Best Online Colleges in Michigan

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 11/22/2021
2020 Best Online Colleges in Michigan Badge

As the tenth-most populous state, Michigan has an extensive system of community colleges and public universities, with nearly as many private colleges. Many schools in the state offer online degrees, which provide a flexible path for students seeking the same salary and employment benefits that often result from a bachelor's degree. We've ranked Michigan schools that have online bachelor's programs based on tuition rates and alumni salary outcomes. Colleges scoring the highest combine relatively low tuition and high mid-career wages for graduates.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor $12,738 $97,700
# 2 #2 Oakland University $9,995 $84,200
# 3 #3 Wayne State University $14,135 $80,400
# 4 #4 Ferris State University $12,930 $78,000
# 5 #5 Northwood University-Michigan $14,105 $72,900
# 6 #6 Central Michigan University $13,454 $72,200
# 7 #7 Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration $14,820 $70,000
# 8 #8 Madonna University $13,350 $69,300
# 9 #9 Northern Michigan University $13,785 $68,100
# 10 #10 Siena Heights University $26,558 $68,200
# 11 #11 Olivet College $27,700 $63,100
# 12 #12 University of Michigan-Flint $12,096 $60,900
# 13 #13 Rochester University $23,996 $62,300
# 14 #14 Davenport University $23,310 $61,400
# 15 #15 Grace Christian University $12,300 $43,500
# 16 #16 Finlandia University $22,708 $43,600
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges in Michigan Ranking Details

For each school, we conducted manual research to provide prospective students with more details about the schools' online programs. Explore online degrees offered and accreditation information below.

#1 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

  • Annual Tuition: $12,738
  • Median Salary: $97,700
  • Locations: Ann Arbor
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor offers online graduate degree programs across several academic areas including public health, business administration, applied data science, and engineering. An online bachelor's completion degree is offered in dental hygiene and a doctoral program is also offered online in nursing. Courses are accessed through the Canvas online learning platform. Most online courses are asynchronous so that students are able to learn at their own pace. The university’s Wolverine Access web portal gives distance learners access to administrative information, including course schedules, grades, and transcripts. All students have access to the MaizeLink student portal, the university library and its catalog, a student email account, financial aid, a social media directory that lists all university-related accounts, the career center, the student employment office, and health services.

#2 Oakland University

  • Annual Tuition: $9,995
  • Median Salary: $84,200
  • Locations: Rochester Hills
  • Accreditation: HLC

Oakland University offers several online graduate and undergraduate degree programs and certificates across fields such as nursing, engineering, education, and environmental health and safety. Courses are delivered through the Moodle online learning platform. Distance learners can access a GPA calculator, grades, transcripts, and other administrative information, like billing cycles and due dates, through the OU website. Online students also received access to the bookstore, the library, the campus research office, the student technology center, the tutoring and writing centers, academic advising, the IT help desk, the Graham Health Center, and the OU Counseling Center.

#3 Wayne State University

  • Annual Tuition: $14,135
  • Median Salary: $80,400
  • Locations: Detroit
  • Accreditation: HLC

Wayne State University offers online graduate and undergraduate programs in fields including education, fine arts and performing, liberal arts and sciences, information sciences, health sciences, and social work. Courses are delivered through the Canvas online learning platform. Most classes are asynchronous and in an online forum and discussion-based setting, so students can participate as their schedules allow. Distance learners can access their grades, course registration, tuition information, class schedules, and other administrative materials through the WSU website. Student support resources include access to online academic advising, financial aid, the university libraries, the Academic Success Center, the Math Resource Center, the Pre-Med and Health Science Center, veteran services, a writing center, and the WSU bookstore.

#4 Ferris State University

  • Annual Tuition: $12,930
  • Median Salary: $78,000
  • Locations: Big Rapids
  • Accreditation: HLC

Ferris State University offers a variety of online graduate and undergraduate degree and certificate programs in fields such as allied health sciences, automotive management, business administration, dental hygiene, gerontology, health information management, healthcare administration, information security and intelligence, integrative studies, nursing, respiratory therapy, and public health. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard and Canvas online learning platforms. The university’s MyFSU web portal gives distance learners access to grades, transcripts, and other services. Student support resources include access to a computing ID and password, technical support, the career center, the Ferris Bookstore, the university’s leadership center, and the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education.

#5 Northwood University-Michigan

  • Annual Tuition: $14,105
  • Median Salary: $72,900
  • Locations: Midland
  • Accreditation: HLC

Northwood University-Michigan offers an online bachelor's in business administration with various concentrations, including accounting, finance, management, entrepreneurship, and marketing. A bachelor's in applied management and master's degrees in business administration, finance, and organizational leadership are also offered online. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform, which is available through the university’s MyNW web portal. The portal also allows distance learners to retrieve grades, transcripts, and other institutional information. Student support resources include access to Microsoft Office, an IT help desk, health services, and the opportunity to build a student development transcript of extracurricular involvement through the university’s EXCEL Program.

#6 Central Michigan University

  • Annual Tuition: $13,454
  • Median Salary: $72,200
  • Locations: Mount Pleasant
  • Accreditation: HLC

Central Michigan University offers a broad range of online graduate and undergraduate degree and certificate programs across several academic areas, including business administration, early childhood development and learning, fashion merchandising and design, integrated leadership studies, nursing, international relations, political science, psychology, and public and nonprofit administration. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform, which is available through the CentralLink student web portal. Distance learners have the opportunity to speak with other students that have been successful with online learning, known as an “Online Student Allies.” They are a resource for those who are seeking time management skills advice, help with setting up a course calendar, study advice, and more.

#7 Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration

  • Annual Tuition: $14,820
  • Median Salary: $70,000
  • Locations: Troy
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration offers several online graduate and undergraduate degree and certificate programs in fields including applied management, business administration, finance, organizational leadership, and human resources management. Courses are delivered through the Moodle online learning platform. Student support resources include access to academic support, degree planning, financial aid, student assessments, the success center, the testing center, and veteran services. Additional online resources include access to the Walsh student web portal and the Library and Tax Research Center.

#8 Madonna University

  • Annual Tuition: $13,350
  • Median Salary: $69,300
  • Locations: Livonia
  • Accreditation: HLC

Madonna University is a Catholic and Franciscan institution based in Livonia, with academic programs also offered online and through outreach centers. Madonna's online catalog consists of graduate and undergraduate degree and certificate programs in fields such as the arts and humanities, business, criminal justice and law, education, nursing and health sciences, and sociology. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard Learn online platform. Distance learners can access academic catalogs, student records, registration information, and other administrative materials through the Madonna University website. All students, including distance learners, have access to the Madonna University Library, bookstore, advising, writing center, the Center for Catholic Studies and Interfaith Dialogue, and the Center for Humane Studies.

#9 Northern Michigan University

  • Annual Tuition: $13,785
  • Median Salary: $68,100
  • Locations: Marquette
  • Accreditation: HLC

Northern Michigan University offers online graduate and undergraduate degree programs and certificates across several academic areas, including criminal justice, public administration, applied workplace leadership, clinical lab sciences, nursing, and psychology. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform. Distance learners can access grades, transcripts, and other administrative materials via the university website. Student support resources include access to the MyNMU student web portal, an NMU student ID card, advising, a GPA calculator, IT help desk support, a student email account, career services, and internships.

#10 Siena Heights University

  • Annual Tuition: $26,558
  • Median Salary: $68,200
  • Locations: Adrian (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Siena Heights University offers online graduate and undergraduate degree programs across many fields, including accounting, business administration, healthcare, applied science, multidisciplinary studies, nursing, organizational leadership, and higher education leadership. Courses are delivered through the Canvas online learning platform. Through the university’s Student Support Services (SSS) Program, distance learners have access to one-on-one academic advising and course selection, financial aid coaching, grant aid assistance, tutoring services, financial literacy education and planning, graduate school advising, career assessments and personal career coaching, learning style and study skill assessments, exclusive workshops, mentoring and community networking, and a summer bridge program (FTSP) for incoming freshmen.

#11 Olivet College

  • Annual Tuition: $27,700
  • Median Salary: $63,100
  • Locations: Olivet
  • Accreditation: HLC

Olivet College offers several online graduate and undergraduate degree programs, including a bachelor's degree in nursing (RN to BSN) and a masters's degree in business administration. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform. Through the My Olivet student web portal, distance learners can access grades, transcripts, the course catalog, registration, and other administrative materials. Additional student support resources include access to a campus email account, academic advising, tech support, tutoring, the Olivet College Bookstore, the Student Success Center, the Burrage Library, career services, and the library catalog.

#12 University of Michigan-Flint

  • Annual Tuition: $12,096
  • Median Salary: $60,900
  • Locations: Flint
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Michigan-Flint offers a broad range of online graduate and undergraduate degree programs and certificates in several academic areas, including applied science, business administration, health care administration, nursing, liberal studies, psychology, respiratory therapy, and substance use treatment and intervention. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the myUM-Flint web portal, academic advising, a student email account, the campus bookstore, the Thompson Library, career services, counseling and psychology services, health insurance, the writing center, and tutoring.

#13 Rochester University

  • Annual Tuition: $23,996
  • Median Salary: $62,300
  • Locations: Rochester Hills
  • Accreditation: HLC

Rochester University is a Christian institution located in Michigan that offers accelerated online bachelor's degree programs in several fields including computer information systems, Christian ministry, management, and psychology. A hybrid master’s degree, which incorporates both on-campus and online learning, is also offered in missional leadership. Courses are delivered through the Moodle online learning platform. Distance learners can retrieve academic records, registration, transcripts, and other administrative materials through the myRochesterU student web portal. Student support resources include access to the Center for Student Life, which helps support intellectual, spiritual, social, emotional, and physical growth through a Christian lens. Distance learners also have access to chapel services, campus ministry, the ACE Lab, and health services.

#14 Davenport University

  • Annual Tuition: $23,310
  • Median Salary: $61,400
  • Locations: Grand Rapids
  • Accreditation: HLC

Davenport University offers over 40 online graduate and undergraduate degree and certificate programs across several academic areas, including accounting, business administration, finance, computer information systems, health information technology, computer science, and nursing. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform. Student support resources include career services, experiential learning opportunities, access to the Davenport University libraries, and testing and tutoring services. Distance learners can retrieve academic records, registration, transcripts, and other administrative materials through the university’s My Connections student web portal.

#15 Grace Christian University

  • Annual Tuition: $12,300
  • Median Salary: $43,500
  • Locations: Wyoming
  • Accreditation: HLC

Grace Christian University offers online graduate and undergraduate degree programs in the areas of leadership and ministry, business, human services, psychology, general studies, criminal justice, and organizational leadership. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform. Distance learners can retrieve academic records, registration, transcripts, and other administrative materials through the university’s student web portal. All students, including distance learners, have access to a student webmail account, the library and its databases, the Grace Academic Center for Excellence, an online writing center, an IT help desk, the campus store, career services, the Student Counseling Center, and the Chapel Podcast.

#16 Finlandia University

  • Annual Tuition: $22,708
  • Median Salary: $43,600
  • Locations: Hancock
  • Accreditation: HLC

Finlandia University offers an online undergraduate degree program in nursing (RN to BSN) through its College of Health Sciences. Online course materials are accessed through the Schoology online learning platform. The program, designed for working nurses, offers multiple start dates and is comprised of eight-week classes. Tuition is capped at $15,000, regardless of the number of credits students need to complete the program. Distance learners receive access to student support resources including academic advising, technical support, disability services, campus ministry, and the Tutoring and Learning Center.

Online Higher Education in Michigan

Michigan is home to 187 higher education institutions offering associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees. Of these, 55 confer bachelor's degrees. The Midwestern Higher Education Compact reports that the state's college enrollment rate for students 18-24 years old is similar to the U.S. as a whole: 69% of people in this age group either completed a bachelor's degree program or are currently enrolled. However, this figure is only 5% for Michigan residents aged 25-49, which is lower than the nationwide average of 8%.



Michigan residents can take advantage of the state's public universities, many of which pair relatively low in-state tuition with strong alumni salaries.

Michigan residents can take advantage of the state's public universities, many of which pair relatively low in-state tuition with strong alumni salaries. Even nonresidents can attend one of several public Michigan universities at the lower in-state tuition rate by enrolling in an online program, potentially saving them tens of thousands of dollars over the course of their education. For nonresidents to achieve these savings on an in-person program, they must live in Michigan for a year before starting college and provide proof of intent to live there after graduation.

For college options in other locations, view OnlineU's best online college rankings by state or best online colleges by degree level.

What To Look For in an Online College

Since every person has different preferences and personal circumstances, some online programs may appeal to you more than others. It may be helpful to weigh the factors that matter most to you as you research online bachelor's degrees in Michigan. Ask yourself the following questions to help you narrow your search:

Is this college accredited? You should only consider schools that are either regionally or nationally accredited. This classification ensures that a school offers a demonstrably high-quality education that's passed an independent review. Regionally accredited colleges are a student’s best choice because they only recognize transfer credits from other colleges with the same accreditation. The Higher Learning Commission regionally accredits Michigan colleges.

Is this program accredited? In addition to school-level accreditation, some academic disciplines have accrediting bodies that certify the quality of individual programs. You may need to graduate from an accredited program to earn certification or licensure in certain fields, including registered nursing, social work, and most types of engineering. Be sure to confirm that your major’s accrediting body also accredits distance learning programs.

Can I continue working while I study? If you can't afford to lose your income for several years, you might prefer a program with asynchronous online classes. This method of course delivery lets you access a virtual learning program at any time to view recorded lectures, post on discussion forums, and submit coursework. Older students in particular often favor the convenience of online classes because they can more easily organize their studies around existing responsibilities. Some degrees require a full course load, but others offer part-time options as well.

What does it cost? Tuition is only one part of a program's cost, which also includes fees, books, and supplies. Online students don't need to factor room and board into their calculations, and some schools exempt them from fees that fund campus facilities. It's also important to apply for as much financial aid as possible.

How much support will I receive? Distance education may cause students to feel isolated, so it’s helpful to learn the level of support that a school extends to online students. Make an appointment with an admission officer to ask questions about the types of services available to online learners. You can also read reviews from students and alumni to uncover real, unbiased stories, including examples from online students.

Funding an Online Degree in Michigan

It's always worth investigating ways to make a college degree more affordable. Most college students fund at least part of their degree through loans that require repayment with interest, so every dollar taken off the top means more money saved down the line.

One of the best ways to reduce a degree's cost is through financial aid. Students’ preferred forms of aid don't require repayment, such as scholarships, grants, and work-study opportunities. Financial aid can come from governments, colleges, and private sources, most of which require students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their financial need.

Below, we've listed a few financial aid options for college students in Michigan. Prospective applicants should contact a college's financial aid office to make sure they can use these funds at their chosen college.

Program name Organization Eligibility and award
MAB Scholarship Foundation Michigan Association of Broadcasters Students at Michigan college can apply for several awards to study broadcast media.
Michigan Competitive Scholarship Michigan Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning Michigan residents can earn $1,000 if they demonstrate financial need and score at least 1200 on the SAT.
Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver Michigan Department of Civil Rights Michigan residents who are enrolled members of a Federally Recognized Tribe can receive a complete tuition waiver at a public university.
Michigan Tuition Grant Michigan Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning Michigan residents with demonstrated financial need can receive up to $2,800 a year to study at a non-profit private school in the state.
University of Michigan no-application scholarships University of Michigan The university automatically considers students for dozens of scholarships once they complete the FAFSA. While eligibility and awards vary by scholarship, they are based on merit, need, ethnic background, or field of study.

Careers and Employment in Michigan

In many ways, the labor situation in Michigan mirrors the outlook in the U.S. more broadly. According to Michigan's Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives (MILMI), the state's fastest growing jobs are speech-language pathologist, physician assistant, health sciences professor, and nurse practitioner. In fact, these jobs far outpace the average growth rate nationwide. However, all three of these jobs require advanced degrees. Undergraduates can begin preparing for these careers by earning bachelor's degrees.

Below, we've listed several popular Michigan jobs that graduates can earn with just a bachelor's degree, including salary and job outlook data from MILMI and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Financial manager: These professionals manage money for businesses, governments, and non-profits to make sure they meet their financial goals. This field is expected to grow 11% in Michigan from 2018-2028 and 17% nationwide through 2030. Financial managers earn median annual salaries of $134,180 and even higher salaries in two of Michigan's top industries: (1) manufacturing and (2) professional and technical services.
  • Industrial engineer: Michigan has the country's densest concentration of industrial engineers, who help automate and increase efficiency in manufacturing. Experts predict that jobs will grow by 9% in Michigan and 14% nationwide in the coming years. Industrial engineers earn median wages of $88,950 per year.
  • Market research analyst: Market researchers study how and why people buy certain products or services. Specifically, market research requires understanding marketing and business principles, data science, and psychology. These analysts earn median yearly salaries of $65,810 and can expect 15% job growth through 2028 in Michigan. Nationwide, the job outlook is even better at 22% growth.
  • Registered nurse: Earning an RN license can set graduates on the path to a well-paying, high-growth career. RNs work in every healthcare setting — from private clinics to large hospitals — and can specialize in any branch of medicine. At 9.8%, the RN job growth rate in Michigan is slightly outpacing the U.S. rate. In addition, RNs earn a median wage of $75,330 a year, with government employers paying the most.
  • Software developer and quality assurance tester: Software developers design computer applications that most people use all day, while quality testers ensure that the applications run smoothly before and after release. These positions enjoy a 12% growth projection in Michigan, and the broader U.S. rate is even better at 22%. The BLS groups these two jobs together when classifying their median annual salary of $110,140.
This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.

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