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Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in Michigan. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

We included only accredited institutions, which means they comply with the high standards of education required by the accrediting body. In Michigan, the majority of the colleges receive accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). As a regional accreditor, HLC provides quality assurance for higher learning institutions in a 19-state area in the north central region of the United States.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Michigan

Best Online Colleges in Michigan Badge

Central Michigan University

Andrews University

Michigan State University

Eastern Michigan University

Madonna University

Ferris State University

University of Michigan

Michigan Technological University

Wayne State University

Kettering University

University of Detroit Mercy

University of Michigan at Flint

Northern Michigan University

Grand Valley State University

Northwood University

Spring Arbor University

Siena Heights University

Lawrence Technological University

Walsh College

Davenport University

Oakland University

Cornerstone University

Western Michigan University

Baker College

University of Michigan at Dearborn

Concordia University-Ann Arbor

Rochester University

Grace Christian University

Calvin University

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Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Michigan

Does Michigan have good online colleges and universities?

Yes, Michigan has decent online colleges and universities. At the bachelor’s degree level, Michigan offers a number of online schools that rank around No. 100 nationally according to U.S. News and World Report. The best school for online bachelor’s degree programs in Michigan is Siena Heights University, which earned a No. 30 national ranking. At the graduate level, Michigan State University and University of Michigan–Ann Arbor both offer several highly ranked programs. At the community college level, the Michigan Colleges Online consortium offers a range of online degree and certificate programs.

That said, there are many excellent online college programs available in other states as well. If you’re open to attending a school that’s located in another state, check out our guide to the best accredited online colleges. In addition to showing you the top 30 options in the entire United States for remote learning, this guide offers expert advice on how to choose a college and complete the application process.

Do online college credits in Michigan cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some colleges offer discounted rates for online courses regardless of where you live, while others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. Most online degree programs in Michigan charge in-state and out-of-state students the same tuition. At the community college level, however, out-of-state students tend to pay more than in-state students.

Why should you choose Michigan for online higher education?

Michigan’s online degree programs combine quality and affordability at all levels — bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, associate degree, and certificate programs. Whatever degree you’re seeking, Michigan offers viable options.

The Cost of Online College in Michigan

How much does an online degree in Michigan cost?

The cost of an online degree in Michigan depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you choose to pursue. For example, undergraduate courses are usually more affordable than graduate courses. Also, you may find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save a lot of money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the current rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Michigan below:

Most affordable online college in Michigan: Oakland University, $312 per credit

Most expensive online college in Michigan: Western Michigan University, $577 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in Michigan to get in-state tuition rates?

Michigan requires you to have lived in the state for 12 consecutive months prior to declaring residency. To qualify for in-state tuition, you must prove that you came to the state for a reason other than education. This requires, for instance, not enrolling in college during your residency period, paying state income taxes, and indicating that you intend to remain in the state for the foreseeable future.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Michigan?

Michigan offers several ways to reduce your tuition costs. In the past, the state actively participated in the Midwest Student Exchange Program, which enables online students from the Midwest to pay reduced tuition at other colleges and universities in the Midwest. Currently, Michigan is an inactive member of the program, meaning that you cannot benefit from the tuition reciprocity agreements. However, it’s possible Michigan will become active in the program in the future.

The state also sponsors the Michigan Tuition Grant, which awards need-based funding of up to $3,000 per year to Michigan students enrolled at eligible colleges and universities in the state. Eligibility for the grant is determined based on FAFSA application data, so it’s important to file early and accurately. The FAFSA will also show if you are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and other financial aid awards.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Michigan

In addition to the Michigan Tuition Grant, there are a number of other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are also based on financial need, while others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent financial aid options for you below:

Rosa L. Parks Scholarship

The Rosa L. Parks Foundation provides scholarships to college-bound Michigan high school seniors who hold close to Parks’ ideals while demonstrating academic excellence and commitment to community.

Who’s eligible? Michigan high school seniors with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Contact information: [email protected]

Learn more

​​Michigan Competitive Scholarship

This state-sponsored scholarship provides up to $1,500 per year in funding to students who demonstrate both financial need and academic merit.

Who’s eligible? Michigan residents who earn an SAT score of at least 1200 and demonstrate financial need.

Contact information: [email protected] | 888-447-2687

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Michigan Reconnect

This state-sponsored program offers free in-district community college tuition to adults ages 25 and older who want to return to school to earn a career-related certificate or associate degree.

Who’s eligible? Michigan residents ages 25 and older who will return to a local community college to earn a certificate or degree.

Contact information: [email protected] | 888-447-2687

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Kelsey’s Law Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship

This is a contest-based scholarship program sponsored by a Michigan law firm. Awards range from $500 to $2,000. To enter the contest, you must make a YouTube video, tweet, or graphic that encourages people, especially teens, to avoid distractions such as cellphones while driving.

Who’s eligible? Michigan high school students in grades 11 or 12 who have a valid Michigan driver’s license.

Contact information: Online form | 866-886-9668

Learn more

Top 5 Fast-Growing Industries in Michigan

If you’re still in the process of assessing your college options, you may also be undecided on your major. When selecting a major, one of the most important factors to consider is your future employability. Thinking about which industries and careers are growing the fastest in Michigan can make it easier to find a job once you graduate, and being in demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Long-Term Occupational Projections (2020–2030), we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in Michigan:

Dental Laboratory Technicians

Dental laboratory technicians work with dentists to design and manufacture corrective devices for and replacements of natural teeth, such as dentures, implants, and orthodontics. As people live longer, it makes sense that Michigan and other states will see an increased demand for these professionals. In Michigan, dental laboratory technicians make an average annual salary of $48,490.

  • Growth: 35.4%
  • Degree options: Certificate in Dental Laboratory Technology, Associate in Dental Laboratory Technology

Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary

Across the nation, demand for health professionals is on the rise due to the country’s aging population. Michigan is no exception. In addition to clinical practitioners, the state also needs qualified health professionals who can teach students to become doctors, nurses, dentists, veterinarians, etc. In Michigan, health specialties professors earn an average annual salary of $129,630.

  • Growth: 25.7%
  • Degree options: Master of Public Health, Master of Nursing Science, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Veterinary Science, Doctor of Nursing, Doctor of Dentistry, doctorates in other health-related fields

Personal Care Aides

As Michigan’s population ages and chronic and acute medical conditions become more prevalent, the state is in increasing need of personal care aides to assist patients, often older adults or disabled people, with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and bathing. In Michigan, personal care aides make an average annual salary of $28,930.

Software Developers and Testers

As governments, companies, and individuals become ever more reliant on web-based technologies, it’s no surprise that the skills of software developers and testers are in high demand. Salaries in this field tend to be quite high — in Michigan, software developers earn an average salary of $101,800, and software testers make $83,710.

  • Growth: 22.8%
  • Degrees options: Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Master’s degree in Software Engineering, Master’s degree in Computer Science

Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers work in many different fields, from healthcare to finance. They focus on maximizing efficiency and eliminating waste. Unlike some other types of engineers (nuclear, chemical, etc.), industrial engineers can typically enter their careers with only a bachelor’s degree. In Michigan, industrial engineers earn an average annual salary of $95,210.

  • Growth: 20.4%
  • Degree options: Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering, Bachelor’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Bachelor’s in Operations Research, Bachelor’s in Supply Chain Management, Bachelor’s in Manufacturing Engineering, Master’s in Industrial Engineering

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