Best Colleges in Michigan

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Picking the right college is not easy. This is true everywhere and Michigan, with more than 100 schools to choose from, is no exception. From large research universities to small liberal arts colleges, Michigan is home to a spectrum of higher education institutions. To find the right school, you’ll need to weigh tuition costs, academic offerings, financial aid and many other factors. To help, we have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in Michigan, including the top four-year and two-year schools.

To provide the best list possible, we have accounted for all of the factors students value when choosing a college. Key measures incorporated in our algorithm include acceptance, retention, graduation and enrollment rates. We have also included each school’s student loan default percentages, as we know how important it is for students to repay their debts upon graduation. The list below highlights the top two-year and four-year colleges in Michigan.

Michigan’s schools have a long history of providing an excellent education to students. The state’s oldest institution, the University of Michigan, was founded before statehood, and many four-year colleges in Michigan are among the top-ranked schools in the nation. Graduates from a Michigan college can expect to earn a significantly higher salary than non-degree holders throughout their careers.

Recent initiatives have increased public awareness and involvement in postsecondary education in Michigan. The Getting to Work program has produced plans and improvement suggestions for career counseling, college affordability, student debt and hands-on training. Considering Michigan’s reputation as a bastion of education, these developments bode well for enrollees in the state’s colleges.

As you’re researching the state’s various four-year options, we invite you to pursue our ranking of Michigan’s best colleges, presented below. Here you’ll find a short profile for each school, including a brief rundown of their academic strengths and campus attractions.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Location Description
1University of Michigan – Ann Arbor 3/5N/AAnn Arbor, MI

With esteemed schools and colleges, internationally recognized faculty and 250 degree programs, the U-M is one of the premier learning institutions in the nation. Several undergraduate offerings and graduate degree programs are available, including law, kinesiology, biophysics, business, and art and design.

Research and discovery are integral parts of the institution's mission. U-M conducts extensive research spanning science, engineering, medicine, social sciences, and the humanities. The school is also a leader in online learning and offers many free courses.

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2Michigan State University 3/5N/AEast Lansing, MI

MSU is among the world's top 100 universities with more than 200 undergraduate, graduate, and pre-professional programs of study. It is internationally well known for its research initiatives and is home to leading research centers.

On campus, Spartans have the opportunity to be part of a vibrant community, with numerous service-learning opportunities and more than 600 student organizations to choose from. MSU has a long history of international engagement and offers more than 275 study abroad programs in more than 60 countries. MSU produces many Fulbright scholars.

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3Kalamazoo College 5/5N/AKalamazoo, MI

Kalamazoo College is nationally known for the K-Plan, in which four points are addressed in learning: depth and breadth in the liberal arts and sciences; learning through experience; international engagement; and the senior individualized project.

Kalamazoo offers 31 majors and enrolls 1,450 students; admission is selective. Between 80-85% of students participate in an immersive international and intercultural experience. Kalamazoo ranks highly among U.S. institutions for graduates earning doctorates in areas such as life sciences and the physical sciences.

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4University of Michigan – Dearborn 3/5N/ADearborn, MI

Located on 200 acres of the original Henry Ford estate, the University of Michigan-Dearborn is an inclusive, student-focused institution rich with academic, research, and civic engagement opportunities. The university offers 78 bachelor's, 33 master's, and 4 doctoral/specialist degree programs. It has a student-to-teacher ratio of approximately 15:1.

UM-Dearborn offers more than 40 graduate programs in areas ranging from psychology and automotive systems engineering to educational technology. Many of these programs have evening and online options. The school also ranks highly among Michigan colleges in the number of co-ops and internship opportunities available-more than 700 annually-and on campus safety.

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5Andrews University 4/5N/ABerrien Springs, MI

Since its inception in 1874, Andrews University has placed an emphasis on scholarship and research, with a focus on practical Christianity. Through its eight schools and colleges, Andrews offers about 130 undergraduate and 70 graduate programs.

The university has extension schools in 19 countries on five continents. Through these schools students can transfer approved credits to Andrews. Highly invested in research, Andrews University is tracking eye movement in cognitive psychology labs, searching for gravitational waves, and more. Lifelong learning opportunities are available, including for teachers, retirees and pastors. The School of Distance Education coordinates off-campus/online programs.

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6Calvin College 4/5N/AGrand Rapids, MI

Calvin College's emphasizes rigorous academic study and preparing students to be agents of Christ in the world. Calvin has more than 100 majors, minors, and programs. Two graduate programs are available, including a master of education and a master of speech pathology & audiology. The school's top majors include engineering, business, nursing, kinesiology, and biology.

Graduates of Calvin College have high acceptance rates to graduate school and in securing employment. Many science graduates go on to earn doctorates. Among notable alumni is recent graduate John Muyskens, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist at The Washington Post.

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7Madonna University 3/5N/ALivonia, MI

A Catholic university, Madonna is a comprehensive liberal arts college that integrates academics with career preparation. Associate and bachelor's degrees are offered in more than 100 career-focused majors. More than 30 master's programs and one doctoral program are offered through the graduate school.

Among Madonna University's accomplishments is a long history of nursing education. It was also the first institution in the nation to offer a bachelor's degree in sign language studies. The university offers the only college-level program for hospice and palliative studies at the bachelor's and master's levels. The school has 11 varsity teams.

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8Hope College 4/5N/AHolland, MI

Located in downtown Holland, Hope College blends academic excellence and Christian faith. Its 91 majors, minors, and pre-professional programs embrace research and challenging collaboration. Students can choose from more than 200 study abroad programs in about 60 countries, in addition to numerous local internships; about 92% of students participate in experiential learning.

Recent stats show that 95% of Hope College's graduates were employed or in graduate school within six months; 79% of those employed full-time after graduation are working in their field of study. Hope College has received many National Science Foundation grants.

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9Albion College 5/5N/AAlbion, MI

Albion College is a private liberal arts college related to the United Methodist Church. It awards bachelor's degrees in areas ranging from accounting and environmental studies to biology and art. The school focuses on hands-on learning and career readiness. Among its special programs are holocaust studies, women's studies, and the Pathfinder program for life and career exploration.

The school's Whitehouse Nature Center is a classroom with a river running through it, five miles of trails and more than 400 plant species. Albion has produced Fulbright awardees and Truman Scholars.

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10Northwood University – Michigan 4/5N/AMidland, MI

Northwood University has a goal to develop the future leaders of a global, free-enterprise society. It is a specialized business school with bachelor of business administration (BBA) tracks such as advertising and marketing, accounting, entrepreneurship, international business, and management.

Of note is Northwood's BBA/MBA track, in which students complete a BBA in three years and a master of business administration degree in one additional year. An accelerated MBA program is also available. Northwood offers dual major programs, in which two majors are listed at the time of graduation; they can be completed in four years.

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11Lawrence Technological University 4/5N/ASouthfield, MI

Henry and Edsel Ford helped launch what would become Lawrence Theological University. It is one the nation's best institutions for engineering, architecture, science, and applied technology. LTU notes that its students and alumni have gone on to design and engineer many of the nation's innovative tools and products.

LSU's undergraduate and graduate offerings are broken down into four areas: arts & sciences, architecture & design, management, and engineering. programs of note include architecture & urban design, game art, and biomedical Engineering. LTU also offers its most sought-after degree programs online to meet demand.

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12Central Michigan University 3/5N/AMount Pleasant, MI

Founded as a teachers' college, CMU has grown into an institution with nationally acclaimed programs in areas ranging from engineering and business to the health professions. In addition to 20,000 students on its Mount Pleasant campus, the school has 7,000 students enrolled online and in satellite campuses across North America.

More than 200 undergraduate, graduate, specialist, and doctoral degrees programs are offered. CMU has accelerated programs, including a BS and MS in administration. CMU's programs for military members include flexible online, face-to-f​​​ace, or hybrid formats. CMU's Global Campus is well-recognized, as well.

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13Grand Valley State University 3/5N/AAllendale, MI

Students at Grand Valley State University can immerse themselves in a liberal arts education emphasizing critical thinking and problem resolution. The school's more than 200 areas of study include 86 undergraduate majors and 36 graduate programs. Among its popular majors are accounting, advertising and public relations, biomedical sciences, and education.

Grand Valley has more than 4,000 study abroad programs and 407 student organizations on campus. The school boasts 100% pass rates on professional licensure and certification, such as engineering, nursing (doctoral), physical assistant, and athletic training. Grand Valley is a military friendly school.

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14Oakland University 3/5N/ARochester Hills, MI

Recognized as a doctoral research institution, OU has a number of research centers on its campus, located on 1,443 acres of wooded hills and meadows. The school offers 136 bachelor's degree programs and 137 doctoral, master's degree, and certificate programs.

In addition to liberal arts, the school focuses on research such as robotics, biomedical, eye research, clean energy and stem cell and regenerative medicine. Students have the opportunity to participate in high-level research in their freshman year. OU's business, accounting, and nurse anesthesia program are highly ranked. OU has extensive online offerings.

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15Concordia University – Ann Arbor 4/5N/AAnn Arbor, MI

Affiliated with the Lutheran Church, Concordia University's Ann Arbor campus is located on 187 acres on the banks of the Huron River. CUAA offers 43 undergraduate programs; top majors include business, education, and biology. Master's degree programs are offered in education, business administration, and computer science.

Accelerated learning opportunities via evening classes are available for undergraduate, graduate degree, or certificates in areas ranging from criminal justice and health care management to accounting and nursing. Many programs are offered in partnership with Concordia University-Wisconsin, with online formats available. CUAA is military friendly.

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16Spring Arbor University 4/5N/ASpring Arbor, MI

Providing students with a rigorous education grounded in Christian faith is the mission of Spring Arbor University. On its campus, at 12 locations throughout Michigan and Ohio, and online, students can enroll in any of about 70 associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degree programs.

Traditional undergraduate majors range from actuarial science and biblical studies to biology and cross-cultural communication. Several master's programs are offered in areas such as business administration, nursing, and spiritual leadership. Spring Arbor, a military friendly school, is one also offers degree-completion programs in-class or online. Weekend courses are offered at various regional locations.

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17Alma College 5/5N/AAlma, MI

With around 1,400 undergraduate students, Alma College is a private liberal arts school. It awards bachelor's degrees in the arts and sciences with more than 50 programs on offer. Students also have the opportunity to design their own degree program. Alma's popular majors include art and design, biochemistry, environmental studies, management, and marketing.

Students in science, technology, engineering, and math work with accomplished scientists using cutting-edge equipment. Small class sizes allows students to develop the skills necessary to think critically and creatively to solve world issues. The school offers several pre-professional programs as well.

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18University of Detroit Mercy 5/5N/ADetroit, MI

The University of Detroit-Mercy notes that many of the region's prominent business, political, and cultural leaders attended UDM because of its challenging academic programs. More than 100 undergraduate, graduate degrees, and professional programs of study are delivered.

UDM's undergraduate and graduate business management programs are highly ranked nationally, as are its engineering and physician's assistant programs. Students at UDM are able to earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in five years. Areas of study include business, engineering, and cybersecurity. Of note is the Seven-Year B.S./D.D.S. program to earn a doctorate in dental surgery.

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19Cleary University 3/5N/AAnn Arbor, MI

Students seeking a career in business or those planning to transition into the field can enroll at Cleary University where “business strong” is more than a slogan. The school awards associate of business administration degrees in areas such as accounting and finance and management. Bachelor of business administration degrees can be earned in business analytics, business management, entrepreneurship, health care management, and others.

Three MBA programs are offered, in addition to a graduate certificate in financial planning. Cleary instituted the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to help nurture the ideas of students and entrepreneurs.

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20Siena Heights University 4/5N/AAdrian, MI

Siena Heights University (SHU) is a Catholic college with seven locations in Michigan and online programming. Students have more than 50 majors from which to choose to earn a bachelor's or master's degree with a liberal arts focus. With a 12:1 student teacher ratio, SHU offers traditional undergraduate programs in areas such as English, engineering, nursing, and philosophy.

Graduate programs are offered in education, organized leadership and mental health counselling. One of the best colleges in Michigan, SHU's accomplishments include: an approximately 95 percent placement rate into medical school; highly ranked online programming; and award-winning programs such as creative writing.

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21Aquinas College 4/5N/AGrand Rapids, MI

An educational community in the Catholic and Dominican tradition, Aquinas College provides a liberal arts education that emphasizes career preparation and embraces a global perspective. The school offers 61 majors leading to associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees.

Areas of focus range from fine arts and accounting to chemistry and business administration.
Graduate degrees are offered in education, management, sustainable business, and counselling. Aquinas has an extensive list of continuing education offerings for adult learners seeking to finish a degree, earn a new one, or attain personal enrichment. Several semester abroad opportunities are available.

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22Eastern Michigan University 2/5N/AYpsilanti, MI

Spread across 800 acres in Ypsilanti, Eastern Michigan University offers more than 200 majors and minors. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered in arts and sciences, business, education, health and humans services, and technology.

Doctoral programs are offered in areas such as clinical psychology, educational leadership, and technology. EMU has a wide array of certifications in areas ranging from teaching and sustainable construction to entrepreneurship and finance. EMU Online has an extensive catalog of courses, including eight master's degrees, three bachelor's degrees, and five graduate certificates.

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23University of Michigan – Flint 2/5N/AFlint, MI

With an enrollment of approximately 8,500 students, UM-Flint is located in a vibrant urban city. UM-Flint has more than 100 undergraduate and 18 master's degree programs in liberal arts and the sciences. The school notes that its programming is nationally recognized for rigor and relevance.

Of note are programs such as the actuarial mathematics program (BS), Africana studies general program (BA), wildlife biology program (BS), and a dual MBA and MS in accounting. UM-Flint offers several education certifications. Doctoral programs include anesthesiology and nursing.

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24Northern Michigan University 2/5N/AMarquette, MI

NMU is known for nationally recognized academic and award-winning leadership programs. It is a relatively large school with about 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students, offering 147 degree programs, including 25 graduate programs.

Some of NMU's degree programs are nationally or internationally recognized, including education, business, computer science, art and design, English, and nursing. NMU has unique programming, including diagnostic molecular science and cytogenetics programs. It is one of two colleges in the state to offer an entrepreneurship major. NMU has cutting-edge technology initiatives, including the use of next-generation technology in the classroom. NMU's Seaborg Science Complex has two dozen labs.

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25Ferris State University 3/5N/ABig Rapids, MI

With its main campus in Big Rapids, about 14,000 students, and 21 off-campus locations, FSU is the ninth-largest college in Michigan. FSU offers 180 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Its two-year degree programs “ladder” into four-year bachelor's degrees. Doctorates can be earned in education, pharmacy, and optometry.

Ferris gives students an opportunity to earn certificates, complete their degrees, or earn a master's online. Online programs of note include heating ventilation air conditioning and refrigeration degree, an MBA, and technical education. FSU notes that at least 140 degrees are directly aligned with in-demand fields such as finance, healthcare, and engineering.

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Among enrollees in Michigan’s public colleges, 53% of students attend two-year schools. Students come from all backgrounds, and while many plan to pursue a four-year degree, others seek an associate degree or trade school certification. Campuses include traditional junior colleges and technical schools, and attendance costs at Michigan’s two-year schools are higher than the national average. Still, those who complete an associate’s degree are rewarded with average salaries that outpace the earnings of workers who didn’t complete any college. Below, we’ve listed the top two-year schools in the state of Michigan.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Location Description
1Glen Oaks Community College 1/5N/ACentreville, MI

Glen Oaks Community College offers programs and courses for transfer, certificate completion, lifelong learning, and vocational training. Notable programs include Agricultural Business Operations, in partnership with Michigan State University, and Study Abroad, which is open to students, faculty, and community members. The accredited college also hosts the Alpha Delta Omega chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, which is the largest honor society in higher education. The college also offers Open-Entry/Open-Exit scheduling for students enrolled in its Machine Tool, Welding, and Electrical Technology programs. Such scheduling options allow students to work at their own pace.

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2Alpena Community College 2/5N/AAlpena, MI

Alpena Community College is among the best community colleges in Michigan. The accredited public institution, located in northeast Michigan, operates on two campuses, and offers one- and two-year programs for transfer and vocational training. In addition to degrees and certificates, the college offers customized corporate training. The college also offers distance learning programs, dual-enrollment, and a lifelong learning program. Perhaps the college's most unique physical feature is its large main campus, which is located on 700 acres, and includes a high ropes course, a Frisbee golf course, and a bike trail that follows along the Thunder Bay River.

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3West Shore Community College 1/5N/AScottville, MI

West Shore Community College is one of Michigan's best community colleges. The accredited public institution offers comprehensive general education programs designed to meet a variety of student needs. The institution's curricular offerings include academic degrees for transfer, one- or two-year certificates in occupational programs, as well as workforce training and lifelong learning. The college integrates the latest technology into its educational programs. In addition to its academic and vocational offerings, West Shore supports recreational facilities that include a wellness center, weight room, and an ice arena. The college also maintains a healthy endowment to support student learning.

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4Grace Bible College 3/5N/AWyoming, MI

Grace Bible College is an accredited evangelical Christian institution that offers academic curricula for associate, bachelor's, and graduate degrees, both online and at the college's Grand Rapids campus. The college also offers adult learning opportunities. Non-traditional students can earn an associate or bachelor's degree by studying online or meeting on campus once a week. The core curricula include traditional liberal arts courses, but all offerings are built around an evangelical Christian mission. In addition to its campus ministry, the Grace Bible College fields competitive athletic teams in soccer, basketball, volleyball, and cross-country running.

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5Muskegon Community College 2/5N/AMuskegon, MI

Muskegon Community College is among the best public community colleges in Michigan. With 41 associate degrees, and 48 certificate programs, the accredited institution prepares students for employment and supports continuing education and skill development. In addition to vocational and career training, the college supports academic programs for degree completion and transfer. Its motto, “Start, Stay, Succeed,” reflects the institution's commitment to student success. The college also supports its motto through its robust athletics programs. The Jayhawks compete in sports ranging from bowling to wrestling. Notable alumni include mixed martial arts Ultimate Fighting Champion, Tony Ferguson.

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6Delta College 1/5N/AUniversity Center, MI

Delta College enrolls approximately 16,000 students a year. Among these are transfer, occupational, dual-enrollment, and returning students. The accredited institution offers degrees and certificates across a wide range of fields, all supported by state-of-the-art technology. Among the best community colleges in Michigan, the institution is distinguished by its charter membership in the National League for Innovation in the Community College, which is devoted to improving and increasing experimentation and innovation. For less than a total annual cost of $3,500, which includes 24 credit hours of tuition, fees, and books, Delta College is also among the most cost-effective higher education institutions.

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7North Central Michigan College 1/5N/APetoskey, MI

One of Michigan's best public community colleges is located in a quaint resort community. From the creative arts to math, from CNC machining to health services, North Central Michigan College offers a wide range of degree and certificate programs. The accredited institution has also partnered with four Michigan universities to offer undergraduate and graduate programs at its University Center. North Central Michigan College students can complete their degrees from Central Michigan University, Ferris State University, Lake Superior University, or Spring Arbor University by taking the majority of their courses at the University Center, located at NCMC's main campus in Petoskey.

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8Schoolcraft College 1/5N/ALivonia, MI

Schoolcraft College enrolls approximately 36,000 students a year on three campuses. Its programs range across transfer preparation, continuing education, and professional development. The accredited public institution supports over 70 majors in its associate degree programs, and offers Open-Entry/Open-Exit, hybrid, and online courses. Students enrolled in the OE/OE program can complete a course in several weeks, a month or a standard semester. OE/OE students do not attend traditional classes and lectures, but instead complete courses at home, the college's computer labs, or the OE/OE lab, which is staffed by instructors during posted hours.

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9St Clair County Community College 2/5N/APort Huron, MI

Situated on 25 acres along the Black River, St Clair County Community College is one of the best community colleges in Michigan. The accredited public college prioritizes small class sizes, green technology, and state-of-the-art technology. Approximately 3,800 students are enrolled annually. SC4 has partnerships with four-year institutions -- Ferris State University, University of Michigan-Flint, and Walsh College -- which allow students to complete their bachelor's degrees while remaining in St. Clair County. In addition, Blue Water Middle College Academy high school students, and students participating in the Croswell-Lexington Early College Program can earn an Associate's degree concurrent with their secondary education.

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10Gogebic Community College 2/5N/AIronwood, MI

Gogebic Community College prides itself on a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. The accredited college emphasizes individuality in learning by promoting the ideas of ‘powering up thinking' and ‘shutting down anonymity' through debates with elected officials, simulated elections, and interactions with successful professionals. Associate of Science and the Associate of Arts degree programs are the main transfer vehicles for students seeking to complete a bachelor's degree. GCC also offers technical programs leading to degrees (Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Applied Business, and the Associate of Applied Technology), certificates, and immediate employment.

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11Washtenaw Community College 1/5N/AAnn Arbor, MI

Washtenaw Community College's annual enrollment is approximately 23,000 credit and 8,000 non-credit students. In support of that number, the accredited college offers over 100 programs and about 1,500 credit and non-credit classes yearly. These classes provide educational opportunities for degree completion, job skills updating, lifelong learning. Classes are offered seven days a week, and online. The 285-acre main campus is complemented by extension centers located to provide the county and surrounding areas in southeastern Michigan with comprehensive educational opportunities. Students are prepared for transfer to four-year institutions or entry into the workforce.

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12Grand Rapids Community College 2/5N/AGrand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids Community College supports a comprehensive array of learning opportunities, from its nursing and culinary arts programs to transfer preparation. The accredited college welcomes students from its own backyard and around the world. Among other educational opportunities, GRCC provides a number of paths toward an associate degree for those students unsure of their academic career, as well as options for high school students seeking dual-enrollment, guest students who can't find the classes they want at another institution, returning students, and students transferring from other institutions.

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13Jackson College 1/5N/AJackson, MI

Jackson College is an accredited community college in the process of developing curriculum for two bachelor degree programs and intensifying its focus on international studies. Among the best community colleges in Michigan, Jackson College enrolls approximately 8,000 students a year across its education centers in Jackson County, online, and in its Prison Education Initiative. The college's academic programs focus on transfer preparation, career training, and lifelong learning. There are six academic pathways: Business and Computer Technology, Health Sciences, Human Services, Liberal Arts, Science, Engineering and Mathematics, and Skilled Trades & Agriculture.

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14Lansing Community College 2/5N/ALansing, MI

In the middle range of annual in-state tuition at $5,210, Lansing Community College offers a comprehensive curriculum to serve its diverse population. LCC offers Career Pathways, a component of the Michigan Career Preparation System, a statewide initiative that promotes opportunities for students in the K-12 system and beyond to explore career opportunities. These pathways are: Arts and Communication; Business; Management, Marketing and Technology; Engineering/Manufacturing and Industrial Technology; Health Sciences; Human Services; and Natural Resources and Agriscience. Degree, certificate, and transfer programs within these pathways are available to students. Students can also choose programs of study from Accounting to Writing.

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15Lake Michigan College 2/5N/ABenton Harbor, MI

Lake Michigan College is one of few two-year accredited institutions that offer on-campus housing. LMC enrolls over 7,000 students annually at its four academic centers, about a third of which receive some type of financial aid. Through partnerships with Siena Heights University and Western Michigan University-Southwest, LMC students have access to over 20 bachelor's and master's degree programs on LMC campuses. LMC also has the only nationally accredited nursing program in southwestern Michigan. Additionally, the Napier Avenue Campus boasts a 50-acre science learning lab and wildlife sanctuary.

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16Oakland Community College 2/5N/ABloomfield Hills, MI

Oakland Community College is the largest institution of its kind in Michigan, and one of the largest in the U.S. The accredited public college has five campuses, and a district office in Bloomfield Hills. OCC offers diverse curricula in support of, and in addition to its five Associate degree programs (Applied Science, Business Administration, General Studies, Liberal Arts, and Science). Culinary Arts, Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Hospital Pharmacy Technology, Medical Assisting, Nursing Associate Degree, Paralegal, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Therapy, and Surgical Technology are the college's occupational programs individually accredited by state agencies or national associations/organizations.

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17Manthano Christian College 2/5N/AWestland, MI

Manthano Christian College's stated focus “is on education, not indoctrination.” To that end, the Michigan college emphasizes critical thinking and writing skills across the curriculum, which includes introductory courses ranging across the liberal arts. All degrees and certificates are in Biblical studies. The faith-based institution has an approximate annual cost of $5,000. The institution is authorized to offer degrees by the State of Michigan and the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

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18Southwestern Michigan College 2/5N/ADowagiac, MI

Southwestern Michigan College, an accredited public institution, offers over 30 associate degrees. Among the Michigan community college's top academic programs is the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. In partnership with Ferris State University, all the program's coursework is completed at the Dowagiac campus. Among the distinctive features of the Dowagiac location is on-campus housing that offers fully furnished private, two- and four-bedroom suites. The Student Activity Center, which houses a café, student lounge, also boasts a rock-climbing room. Students preparing for transfer to a four-year institution can begin their complete college education for approximately under $6,000 a year.

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19Mott Community College 1/5N/AFlint, MI

Flint, Michigan is home to Mott Community College. The accredited public institution offers credit and non-credit courses, and degree and certificate programs. Transfer preparation, career training, lifelong learning, and workforce development, are all supported by MCC's curricula, which is designed to support student advancement and achievement. That design includes annual tuition under $4,500, over 100 academic and occupational programs, small class sizes, and credits that transfer not only to all Michigan colleges and universities, but also to most postsecondary educational institutions in the United States.

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20Henry Ford Community College 1/5N/ADearborn, MI

Henry Ford Community College, located in metro Detroit, is an accredited public institution serving approximately 18,000 students annually in a multicultural community. Among the best Michigan community colleges, HFCC offers over 100 associate degree programs for career training and undergraduate transfer, and offers customized training for workforce development. HFCC's two Dearborn campuses offer day, evening, and weekend classes in facilities equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Programs range from Arab Cultural Studies to Automotive Service Management, and areas of study include Anthropology, Psychology, and World Languages. This diversity reflects the college community, which has had students from over 65 countries enrolled.

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21Montcalm Community College 2/5N/ASidney, MI

Montcalm Community College's semester enrollment averages approximately 2,000 students. Despite its relatively small size, the Michigan community college offers 62 associate degree, certificate, and occupational programs in state-of-the-art facilities. The accredited college also offers courses for transfer to baccalaureate programs, online courses, lifelong learning opportunities, and customized training services for area business and institutions. MCC's main campus is situated on 220 acres that includes three miles of walking trails, a visual arts center, and an NCAA-sized swimming pool. Three other sites offer additional classrooms, technology centers, conference rooms, and Open-Entry/Open-Exit professional skills training.

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22Baker College of Port Huron 2/5N/APort Huron, MI

Baker College of Port Huron is among Michigan's community colleges offering over 100 degree and certificate programs. The state's largest non-profit, private college offers diverse programs, including transportation, cyber defense, medical assistant, dental hygiene, surgical technology, and veterinary services. Among the 10 largest private colleges in the United States, Baker's focus is on career preparation. In addition to its undergraduate degree and certificate programs, the accredited institution offers graduate degrees in business, psychology, information systems, educational leadership, and occupational therapy. One of Baker's distinctions is its Lifetime Employment Assistance program, which is offered to all graduates.

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23Kirtland Community College 1/5N/ARoscommon, MI

Kirtland Community College offers 48 degree and certificate programs. In addition to its six transfer associate degree programs, the accredited Michigan community college offers certificates and training for career advancement, and courses to enhance existing skills. Programs in Health Sciences, Public Safety, Art, Business & Technology, and Trades/Occupational provide a broad range of educational opportunities at the college's associate degree programs are run online in Accounting, Arts, Business Administration, Business Management, and Health Information Technology. Accounting Clerk and Small Business Management & Entrepreneurship certificates are also offered online. Annual in-state tuition runs under $4,500.

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24Bay de Noc Community College 2/5N/AEscanaba, MI

Bay de Noc Community College is one of Michigan's community colleges. The accredited institution serves more than 5,000 students, and awards more than 500 Associate in Arts (AA), Associate in Science (AS), and Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degrees, and certificates annually. The student population includes those seeking to transfer, complete an associate degree, a certificate program, improve or enhance job skills, and complete undergraduate and graduate degrees sponsored by partner universities. Bay College is also the home of the first Michigan Technical Education Center (M-TEC), which provides customized and technical skill training and professional development opportunities.

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25Northwestern Michigan College 2/5N/ATraverse City, MI

Northwestern Michigan College, an accredited public community college offers the following certificates and degrees: Certificate of Achievement, Associate in Applied Science, Associate Degree in Nursing, Associate in General Studies, Associate in Science and Arts, Bachelor of Science in Maritime Technology, Bachelor of Science - Marine Technology, and bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees through NMC University Center partners. The college's branch campuses house a culinary institute, maritime academy, aviation program, and automotive service technology program. The campus also hosts a community radio station and an observatory.

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If you’re thinking about applying to one of the best colleges in Michigan, continuing reading to learn more about living in the Wolverine State.

Nicknamed the Great Lakes State, Michigan covers 57,022 square miles, including 16,439 square miles in the Upper Peninsula. Water enthusiasts love Michigan for its 3,126 miles of Great Lakes shoreline and 11,000 inland lakes. Wherever you are in the state, you won’t be more than 85 miles from one of the Great Lakes. Tourists and residents alike flock to the state’s many natural attractions: Mackinac Bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge, and Mackinac Island, a car-free zone bustling with tourists, are just two of the many popular destinations in Michigan.

Despite the many attractions, the cost of living in Michigan’s major cities is actually lower than in most places. Elite academic institutions and a low cost of living make Michigan an attractive place for college students.

Michigan offers diverse landscapes and experiences. The Upper Peninsula is vastly different from the rest of the state, and each region of the lower peninsula offers its own distinct traits. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the major regions in Michigan, presenting an overview of life throughout the state.


  • Major Cities: Traverse City, Mackinac City
  • Attractions: Mackinac Island, Mackinac Bridge, Sleeping Bear Dunes
  • Cost of Living: Traverse City
  • Popular Schools: Northwestern Michigan College, North Central Michigan College


  • Major Cities: Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor
  • Attractions: Langley Covered Bridge, World-class craft breweries, Gorgeous beaches
  • Cost of Living: Grand Rapids
  • Popular Schools: Western Michigan University, Davenport University

REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT: Southeastern Michigan

  • Major Cities: Detroit, Ann Arbor, Jackson
  • Attractions: Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, Detroit Institute of Arts, GM Headquarters
  • Cost of Living: Detroit
  • Popular Schools: University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, University of Michigan – Dearborn, Wayne State University

REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT: Central/Mid Michigan

  • Major Cities: Lansing, Flint, Saginaw
  • Attractions: State Capitol, Michigan Historical Museum, Castle Museum
  • Cost of Living: Lansing
  • Popular Schools: University of Michigan – Flint, Kettering University

REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT: The UP (Upper Peninsula)

  • Major Cities: Marquette, Sault Ste. Marie
  • Attractions: 90% forested, waterfalls, Soo Locks, Great Waters region
  • Cost of Living: Sault Ste. Marie
  • Popular Schools: Northern Michigan University, Lake Superior State University


Establishing residency allows students to access in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in Michigan. Students 18 or older must provide proof of state residency; minors have to live with either a parent or legal guardian to qualify for in-state tuition.

For Minors:

Minors must prove that their guardians live in the state to claim residency themselves. To establish Michigan residency, a minor must reside with a parent or guardian within the state’s boundaries. If the parents are divorced or separated, the minor must live with a parent in Michigan. Minors must provide evidence that they lived with their parent in Michigan before turning 18 and prove their intention to continue living with that parent until they begin school.

For Adults:

Students age 18 and older who plan to claim residence must meet specific criteria, including:

  • You must live in Michigan for at least one year prior to declaring residence.
  • You must prove intent to make Michigan your home.
  • You must prove your financial independence. Adults under age 23 may need to formally declare emancipation from their guardians.

Other Considerations in Michigan

  • Some schools grant in-state tuition to out-of-state students if one of their parents is an alumnus.
  • Residents of Michigan can take advantage of the Midwest Student Exchange Program. This allows Michigan residents to attend select public colleges and universities in eight midwestern states while paying no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate.

Additional Resources for Michigan College Students

Financial Aid

Higher Education News

Education Nonprofits

State Links and Resources