Perhaps the largest and best-known institution to offer an online degree is the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan's regional campuses in Dearborn and Flint feature a variety of fully online and blended (part online, part on-campus) degree programs -- from a Bachelor's in Business Administration to a Master's in Software Engineering.
As of February 2013, the University of Michigan also offered seven classes through Coursera, a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) provider that allows students across the globe to take college courses online, often at no cost.
Other online colleges in Michigan include Western Michigan University, Michigan State University and Central Michigan University Online. Programs vary by institution, but each of these online colleges in Michigan feature both degrees and certificate programs online, as well as a number of services designed to support online learners.
Most Affordable Colleges in Michigan
The following list ranks the 10 schools in Michigan that offer online degrees at the lowest tuition costs. This ranking is based on a number of factors that are important to prospective students such as the actual degree programs that are taught online, and information on tuition fees, accreditation and notable alumni. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (2014-2015) and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students. See our Methodology section for more details on the ranking methodology
Glen Oaks is one of 28 community colleges in Michigan, and as such students enrolled in Glen Oaks can take online courses offered by any of the other schools in that group. At Glen Oaks, online students can earn associate degrees in general studies; medical coding; and mobile phone applications development.
In addition to being able to take a variety of online classes, students at Bay Mills Community College in Brimley also have the option of earning an Associate of Arts degree in early childhood education or business administration entirely online. The online courses closely resemble the classroom experience; students are required to write research papers, participate in online discussions and contribute to group projects.
Delta College in University Center, Michigan, offers face-to-face, blended and online classes. Many of the online classes may call for students to come to campus for tests and orientation, but the school can make accommodations for those who can't make it to campus. The class selection for online learners is extensive, vary from term to term, and draw from such disciplines as mathematics, medical terminology and history.
Jackson College describes itself as a "major player" in the Michigan Community College Virtual Learning Collaborative, largely because it has been delivering distance learning to people since 1987. It is the only college in Michigan offering sonography and vascular technology programs entirely online.
Alpena offers selected courses from its two-year college curriculum for students who have trouble traveling to the campus in Alpena, Michigan. Although online students can access course materials and study when and where it is convenient for them, the courses typically require participating in online discussion groups and submitting assignments in a timely manner. Courses must be completed during the normal 16-week semester.
Gogebic Community College offers Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Applied Business, and Associate of Applied Technology degrees, and many of the courses needed to meet the degree requirements are available online. These classes range from payroll tax accounting to human resource management.
Baker College has campuses all over Michigan, but it has also made its name worldwide as one of the first colleges to offer online degree programs. Its online associate degree programs include business; health administration; general education; computer technologies; health sciences; design and media; and public safety. Its bachelor's degree programs include business; health administration; general education; computer technologies; health sciences; legal studies; design and media; human services; nursing; and public safety. In addition, the school also offers master's degree programs in business; computer technologies; education; health sciences; and human services.
The main campus of Eastern Michigan University is in Ypsilanti, but the university maintains satellite campuses in Brighton, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Livonia, Monroe and Washtenaw County. It offers eight online master's degrees and three online bachelor's degree programs, including a bachelor's in dietetics; nursing; and technology management. Its online master's programs include dietetics; education leadership-K-12; educational media and technology; educational psychology; engineering management; human nutrition; integrated marketing communications; quality management; and social foundations of education.
Lake Superior State offers three online degree completion programs leading to Bachelor of Science degrees in criminal justice-generalist; criminal justice-homeland security; and fire science-generalist.
Oakland University, initially part of the Michigan State University system, became an independent college more than 50 years ago. It offers three fully online bachelor's degree programs, including integrative studies; occupational safety and health; and nursing. Its online master's degree programs include special education; business administration; IT management; engineering management; and safety management. Oakland also offers a doctoral program in nursing practice and a post master's education specialist degree.
Ferris State University offers both bachelor's and master's degree programs online. It also offers some degree programs that combine face-to-face classes with online work. It offers bachelor's degrees in allied health sciences; automotive management; business administration; dental hygiene; health information management; heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration; integrative studies; nuclear medicine technology; and nursing. It offers online master's degrees in business administration; nursing; business-to-business marketing; direct marketing; e-commerce marketing; facility management; geographic information systems; gerontology; human resource management; international business; leadership and supervision; nursing education; professional e-commerce; marketing; project management; small business management; and vascular ultrasound.
Grace Bible College, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, allows students to earn either an associate degree or a bachelor's degree in leadership & ministry; business & business management; and human services. The learning program is accelerated, allowing busy adults a chance to quickly earn a college degree while still working or taking care of the family. Classes generally follow a cohort structure that allows peer discussions and the exploration of real-life situations.
The University of Phoenix maintains a campus in the Detroit area, but its online degree programs in Michigan provide access to more than 100 campuses across the country offering a wide array of online associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs. Online degree programs are available in several general interest areas, including arts and science; business and management; criminal justice and security; education; human services; nursing and healthcare; psychology; and technology.
Michigan State offers more than 100 courses via the Internet, and even more that are considered hybrid because they require some level of face-to-face interaction. In addition to its online bachelor's degree program in nursing, some of the master's degree programs on offer include biomedical lab operations; lab science; clinical laboratory science; criminal justice; educational technology; food safety; health; integrative pharmacology; strategy and leadership; marketing research; social work; supply chain management; and youth development. It also offers doctorate programs in educational psychology and educational technology; physics; and nursing practice.
Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, offers a number of its courses entirely online. The selection varies from fall, spring and summer terms, but at times these classes can range from quantum chemistry to Marxist cultural theory. The online technology fee also varies depending on the course.
Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing has recently started offering online classes in such topics as the verse-by-verse study of the Book of Acts, as well as a course in restoration history focusing on the development and doctrines popularized by Alexander Campbell. These classes generally take about three hours a week per credit, but the course materials are available at any time and any place for students who are traveling or can't come to the school's 47-acre campus in Delta Township.
Davenport is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but its courses attract students from around the country and the world because Davenport tries, through its online program, to offer courses and degree programs not readily available elsewhere. Associate degrees are offered online in accounting; business administration; finance; computer information systems; security and information assurance; health information technology; and health insurance claims management. Bachelor's degrees online are offered in accounting information management; general business; finance; human resource management; international business; marketing; management; accounting fraud investigations; sports management; professional accountancy; strategic human resource management; strategic management; and several other areas from Davenport's Colleges of Technology and Health Professions. Master's degrees are available in accounting; human resources; strategic management; finance; healthcare management; strategic management; information assurance; and science.
Madonna University, located in Livonia, Michigan, enrolls 3,200 undergraduates and 1,200 graduate students. The school offers a number of online classes in such areas as hospice and palliative studies; nursing; and social science at both the graduate and undergraduate level, utilizing the Blackboard learning management system to allow students to study from home whenever it's convenient for them.
In addition to the face-to-face classes it offers at its 140 campuses nationwide, ITT also offers a robust portfolio of online degree programs from its schools of information technology, business, electronics, digital entertainment and criminal justice. It offers online bachelor's degree programs in information systems and cybersecurity; project management; accounting; business management; business accounting technology; business administration; project management and administration; technical project management; criminal justice; construction management; and nursing. Its online associate's degree programs include accounting; business accounting technology; business administration; business management; construction technology; drafting and design technology; web design; web design technology; criminal justice; electrical engineering technology; criminology and forensic technology; and paralegal studies.
Siena Heights offers its online classes every eight weeks, arranged in weekly units that include discussion threads as well as the option of joining a cohort of students moving through the same sequence of courses together. Students can also work with an advisor to set up their own unique schedule. Its online degree programs include bachelor's degrees in multidisciplinary studies; applied science; professional communications; and associate and bachelor's degrees in business administration.
Spring Arbor University is a Christian evangelical university that offers three online degree levels in various subjects. It offers an associate degree in business and bachelor's degrees in business; communication leadership; and organizational management. It also offers master's degrees in communication; education; reading; special education; spiritual formation and leadership; teaching English as a second language; business administration; and nursing.
Concordia, affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, offers its online programs in partnership with Concordia University Wisconsin. Students in the online programs are offered a student support specialist to serve as a "personal guide" through the educational process. Through its Ann Arbor campus, Concordia offers online master's degree programs in organizational leadership and administration; educational leadership; and curriculum and instruction. Through Concordia University Wisconsin, it offers online degree programs from associate to doctoral levels, including programs in business; education; healthcare; and Christian ministry.
Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at Oakland?
Oakland University (OU) currently offers 13 undergraduate, graduate, certificate and continuing education programs online. Our programs are a mix of fully online and blended programs. In the blended programs, students are expected to meet on campus some of the time.
Our programs are championed and developed by the sponsoring schools and departments and span a variety of disciplines, including engineering, education, medical and health sciences, nursing, arts and sciences. These programs are accredited by the same organizations as our face-to-face programs. We also offer continuing education and certificate programs in topics such as animal assisted therapy, oncology rehabilitation, and international baccalaureate studies.
The curriculum in our online programs is delivered using a mixture of synchronous tools (e.g., WebEx virtual conferencing) and asynchronous tools (e.g., threaded discussion forums). Oakland University uses Moodle as its Learning Management System, and this serves as the central portal for all course activity in our online programs.
OU focuses on the quality of its online course offerings through intensive faculty training and course review. Find out more about the online programs offered at OU by visiting http://www.oakland.edu/online/.
Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?
- You should be comfortable with technology, and able to resolve simple computer-related problems yourself or with minimal help.
- You should enjoy participating in online communities, especially online discussion groups, which are a critical, participatory element of many online courses.
- You should engage with the instructors and students in your program as often as you can, using tools like email, web chat, and discussion boards. Doing so will ensure that you stay connected to the curriculum.
- Don’t procrastinate. Make sure you meet assignment requirements and deadlines. Don’t fall behind, or you’ll have a very hard time catching back up.
Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?
The future of online learning is full of wonderful possibilities. One of the most welcome changes will be the increased reliability in hardware and software. Consider how much easier it is to conduct an online meeting today than it was just five years ago. As technology continues to improve, online courses will become more accessible to a wider range of participants, including those who have traditionally struggled with technology or those with disabilities.
We anticipate that the use of synchronous meetings will expand in the future, with more opportunities for students to connect to their peers and teachers virtually. Technology will become ever more ubiquitous, allowing online communities to flourish. In this new environment, a variety of devices will connect students and instructors, including not only computers and laptops, but also smartphones, tablets, and other wearable technologies yet to be invented.
We predict that one of the most promising advances will be in the area of virtual and augmented reality. Numerous companies are currently developing hardware that will make it possible for users to connect with each other or with content in virtual environments. Headsets can transport users to a virtual world, or overlay creations in the physical world. This technology will dramatically increase the sense of immersion a student experiences when interacting with both course material and other participants. For example, instead of controlling an avatar in a 3D environment using a monitor and keyboard, the student will be able to immerse him or herself in a full virtual world using a headset and motion controllers.
Other Michigan Resources
In additional to these schools, many national online colleges offer programs to students in Michigan. Some, such as Everest University, South University and DeVry University even have physical campuses in the state, which may allow students to participate in blended programs. This could be an attractive option for students who enjoy learning in a classroom environment but also want to benefit from the convenience of online lectures and coursework.
1. Alpena Community College, http://discover.alpenacc.edu/future_students/online_learning.php
2. Baker College, http://www.baker.edu/baker-online/programs-degrees/?programs_area=interests°ree=
3. Baker College Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baker_University#Notable_alumni
4. Bay Mills Community College, https://www.bmcc.edu/admissions/pages/default.aspx
5. Concordia, http://online.cuaa.edu/programs/?ref=cuaa.edu
6. The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Index.aspx
7. Davenport University, http://www.davenport.edu/du-online/online-programs
8. Delta College, http://www.delta.edu/elearning/courses.aspx10. Eastern Michigan University, http://www.emich.edu/extended/online-offcampus/degrees_programs.php?location[Online]=on
9. Experience Grand Rapids, http://www.experiencegr.com/things-to-do/attractions/
10. Ferris State University, http://www.ferris.edu/online/
11. Ferris State University Notable Almuni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferris_State_University#Notable_alumni
12. Glen Oaks Community College, https://www.glenoaks.edu/currentstudents/academics/distancelearning/pages/whatisdistancelearning.aspx
13. Gogebic Community College, http://www.gogebic.edu/academics/
14. Grace Bible College, http://www.gbcol.edu/aoe/index
15. Great Lakes Christian College, http://www.glcc.edu/Advancement/GLCCEvents/tabid/135/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1/Online-Classes-Available-This-Fall-at-Great-Lakes-Christian-College.aspx
16. Great Lansing Michigan, http://www.lansing.org/visitor/things-to-do/
17. ITT, www.itt-tech.edu/programs/
18. Jackson College, http://jetnet.jccmi.edu/21. List of Davenport University People, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Davenport_University_alumni
19. List of Delta College People, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_College_%28Michigan%29
20. Lake Superior State University, http://www.lssu.edu/library/onlinelearning/FullyOnlineProgramsatLSSU.php
21. List of Eastern Michigan University People, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Eastern_Michigan_University_people
22. List of Madonna University People, https://www.google.com/search?q=Madonna+University+notable+alumni&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
23. List of Lake Superior State University People, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Superior_State_University
24. List of Michigan State University People, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Michigan_State_University_people
25. Madonna University, http://www.madonna.edu/SearchResult_2.cfm?q=online%20classes
26. Michigan State University, https://www.reg.msu.edu/UCC/OnlinePrograms.asp
27. Michigan Technological University, http://www.mtu.edu/ctl/for-online-learners/online-courses/
28. National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
29. Oakland University, http://www.oakland.edu/online
30. Oakland University Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oakland_University
31. Reuters, "In largest-ever U.S. city bankruptcy, cuts coming for Detroit creditors, retirees," December 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/03/us-usa-detroit-bankruptcy-judge-idUSBRE9B20PZ20131203
32. Shaun Moore, Diane Underwood and John Coughlin, interview with the author, February 2015
33. Siena Heights, http://www.sienaheights.edu/Locations/DistanceLearningPrograms.aspx
34. Siena Heights Alumni Association, http://www.sienaheights.edu/Alumni/AlumniAssociation.aspx
35. Spring Arbor University, http://online.arbor.edu/programs/
36. Spring Arbor University Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_Arbor_University
37. TripAdvisor, "Things to do in Detroit," http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g42139-Activities-Detroit_Michigan.html
38. University of Phoenix-Metro Detroit campus, http://www.phoenix.edu/degrees/online-bachelors.html
39. U.S. Census Bureau, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml
40.. U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Michigan's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting, http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/2010_census/cb11-cn106.html
41. U.S. Department of Education, The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs