Michigan’s Most Affordable Colleges and Universities of 2021

Here are the most affordable colleges and universities in Michigan. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you, at a price you can afford.

Michigan’s Most Affordable Colleges and Universities 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


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We’ve identified 23 affordable colleges and universities in Michigan, 20 of which have a stated tuitions and fees below the national average of $16,000/year.

  1. It must be fully accredited.
  2. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees
  3. Its stated tuition and fees must be under $16,000/year.

How do we determine Michigan's most affordable colleges and universities?

Methodology

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.

20 Most Affordable Colleges & Universities in Michigan

  1. #1

    Henry Ford College

    #7488 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    10%

    Student body

    8K

    Dearborn, MI

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    What is Henry Ford College known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Law
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Communications
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Schoolcraft College

    #5052 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    19%

    Student body

    7K

    Livonia, MI

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    What is Schoolcraft College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Lake Michigan College

    #8173 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    2K

    Benton Harbor, MI

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    What is Lake Michigan College known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Biology
  4. #4

    Alpena Community College

    #3603 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    Alpena, MI

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    What is Alpena Community College known for?

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

    • Psychology
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Education
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Political Science
  5. #5

    Northwestern Michigan College

    #5376 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    2K

    Traverse City, MI

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    What is Northwestern Michigan College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Jackson College

    #4785 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    12%

    Student body

    3K

    Jackson, MI

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    What is Jackson College known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
    • Physics
  7. #7

    Saginaw Valley State University

    #3684 institution's historical influence
    #679 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/22

    University Center, MI

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    What is Saginaw Valley State University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

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  8. #8

    Northern Michigan University

    #1297 institution's historical influence
    #1215 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/23

    Marquette, MI

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    What is Northern Michigan University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Literature
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    University of Michigan–Flint

    #4295 institution's historical influence
    #584 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/23

    Flint, MI

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    What is University of Michigan–Flint known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Lake Superior State University

    #2579 institution's historical influence
    #902 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/22

    Sault Ste Marie, MI

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    What is Lake Superior State University known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
  11. #11

    Ferris State University

    #1881 institution's historical influence
    #402 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    Big Rapids, MI

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    What is Ferris State University known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Communications
  12. #12

    Western Michigan University

    #556 institution's historical influence
    #434 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    18K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/22

    Kalamazoo, MI

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    What is Western Michigan University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  13. #13

    Eastern Michigan University

    #754 institution's historical influence
    #891 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/22

    Ypsilanti, MI

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    What is Eastern Michigan University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
  14. #14

    Central Michigan University

    #1053 institution's historical influence
    #746 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/23

    Mount Pleasant, MI

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    What is Central Michigan University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
  15. #15

    Grand Valley State University

    #1641 institution's historical influence
    #873 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    22K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/24

    Allendale, MI

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    What is Grand Valley State University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
  16. #16

    University of Michigan–Dearborn

    #2470 institution's historical influence
    #894 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/25

    Dearborn, MI

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    What is University of Michigan–Dearborn known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Anthropology
    • Communications
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #17

    Oakland University

    #1051 institution's historical influence
    #587 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/23

    Rochester Hills, MI

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    What is Oakland University known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Political Science
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  18. #18

    Wayne State University

    #157 institution's historical influence
    #842 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    20K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/24

    Detroit, MI

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    What is Wayne State University known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Law
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  19. #19

    Michigan State University

    #89 institution's historical influence
    #1461 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/26

    East Lansing, MI

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    What is Michigan State University known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  20. #20

    University of Michigan

    #12 institution's historical influence
    #37 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    26%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/32

    Ann Arbor, MI

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    What is University of Michigan known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

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Photo By: Dwight Burdette, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons