Michigan’s Best Private Colleges of 2021

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Michigan.

Michigan’s Best Private Colleges of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Michigan

With over 80 public and private colleges to choose from, students hoping to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree can find a program that suits their educational needs and budget. Michigan State University and the University of Michigan are the two largest schools, both serving around 42,000 students and costing $16,000 in tuition. Most of the schools in The Wolverine State, however, serve smaller student populations, with tuition fees ranging from $3,000 to $49,000.

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Additionally, students pursuing their degree at a school with religious affiliations have more than 20 options to choose from, including Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Grand Rapid’s Calvin College, and Hope College in Holland. Students attending one of Michigan’s private schools, like Davenport University, can earn their degrees in fields like nursing, education, criminal justice, and history. Michigan, like many other states, also provides a special loan forgiveness program to those in medical, dental, and mental health professions who work in underserved communities. Recipients can receive up to $200,000 of tax-free funds over an eight-year period.

The great state of Michigan famously serves as the major hub of the United States auto industry — and also boasts the longest freshwater coastline in the nation. Students who love the outdoors but are also drawn to the metropolitan energy of big cities like Detroit and Grand Rapids will feel very much at home in Michigan.

To find your degree program, explore some of the top schools in Michigan.


What are Michigan’s Colleges & Universities?

Michigan’s Best Overall

What is a public college? And what is the difference between a private and public college?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models — one is a private company with private funding; the other is owned by the state and receives both state and federal funding to operate. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of private vs. public college, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a four-year degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a four-year public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually.

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This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 22 private universities in Michigan; 14 of which meet our criteria. The list below of the best private universities in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a private, non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 50%.

How do we determine Michigan's best private colleges and universities?

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

Best Private Colleges & Universities in Michigan

  1. #1

    Kalamazoo College

    #1144 institution's historical influence
    #566 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/28

    Kalamazoo, MI

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    What is Kalamazoo College known for?

    Kalamazoo College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Business
    • Literature
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Kettering University

    #1291 institution's historical influence
    #1207 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/27

    Flint, MI

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    What is Kettering University known for?

    Kettering University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
  3. #3

    University of Detroit Mercy

    #724 institution's historical influence
    #262 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    Detroit, MI

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    What is University of Detroit Mercy known for?

    University of Detroit Mercy’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • History
    • Psychology
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  4. #4

    Lawrence Technological University

    #1671 institution's historical influence
    #1026 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/24

    Southfield, MI

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    What is Lawrence Technological University known for?

    Lawrence Technological University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    REQUEST INFO
  5. #5

    Andrews University

    #823 institution's historical influence
    #241 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/25

    Berrien Springs, MI

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    What is Andrews University known for?

    Andrews University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Political Science
  6. #6

    Hope College

    #1046 institution's historical influence
    #868 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1230/26

    Holland, MI

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    What is Hope College known for?

    Hope College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Economics
    • Political Science
  7. #7

    Albion College

    #931 institution's historical influence
    #376 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $51K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/24

    Albion, MI

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    What is Albion College known for?

    Albion College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Political Science
    • Education
  8. #8

    Calvin University

    #588 institution's historical influence
    #1196 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/27

    Grand Rapids, MI

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    What is Calvin University known for?

    Calvin University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Physics
    • History
    • Communications
    REQUEST INFO
  9. #9

    Aquinas College

    #4849 institution's historical influence
    #384 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/23

    Grand Rapids, MI

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    What is Aquinas College known for?

    Aquinas College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Madonna University

    #3467 institution's historical influence
    #1209 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/21

    Livonia, MI

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    What is Madonna University known for?

    Madonna University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Law

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. #11

    Alma College

    #1823 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/22

    Alma, MI

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    What is Alma College known for?

    Alma College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Anthropology

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    Adrian College

    #2886 institution's historical influence
    #426 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/21

    Adrian, MI

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    What is Adrian College known for?

    Adrian College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Cornerstone University

    #3654 institution's historical influence
    #373 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/22

    Grand Rapids, MI

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    What is Cornerstone University known for?

    Cornerstone University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Communications
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    Spring Arbor University

    #4297 institution's historical influence
    #877 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1097/23

    Spring Arbor, MI

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    What is Spring Arbor University known for?

    Spring Arbor University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science

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