2022 Top Private Colleges and Universities in Michigan

Private colleges and universities frequently top the lists of the best schools in the U.S. These institutions offer rigorous academic programs for students looking for a personalized college experience.

Private colleges and universities generally cost more than their public counterparts, but students often receive the benefits of smaller class sizes, strong alumni networks, and generous financial aid opportunities.

Unlike public institutions, private institutions do not differentiate between in-state and out-of-state tuition. This means students from anywhere can enroll in Michigan's private colleges and universities without paying higher out-of-state rates.

2022 Best Private Colleges and Universities in Michigan

  1. #1

    School of Missionary Aviation Technology

    Ionia, MI

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    27

    Format

    In person

    Based in Michigan, School of Missionary Aviation Technology offers a total of 2 certificate programs. Programs deliver rigorous curricula and meet high academic standards. Students acquire knowledge to enter the workforce or advance their careers. Enrollees apply their knowledge in real-world contexts. The postsecondary institution maintains accreditation, signifying high-quality academic programs. The cost per credit is unknown. As an accredited postsecondary institution, learners who enroll qualify for federal financial aid. The school provides information about program requirements on its website. The institution holds national accreditation from Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training.

  2. #2

    Hillsdale College

    Hillsdale, MI

    Graduation Rate

    86%

    Enrollment

    1,526

    Format

    In person

    Hillsdale College, a private organization located in Hillsdale, Michigan, offers multiple programs. Graduates leave the school with an accredited degree that prepares them for the workforce. Degree-seekers benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Multiple programs at the school appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements.

  3. #3

    French Academy of Cosmetology

    Spring Lake, MI

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    39

    Format

    In person

    A private school in Michigan, French Academy of Cosmetology offers professional education in many fields. The school offers courses in person in Spring Lake or online. Enrollees have many academic options, including 4 certificate programs. Students in programs develop advanced skills and knowledge in one subject area. With no general education courses to complete, diploma and certificate candidates can graduate faster than bachelor's candidates. Certificate and diploma programs can impact students' careers long term. Common professional outcomes include better job opportunities and higher pay. A diploma or certificate can also lead to further education, such as an associate or bachelor's degree. Students may be able to apply their credential credits toward another degree.

  4. #4

    Cadillac Institute of Cosmetology

    Cadillac, MI

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    10

    Format

    In person

    Located in Michigan, Cadillac Institute of Cosmetology offers 3 certificate programs. Programs deliver rigorous curricula that prepare learners for careers and further studies. Degree-seekers gain skills necessary to launch their career or pursue promotions. Experiential learning opportunities let learners apply their knowledge in real-world contexts. The institution maintains accreditation, signifying high-quality academic programs. The cost per credit is unknown. As an accredited institution, the school's enrollees can receive federal financial aid. The school's website provides information about each program's requirements. The institution has been accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences.

  5. #5

    Walsh College

    Troy, MI

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    1,800

    Format

    Online, In person

    A private institution, Walsh College educates students on its campus in Troy, Michigan. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their educational goals. Students complete courses and experiential learning opportunities to bolster their knowledge. Applicants may qualify for a test score waiver. Test-optional policies make it easier to enroll. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Learners attending the accredited school also qualify for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.

  6. #6

    L'esprit Academy

    Canton, MI

    Graduation Rate

    85%

    Enrollment

    175

    Format

    In person

    L'esprit Academy hosts 4 certificate programs, offering professional training to students throughout Michigan. The rigorous curriculum prepares learners to succeed in careers and further studies. Students prepare to launch their career or pursue promotions. Experiential learning helps enrollees apply knowledge in real-world contexts. The postsecondary institution meets high academic standards to maintain its accreditation status. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. As an accredited institution, the school's enrollees can receive federal financial aid. Prospective degree-seekers can learn about program requirements through the school's website. The institution has been accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences.

  7. #7

    Cleary University

    Howell, MI

    Graduation Rate

    44%

    Enrollment

    610

    Format

    Online, In person

    Cleary University, located in Howell, Michigan, enrolls students as a private institution. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. The school offers academic and technical programs for students planning to enter the workforce or pursue further studies. The cost per credit is unknown. Enrollees at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The institution reports that 100% of students receive aid, and 77% receive loans. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 44%. Prospective enrollees can expect an admission rate of 71%. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements and start dates. Cleary University has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.

  8. #8

    Carnegie Institute

    Troy, MI

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    129

    Format

    In person

    Carnegie Institute is a private school located in Michigan. Admitted students can take courses on campus in Troy or online. Learners can choose from 10 certificate programs. The programs develop specialized skills in one professional subject area. By eliminating general education requirements, diploma and certificate programs help students graduate quickly. Certificate and diploma programs can impact students' careers long term. Graduates often receive a strong return on investment, including more job opportunities and higher salaries. After earning this credential, some students go on to pursue an associate or bachelor's degree. Students may be able to transfer credits from a diploma or certificate toward a two- or four-year degree.

  9. #9

    Marketti Academy of Cosmetology

    Waterford, MI

    Graduation Rate

    77%

    Enrollment

    62

    Format

    In person

    Marketti Academy of Cosmetology is a Michigan-based private school that offers a wide selection of professional programs. Students can take online courses or study in person in Waterford. The school offers 4 certificate programs. Students in programs gain specialized professional training. These credentials do not include general education requirements, enabling candidates to graduate quickly. Diplomas and certificates can help students increase their professional opportunities. Graduates often receive a strong return on investment, including more job opportunities and higher salaries. A diploma or certificate can also lead students to an associate or bachelor's degree Some schools enable students to transfer credits from a certificate or diploma to a two- or four-year degree.

  10. #10

    Western Michigan University-Thomas M. Cooley Law School

    Lansing, MI

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    1,208

    Format

    Online, In person

    A private institution located in Lansing, Michigan, Western Michigan University-Thomas M. Cooley Law School enrolls students in several programs. The school's accredited programs prepare learners for the workforce. The programs offer an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. The school's programs appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. Depending on their major, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Western Michigan University-Thomas M. Cooley Law School holds accreditation from the American Bar Association.

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Why Choose a Private College or University in Michigan?

Michigan has over 70 private colleges and universities. These include nonprofit, for-profit, two-year, and four-year schools.

Undergraduates choose private colleges for several reasons. Many private schools offer strong financial aid packages. Private schools also generally enroll fewer students and provide a small-college feel. That often means a lower student-to-faculty ratio and smaller class sizes.

While Michigan's public colleges and universities often rank high in academic quality and offer a tuition discount for in-state learners, some students prefer to enroll at religiously affiliated private colleges or small liberal arts schools.

Prospective students weighing how to choose the right college can benefit from considering the pros and cons of private colleges and universities.

Pros and Cons of Attending a Private College or University in Michigan

Pros

Private colleges and universities generally offer smaller class sizes and smaller student populations, making it easier to connect with classmates and faculty.On average, out-of-state students pay less in tuition and fees at private four-year colleges than at the state's public institutions.Many of the state's private colleges and universities operate with a religious affiliation, which appeals to some students.

Cons

The smaller size at private colleges and universities means students have fewer course options and majors than the state's larger public institutions.Michigan residents receive a significant tuition discount at public colleges in the state. They would need a large amount of aid to make up the difference between private and public tuition rates.Michigan public colleges and universities tend to outrank the state's private institutions in national academic rankings.

Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Colleges and Universities in Michigan

What's the difference between a nonprofit vs. a for-profit college?

Nonprofit colleges reinvest their profits back into the school. The money is used to hire more faculty and add to the curriculum, among other services. For-profit colleges distribute their profits to shareholders and investors.

Some students may find benefits to for-profit colleges — for example, those seeking skills-based training. But, generally, nonprofit colleges meet higher academic standards. Graduates from nonprofit colleges also typically fare better in the job market.

Michigan has over 60 for-profit colleges, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator. Many of those offer programs that can be completed in less than two years.

Before applying to colleges in Michigan, make sure to research their nonprofit or for-profit status. The U.S Department of Education's College Scorecard lists whether colleges operate as a nonprofit or for-profit.

How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Private College or University in Michigan?

Private colleges and universities in Michigan generally cost more than the state's public institutions. On average, undergraduates paid around $29,410 in tuition and fees at Michigan's four-year private institutions in 2019-2020, according to data from NCES.

In comparison, in-state students paid around $13,320, on average, in tuition and fees at Michigan's four-year public institutions during that same academic year.

It's a common misconception that public colleges and universities are always less expensive than private schools. Out-of-state students, for example, may pay less by attending a private Michigan college than a public one. At public institutions, out-of-state tuition averaged $36,830 in 2019-2020.

Keep in mind that scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid can reduce how much you pay for your education. Private colleges and universities typically award more institutional aid than public schools. Students can also consider tuition-free colleges.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Private Colleges and Universities in Michigan

How many private colleges and universities are there in Michigan?

Michigan has over 70 private colleges and universities, which include nonprofit, for-profit, two-year, and four-year schools. The state's private colleges include small liberal arts institutions and religiously affiliated colleges.

Well-known, four-year private colleges and universities in the state include Albion College, Calvin University, Andrews University, and the University of Detroit Mercy.

In comparison, the state has over 40 two-year and four-year public colleges and universities. Michigan's biggest public universities serve more students. For example, Michigan State University enrolls around 50,000 students, while the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor enrolls around 31,000 students.

What is the most expensive private college or university in Michigan?

In Michigan, private colleges and universities charge undergraduates around $29,400 in tuition and fees, as of the 2019-2020 academic school year.

The most expensive private schools include Kalamazoo College and Albion College. Kalamazoo College charged almost $54,000 in tuition to first-year students for 2021-2022. Tuition for Albion College was around $52,600 during the same academic year.

Overall, college costs in the U.S. continue to rise. However, many students pay less than the posted tuition rate. Grants, scholarships, and institutional aid all can help lower the cost of attending a private college or university.

What is the least expensive private college or university in Michigan?

Private colleges and universities tend to charge higher tuition rates. However, the state has options that can be affordable for many students seeking a college degree at a private nonprofit institution.

Great Lakes Christian College is among the least expensive private colleges. It reported an online tuition rate of around $8,000 for the 2021-2022 academic year. You may also find less expensive private school rates at the Baker College campuses and at Davenport University.

With research, students seeking an affordable bachelor's degree can find private four-year colleges in Michigan that cost less than in-state tuition at a public institution.

Is a private college or university right for me?

Prospective undergraduates researching colleges need to consider several factors when deciding between a public or private school — cost, major options, campus culture, and academic quality.

The size and type of institution can also play a role. Some students prefer to attend smaller colleges. Private colleges and universities typically have a smaller student body and lower student-to-faculty ratio.

Students interested in a religiously affiliated institution may want to attend a private college or university.

Research colleges to find the one that fits your interests and matches your goals for your college experience.

Can I get more scholarship money at a private college or university?

Private institutions generally offer more institutional aid than public institutions. However, students at both public and private colleges can apply for scholarships to cover their costs.

Many private colleges award scholarships funded by alumni or their college endowments. Colleges use these scholarships, also known as institutional aid, to attract students.

When applying to colleges, make sure to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Colleges will then put together a package of scholarships, grants, and loans to meet the student's unmet financial need.

Prospective students should compare financial aid offers before choosing their college.