Best Public Colleges in Michigan 2022

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Michigan provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

Best Public Colleges in Michigan 2022

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 the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, 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 bachelor’s 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. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 21 public universities in Michigan. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Michigan, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

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

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! 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 in their fields of study.

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

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

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Best Public Colleges in Michigan 2022

  1. #1

    University of Michigan

    Ann Arbor , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    26%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/32

    What is University of Michigan known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Anthropology
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Law

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Michigan State University

    East Lansing , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/26

    What is Michigan State University known for?

    Michigan State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Wayne State University

    Detroit , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    20K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/24

    What is Wayne State University known for?

    Wayne State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Western Michigan University

    Kalamazoo , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    18K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/22

    What is Western Michigan University known for?

    Western Michigan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #5

    Oakland University

    Rochester Hills , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/23

    What is Oakland University known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. #6

    Eastern Michigan University

    Ypsilanti , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/22

    What is Eastern Michigan University known for?

    Eastern Michigan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Earth Sciences
    • History
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/27

    What is Michigan Technological University known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Northern Michigan University

    Marquette , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/23

    What is Northern Michigan University known for?

    Northern Michigan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Economics
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Anthropology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Central Michigan University

    Mount Pleasant , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/23

    What is Central Michigan University known for?

    Central Michigan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Grand Valley State University

    Allendale , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    22K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/24

    What is Grand Valley State University known for?

    Grand Valley State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Philosophy
    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • History
    • Business
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    Ferris State University

    Big Rapids , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    What is Ferris State University known for?

    Ferris State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/25

    What is University of Michigan–Dearborn known for?

    University of Michigan–Dearborn’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Economics
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Lake Superior State University

    Sault Ste Marie , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/22

    What is Lake Superior State University known for?

    Lake Superior State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    Saginaw Valley State University

    University Center , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/22

    What is Saginaw Valley State University known for?

    Saginaw Valley State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Biology
    • Social Work
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  15. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/23

    What is University of Michigan–Flint known for?

    University of Michigan–Flint’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  16. #16

    Schoolcraft College

    Livonia , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    19%

    Student body

    7K

    What is Schoolcraft College known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #17

    Northwestern Michigan College

    Traverse City , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Northwestern Michigan College known for?

    Northwestern Michigan College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Law
    • Business
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #18

    Jackson College

    Jackson , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    12%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Jackson College known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Physics
    • Medical
    • Engineering
  19. #19

    Henry Ford College

    Dearborn , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    10%

    Student body

    8K

    What is Henry Ford College known for?

    Henry Ford College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #20

    Lake Michigan College

    Benton Harbor , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Lake Michigan College known for?

    Lake Michigan College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Nursing
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Engineering
  21. #21

    Alpena Community College

    Alpena , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Alpena Community College known for?

    Alpena Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Political Science
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Michigan’s Best Public College in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. University of Michigan
  2. Michigan State University
  3. Michigan Technological University
  4. University of Michigan–Dearborn
  5. Western Michigan University
  6. Central Michigan University
  7. Grand Valley State University

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