877
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$35
Admission Rate
72%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$11,745
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
22
Number of Online Programs Offered
36
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
28%
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