Home College Towns Ranking Michigan’s State Universities: Here’s Our Top Ten

Ranking Michigan’s State Universities: Here’s Our Top Ten

Ranking Michigan’s State Universities: Here’s Our Top Ten

You are looking at the public university system in your home state of Michigan because your parents are making you. California sounds better until you start looking at in-state tuition and what your home state has to offer. Now before you say it’s cheaper to go to school in California, remember, you would be out of state.

Michigan schools fight a chronic battle with budget shortfalls, but there are so many fantastic options how can you not at least look? Be careful, you may find that perfect place even though you don’t want to.

Variety is the Spice of Life at Michigan Schools

To begin with, there are a variety of settings, sizes, and programs all offered on beautiful campuses. Sustainability is important to these institutions and you can typically find support for students with disabilities. All campuses are proud of their diversity and many schools are part of the list of the 100 largest universities. There is a lot offered in Michigan, see if you can find only one school that suits you!

10. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Some rights reserved by Corvair Owner
Some rights reserved by Corvair Owner

The school coming in at Number 10 is Western Michigan University. Known for marketing, it is a national research university. The average salary at graduation is $39,000. Tuition, fees, books and room and board costs approximately $23,600. Average student debt at graduation is $30,900.

There are 24,000 students attending from the US and 100 countries. Western Michigan offers 147 bachelor’s, 73 master’s, and 30 doctoral degrees along with a specialty degree program and graduate level certificates from 7 colleges. Along with marketing, you can choose from programs such as aviation flight science, experimental atomic physics, medieval studies, paper engineering and speech pathology. MWU operates 90 study abroad programs in 40 countries as well as other options through links with other institutions and organizations.

For fun, there are over 400 student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, club sports, and faith-based groups to name just a few options. Varsity sports are Division 1. The Campus is located in Kalamazoo, just 40 minutes from the beaches at South Haven. (Of course, you remember my previous article about South Haven and what a great place it is.).

Travel just slightly farther and you are at the beaches of St. Joseph and Saugatuck. Skiing is as close as 30 minutes away. You also remember the Kal-Haven Trail. The 33-mile trail joins Kalamazoo and South Haven, with an extension to Battle Creek making it 70 miles long. How great is that? There are lots of local festivals including the second oldest community art fair in the U.S.

Kalamazoo is a city of about 325,000 people. The school is just west of downtown. Students attending MWU have the benefits of a city along with all of the cultural events, plays, concerts and performances available on the 1289 acre campus.

You are also 20 minutes from farmland for those times you want to get away. A variety of things to do for a variety of different people. 84% of attendees are from Michigan, 8% are from other states, 8% are from other countries. 21% are minorities. The campus is welcoming to LGBT students.

WMU has 8 regional locations and an online presence. There is also the Kalamazoo Promise which promises a 4-year scholarship to students who have completed all of their high school years and graduated from Kalamazoo public high school to WMU. The Promise covers all mandatory fees and tuition. Not bad. And then there is this part of the motto that seeks to help students “transform wisdom into action.” What an awesome thought.

9. Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan

By Photo: Mr. Kjetil Ree. Architect: ? - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1075174
By Photo: Mr. Kjetil Ree. Architect: ? – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Number 9 is Grand Valley State University in Allendale. Roughly 25,000 students attend Grand Valley. The cost to attend is about $22,300. yearly, leaving the average student with $26,100. of debt at the end of 4 years, but earning about $35,000. your first year out.

This 1322 acre campus is known worldwide for its sustainability. Impressive.  The campus is in the heart of Allandale, a city of about 20,000. It is a pretty campus with a mix of modern buildings and green space. This is a newer university, established in the 1960’s as a college and then as a university in 1987.

Though relatively young, Grand Valley has a lot to offer. The biggest draw for majors is education, however, you can choose from 124 degree options from one of the 8 colleges including the College of Community and Public Service. You may choose to study abroad, get involved with some of the 486 student organizations, or you can volunteer with nonprofits or in the community or participate in the Greek Life which includes 7% of the student population. Or maybe you want to be part of one of the Division II sports teams. So much to ponder.

As far as campus diversity is concerned, here is how it shakes out; 82% White, 5.2% Black, 2.3% Asian, 5.2% Hispanic and 0.3% American Indian or Alaskan Native. But please, if you choose this school,  go to the President’s Ball. It is a special night on the river for the whole student body with dinner and dancing. Kind of thinking I may get another degree so I can go to this. It just sounds so nice.



  1. Thank you for ranking Michigan Technological University #1 among public universities in Michigan. We here at Michigan Tech think so too. However, some of your figures are inaccurate. The total cost of a year at Tech for in-state students (tuition, room & board) is $24,439, not $27,700, and the average starting salary of a graduate is $62,800, not $52,000. Once again, thanks for recognizing the excellent education offered by Michigan Tech.


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