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2023 Best Online Colleges in Michigan

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 12/30/2022
2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in  Badge

Michigan students can use an online degree to save money on their education while advancing their careers. This list of the best online colleges in Michigan by Salary Score highlights online colleges in the state that offer a better chance at a high-paying job after graduation. We created Salary Score to find out which colleges produce the most top-earners for each major. This resource can help students maximize their investment in education while benefiting from the flexibility an online degree can offer. For more information on Salary Score, see our methodology or learn more about OnlineU.

2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in  Badge
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2023 Best Online Colleges in Michigan

RankSchool Salary Score Median Starting Salary
# 1 #1 Northwood University-Michigan 67 67 $45,576
# 2 #2 Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration 67 $50,089
# 3 #3 Siena Heights University 64 $47,520
# 4 #4 Central Michigan University 55 $38,689
# 5 #5 Ferris State University 55 $45,736
# 6 #6 Davenport University 52 $48,161
# 7 #7 Madonna University 51 $47,182
# 8 #8 Western Michigan University 50 $40,616

2023 Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's Degrees

Ranking Details

#1 Northwood University-Michigan

  • Salary Score: 67
  • Median Starting Salary: $45,576
  • Locations: Midland
  • Accreditation: HLC

Northwood University (Northwood) is a business school in Michigan offering 17 different online bachelor's degrees. Students can choose a Bachelor of Business Administration in areas such as cybersecurity management, economics, entrepreneurship, sports management, and operations. Bachelor of Science programs include degrees in data analytics, information systems, and applied management. Students will need to complete at least 123 credits in order to earn their bachelor's degree. Northwood offers a unique Foundations Curriculum designed to support new students and help them succeed in college. Students can also take a course on strategies to success, designed for Northwood's online Adult Degree Programs. Extracurriculars for online students include joining the National Society of Leadership and Success. The four-year private nonprofit university serves just over 2,000 undergraduate students and has a 64% graduation rate within eight years. According to data from College Scorecard, 77% of first-time applicants are accepted to the school.

#2 Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration

  • Salary Score: 67
  • Median Starting Salary: $50,089
  • Locations: Troy
  • Accreditation: HLC

Walsh College (Walsh) has provided online degrees since 1998, and today offers both remote and blended options that allow online students to attend class with their campus-based peers. Students can choose from eight different online bachelor's programs in accounting, finance, applied management, information technology, and other areas of study. Some classes are asynchronous, meaning students can review lectures on their own time, while others meet virtually on a set schedule. Some courses follow a mix of both options. Online students can also access tutoring via Zoom, attend virtual workshops, and access free e-learning courses and certifications to bolster their resumes. The university is fairly small, serving around 700 undergraduate students. Walsh has a 66% graduation rate within eight years, which is higher than the average for four-year colleges.

#3 Siena Heights University

  • Salary Score: 64
  • Median Starting Salary: $47,520
  • Locations: Adrian (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Siena Heights University (SHU) is a private nonprofit Catholic university with 11 different bachelor's degrees available online. Available majors include professional communications, nursing, marketing, human services, healthcare management, business, and accounting. SHU also provides degree completion centers across southern Michigan. Classes at SHU are offered in seven-week sessions, and the university encourages students to transfer up to 90 previously earned credits to help fast-track their bachelor's degree. SHU has a 69% graduation rate within eight years, and 74% of first-time applicants are accepted.

#4 Central Michigan University

  • Salary Score: 55
  • Median Starting Salary: $38,689
  • Locations: Mount Pleasant
  • Accreditation: HLC

Students at Central Michigan University (CMU) have a broad range of online bachelor's degrees to choose from in fields such as business, education, fashion, healthcare, public administration, and technology. The university offers six start dates throughout the year, and classes run for 8, 12, or 16 weeks. CMU is also a participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program and focuses on making higher education accessible for military students, veterans, and their families. Student services include online support from the writing and math centers and tech help from the CMU help desk, which also offers an online chat option. Students can also use the Career Development Center to plan their next steps, get help with their resumes, and network.

#5 Ferris State University

  • Salary Score: 55
  • Median Starting Salary: $45,736
  • Locations: Big Rapids
  • Accreditation: HLC

Ferris State University (Ferris) offers online bachelor's degrees in allied health sciences, automotive management, dental hygiene, health information studies, nursing, Esports, risk management and insurance, and other areas of study. The public four-year school in Big Rapids has provided online degrees to Michigan students for more than 20 years and offers a broad range of support services for online students, including career preparation, library services, and veteran resources. Ferris students can also meet virtually with admissions and financial aid representatives and can access virtual counseling services if they live in the state. Online programs at Ferris are offered through Canvas, a learning management system that allows students to review class materials and turn in assignments. Ferris also provides a detailed guide to Canvas to help students get the most out of the platform.

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Why Choose an Online College inMichigan?

Michigan has a robust system of post-secondary institutions across the state. There are 157 institutions in total, each of which offer dozens of online programs to choose from. As of 2020, there were 714 programs available amongst state, community, and independent colleges alone.

Some of the best online colleges in Michigan are also the most-well known, including the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (UM). Within the state's college system is the Michigan Transfer Network (Mitransfer), where students can find efficient ways to transfer their credits between Michigan online colleges or on-campus colleges.

Michigan also boasts a 69% enrollment rate from students aged 18-24, and while this percentage does line up with its fellow Midwestern states, it's actually 1% higher than the national average.

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

Costs of Online Universities in Michigan

Michigan has seen one of the lowest increases in tuition and fee rates in the United States. In the 2021 College Board report on tuition pricing trends, Michigan was shown to have only a 2-3% rise in costs over the last five years. That same report, however, showed that UM at Ann Arbor had one of the highest tuition rates ($53,230) for full-time, out-of-state students.

It's also important to note that private, four-year universities — such as UM — are much more expensive than public, four-year universities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average in-state tuition for the former is $41,790, while the latter drops to $24,777.

Online colleges in Michigan can offer even more savings for both in-state and out-of-state students across the board. For students concerned about the legitimacy of online degrees in Michigan, don't worry. Online degrees are respected just as much as their on-campus counterparts.

Does Michigan Offer Free College?

Taking on a substantial amount of student loan debt can be daunting. Luckily, there are ways to earn online degrees in Michigan for free, or at a very low cost. For example, the Michigan Reconnect program offers scholarships that actually pay first-year, local college students to attend their in-district community college. Keep in mind, this program requires you to apply for financial aid.

There are also tuition-saving opportunities at individual colleges. Bridge Michigan outlines the various institutions that offer support for students on a budget. Many of these savings require families to earn less than a certain amount per year, ranging from $24,000 all the way up to $124,000. For frontline employees that worked during the first few months of the pandemic, Michigan offers guaranteed free tuition at state community colleges through the Futures for Frontliners program.

Employment Opportunities in Michigan

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiled national employment data in May of 2021. According to their findings, Michiganders earned an annual mean wage of $55,160. This falls just below the national annual mean wage, which sat at $58,260 during the same period. 

In-state residents of Michigan also have a slightly higher unemployment rate — 4.1% in August 2022, as compared to the national average of 3.7%. However, the State of Michigan released more positive findings for their 2030 Career Outlook report, which shows a number of high growth occupations. 

Graduates with an online bachelor's degree from Michigan can take advantage of careers with over a 20% growth rate, such as logisticians, industrial engineers, market research analysts, and software developers. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are also expected to see immense changes in Michigan over the next 8 years, with 50% and 31% growth, respectively.

Bottom Line

Michigan may fall just below the national average for things like unemployment and median annual salaries, but overall, the state is expecting a positive job outlook into the next decade. This helps make Michigan a solid choice for students looking to pursue high growth careers.

As mentioned, Michigan has 157 institutions for higher education. When compared to neighboring states, like Indiana at 103 and Wisconsin at 89, Michigan stands out as a state with ample options for a post-secondary education.

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