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Best Online Community Colleges in Michigan

By Liz Heintz | Updated 8/15/2022
2020 Best Online Community Colleges in Michigan Badge

These are the best community colleges in Michigan for students who want to pursue an associate degree or certificate entirely online. Tuition for these community colleges ranges from $2,929 at Oakland Community College to $6,480 at Lansing Community College, but all of the schools are great options for prospective students. They will find the widest selection of online associate degrees at #3-ranked Washtenaw Community College, which offers 27 fully-online associate degrees, including an AA in Secondary Education, an AAS in Retail Management, and an AA in Liberal Arts.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Locations
# 1 #1 Kirtland Community College $3,872 Roscommon (and 1 other)
# 2 #2 Mid Michigan College $4,386 Harrison
# 3 #3 Washtenaw Community College $3,240 Ann Arbor
# 4 #4 Gogebic Community College $3,844 Ironwood
# 5 #5 Grand Rapids Community College $3,450 Grand Rapids (and 1 other)
# 6 #6 Bay de Noc Community College $3,870 Escanaba
# 7 #7 St Clair County Community College $3,930 Port Huron
# 8 #8 Northwestern Michigan College $5,940 Traverse City
# 9 #9 Lansing Community College $6,480 Lansing
# 10 #10 Bay Mills Community College $2,945 Brimley
# 11 #11 Delta College $3,565 University Center
# 12 #12 Glen Oaks Community College $5,610 Centreville
# 13 #13 Mott Community College $4,594 Flint
# 14 #14 Jackson College $6,127 Jackson
# 15 #15 Oakland Community College $2,929 Bloomfield Hills (and 1 other)
# 16 #16 Schoolcraft College $5,130 Livonia

2020 Online Community 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 Kirtland Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,872
  • Locations: Roscommon (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Kirtland Community College offers students hybrid programs that include classes held on campus in Michigan as well as through Michigan College Online, or fully online programs that students can complete remotely. Online courses allow students to work at their own pace, repeat parts of the lecture until the concept is grasped, and complete coursework at times that are most convenient. This Michigan community college offers an online Associate in Accounting, Associate in Business Administration, Associate of Applied Science in Business Management, and Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology degree programs. Additional online options include a Certificate in Accounting Clerk Specialist and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship.

#2 Mid Michigan College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,386
  • Locations: Harrison
  • Accreditation: HLC

Mid Michigan College offers academic programs that are fully online, as well as programs that combine online and classroom learning. Coursework is delivered in a virtual format, either asynchronously or synchronously, using technology such as Zoom for the latter in order for lessons to occur in real time. The online programs are designed to be as challenging as traditional programs, but with the added benefit of flexible scheduling. Options for fully online degree paths include business management and marketing, AAP (administrative assistant professional), and liberal studies. Students can also complete an online Michigan Transfer Agreement track, which involves students earning 31 credits online that can transfer to any public four-year institution in the state of Michigan. Online students studying at Mid Michigan Community College can find technical support, academic advising, tutoring, and library resources online.

#3 Washtenaw Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,240
  • Locations: Ann Arbor
  • Accreditation: HLC

Washtenaw Community College offers a number of online associate degree programs designed to prepare students to transfer to a four-year school. Some of the degree programs they offer include an A.A. in Business, an A.A.S. in Accounting, an A.A. in Secondary Education, and an A.A.S. in Management. Additionally, Washtenaw Community College has a variety of online certificate programs designed for those who aren’t interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Online certificate programs include a Certificate in Accounting for Business, a Certificate in Administrative Assistant, a Certificate in Core Business Skills, and an Advanced Certificate- Program in Java. Students can take courses completely online or opt for their blended program, which combines online coursework with weekly class discussions on campus in Michigan.

#4 Gogebic Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,844
  • Locations: Ironwood
  • Accreditation: HLC

Gogebic Community College offers a variety of online Associate of Applied Business degree programs with focuses in accounting, general business, entrepreneurship, and computer programming, designed to prepare students for a career in the different fields of business. For students who plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree, this community college also offers an online Associate of Arts in Business Administration transfer program. Additionally, Gogebic Community College has a few online certificate programs to prepare students for entry-level positions, including a Certificate in Computer Programming, a Certificate in General Business and a Certificate in Medical Coding and Billing Specialist.

#5 Grand Rapids Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,450
  • Locations: Grand Rapids (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Grand Rapids Community College offers opportunities for distance learners that include individual online courses, as well as fully online degree and certificate programs. Options include a general studies degree, a certificate in retail management, and associate degrees in history, economics, business, and computer information systems. Most of the associate degrees are intended to be transfer degrees and can be easily transferred to four-year universities. Students are encouraged to log into the online course delivery system every day in order to stay on track with their programs and the scheduled workload. A number of student services are available for those earning online degrees, such as academic success advisors, counselors, tech support, and the college's bookstore for purchasing or renting required textbooks or materials.

#6 Bay de Noc Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,870
  • Locations: Escanaba
  • Accreditation: HLC

Bay de Noc Community College offers over 90 courses online, as well as three degree tracks. Students can earn an Associate in Arts in General Studies or Business Administration, or an Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration, all while distance learning. These degree tracks are intended to be easily transferred to four-year Michigan institutions for the completion of a bachelor's degree. Other online students may choose to take individual courses in fields such as anthropology, computer information systems, early childhood education, criminal justice, and geographical information systems. Online students are supported by attentive academic advisors, tutoring, accommodations for students working with disabilities, career services, and a program called TRIO that provides educational opportunities for low income and/or first generation students, as well as students with special needs.

#7 St Clair County Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,930
  • Locations: Port Huron
  • Accreditation: HLC

St. Clair County Community College offers online Associate in Arts and Associate in General Education degree programs. Their Associate in Arts degree program is intended for students who plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the social sciences. The Associate in General Education degree is designed for students looking for a solid education base. The curriculum contains courses required by four-year institutions but may not meet all of the general education requirements for transfer; students are encouraged to meet with an Academic Advisor before enrolling. Additionally, they offer an online Associate of Business transfer degree program that teaches students the basics in business and is designed for those who plan to further their education with a bachelor’s degree in business.

#8 Northwestern Michigan College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,940
  • Locations: Traverse City
  • Accreditation: HLC

Before students begin taking online courses at Northwestern Michigan College, they are required to complete an Online Learning Orientation course, which prepares them for the unique features of distance learning. Students can choose to pursue an online degree in general studies or business administration, or a certificate in computer information technology or digital administration and marketing. Students can also take courses at other community colleges in Michigan through Michigan Colleges Online. The online Associate in Science and Arts degree is designed to transfer to a four-year institution and requires 60 credit hours. Many of the student resources through Northwestern Michigan College are also available to online students, such as the writing center, bookstore, library, and tutoring.

#9 Lansing Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,480
  • Locations: Lansing
  • Accreditation: HLC

Lansing Community College offers both online degrees and hybrid programs that allow students to take classes online while still getting some face-to-face time with their professors. Students can access course lectures online and participate in class discussions, take quizzes, and upload assignments. Online degree options include an Associate in Arts in Criminal Justice, an Associate in Arts in Psychology, an Associate in Arts in Sociology, and an Associate in Business in E-Business. Students can also opt for one of their online certificate programs, including a Certificate of Achievement in E-Business and a Certificate of Completion - Correctional Officer.

#10 Bay Mills Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,945
  • Locations: Brimley
  • Accreditation: HLC

Online classes at Bay Mills Community College require students to complete weekly coursework on their own time while also participating in scheduled online class discussions. Free tutoring is available to local students on campus as well as online. Bay Mills Community College offers two online degree programs, an Associate of Arts in Business Administration and an Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Both online degree programs are designed to prepare students for an advanced degree at a four-year college. Additionally, they offer an online Certificate of Completion in Early Childhood, which is designed to prepare students for the CDA competency exam.

#11 Delta College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,565
  • Locations: University Center
  • Accreditation: HLC

Delta College offers an online Associate in Business Studies degree program with a concentration in general management. Students will learn leadership, marketing, teamwork, customer service, and business ethics skills that will prepare them for a career managing daily operations at a chosen organization. The coursework is available entirely online. This is a cohort format, so students will start and finish their associate degree with the same group of students, allowing them to form a community and collaborate throughout the program.

#12 Glen Oaks Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,610
  • Locations: Centreville
  • Accreditation: HLC

Glen Oaks Community College partners with Michigan Colleges Online in order to bring distance learning opportunities to its students. Students can earn an Associate in General Studies, or a Certified Coding Specialist Certificate entirely online. Students can also take individual courses in cultural anthropology, business management, medical coding, nutrition, or comparative religions, among many others. Classes are delivered using a learning management system called Canvas, which students also use to complete coursework, participate in classroom discussions, and take tests. In order to help their online students succeed, Glen Oaks Community College offers free, live, online tutoring through NetTutor, as well as online library resources.

#13 Mott Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,594
  • Locations: Flint
  • Accreditation: HLC

Mott Community College offers degrees, certificates, and individual courses online. Students must successfully participate in the Distance Learning Evaluation Prep Class before they can enroll in distance learning courses, in order to ensure that online education is a good fit for them. Once they have completed this, they can pursue degrees such as an Associate of Applied Science with an accounting concentration, or AAS degrees in early childhood education, computer information systems, or business management. Professional certificates and certifications are also available in computer programming, computer science, child development, or web development. Mott Community College has an e-Learning office that is set up to assist students, providing tutoring and IT support.

#14 Jackson College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,127
  • Locations: Jackson
  • Accreditation: HLC

Jackson Community College offers several online degree programs, including an Associate in Applied Science in Accounting, an Associate in Applied Science in Business Administration, an Associate in Arts, and an Associate in General Studies. These online programs are designed to advance students on their career paths and prepare them with credits that can transfer to a four-year school. Jackson Community College also offers a few online certificate programs for those interested in furthering their skills in a particular area. These include a Certificate in Accounting, a Certificate in Business Administration, and a Certificate in Management.

#15 Oakland Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,929
  • Locations: Bloomfield Hills (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Students at Oakland Community College can take classes or pursue an associate degree in criminal justice entirely online. The degree requires 62 credits, and can be completed in two or three years, and is designed to transfer to a four-year institution, where students can earn a bachelor's degree. Individual online courses range from English to accounting and can last anywhere from 7 to 15 weeks. Students must take an online readiness course prior to enrolling in online classes so that they are prepared for distance learning. Course material is available to students at all times so that students can complete coursework at opportunities that fit with their schedules. Online students at Oakland Community College can take advantage of career development resources, tutoring, academic counseling, and other support services offered by the school.

#16 Schoolcraft College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,130
  • Locations: Livonia
  • Accreditation: HLC

Schoolcraft College offers a wide variety of online associate degree and certificate programs within the business industry. Degree options that are offered completely online include an Associate of Applied Science in Business General, an Associate of Applied Science in Marketing & Applied Management, an Associate of Applied Science in Office Information Systems, and an Associate of Applied Science in Small Business for Entrepreneurs. Math courses do require several exams to be taken on campus. Schoolcraft College’s online certificate programs include a Basic Certificate in Business and an Office Specialist Certificate.

Overview of Online Community Colleges in Michigan

Michigan's 28 community college campuses are located throughout the state, from southern Michigan in Monroe County and Glen Oaks through the upper peninsula in Bay De Noc and Gogebic County. These schools enrolled over 365,000 students in the 2020-21 school year and conferred 6,146 certificates and 19,407 associate degrees. Programs range from general education and the humanities to STEM and nursing, and you can complete many online — which is just one of the many benefits of online community college.

With an online certificate program, you can prepare for job readiness in professions such as medical billing and coding or computer information systems.

If you are interested in a two-year degree, you can choose from various associate programs, including several that lead to high-paying jobs.

Accreditation

Community colleges are institutionally accredited by one of several boards across the U.S. recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) — the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredits Michigan's community colleges. Regional accreditation affirms that schools meet educational quality standards established by CHEA. Individual programs, such as nursing, at these schools may also be programmatically accredited.

Community colleges in Michigan offer diverse associate degree and certificate programs. These programs prepare students for the job market and four-year bachelor's degrees. We've identified some of the most popular programs in which Michigan students enroll.

Certificates Associate Degrees
Accounting Accounting
Behavioral Science Agricultural Operations
Business Business Administration
Coding Computer Information Systems
Computer Science Criminal Justice
Early Childhood Education Early Childhood Education
Electronics Education
Emergency Medical Technician Energy
Hospitality General Education
Information Technolog Health Information Technology
Law Enforcement Legal Assistant
Machine Technician Marketing
Mechanical Systems Nursing
Medical Assistant Pre-Social Work
Medical Billing and Coding Psychology
Precision Machine Technology Radiologic Technology

Cost of Online Community Colleges in Michigan

The average in-state tuition at community colleges in Michigan is $3,570, which is on par with $3,400 nationally. However, out-of-state tuition is significantly less than the $8,210 national average at $6,750. In-state tuition at schools on our rankings list ranges from $2,929 to $6,480. Online students generally pay the same tuition as their on-campus peers depending on residency, though schools may waive some campus fees. Tuition does not include the costs for books and school supplies.

Financial Aid for Michigan Students

You may need to apply for financial assistance to help pay for school. Almost 40% of undergraduate students in Michigan receive financial aid. Additionally, about 18% of students enrolled in two-year institutions receive an average of $4,715 in student loans.



Community college students can apply for federal financial aid by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Community college students can apply for federal financial aid by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may be eligible for Pell grants or scholarships that don't require repayment, a federal work-study program, or a low-interest federal student loan with flexible repayment options. The current administration is also exploring debt relief options for student loans.

Additionally, some schools on our rankings offer tuition payment plans which enable you to break up a lump-sum tuition into affordable monthly payments and alleviate some of the burden of student loan debt.

The Michigan Reconnect Scholarship provides free tuition for eligible community college students that attend schools in-district. You may qualify if you are 25 years or older, have not previously earned a degree, or enroll in an associate degree program or a program to earn a Pell-eligible skill certificate. Your school can confirm program eligibility.

The state of Michigan provides several other financial aid opportunities for students, depending on eligibility:

Dual Enrollment Program Allows high school students to dual enroll in community college to complete ten college courses while still in grades 9-12
Fostering Futures Scholarship Students who have been in foster care since their 13th birthday, complete a FAFSA, and enroll at least part-time in community college
Michigan Competitive Scholarship Undergraduate students pursuing their first degree, have taken the SAT, and scored at least 1200 may be eligible to apply
Police Officers and Firefighters Survivor Tuition Grant Surviving children and spouses of Michigan police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty who do not hold a degree may be eligible to apply for a tuition waiver
Tuition Incentive Program High school students who are Medicaid recipients may be eligible to apply for tuition assistance to complete a certificate or associate degree program after high school graduation

Careers for Michigan Community College Graduates

Community college graduates have opportunities for employment in Michigan's high-growth industries. The state's unemployment was 4.3% in May 2022 compared to 3.6% nationally. This signifies a steady decline since unemployment highs during the first year of the global pandemic. The most significant gains in employment since 2021 have been in leisure and hospitality and mining, at approximately 12% growth each.

The Michigan Works Association has identified other fast-growing careers in several industries across the state, many of which are obtainable with a certificate or an associate degree.

  • Cardiovascular Technician
  • Chemical Technician
  • Computer Technician
  • Dental Lab Technician
  • Drone Technologist
  • Electrician
  • Energy Specialist
  • Environmental Field Technician
  • Flight Mechanic
  • Home Health Aid
  • HVAC Technician
  • Industrial Mechanic
  • Insurance Processor
  • Machinist
  • Massage Therapist
  • Registered Nurse

Michiganians work in these top industries that employ the most workers as identified by the Michigan Economic Development Commission (MEDC):

The MEDC has also identified Michigan's largest employers with a majority of those in the automotive and manufacturing industries, which is not surprising considering the state's rich automotive history:

Employer Industry
Whirlpool Corp. Consumer products and services
Joyson Safety Systems Automotive
Ford Motor Co. Automotive
Stryker Corp. Health care
Stellantis NV Automotive
Dow Inc. Manufacturing
General Motors Co. Automotive
Kellogg Co. Food and beverage
BorgWarner Inc. Manufacturing
Masco Corp. Manufacturing

Job Growth

The Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives has made the following employment projections for job growth through 2030:

Occupation % of Growth
Occupational Therapy Assistant 37.5%
Dental Laboratory Technicians 35.4%
Medical Appliance Technicians 31.2%
Massage Therapists 29.5%
Industrial Machinery Mechanics 28.2%
Home Health and Personal Care Aides 25.2%
Physical Therapist Aides 25.2%
Sound Engineering Technicians 20%
Audio and Video Technicians 18.8%
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers 18.1%
Medical Assistants 17.6%
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 17.5%
Health Care Support Occupations 17.5%
Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics 14.5%
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians 13%
Electric, Electronic, and Electromechanical Assemblers 12.9%
Medical Equipment Repairers 11.7%
Machinists 11.1%
Emergency Medical Technicians 11%

Should You Attend Community College in Michigan?

You should consider attending a community college in Michigan if you want to earn a certificate, an associate degree, or credits to transfer to a four-year bachelor's degree program. Tuition can be affordable, and you may incur little to no student loan debt, especially if you are eligible to attend for free through the Michigan Reconnect scholarship program or can take advantage of one of the state's other funding options.

However, as with any decision that impacts the future, it helps to consider other factors to weigh the pros and cons of attending community college in Michigan.

The potential benefits include:

You'll have an opportunity to explore your options. If you're not quite ready to pinpoint a four-year degree or career path, a community college education gives you time and space to explore your interests.

Online classes provide flexibility. Attending school online can be convenient if you work full time, have a busy schedule, or find it difficult to commute to school and maneuver around campus. You can study on your own time when and where your schedule permits.

Community colleges provide workforce training. A community college education may benefit you if you aren't interested in a degree program. They offer numerous trade, vocational, and skills training certificates that help prepare you to become job-ready for in-demand careers across industries, including health care, law enforcement, technology, and business.

The potential drawbacks include:

The selection of bachelor's degrees is limited. If you want to earn a bachelor's degree from a community college in Michigan, you'll be limited in what you can choose. Right now, opportunities are limited to culinary arts, electronics, energy, and maritime and marine technology.

Scholarship opportunities may be challenging to find. Private scholarships generally stipulate that students enroll in bachelor's degree programs at a minimum and may require SAT scores for eligibility. Finding scholarships for students at the community college level may be more difficult.

You may not be able to transfer all of your credits to a four-year university. A four-year university may reject some of your credits if they don't feel the courses were rigorous enough.

FAQs About Online Community Colleges in Michigan

What Colleges in Michigan Are Online?


All of the community colleges on our rankings list are online through Michigan Colleges Online. There are over 1,200 online courses available among 28 community colleges.

Is Community College Free in Michigan?


You may be eligible to attend an in-district community college in Michigan for free through the Michigan Reconnect scholarship. You must be 25 or older, a Michigan resident for at least a year, and don't already have a college degree to apply. You can earn an associate degree or a Pell-eligible skill certificate.

What Is the Cheapest Community College in Michigan?


Oakland and Bay Mills are the cheapest community colleges in Michigan on our rankings list. Annual tuition is $2,929 and $2,945 respectively.

Can You Get a Bachelor’s Degree at a Community College in Michigan?


You can get a bachelor's degree in select subjects such as culinary arts, electronics, and energy at several community colleges in Michigan. Colleges on our rankings list that offer these programs include Schoolcraft, Northwestern Michigan, and Jackson.

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