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The 10 Cheapest Colleges in Michigan

What’s Covered:

 

The cost of higher education is a growing concern for college-bound students. Michigan students are fortunate to live in a state with an abundance of affordable institutions. While top-ranked and high-profile schools like the University of Michigan and Michigan State University steal the spotlight, there are a number of great and affordable colleges in the Mitten State—such as the ten cheapest colleges in Michigan listed below. 

 

Tips for Saving Money on College

 

Start at Community College 

 

Community colleges offer one of the best values in higher education with credits costing substantially less than at four-year institutions. The average cost per credit hour for two-year in-district schools is $158. Compare that against: 

 

  • $448 for students at four-year public in-state colleges
  • $1,148 for students at four-year public out-of-state colleges
  • $1,586 for students at four-year private nonprofit colleges

 

Community college allows students to cost-effectively fulfill their core classes before transferring to a more expensive four-year school.

 

Earn AP Credits 

 

As mentioned above, earning credits at college is an expensive proposition; however, you can get a jump on your core college curriculum while in high school—for far less than you’ll pay at college. Many colleges count AP classes toward the credits needed to graduate, provided students score a three or higher on their AP exam. Some more selective schools will require a 4 or 5 exam score to count the class for credit. 

 

Seek Out Scholarships

 

Winning scholarships is a tried-and-true way to lower the cost of college. It’s estimated that $46 billion in scholarship money is awarded annually and the average award is worth $7,400. Outside scholarships are a great source of college funding, but schools themselves provide substantially more scholarship dollars in the form of merit aid (awards for academic performance or extracurricular activities).

 

The 10 Cheapest Colleges in Michigan

 

1. Baker College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $16,460/$16,460

Location: Flint, MI

Acceptance Rate: 54%

Undergrad Enrollment: 8,900

 

Baker College is Michigan’s largest independent not-for-profit college. The school is home to eight academic colleges and offers undergraduate degrees in fields ranging from business to engineering to health sciences. Baker College provides a variety of class styles—on-campus, online, and live online—which allows students to pursue higher education no matter how complex or busy their schedules are.

 

Learn more about Baker College and what it takes to get accepted.

 

2. Northwestern Michigan College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $16,555/$18,766

Location: Traverse City, MI

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,700

 

Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) is Michigan’s first community college and the state’s first community college to offer a bachelor’s degree—a Bachelor’s of Science in Maritime Science. NMC also offers bachelor’s degrees in fields such as business administration, computer information systems, and nursing through partner schools. NMC is proud of its student outcomes and the opinion its graduates hold of their education. Over 90% of NMC graduates and transfer students report accomplishing their educational goals and more than 90% say NMC is a good value. 

 

Learn more about Northwestern Michigan College and what it takes to get accepted.

 

3. Lake Michigan College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $16,723/$16,723

Location: Benton Harbor, MI

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,200 

 

Lake Michigan College is a two-year nonprofit community college that offers more than 80 academic programs ranging from accounting to wine and viticulture. The school’s main campus in Benton Harbor features on-campus housing for roughly 200 students, a state-of-the-art technology center, and the Mendel Center—which hosts performances from renowned artists as well as student, faculty, and community productions.  

 

Learn more about Lake Michigan College and what it takes to get accepted.

 

4. Jackson College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $19,318/$21,933

Location: Jackson, MI

Acceptance Rate: 78%

Undergrad Enrollment: 5,000 

 

Jackson College began as a junior college in 1928 and just within the past decade began to offer a bachelor’s degree—a Bachelor of Science in Energy Systems Management. Jackson College serves a mixed group of learners: 41% of students attend full-time and 59% part-time; 43% of students take classes at the main campus, 20% online, and 37% at three other satellite locations; 64% of students are under 24 years old, 33% are between 24 and 39, and 3% are over 40. 

 

Learn more about Jackson College and what it takes to get accepted.

 

5. Saginaw Valley State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $21,664/$36,251

Location: University Center, MI

Acceptance Rate: 89%

Undergrad Enrollment: 7,700

 

Not only is Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) one of the cheapest colleges in Michigan, but it’s also home to one of the best college campuses in the country. The website Niche ranks SVSU as having the 17th nicest campus in the country, not to mention the fourth-best dorms in the nation. Affordability and the belief that income should not present a barrier to earning a high-quality education are at the core of SVSU’s mission—49% of the university’s freshmen had their entire tuition paid for by scholarships and grants. 

 

Learn more about Saginaw Valley State University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

6. Ferris State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $22,412/$22,412

Location: Big Rapids, MI

Acceptance Rate: 82%

Undergrad Enrollment: 11,800 

 

Ferris State University was founded in 1884 as a private school offering a career-oriented education but was taken over by the state of Michigan in 1950. Today, the school is home to seven academic colleges and offers more than 190 educational programs. Ferris State University has made a significant effort to connect with Michigan’s community college students by expanding its online offerings and allowing students to complete coursework—toward a Ferris degree—at their local community college. 

 

 Learn more about Ferris State University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

7. Northern Michigan University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $23,474/$28,970

Location: Marquette, MI

Acceptance Rate: 67%

Undergrad Enrollment: 7,000

 

Northern Michigan University was founded as a school to train teachers in 1899 but began to diversify its curriculum in the 1950s. Today, it offers more than 180 majors including the first and only bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies in the State of Michigan. Northern Michigan University’s 360-acre campus is located in Marquette, which is often counted among the best small cities in the country thanks to its local art scene, quality restaurants, numerous craft breweries, and abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. 

 

Learn more about Northern Michigan University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

8. Western Michigan University | WMU

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $23,584/$26,608

Location: Kalamazoo, MI

Acceptance Rate: 85%

Undergrad Enrollment: 17,700 

 

Western Michigan University is the only fully accredited fine arts college in Michigan and home to one of just two aerospace engineering programs in the state. WMU boasts of its outcomes and graduates’ feelings about the school:

 

  • 9 out of 10 graduates are employed quickly, working in their fields, and in jobs they like
  • 92% of students felt their instructors cared about them as a person

 

WMU students also know how to have a good time; the website Niche ranks the school 49th on its list of top party schools and 51st for best Greek life. 

 

Learn more about Western Michigan University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

9. University of Michigan-Flint

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $23,394/$35,196

Location: Flint, MI

Acceptance Rate: 77%

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,000

 

The University of Michigan-Flint is the first and one of just two satellite campuses of the University of Michigan. Helping make the University of Michigan-Flint one of the cheapest colleges in Michigan are programs like the Go Blue Guarantee, which provides free tuition to qualifying high-achieving students from lower-income families. The University of Michigan-Flint is divided into six academic units and offers majors ranging from accounting to wildlife biology. Outside of the classroom, students can take part in more than 90 student clubs and organizations. 

 

Learn more about the University of Michigan-Flint and what it takes to get accepted.


10. Wayne State University | WSU

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $24,211/$39,581

Location: Detroit, MI

Acceptance Rate: 69%

Undergrad Enrollment: 17,500

 

Located on 200 acres in midtown Detroit, WSU is the only urban research university in Michigan. WSU is a part of Michigan’s University Research Corridor—along with Michigan State University and the University of Michigan—one of the nation’s top academic research clusters. Wayne State University is the most diverse college in Michigan. WSU was founded as a medical college by physicians who witnessed the crude medical treatment on Civil War battlefields and committed themselves to advancing health education and care in Detroit. Today, the college offers more than 350 academic programs through its 13 schools and colleges, including its well-regarded School of Medicine. 

 

Learn more about Wayne State University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

How Much Will College Cost Your Family?

 

The sticker price of a school only hints at its actual cost and will not truly tell you what the cheapest colleges in Michigan are. The actual cost of each college varies from person to person depending on factors like your family’s financial situation and the amount of merit aid you receive. A better measure of the true cost of college is net price, a calculation that figures in financial aid and other awards. 

 

Most college websites provide a net price calculator, however, our free Financial Aid Calculator allows you to easily estimate the expense of college for hundreds of schools in one place and in just minutes. Use it along with our free Chancing Engine to estimate your odds of acceptance and gain deeper insight into your college future.

 


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.