Online Colleges in Michigan

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Employers in business, healthcare, education, technology, and other growing Michigan industries seek candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Earning a bachelor’s degree online helps professionals advance their career and increase their earning potential in a flexible learning environment.

At Michigan’s online colleges, students can potentially take classes in a synchronous or asynchronous format. Synchronous programs incorporate set meeting times and live-streamed material, which appeals to students seeking structure and real-time interactions with instructors and classmates. Asynchronous programs do not require set meeting times, offering more flexibility than synchronous programs.

Our list ranks the best online bachelor’s degrees in Michigan to help prospective students find a program that fits their schedule and budget. This page also introduces the cost of attending an online college in Michigan and provides a list of Michigan scholarships and grants for online students.

Top 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges in Michigan

Rank School Location
1 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
2 University of Michigan-Flint Flint, MI
3 Spring Arbor University Spring Arbor, MI
4 Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI
5 Madonna University Livonia, MI
6 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
7 Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI
8 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
9 Oakland University Rochester Hills, MI
10 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
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Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Online Colleges in Michigan 2020

As online programs proliferate, the task of finding the best affordable college in Michigan becomes more daunting every year. To help students sort through the top affordable online colleges in Michigan, we have compiled a list of accredited institutions, which offer the most online programs at the lowest in-state tuition. The institutions listed below also have high graduation rates, favorable student-to-teacher ratios, and ample scholarship and grant opportunities. Read on to learn more about the top online colleges in Michigan.

  1. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    Location

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1817, the University of Michigan now offers online bachelor's programs in multiple fields, including arts and culture, business, data science, health, and education. The university offers approximately 1,300 undergraduate research opportunities, and 66% of students receive financial aid. Michigan residents with a household income of less than $65,000 benefit from free tuition at U-M. 

    Many of U-M's online courses classify as massive open online courses (MOOC). These courses feature video lectures, quizzes, assignments, and discussion forums. MOOCs are asynchronous, allowing students to complete courses at their own pace. U-M's MOOCs average a 15-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. 

    Applicants must submit an online application, high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, and a counselor recommendation. U-M's students come from diverse backgrounds, with learners from all 50 states and 128 countries.

    U-M is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  2. University of Michigan-Flint
    Location

    Flint, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Michigan-Flint offers fully online bachelor's degrees in fields like finance, accounting, marketing, and nursing. Founded in 1956, the university cultivates a diverse student body and helps students reach their professional goals. UM-Flint maintains community partnerships to provide innovative learning opportunities to its students. 

    The university's online learners benefit from academic advising, financial aid, and library access. UM-Flint also offers an online help desk with extended hours. 

    Applicants interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree online must submit ACT or SAT scores and official transcripts. The university serves more than 7,500 students each year and maintains a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. 

    UM-Flint is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  3. Spring Arbor University
    Location

    Spring Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Spring Arbor University offers one undergraduate online program: a bachelor's degree in social work. This program does not require a residency. SAU also offers online graduate programs in nursing, business, education, and organizational management. 

    Each student in the social work program benefits from faculty mentorship during upper-level courses and the required internship. Noteworthy courses include racial and ethical relations, social welfare policies, and practice with individuals and families. SAU maintains a longstanding tradition as a Christian university, so the social work curriculum reflects a Christ-centered worldview. 

    SAU offers dual-enrollment opportunities for high school students who want to get a head start on their college education. The university also offers benefits for military students. 

    SAU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  4. Andrews University
    Location

    Berrien Springs, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Berrien Springs, Andrews University offers multiple online undergraduate courses in math, history, and social sciences to help students meet graduation requirements and fill gaps in their degrees. The university also offers online bachelor's degrees in fields like religion, nursing, and general studies. These programs take place entirely online and do not require any campus visits.

    Applicants must submit an online application and official transcripts. Admission requirements vary by degree. All admitted students receive financial aid each year they enroll. First-year applicants with an ACT score of 30 or higher receive additional financial aid. 

    Andrews is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  5. Madonna University
    Location

    Livonia, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Madonna University, a private school founded in 1937, offers online bachelor's degrees in multiple subjects. With over 120 faculty members and nearly 2,500 undergraduate students, the university maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 13-to-1. 

    MU offers online programs in organizational leadership, hospitality and tourism management, sociology, and family and consumer sciences. The university connects all distance learners with academic and career advisors to help them succeed in their online studies. 

    Applicants must submit an online application, official transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores. The college accepts applicants with a GPA of 2.8 or above, an SAT score of 960 or above, or an ACT score of 18 or above. 

    MU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  6. Michigan Technological University
    Location

    Houghton, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Michigan Technological University offers fully online bachelor's degrees in accounting, anthropology, chemistry, construction management, and cybersecurity. Each program eliminates all on-campus requirements. 

    Michigan Tech delivers most coursework asynchronously through the Canvas platform, meaning that courses do not include required login times. Admission requirements and financial aid opportunities vary by program. The university also offers online dual-enrollment opportunities for high school students and online continuing education courses to non-degree-seeking students who are often local community members. All of Michigan Tech's distance learners must attend an orientation before taking their first online course. 

    Michigan Tech is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. Ferris State University
    Location

    Big Rapids, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Big Rapids, Ferris State University offers fully online bachelor's programs in math, technology, and health. Particularly noteworthy degrees and certificates include dental hygiene, digital media software engineering, integrative studies, and business administration. 

    FSU's distance learners benefit from resources like online tutoring, a writing center, and library services. The university also operates a career services center. 

    FSU admits applicants with a 2.0 minimum GPA. However, certain programs require a higher GPA. Applicants must also submit a short online application that typically takes 15 minutes to complete along with transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. 

    FSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  8. Michigan State University
    Location

    East Lansing, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1855, Michigan State University now serves nearly 50,000 students from 82 counties in Michigan, all 50 states, and 138 countries. Nevertheless, some students complete their degree without even setting foot on MSU's 5,300-acre campus thanks to the university's accessible online programs. 

    The university offers two undergraduate online degrees: a hybrid bachelor of arts in early care and education and a fully online RN-to-BSN program. MSU also offers a much larger selection of online graduate programs. 

    Admission requirements vary from program to program. To ease each student's financial burden, MSU offers financial aid opportunities like work-study positions. 

    MSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. Oakland University
    Location

    Rochester Hills, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Oakland University, a public institution established in 1957, serves nearly 20,000 graduate and undergraduate students each year. This large university forms community partnerships with hospitals, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies to provide learners with unique educational experiences. 

    OU offers two online degrees: a bachelor of science in nursing degree completion sequence for registered nurses and a bachelor of science in environmental health and safety. The university also offers online graduate programs, graduate certificates, and professional and continuing education. 

    OU provides priority enrollment to applicants with a 3.2 GPA. However, prospective students with a 2.5 GPA may be considered for admission. OU prefers applicants who demonstrate academic growth. Applicants do not need to submit standardized test scores or recommendation letters. 

    OU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  10. Central Michigan University
    Location

    Mount Pleasant, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in Mount Pleasant, Central Michigan University was founded in 1892. Today, CMU serves more than 16,000 on-campus students and more than 8,000 distance learners. Approximately 20% of CMU's students supplement their on-campus program with online courses. 

    The university offers 15 online bachelor's degrees. Noteworthy programs include integrated leadership studies, fashion merchandising and design, political science, and nursing. Most of CMU's online programs deliver coursework asynchronously, providing working professionals with maximum flexibility. 

    Applicants must submit an online application, official transcripts, and ACT and SAT scores. 

    CMU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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2-Year Best College Rankings

  1. Washtenaw Community College
    Location

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  2. Delta College
    Location

    University Center, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  3. North Central Michigan College
    Location

    Petoskey, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  4. Macomb Community College
    Location

    Warren, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  5. Schoolcraft College
    Location

    Livonia, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  6. Kirtland Community College
    Location

    Roscommon, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  7. Henry Ford Community College
    Location

    Dearborn, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  8. Glen Oaks Community College
    Location

    Centreville, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

Online Colleges in Michigan Overview

Many top colleges in Michigan offer online degrees. During an online bachelor’s program, students access course material through a learning management system like Blackboard or Canvas. Depending on the program, learners may watch streamed or recorded lectures, interact with other students in discussion forums, and complete projects and assignments online.

Michigan colleges offer online bachelor’s degrees in many in-demand areas, including business, information technology, healthcare, and education. These degrees help students qualify for more jobs and increase their earning potential.

The flexibility of online learning allows students to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Additionally, online learners often benefit from more affordable tuition rates than on-campus learners. Some schools charge a flat tuition rate for all online students regardless of their state residency, and many also offer lower tuition rates for online courses compared to on-campus courses.

Why Choose Michigan for Online Higher Education?

Many Michigan industries require a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions. The following list outlines some of the professional and personal benefits of pursuing an online degree in Michigan.

Flexibility: Online programs prioritize flexibility, letting students arrange coursework around their other responsibilities.

Affordability: Online learning formats can save students money on tuition and other expenses, like commuting costs, compared to on-campus formats.

Scholarships: Online learners can take advantage of a variety of scholarships, which lower the cost of a bachelor’s degree.

Online Resources: Online schools in Michigan often provide online resources like academic advising and career counseling. These resources help students transition from school into Michigan’s workforce.

Convenience: Earning a bachelor’s degree online lets students continue working and balance other responsibilities with their studies.

Cost of Attending an Online College in Michigan

The total cost of an online bachelor’s degree includes tuition, fees, and other expenses. This section reviews common costs of online tuition and fees to help students make informed decisions.

What to Expect From Tuition and Fees

The cost of earning a bachelor’s degree online varies depending on the school. Central Michigan University charges $417 per credit for online courses, while Madonna University charges $445 per credit. The rates at Spring Arbor University vary depending on the program, with some reaching $587 per credit. In general, public universities charge lower tuition rates than private schools, but many private schools offer discounts for online learners.

In addition to tuition costs, prospective students should consider other education expenses, such as technology fees, books, and graduation fees. Some schools also charge a distance learning fee for students enrolled in online courses.

Students who choose online bachelor’s degrees can save money on housing by not living on campus. Online learners also save on the transportation expenses that many on-campus students incur.

In-state tuition:
$21,380 – public, four-year institutions
$3,179 – public, two-year institutions

Out-of-State Tuition:
$34,863 – public, four-year institutions
$6,590 – public, two-year institutions

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2017

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Learn more about how your FAFSA works in Michigan

Accreditation for an Online College in Michigan

Prospective students should always check an online school’s accreditation status before applying. Accredited schools meet the highest standards for academic excellence, which benefits students in several ways. For example, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many professional licenses and certifications require an accredited degree.

Schools must undergo a rigorous review process to earn accreditation. During this review, an independent accrediting agency evaluates the school’s student learning outcomes, graduation requirements, faculty qualifications, and academic mission. After earning accreditation, colleges must regularly repeat the review process to maintain their status.

Regionally accredited colleges remain the gold standard in higher education. Programs within a school may also receive accreditation, such as business, social work, and nursing programs. The Department of Education maintains a database of accredited schools and programs.

Common Online Bachelor’s Courses


  • Business Administration

    Business administration courses train students in foundational concepts like operational leadership, strategic thinking, and management. Coursework may include group projects, case studies, and experiential learning. Many Michigan online colleges also offer specialized business courses in areas like finance, marketing, and accounting.


  • Nursing

    Nursing courses train students to care for patients in healthcare settings. Nursing students take classes on topics like evidence-based care, nursing research, and nursing leadership. These courses train nurses to improve patient outcomes and pursue leadership roles in healthcare. Many online colleges in Michigan offer RN-to-BSN programs to help registered nurses advance their careers.


  • Liberal Arts

    Liberal arts courses emphasize core skills like critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and communication. In classes like English literature, history, political science, and sociology, undergraduates build research and writing skills. Some schools offer interdisciplinary liberal arts majors for students who want to design their own course of study.


  • Information Technology

    Information technology classes introduce students to computer hardware, software development, programming, and network management. Students learn about topics like cybersecurity, network architecture, and systems management.


  • Criminal Justice

    Criminal justice classes explore the role of law enforcement, corrections, and the legal system in society. The course may cover the interrelated nature of the criminal justice system, criminology methods, and careers in criminal justice. Students also learn about the causes of criminal behavior, the impact of crime on society, and criminal punishments.


FAQ Michigan’s Online Schools


  • Do online credits cost more or less in Michigan?

    At many Michigan schools, online credits cost less than on-campus credits. For example, Spring Arbor University charges $725 per credit for on-campus courses, but the university’s online tuition ranges from $587-$725 per credit, depending on the program. Madonna University offers a significant discount for online learners, who pay $445 per credit compared to on-campus students who pay $800 per credit.

    At Central Michigan University, all online students pay around the same amount as in-state on-campus students. Michigan Technical University also offers a tuition discount for online students, charging a flat rate regardless of the student’s residency status.


  • Which Michigan schools accept the most transfer credits?

    Michigan’s best online colleges let students transfer credits toward their bachelor’s degree. However, transfer credit policies vary depending on the institution and where the transfer student earned the credits. Many schools only accept transfer credits from accredited institutions.

    Madonna University accepts up to 74 credits from a two-year college and up to 90 credits from a four-year school. Similarly, Andrews University accepts up to 70 credits from a community college and up to 90 credits from a four-year institution. At Ferris State University, students can apply up to 90 credits toward a 120-credit bachelor’s degree. Because policies vary, prospective students should research the transfer credit policies at potential schools.


  • Will any online colleges in Michigan accept a GED?

    Typically, online colleges in Michigan accept a GED in lieu of a high school diploma for admission. According to the GED Testing Service, 98% of U.S. schools accept the GED. At many schools, students with more than 15-24 transfer credits do not need to provide proof of a high school or GED diploma.


  • How many academic terms per year do online colleges in Michigan offer?

    Most Michigan online colleges operate on the semester system, with academic terms in the fall and spring. As a result, online students take courses on the same schedule as on-campus students. In some programs, online learners complete courses by watching streaming on-campus lectures.

    In addition to fall and spring semester courses, online learners can also take summer classes at a Michigan college or university. By adding summer classes, students can complete an additional 12-18 credits each year, helping students earn their degree in less time.


  • Which online colleges accept the FAFSA in Michigan?

    All regionally accredited online colleges in Michigan accept the FAFSA, which qualifies students for federal financial aid. A regionally accredited school meets the guidelines for federal financial aid programs, while a nationally accredited school may not. As a result, students who want to apply federal financial aid toward their online bachelor’s degree should choose a regionally accredited school.

    All of the Michigan colleges and universities on our rankings hold regional accreditation, meaning they all accept the FAFSA. The online bachelor’s degrees must meet the same standards as on-campus programs for the institution to earn regional accreditation.


  • Are there any free online classes I can take from Michigan colleges?

    Yes, several Michigan colleges offer free online classes. For example, the University of Michigan Online connects students with free online courses through Coursera and edX. These Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, include video lectures from U-M professors, discussion forums, and quizzes. Students can earn a certificate after completing a course or series of courses.

    Many free online classes let students complete assignments at their own pace, prioritizing flexibility for learners. However, students cannot typically apply credit from free online courses toward a degree.


  • How can I find the online program options at Michigan colleges?

    Students can typically find online program options through a school’s website. For example, the University of Michigan-Flint lists online bachelor’s degrees and courses on its website. Michigan colleges offer online programs in in-demand areas like business, healthcare, and education. Our ranking helps prospective students identify Michigan colleges that offer the best online bachelor’s degrees at affordable rates.


Michigan Scholarships and Grants

The following scholarships award funds to students attending accredited schools, including students earning online bachelor’s degrees. In addition to the following scholarships, students can research financial aid offered by their school or scholarships related to their major.

FOSTERING FUTURES

Who Can Apply: Michigan offers this scholarship to foster youth. Awardees receive funds for tuition, fees, and other expenses related to college.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Scholarship

ROSA PARKS SCHOLARSHIP

Who Can Apply: The Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation grants 40 scholarships annually to seniors at public or private Michigan high schools with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applicants must submit an essay, transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores.

Amount: $2,000

Apply For Scholarship

MICHIGAN RETAILERS ASSOCIATION SCHOLARSHIP

Who Can Apply: The Michigan Retailers Association grants 24 scholarships annually to the children of owners of MRA member businesses or employees of member firms. The committee evaluates applicants based on their academic record and extracurricular activities.

Amount: $1,000-$1,500

Apply For Scholarship

SAULT TRIBE SCHOLARSHIPS

Who Can Apply: The Michigan Retailers Association grants 24 scholarships annually to the children of owners of MRA member businesses or employees of member firms. The committee evaluates applicants based on their academic record and extracurricular activities.

Amount: $1,000

Apply For Scholarship

KREAGER FAMILY SCHOLARSHIP

Who Can Apply: Students from Kalamazoo county who lost a parent from death or abandonment, demonstrate financial need, and attend an accredited bachelor’s program qualify for this award.

Amount: $2,500

Apply For Scholarship

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