One of the most populous U.S. states, Michigan hosts over 180 institutions of higher education. Many of these schools offer their academic programs online, enabling students to earn a degree from the comfort of their home. Online education makes college accessible to all types of students by cutting down on campus visits and scheduled class sessions.
Earning a degree comes with many benefits. In 2019, workers with a bachelor's degree earn an average annual salary of $64,986, compared to an average salary of $38,792 for high school graduates. Students enrolled online at Michigan colleges often improve their career and salary prospects while working their current job.
This page offers an overview of online colleges in Michigan, including typical admission requirements, state residency requirements, and scholarships for Michigan students.
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College students must reside in Michigan for at least six months prior to the first day of classes to qualify for in-state tuition.
Tuition rates vary among colleges and academic programs, but an online bachelor's degree in Michigan typically costs $38,496-$60,593.
While Michigan does not offer tuition-free college, many students benefit from various higher education funding options, including grants, scholarships, and loans.
The National Center for Education Statistics lists 189 colleges in Michigan, including community colleges and four-year colleges and universities.
Best Online Colleges in Michigan 2021
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.
Andrews University is a Seventh-day Adventist institution, founded in 1874 with a starting class of just 12 students. Today, the university enrolls nearly 5,000 students annually and offers 94 undergraduate programs and 67 graduate programs. Located in Berrien Springs, the 2,400-acre campus sits just 12 miles from beautiful Lake Michigan.
Andrews University offers flexible, affordable, transferable online classes. Online programs are available at the undergraduate level in business, health professions, degree completion, and religion. At the graduate level, business, education, education administration, leadership, health professions, and seminary degrees are available.
Additionally, 80 individual classes are available year round in a digital format. Undergraduate students taking less than 12 credits pay a tuition rate of $1,273 per credit. Those taking over 16 credits pay $1,037 per credit.
Andrews University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Located in Mount Pleasant and established in 1892, Central Michigan University started as a teachers' college and now offers a comprehensive liberal arts education. CMU enrolls over 16,000 students on its Mount Pleasant campus and more than 8,000 online. More than 20% of students on CMU's main campus supplement their on-campus classes with online courses.
CMU's online classes are designed to be as engaging and challenging as traditional classes, also allowing students to experience a stronger work-life balance and study on their own schedule. Online courses follow eight-, 12-, and 16-week formats. For students transferring to CMU with fewer than 56 credits, tuition costs $417 per credit hour. For students who enter with 56 or more credits, tuition costs $434 per credit hour.
CMU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, with many more organizations issuing accreditation to relevant CMU programs.
The University of Michigan-Flint opened in 1956 and enrolls nearly 7,000 students today. Flint is often referred to as a "hub of education" within mid-Michigan. For students who live in the Flint area, many cultural attractions, festivals, events, entertainment, and recreation options are available to enjoy.
Over 35 online and mixed-mode programs are available through UM-Flint, providing students with convenient access to experienced faculty, quality courses, affordable pricing, and various student support services. Mixed-mode programs typically require students to visit campus monthly or every six weeks, depending on the program.
No matter where you are with your education and career, UM-Flint can help you start or finish a degree, develop new skills, or advance your professional path. Online in-state tuition costs $498 per credit hour and requires proof of Michigan residency. Online, domestic out-of-state tuition costs $549 per credit hour.
The University of Michigan-Flint is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and many of the university's programs hold subject-specific accreditation.
Baker College is Michigan's largest independent, not-for-profit college. Located in Owosso and founded as Baker Business University in 1911, Baker College offers both undergraduate and graduate programs across eight academic colleges.
Baker Online is a distance-learning institution that provides a flexible schedule over eight-week semesters. Students can watch lectures, conduct research, submit assignments, and even collaborate with professors and peers — all from the comfort of their chosen location. For the 2021-2022 academic year, undergraduate tuition costs $425 per credit hour.
Baker College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and holds specialized accreditations in business administration, engineering and technology, health sciences, human services, running start, the school of education, the school of nursing, and the school of occupational therapy.
Baker College is also an HLC Open Pathway Institution, meaning it maintains HLC accreditation by pursuing improvement projects to meet its current needs and goals.
Ferris State University is a midsized public university with seven degree-granting colleges, including arts, sciences, and education; business; and engineering. More than 180 undergraduate and graduate majors are available at FSU, which is located in Big Rapids, Michigan.
FSU offers more than 30 online associate, bachelor's, graduate, and certificate programs. Undergraduate tuition for first-year and sophomore students costs $433 per credit hour, and junior and senior students pay $470 per credit. An additional fee of $12 per credit hour applies to all online courses to support this instruction format.
Ferris State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has specialized accreditors for specific programs.
What Are the Goals of an Online Degree?
Online degrees offer several notable advantages over their campus counterparts, including the ability to complete coursework from anywhere with an internet connection. Many online programs offer their classes asynchronously, enabling students to complete classwork at any time of day, without the need to log on for live class sessions. The flexibility of online learning often enables students to maintain full-time employment while completing their degree.
The rapid growth of distance learning means that colleges now offer online programs in almost every major academic discipline and professional field. Students often complete programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
Why Get an Online Degree?
Students enroll at online colleges for many reasons, including academic flexibility and more affordable tuition. The following list highlights some of the most notable benefits of online education.
- Flexibility: Many online programs enable students to complete coursework anywhere at any time, offering far more flexibility than on-campus programs.
- Tuition Discounts: Online programs often offer tuition discounts to distance learners. Some public online colleges in Michigan offer discounted in-state tuition rates to out-of-state online students.
- Increased Degree Options: Online programs allow students to enroll at colleges nationwide, offering a wider total selection of degree options when compared to campus programs.
- Ability to Maintain a Career: The flexibility of online education commonly enables students to maintain their current job. Many schools design their online programs with working students in mind.
- Self-Paced Options: Many online programs also offer self-paced options, which allow students to complete coursework on their own schedule.
What Are the Requirements for an Online School?
Admission requirements for online colleges in Michigan vary by school, program, and degree, but many schools maintain the same general standards. At the undergraduate level, eligible applicants hold a high school or GED diploma. Many schools also ask applicants to submit SAT or ACT standardized test scores.
At the graduate level, all online programs require applicants to possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college. Graduate programs commonly call for students to submit GRE or GMAT test scores. Many programs also ask students to submit samples of undergraduate work related to their graduate area of focus.
Scholarships for Online Students
Students enrolled in Michigan online colleges often finance their education with grants, loans, and scholarships. Consider scholarships first, since they do not require repayment. The following list highlights five popular scholarships for online colleges in Michigan.
Who Can Apply: The Bay Area Community Foundation offers this scholarship to high school seniors planning to attend a two-year or four-year program in Michigan. Eligible applicants hold a minimum 2.0 GPA and reside in Bay, Midland, or Saginaw counties.
Who Can Apply: Michigan Sugar Company offers this scholarship to female students age 18-23 attending an accredited college in Michigan. Eligible applicants hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit two recommendation letters and a current picture. Scholarship finalists interview with the selection committee.
Who Can Apply: The UAW Local 668 offers this scholarship to Michigan high school and college students pursuing programs in skilled/vocational trades. Eligible applicants attend or plan to attend a Michigan college and demonstrate financial need. High school applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA, while college applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Who Can Apply: The Grand Rapid Community Foundation offers more than 70 need-based scholarships to students who reside in Kent County (including the Grand Rapids metro area). Eligible applicants submit financial information, academic transcripts, and a short essay on their academic interests and community involvement.
Who Can Apply: The Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) offers this scholarship to the children of MRA members or part-time employees of MRA businesses. The scholarship committee considers academic achievement, test scores, and community engagement. Unlike many scholarships, the committee does not consider financial need.