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What Does It Cost to Attend the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor?

As one of the top public universities in the nation, the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor regularly attracts students looking for a top quality education with all the advantages of a large university. It boasts being the top public research university according to the National Science Foundation, and students have a wide variety of study abroad programs, extracurricular activities, and other opportunities to choose from if they attend.


If your student is thinking about going to the University of Michigan, then you probably want to know what it’s going to cost your family. You may find that sending your student to their dream school is more affordable than you first realized!


Why College Costs are Highly Variable


It would be nice if we could just say, “It costs this much to go to the University of Michigan,” but the cost of an education varies from student to student, which means that the cost to your family might not be the same as someone else’s.


While looking at the total cost, or the “list price,” for a school is a good place to start, you should know that very few students actually pay the full list price. Instead, you want to look at how financial aid can reduce your net cost, or the cost that you might expect to pay out of pocket. Within financial aid, variables like government aid, institutional aid, and private scholarships can alter the net cost.


We’re going to look at the the University of Michigan as a case study, but you should know that many of the factors we touch on here apply to other schools as well. Let’s dive right in!


The University of Michigan–Ann Arbor’s List Price


When we say the “list price” what we mean is the total cost of an education for one academic year. Colleges call this the cost of attendance, and it includes things like tuition, fees, room, board, and other miscellaneous costs of living like transportation or laundry.


The University of Michigan is a public institution, which means that in-state residents pay less than out-of-state students. At most state schools, this is due to additional fees for out-of-state students that increase their tuition-and-fees total. In the 2016-2017 school year, the list price for in-state students was $28,776, whereas for out-of-state students the list price was $59,784.


Although most families won’t end up paying full price, there are some who do. If your household income exceeds $175,000 annually, and your student isn’t in the top 30% of accepted students at that university, there’s a higher chance that you can expect to pay full price. Later on, we’ll go over how even students from high-income families can reduce their net costs.


What is the Price with Financial Aid?


We hope that you’re relieved to know that you aren’t likely to pay the full price of an education at any college. So with financial aid, how much can you expect to pay? Again, based on the 2016-2017 numbers, in-state students could expect to pay $23,855; out-of-state students could expect to pay $54,863.


Cost Based on Household Income


The averages above may seem high, and that’s due to the income distribution of the admitted students. However, for students with greater financial need, you can expect to pay less for an education. Here’s a breakdown of what a student could expect to pay based on household income:


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $2,660
$30,001-$48,000 $5,878
$48,001-$75,000 $10,106
$75,001-$110,000 $18,251
Over $110,000 $24,129

What is the Merit Aid Net Price? What is the Average Net Price for Students Without Need?


Many public institutions offer merit aid to their top applicants. They often do this on a need-blind basis, meaning that even students who don’t qualify for need-based aid from the government or the institution can still receive these awards. Merit aid gets its name from the fact that the awards are usually based on academic achievement or extracurricular accomplishments—the student’s merits.


At the University of Michigan, about 33.3% of students without need receive merit aid. The average size of the merit award for students without need is $1,724, which brings the net price for in-state students without need down to $27,052 and out-of-state students down to $58,060.


Although many students at the University of Michigan receive some kind of aid, the merit aid amount is not especially high for students without need. As a result, the University of Michigan ranks 703rd in a pool of over 1000 colleges we analyzed for merit aid generosity.

Student Loans and Debt


Even with merit-based and need-based aid, students need to make up the remaining cost of their education. This is where the infamous loan comes in; at the University of Michigan, a little less than half of the students have a loan—43% to be exact. The average size of the federal student loan per student was $2,815.


Student Outcomes


Any school that your student chooses to attend will be a financial investment on the part of your family. As a result, it’s important to consider the graduation rate and the average salary of graduates.


While your student’s own ambition and work ethic will mostly determine their success, it’s good to know that schools like the University of Michigan are supportive of students in this regard. The University of Michigan has a six-year graduation rate of 89%, and after ten years the average graduate earns $63,400 a year.


Local Cost of Living Considerations


Remember how we said that the cost of attendance includes miscellaneous costs of living? The list price itself is usually an average, since the exact cost of living for any student will vary based on where they choose to live and eat, but getting a general sense of the area surrounding a school is a good place to start.


Ann Arbor’s cost-of-living index is 127.1, which means that it’s about 27.1% higher than the national average. Most of this is due to higher housing and transportation costs, which can influence your student’s decision about where to live.


Students can choose to live on-campus or off-campus, and although there are pros and cons to both, one common benefit of living off-campus is less money spent on housing. For example, here are the average rents for apartments in Ann Arbor:


  • 1 bedroom: $1,063
  • 2 bedroom: $1,305
  • 3 bedroom: $1,718


If you student splits rent with a friend in a 2-bedroom apartment, their monthly rent would be $652.50, whereas if you take the cheapest housing option at the University of Michigan the monthly payment equals $875.17.


Another common way that students can reduce the net cost to their family is with a part-time job. Although a part-time job probably won’t be able to cover the entire remaining cost of a student’s education, it can certainly help cover some of their expenses. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the minimum wage in Michigan is $9.25, and the average hourly wage in Ann Arbor is $25.86 across all occupations.


Other Ways to Save


Aside from penny-pinching and encouraging your student to work, you may be wondering if there is a way to make a significant dent in the net cost of education to your family. Regardless of your household income, one of the best ways to save is to encourage your student to apply for scholarships.


Although the University of Michigan will automatically consider students for general scholarships, some of the colleges and even departments at U-M require separate applications. You should encourage your student to seek out these opportunities, and to look at the awards that are offered to continuing students so your student can make plans to apply for those scholarships as they become eligible. You can find out more about their financial aid and scholarships here.


In addition to these hidden gems at the institution, you should encourage your student to seek out scholarships from private corporations and nonprofits. These awards tend to be merit-based and need-blind, and can significantly reduce your net cost.


Last, if your student is an out-of-state resident, you may want to look into the steps needed to be reclassified as an in-state resident after their freshman year. This can save you thousands annually, but it may also affect your student’s financial aid in other ways. The best thing to do is for your student to get advice directly from a financial aid officer.


Wrapping It Up


Top colleges like the University of Michigan offer a lot of ways to make college more affordable for every student. Through a combination of traditional saving methods and financial aid know-how, you and your student are on your way to making their dream school a reality.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!


For more information about the University of MichiganAnn Arbor and financial aid, check out these posts:


What is the University of Michigan Ann Arbor Acceptance Rate?

Parents: 12 Must-Know College Financial Aid Terms

FAFSA, CSS Profile, IDOC, Oh My: A Guide to Financial Aid

Short Bio
Gianna Cifredo is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she majored in Philosophy. She has six years of higher education and test prep experience, and now works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida and is a proud cat mom.