Online Schools and Colleges in Michigan

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In 2016, the Michigan Department of Education created an initiative called Top 10 in 10 Years, with the goal to make Michigan a top-10 education state by 2026. The Department of Education has created a list of objectives and strategies for reaching this goal, including integrating better student support by providing more non-traditional learning opportunities, such as online coursework. This is great news for aspiring college students who are looking for the flexibility and affordability that online education offers. So how do Michigan’s online colleges and universities stack up against the rest of the nation, and what can students do to make sure they’re choosing not only the best-quality program, but the right program to fit their needs? We answer many frequently asked questions about earning a college degree online in Michigan below, and provide our picks for the best of the best online colleges in the state.

Top 10 Online Schools and Colleges in Michigan: 4-Year Colleges

Rank School Location
1 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
2 Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI
3 Northwood University Midland, MI
4 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
5 Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI
6 Siena Heights University Adrian, MI
7 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
8 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI
9 University of Detroit Mercy Detroit, MI
10 Northern Michigan University Marquette, MI
Advertisement AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Best Online Colleges in Michigan 2020

More Michigan adults hold a college degree than ever before as the state makes progress toward closing the gap between its college attainment rate and the national average. Michigan’s higher education offerings include many colleges and universities with online programs. College costs more in Michigan than the national average, but online students can take advantage of financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of tuition.

This guide covers important information about online schools and colleges in Michigan, covering topics such as the importance of accreditation, financial aid opportunities, and adult education programs in Michigan.

  1. Central Michigan University
    Location

    Mount Pleasant, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Central Michigan University is a public research institution in Mount Pleasant and is one of the largest schools in the state. In eight-, 12-, and 16-week formats, you can earn your undergraduate or graduate degree in the applied arts, sciences, and education. At CMU, you can position yourself for exciting careers in product development and visual merchandising with a Bachelor of Science degree in fashion merchandising and design. For more traditional tracks, CMU offers bachelor's degrees in education, psychology, and political science. Online options for graduate students include master's degrees in nutrition and dietetics, and entrepreneurial transactions, or doctoral degrees in educational technology or health administration. CMU uses the Blackboard system to deliver courses both synchronously and asynchronously. Whichever format is used in your program, you will have 24/7 access to course content in addition to any scheduled chat sessions, lectures, or exams.

  2. Grand Valley State University
    Location

    Allendale, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Unlike many online programs, Grand Valley State University features far-reaching and diverse interdisciplinary studies and liberal arts programs for distance learners. At this public university in Grand Rapids, Michigan, you can earn degrees in women, gender, and sexuality studies, political science, history, and global studies in fully online or hybrid formats. Courses are self-paced and asynchronous and allow for working adults to work around their busy schedules. Transfer credit may be accepted toward your online degree at Grand Valley and are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

  3. Northwood University
    Location

    Midland, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Northwood University offers fully online and hybrid degrees in business administration. Some of the programs, such as the bachelor's degree in advanced manufacturing business, require a minimum of 30 transfer credits in a related specialized area or an associate degree for admission. A minor concentration in operations and supply chain management, which requires blended coursework, or international business can be coupled with any of Northwood's 11 BBA undergraduate majors. A fully online MBA and Master of Science in finance or organizational leadership are also available at Northwood. The MBA can be completed in 24 months. All students, regardless of location, pay a flat tuition cost per credit.

  4. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    Location

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor offers online degrees for undergraduates and graduates. At UM, there is no communal distance learning website where all online degree offers are managed and listed. Rather, individual departments oversee their online degree programs, determine the admissions process, curriculum, and degree offerings. Distance learners at UM can pursue bachelor's degrees n dental hygiene, or master's degrees in health management and policy, dental hygiene, or one of five graduate engineering programs. UM master's degree programs generally require around 36 credits to complete. Distance learners should expect to spend 24 months working toward graduation. In most cases, transfer credits from other programs cannot be accepted.

  5. Ferris State University
    Location

    Big Rapids, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At Ferris State University, you can quickly work toward a bachelor's degree in their "degree completion program," a master's degree, or earn an undergraduate or graduate certificate. This bachelor's degree program is designed for students who already have an associate degree or 48 transferable credits from an accredited school. Those credits count as the first two years of your bachelor's degree, therefore saving you time and money. Many distance learners complete their bachelor's degree in fields such as dental hygiene, respiratory therapy, integrative studies, or health information management in two years. Traditional master's degrees, in areas like business administration, healthcare administration, and public health, can also be earned online or in a blended format in two years or less.

  6. Siena Heights University
    Location

    Adrian, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Siena Heights University's online program features associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees for just about any area of study. Distance learners can take advantage of Siena's undergraduate business administration programs, featuring specializations in business administration, management, and marketing. You can also earn an online MBA in a program with no prerequisites that is open to students of all backgrounds, not just those with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. This MBA program is especially designed for students interested in business ethics, sustainable business management, and business strategy and planning. Students who wish to transfer into Siena must have a minimum 2.0 GPA and completed 12 semester hours of transferable credit. If you do not have 12 credits, you must follow the standard admission requirements.

  7. Michigan State University
    Location

    East Lansing, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At Michigan State University, distance learners can earn graduate degrees online or in a hybrid format. Master of Science degrees are available in supply chain management, management, strategy, and leadership, and healthcare management. You can earn your master's degree in supply chain management in as few as 21 months with only nine days of on campus commitments. The degree in management, strategy, and leadership, is 100 percent online and is an accelerated 20-month program. The healthcare management master's degree is also fully online, with seven semesters of coursework and a capstone project, and can be finished in two years. Graduate certificates in business analytics, supply chain management, and strategic leadership and management are also available. Transfer credits from accredited institutions can be accepted at MSU but must be approved on a case-by-case basis.

  8. Davenport University
    Location

    Grand Rapids, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Using the Blackboard system, Davenport University offers many asynchronous degree programs that allow for maximum flexibility for distance learners. Some majors utilize live streaming and virtual classroom technology and follow the synchronous format. In either case, Davenport's expert teachers ensure that you have the best instruction for the course. At Davenport, you can earn various master's degrees, undergraduate degrees, and participate in post-baccalaureate certificate programs. With more than 50 undergraduate programs, Davenport boats a robust variety of business majors. As an online student, you can earn business degrees in management, international business, accounting, legal studies, among other flexible, asynchronous programs. Undergraduate online students receive a 33 percent discount on tuition and can transfer up to 90 credits toward their degree. Transfer students with associate degrees are encouraged to transfer those credits toward a qualifying bachelor's degree. In these cases, you can finish your degree in two years or less.

  9. University of Detroit Mercy
    Location

    Detroit, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Detroit Mercy is a private Catholic institution with a selection of graduate degrees available online. Aside from a two-week, full-time orientation session for some majors, requirements for most degrees can be earned remotely. Detroit Mercy boasts diverse offerings in various healthcare fields, including master's degree programs in adult-gerontology, clinical nurse leader/nursing, and health systems management, in addition to a certificate in business turnaround management, and two post master's certificates in nursing. All students pay the same tuition costs and fees regardless of their location.

  10. Northern Michigan University
    Location

    Marquette, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Northern Michigan Universityin Marquette features a global online campus with fully online and hybrid degree and certificate options. In addition to traditional majors commonly offered for undergraduate distance learners, this global campus specializes in masters level training in the education field. With degrees in early childhood endorsement, education administration, and four Master of Education specialty areas, degree seekers interested in teaching in grades K?12 will find a diverse set of online options at Northern Michigan. Tuition costs vary per program, but all distance learners pay the same tuition costs and fees.

Top 9 Online Schools and Colleges in Michigan: 2-Year Colleges

Rank School Location
1 Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor, MI
2 Lansing Community College Lansing, MI
3 Delta College University Center, MI
4 Kirtland Community College Roscommon, MI
5 St Clair County Community College Port Huron, MI
6 Kellogg Community College Battle Creek, MI
7 Mid Michigan Community College Harrison, MI
8 Bay College Escanaba, MI
9 Glen Oaks Community College Centreville, MI
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Explore programs of your interests
with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

  1. Washtenaw Community College
    Location

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  2. Lansing Community College
    Location

    Lansing, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  3. Delta College
    Location

    University Center, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  4. Kirtland Community College
    Location

    Roscommon, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  5. St Clair County Community College
    Location

    Port Huron, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  6. Kellogg Community College
    Location

    Battle Creek, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  7. Mid Michigan Community College
    Location

    Harrison, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  8. Bay College
    Location

    Escanaba, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  9. Glen Oaks Community College
    Location

    Centreville, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I’m Looking for in Michigan?

Learners can choose from many online colleges in Michigan, which may feel overwhelming. Prospective online students can research programs by visiting school websites and reaching out to potential schools. Students can also find information about online schools and colleges in Michigan through the resources below.

How Much More Do College Grads in Michigan Make?

College graduates typically earn higher salaries and enjoy more job opportunities than individuals without a degree. Michiganders with a bachelor’s degree make over $23,000 more per year on average than residents with just a high school diploma or GED credential. College graduates in the state also experience lower levels of unemployment and lower poverty levels.

The following table highlights the median annual earnings in the U.S. by level of education, illustrating that higher levels of education correlate with increased earnings.

LESS THAN A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMAHIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMAASSOCIATE DEGREE
$28,756$37,960$44,824
BACHELOR’S DEGREEMASTER’S DEGREEDOCTORAL DEGREE
$62,296$74,568$94,900
Source: BLS

Paying for Online College in Michigan: Tuition and Financial Aid

In-state tuition in Michigan costs about $3,000 more, on average, than the national average, while out-of-state tuition costs over $10,000 more each year than the national average. However, private colleges in Michigan cost about $4,000 less per year than the national average.

IN-STATE TUITIONOUT-OF-STATE TUITIONNATIONAL AVERAGE
$12,435$37,600$9,037 (In-State)

$25,657 (Out-of-State)
TUITIONOUT-OF-STATE TUITIONNATIONAL AVERAGE
$26,964N/A$30,731
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost Considerations for Online Students in Michigan

When weighing the overall cost of their education, students should consider expenses beyond tuition, such as required travel, online fees, and tuition agreements.

  • Required Travel: Some online programs require students to complete on-campus residences ranging from one day to multiple weekends or weeks. Tuition does not include any required travel expenses.
  • Flat Online Fees: Many online schools and colleges in Michigan charge flat fees to students taking online courses to pay for special technology and other services available to online learners.
  • Tuition Agreements for Out-of-State Students in Online Programs: Many schools offer special tuition agreements for out-of-state online students that reduce education costs.
  • Cost Differences for Specific Online Programs: Some schools charge higher tuition rates for certain online programs, such as business and nursing.
  • Technology Fees: Learners may need to pay technology-related expenses, such as laptop and electronic book fees.

Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Michigan

Michigan learners who qualify for in-state tuition save $25,255 per year compared to out-of-state students. In-state tuition requirements vary by program, but prospective students can potentially qualify for in-state tuition by demonstrating residency, proving they attended an accredited Michigan middle or high school, or demonstrating that a family member served in the U.S. military or Public Health Service.

Paying for College in Michigan: Scholarships and Financial Aid

Online students in Michigan enjoy many financial aid opportunities, such as loans, scholarships, and grants. Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not require repayment. We cover several scholarship and grant opportunities for online learners in Michigan below.

Scholarships for Michigan College Students


  • Fostering Futures Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Students who were in the foster care system due to abuse or neglect on or after their 13th birthday qualify for this opportunity. Students must be enrolled in participating Michigan colleges.

    Amount: $3,000 a year

    Apply For Scholarship


  • Michigan Competitive Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Students must score at least 1200 on the SAT, demonstrate financial need, and earn a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for this opportunity.

    Amount: $1,000 a year

    Apply For Scholarship


  • Michigan Gear Up Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: To qualify for this opportunity, students must complete a six-year MI Gear Up program for low-income children starting in middle school, be a resident of Michigan, and start college before they turn 22.

    Amount: $2,000 a year

    Apply For Scholarship


  • Michigan Nurses Foundation Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Applicants must attend a Michigan nursing school that awards nursing degrees or certificates for practical ; applicants must also demonstrate good academic standing.

    Amount: $1,000

    Apply For Scholarship


  • The Albert Flegenheimer Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Michigan Sugar Company awards this scholarship to high school seniors who complete a Youth Sugarbeet Project. Applicants must live in a Michigan county where sugar beets grow.

    Amount: $2,500

    Apply For Scholarship


Grants for Michigan College Students


  • Perkins Career and Technical Education Grant

    Who Can Apply: This grant supports students in technical and career education programs that lead to degrees in high demand, high wage, and high skill occupations.

    Amount: Varies

    Apply For Grant


  • Michigan Tuition Grant

    Who Can Apply: Applicants must complete the FAFSA, demonstrate financial need, and earn a high school diploma or equivalent. Awardees can use the grant at public or private colleges in Michigan.

    Amount: $2,800

    Apply For Grant


  • Children of Veterans Tuition Grant

    Who Can Apply: This program offers tuition assistance to the children of Michigan veterans who died, went missing, or became permanently disabled in the line of duty. Applicants must complete the FAFSA.

    Amount: $2,800

    Apply For Grant


  • Police Officer's and Fire Fighter's Survivor Tuition Act

    Who Can Apply: Children and surviving spouses of Michigan firefighters or police officers killed in the line of duty can apply for this opportunity. Applicants must complete the FAFSA and demonstrate financial need.

    Amount: Varies

    Apply For Grant


  • Tuition Incentive Program

    Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Michigan residents with a high school diploma who receive or have received Medicaid. Candidates must complete the FAFSA.

    Amount: Varies

    Apply For Grant


Financial Aid for Online Schools

The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Michigan

Accreditation is a voluntary, independent process that colleges and universities undergo to demonstrate that they meet high academic standards. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two.

Accreditation benefits students in several ways. For example, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many colleges and universities won’t accept or recognize degrees and transfer credits from non-accredited schools. Additionally, many employers prefer to hire candidates with an accredited degree.

Regional and National Accreditation

Regional accreditation typically applies to degree-granting institutions, while national accreditation applies to vocational and technical schools. Regional accreditation is considered the more prestigious of the two. Colleges in Michigan receive regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Subject-Specific Accreditation

Programs within a school can hold subject-specific accreditation, such as business, counseling, and nursing programs. Professions like nursing and counseling usually require individuals to hold a degree from an accredited program to qualify for licenses or certifications. Organizations responsible for subject-specific accreditation include the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited

Most schools provide information about their accreditation status on their websites. Students can also verify accreditation status through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation‘s searchable database.

Online College and Adult Education in Michigan

Adults seeking online education opportunities can choose from many online programs and initiatives in Michigan. The following sections cover online adult education programs and efforts in Michigan.

By the Numbers: Adult Education in Michigan

Michigan offers more than 100 free or low-cost adult education programs.

More than 30,000 students participate in adult education programs in Michigan each year.

Fewer than 9% of Michigan residents without a high school diploma or GED participate in adult education programs.

Sources: Michigan Department of Labor and Economic OpportunityMichigan Department of Talent and Economic DevelopmentMichigan League for Public Policy

Adult Education Programs for Michigan Students

  • GED®-To-School Program: Michigan’s Workforce Development Agency helps Michigan residents earn a GED credential and begin career-focused coursework at state community colleges and universities. Participants must complete an approved GED preparation program.
  • Michigan Works!: This association provides workforce development services and support to Michigan residents. Job seekers can find assistance at a Michigan Works! One-Stop Service Center, including job skills evaluations, resume support, and interviewing tips.
  • TRiO Educational Opportunity Center: This community-based center at Wayne State University provides services to more than 1,600 adults each year. Services include career assessments and workshops, guidance on entering a GED program or reentering high school, and assistance with selecting college courses.

Online College Resources for Michigan Students

Online students in Michigan can take advantage of several resources to support their studies. The following resources include information on topics like financial aid, career planning, and Michigan program availability.


  • MI Student Aid This state-created website offers financial planning information for prospective learners and their families. Students can learn about financial aid programs, eligibility, and application deadlines in Michigan.

  • Affording College in Michigan This guide helps prospective students and their families understand college affordability. It includes information on planning and applying for college and resources for helping students afford higher education.

  • Financial Aid Websites for Michigan Colleges The Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning provides this list of financial aid websites at every college in Michigan.

  • Michigan Education and Career Pathfinder This online career planning tool helps Michigan students make decisions about their career and education options and create educational development plans.

  • Postsecondary Schools in Michigan The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity provides resources about postsecondary schools in Michigan, including forms for filing student complaints, information about degree-granting online schools, and forms for requesting transcripts and asserting residency.

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.


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