A Guide to Online Colleges in Michigan

Get started with your search for top-ranked schools in Michigan. Discover which colleges offer programs that fit your needs.

Updated February 1, 2024

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Greetings from Michigan! Michigan is known as the Great Lakes State for a reason. Michigan is the only state comprised of two peninsulas — the upper and lower peninsulas that are nestled between two great lakes. Michigan has a lot to offer for both outdoor enthusiasts and city goers alike. Whether in Grand Rapids, tasting through the many farm-to-table restaurants, taking in the art, meandering through museums and historic sites trying out one of the several places for craft breweries, boating and fishing on Mackinac Island, or relaxing at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore, no matter where you’re from Michigan feels like home. Also Michigan is home to one of the largest schools in the country, Michigan State not to mention the University of Michigan, Michigan Technology University, Oakland University, Wayne State University amongst others. Why then pay out-of-state fees with access to in-state tuition at some of the finest schools anywhere? While there are many perks to the flexibility afforded to studying online there are additional benefits of obtaining an online degree from within your own state.

In-state tuition is often applied to public schools offering online programs. Many online programs require some face-to-face time, or more numerous support services at their brick and mortar locations. Intensive study experiences–often on the weekends or in several weeklong bouts–enable many online students to accelerate their time until graduation. And students looking at online education can drastically expand their educational options if they also look to hybrid degrees (degrees where degrees can be taken partially, or mostly online). Finally, one of the most common stipulations in scholarships is that students be from a certain state or region, often more funds are available to students seeking degrees in-state.

Many of the top public schools in Michigan offer online programming. Michigan State offers 21 Master’s degrees online. Kellogg Community College a lesser-known Michigan-based college offers a total of 84 online degrees including 2 associates, 38 bachelor’s, 42 master’s, and two doctoral programs! University of Michigan Ann Arbor provides a total of 22 degrees including 4 bachelor’s degrees, 11 Master’s and 7 doctoral degrees. Central Michigan University is another large provider for online programming offering 9 bachelor’s degree programs including integrated leadership studies, health sciences, a bachelor of science in administration amongst others. Central Michigan also provides 23 online master’s degree programs and one doctorate in health administration. There are a number of great institutions offering degrees at all levels.

There are also fantastic private schools offering completely online degrees at all levels. Baker College offers roughly 450 degree programs online; the Allen Park campus alone offers 80 associates, 56 bachelor’s, 14 master’s and one doctoral degree. Lawrence Technological University offers 9 total degree programs. Cornerstone University offers 14 degree programs one associates in business studies, four bachelor’s one in the science in management, science in business administration, behavior of science in ministry leadership and a bachelor of science in psychology and nine master’s degree programs in arts education, education leadership, master of arts in ministry leadership, business administration amongst other. With nearly 20 private schools offering online programs, there are literally hundreds of educational opportunities right at your fingertips.

Compared to the rest of the country public universities in Michigan average approximately $1500 above the national average; in 2015-2016 tuitions fees averaged $10,951 for four-year universities with some of the high-ranking schools such as Michigan State costing closer to $12,500 for in-state tuition. In comparison however, the Baker College system even as a private institution, costs approximately $1100 dollars below the national average that is $8,200 a year. More importantly perhaps is to consider value; that is flexibility + affordability + quality. What better candidate for value than The University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, considered to be one of the most elite public universities in the country ranking 29th according to US News, offers in-state tuition for just under $14,000 a year compared to $43,500 for out-of-state tuition costs! That’s roughly three years of education for the cost of one.

Featured Online Schools

Detroit, the birthplace of Motown, automobiles and home to fantastic sports teams, arts centers and theatre has seen a recent resurgence in historic renovations and new downtown attractions. Detroit appears to be up-and-coming (again). In addition, as far as cities go, Detroit is relatively inexpensive in that it is equal to the national average, meaning you can enjoy all of the benefits of living in a large city without the large city fees. Downtown Detroit has two colleges offering distance-learning options Marygrove College offering 3 master’s degree programs and Wayne State offering a bachelor’s in social work and four master’s degrees including an MBA and three Master’s in education in various fields of study. Suburban towns of Detroit house Baker College- Allen Park, Madonna University, Lawrence Technical University, Michigan Jewish Institute, and Macomb Community College. Combined, these schools offer 169 distance-learning programs.

Grand Rapids Michigan is the second largest city located in west Michigan just 30 minutes from the beaches of Lake Michigan. Though a mid-sized city, the communal feel almost mimics something of a close-knit community. There are many experiences to consider in the city center or just outside. The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park houses Leonardo Di Vinci’s sculpture “Leonardo’s Horse” as well as a number of other world-class pieces mingled with exotic plants. Or check out the museums and art centers, theaters and microbreweries in town. While you’re settled in at the Lantern Coffee Bar and Lounge, open your laptop and dive into one of these online course options at Grand Rapids Community College, Cornerstone University, Calvin Theological Seminary, or Grace Bible College.

Lansing is the capital of Michigan and home to many historic buildings including the Michigan State Capitol and the Turner Dodge House. Lansing is a relaxed small city with fewer that 115,000 people. Residents enjoy the 13-mile River Trail that winds along the Red Cedar and Grand Rivers. Or stroll through Old Town and be sure to do so in the Fall during the Michigan Blues Festival and Oktoberfest. When you’re not on foot residents are on boat such as The Michigan Princess, a triple-decker riverboat that with views of The Grand River. Love life in this lazy river town? Check out the online offerings in the heart of Lansing at Lansing Community College or head over to East Lansing and check out one of the 21 online Master’s degrees available at Michigan State or study Global Food Law online through Michigan State College of Law.

Ann Arbor houses one of the best public universities in the country, The University of Michigan. As you may expect in a city with a large university and a small population, population swells when class is in session. As is implied in the name Ann Arbor is a tree-lined city that is very walkable. Streets for shopping, sipping, and eating include State, Liberty, and Main, but that’s just in the downtown area. If you love film, check out Michigan Theater an historic theater built in 1928. While there take in a silent film with accompanying historic organ (built one year prior to the theater in 1927). If you enjoy the arts and walking Ann Arbor is perfect. Located north of the Ohio State line and 45 miles west of Detroit, a more intense bustle is not too far away. The University of Michigan offers 4 bachelor’s degrees, 11 master’s degrees and an impressive 7 doctoral program online!


Population: 688,701
Cost of Living: 0.994
Top Industries: Automotive, technology Agriculture, Engineering
Local Online Degrees: 7

Grand Rapids

Population: 192,294
Cost of Living: 0.907
Top Industries: Furniture manufacturing, aviation, bio-science, education
Local Online Degrees: 5


Population: 134,873
Cost of Living: 0.82
Top Industries: technology, defense
Local Online Degrees: 4

Sterling Heights

Population: 131,224
Cost of Living: 0.93
Top Industries: automotive, defens, wooden and stainless steel doors
Local Online Degrees: 3


Population: 113,972
Cost of Living: 0.82
Top Industries: insurance, healthcare, technology
Local Online Degrees: 3

Ann Arbor

Population: 117,025
Cost of Living: 1.06
Top Industries: education, bio-science, health care
Local Online Degrees: 1


Population: 99,763
Cost of Living: 0.84
Top Industries: education, auto manufactoring, energy
Local Online Degrees: 1


Population: 75,548
Cost of Living: 0.912
Top Industries: education, healthcare
Local Online Degrees: 1

The Best Online Colleges in Michigan

1. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Online Programs: 22
Type: Public

The University of Michigan (Michigan) is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ann Arbor is a pedestrian-friendly tree-lined city where the arts flourish. The University of Michigan is the flagship university of Michigan and ranked 29th according to the US New Report. The University of Michigan is known for its research and comprehensive graduate programming especially in the STEM subject. Currently, Michigan scientists are engaging in a $15 million dollar initiative for a better understanding of bipolar spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. In addition to top-notch rigorous academia, Michigan is also home to Wolverine athletics and are member of the Big Ten Conference.

2. Michigan State University

Online Programs: 21
Type: Public

Michigan State University is a public university located in East Lansing, Michigan. East Michigan State is another flagship university for the state of Michigan and has the 8th largest enrollment of all universities in the United States. MSU also houses the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory that researches rare isotopes and is the largest nuclear science facility. Michigan State is also host to a number of professional schools including Michigan State University College of Law, The Eli Broad College of Business, and The Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine amongst others. East Lansing is located east of the capitol and is home to many outdoor recreational spots as well as historic down town.

3. Cornerstone University

Online Programs: 14
Type: Private

Cornerstone University is an independent, non-denominational university located in Grand Rapids Michigan. Grand Rapids has an artistic nightlife and rich cultural scene. Cornerstone is known for its Christian-centric MBA programming as well as online education. Online programs are varied and include nine master’s degree programs in education, TESOL education, ministry leadership and others. Cornerstone University is also a 40-minute drive away from Lake Michigan. Cornerstone provides 10 study abroad programs. Cornerstone is one of the most affordable Christian colleges in America.

4. Central Michigan University

Online Programs: 33
Type: Public

Central Michigan University is a public research university located in Mount Pleasant. Central Michigan has a top-notch neuroscience program and is ranked first in the nation by the Society of Neuroscience. CMU offers programs at the bachelor’s master’s specialist and doctoral levels. With over 200 academic programs, CMU has a little something for everyone. Programs of note include entrepreneurship, journalism, music, audiology, teacher education, psychology, and physician assistant. CMU offers 13 online programs 10 of which are bachelor’s degrees and three are master’s degree programs.

5. Baker College of Allen Park

Online Programs: 151
Type: Private

Baker College is an online university in a sense. Baker College Allen Park alone offers 151 online programs. Broken down the numbers are 80 associates degrees, 56 bachelor’s degrees, 14 master’s degrees, and 1 doctoral program. Baker is a not-for-profit school located in Allen Park (though there are 15 other Baker College locations throughout Michigan) and meets the transfer requirements for participation in Michigan four-year universities. Baker College provides employment assistance in addition to programming. Baker College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

6. Kellogg Community College

Online Programs: 84
Type: Public

Kellogg Community College has been fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges. Kellogg is a public college located in Battle Creek, Michigan as well as satellites in Hastings, Albion, and Coldwater. Kellogg Community College offers approximately 100 pre-professional degrees, certificate programming, job apprenticeships as well as 40 occupational associate degree programs with focuses in business, health, technical and science fields. Battle Creek is located in the convergence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek rivers and is an hour away from Lake Michigan and thirty minutes east of Kalamazoo.

7. University of Michigan-Dearborn

Online Programs: 17
Type: Public

The University of Michigan- Dearborn is one of the satellite universities for the University of Michigan. Dearborn has a strong immigrant heritage. German, Polish, Italian as well as Lebanese, Yemeni, Iraqi, and Syrians make up a large part of Dearborn. Like so many places, Dearborn was once farmland before it was purchased by Henry Ford for his estate and the Ford Motor Company World Headquarters. UM-D offers 17 online bachelor’s degrees. Earn an online degree in business administration, finance, program and project management, automotive system engineering, information systems and technology amongst others.

8. Baker College of Port Huron

Online Programs: 47
Type: Private

Baker College of Port Huron is just one of many Baker College you will find on this resource. Baker College is spearheading online education with their system including nearly 450 online programs. Port Huron is no different. Port Huron is located in Eastern Michigan and features an historic downtown area, boardwalk and marina. Port Huron is also home to the first lighthouse in the state of Michigan, the Fort Gartiot Light that marks the entrance to the St. Clair River and is surrounded by lighthouse beach. Baker College Port Huron houses 47 online degrees including 12 associates, 22 bachelor’s, 12 master’s and one doctorate.

9. Baker College Center for Graduate Studies

Online Programs: 43
Type: Private

The Graduate Studies Center is fantastic in that there are so many choices for online programming. If you are looking to go into business studies, check out the diverse offerings and concentrations at the Baker College Center for Graduate Studies. The Center for Graduate Studies offers a bachelor’s in business administration, human resource management, web development, business finance, supply chain management and many more. There are a number of business master’s as you may imagine 11, actually. What about a master’s in business administration, or general business, health care management, education effectiveness? Want an effective career change; there is plenty to choose from here! Baker is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a not-for-profit. Great!

10. Baker College of Auburn Hills

Online Programs: 43
Type: Private

Auburn Hills is a great choice for those looking to enter or continue into the field of information technology amongst others. 12 associates degrees 20 bachelor’s degrees, and 12 master’s degree options make Auburn Hills an online campus with great options. Auburn Hills offers a bachelor’s in computer science, software engineering, and computer science database technology, amongst several others. Auburn Hills offers several terrific park options equipped with nature trails, river trails along the Clinton River, outdoor camping sights and an inline skate and BMX Park as well as the Hawk Woods nature center with 80 acres of woods ad meadows.

11. Baker College of Clinton Township

Online Programs: 43
Type: Private

Baker College isn’t done yet. This is not a joke, I assure you. If you like recreation, and private multi-million dollar parks, then Clinton Township, the largest township in Macomb county. There are a number of upscale and exclusive areas just waiting for you to try and explore. Maybe you’re looking for something a little more “out there” try Yasu, Shiga, Japan Clinton Township’s sister city. Or perhaps you’re here to take a look at the online programming from the comfort of your home. That being said, Baker College again knocks it out of the park with their Clinton Township options. Like some of the other Baker College programs there are a number of options technology and business options.

12. Baker College of Flint

Online Programs: 43
Type: Private

Baker College of Flint (Flint) is an accredited, not-for-profit college with locations around various parts of Michigan. Flint offers 12 associate degrees, 20 bachelor’s degrees and 11 master’s degrees online. Some examples of degrees available at your fingertips include an associate’s Applied Science in Emergency Services Management, a bachelor of science in psychology, or a master’s in occupational therapy. Flint is historically known for the automobile industry (General Motors) and lumber industry thanks to the Saginaw Trail. Flint is the home of Baker College’s flagship campus.

13. Baker College of Jackson

Online Programs: 43
Type: Private

Baker College of Jackson (Jackson) is an accredited not-for-profit college that offers nearly 450 online degrees. Jackson is located in the south central part of the lower peninsula of Michigan. Like many parts of Michigan Jackson is known for transportation and was the early home for moped parts in the United States. At Baker College, you’ll have access to a number of business, information technology and education degrees all 100% online. You’ll find a bachelor in general studies, business administration as well as computer science in game software or a master’s in industrial/organizational psychology.

14. Michigan Technological University

Online Programs: 6
Type: Public

Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) is a public research technology university housed in Houghton Michigan. Michigan Tech participates in the Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE). Michigan Technology University is Located in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan overlooking the Keweenaw Waterway that separates Copper Island from the mainland of the Keweenaw Peninsula (Upper Peninsula) and just a few miles from Lake Superior. Technology and natural beauty make this campus the perfect spot to begin exploring a natural alternative fuel through their partnership with PIRE . Michigan Tech boasts a 93% job placement rate, 19 accelerated master’s programs, and nearly $70 million dollars invested in research. It seems that this small university on the smaller peninsula is the university of the future. Online, Michigan Tech offers master’s degrees and one doctoral program. Expect programming like mechanical engineering, medical information and geospatial technology at this school. Their doctor of philosophy is in mechanical engineering.

15. Lawrence Technological University

Online Programs: 9
Type: Private

Lawrence Technological University known as Lawrence Tech is located in Southfield, Michigan. US News ranks it among the top “universities— master’s Midwest” Lawrence Tech is also a military friendly school. They are known for their excellence in sustainable infrastructure, a Michigan green leader and one of America’s best architectural schools for their methodology in construction and use of sustainable materials. Southfield is a north suburb of Detroit so students have quick access to the largest city in the state. Online, Lawrence Tech provides 2 bachelor’s degrees and 7 master’s degrees involving business information and information technology and masters degrees in architecture and industrial engineering amongst others.

Monitoring the accreditation of a university you are interested in attending is incredibly important. Accreditation ensures your credits can transfer that you can receive Federal financial aid, and most importantly that certain standards of educational quality are during your schooling. The highest accreditation standard for most programs in the United States is provided by regional accreditation agencies. The regional accrediting agency for Michigan is the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional accrediting agencies responsible for accrediting schools in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Making sure that a University you're hoping to attend is regionally accredited — or accredited by a real and respected accrediting agency — is one of the most important choices you can make in ensuring the quality of your education.

Three Steps for Securing Financial Aid

  • Submit your FAFSA.
  • Check to see if additional forms are needed at your university of choice.
  • Search and apply for private scholarships.

Through the previous three steps most students find themselves offered some sort of federal grant, work study, private grant, scholarship, or stipend.

Great Michigan Higher Education Resources

  • Scholarships are in abundance to Michigan residents or those hoping to attend a Michigan school. Whether a future farmer of America, a woman, international student or any high school senior there are scholarships for you here.
  • If you’re interested in financial aid for the University of Michigan the first place to go is here.
  • Of what about Michigan State, Michigan’s second flagship University. For financial aid information go here.
  • Are you an athlete headed to University of Michigan? Check out the large number of athletic scholarships here.
  • Business students at University of Michigan's Ross Business School weigh in on the business climate and opportunities in the area in this feature.
  • Many states offer special transfer opportunities between university systems or between community colleges and four year+ instutitions. Check out transferability in Michigan here.
  • Cant decide which of these fantastic universities to try out, find out short helpful information here
  • The University of Michigan has a low acceptance rate. Learn everything you need to know to get accepted from high school GPA to ACT, SAT without the sugarcoating
  • Heading to Michigan State? Need that part-time job? Head here.
  • Wondering about the best value in Michigan schools? Check out this ranking
  • Not 100% sure why you ended up in Detroit? Here’s some reasons from these top Detroit blogs.
  • Need a getaway in your own state? Try one of these beautiful Michigan destinations here.
  • Love Nature? Get away to the Upper Peninsula. Go UP!

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