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Staff Writers
Updated March 24, 2021

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Michigan Schools for Commuters

  • Wayne State University
  • Rochester College
  • Lawrence Technological University
  • Oakland University
  • Northern Michigan University

Missing out on campus life isn't a fear when you pick a college in Michigan that caters to commuters. Noted for one of the Midwest's highest densities of colleges, Michigan has 98 higher learning institutions that generally allow off-campus living. Commuters praise perks like avoiding the Freshman 15, curing homesickness, getting undistracted study time, and being able to work full- or part-time. Commuting to college also saves $10,440 on average from room and board yearly to keep money for other experiences like studying abroad. Whether you're living at home or on your own, here are five Michigan colleges where commuters flock.

1. Wayne State University

Opened as the Detroit Medical College in 1868, Wayne State University is Michigan's third-largest public, co-educational institutions endowed for $313 million in Detroit. Sixty-five percent of WSU's 27,222 student population commutes to complete 380+ HLC-accredited degrees, including Dietetics, Art History, Journalism, Public Health, and German. Commuters benefit from the free Midtown shuttle, parking mobile app, and lounges in the Student Center. Forbes ranked Wayne State University as America's 211th best research university and 202nd top public college.

2. Rochester College

Affiliated with the Churches of Christ, Rochester College is a private, nonprofit liberal arts college in Michigan that's enrolling 1,084 undergrad Warriors on 74 acres in Detroit's northern suburbs. Accredited by the HLC-NCA, Rochester offers 20 bachelor's degrees, such as Broadcast Media, Early Childhood, Music, Psychology, and Urban Ministry. The commuter-friendly Michigan college gives off-campus learners access to snacks in Kibo Corner and lounges in the McCauley-Utley Student Center. The U.S. News ranked Rochester College as the Midwest's 58th top regional school.

Read: 30 Best Value Colleges and Universities in Michigan

3. Lawrence Technological University

Accessible by SMART transit to the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Lawrence Technological University has a 102-acre campus as a private, nonsectarian STEM institution with 4,154 Blue Devils. Nearly 80 percent of students commute to pursue 100+ programs in four HLC-accredited divisions, including Architecture, Chemistry, Industrial Design, and Robotics Engineering. Non-traditional students are given the Commuter Lounge, Michigan RideShare vouchers, and the BikeMatch Program. According to the U.S. News, Lawrence Technological University is the Midwest's 40th best regional college.

4. Oakland University

Classified as a public, doctoral research institution, Oakland University is endowed for $86 million under President George W. Hynd's leadership to serve 20,012 Grizzlies on-site and off-campus in Auburn Hills. Metro Detroit commuters select from over 130 bachelor's and 135 graduate programs, such as Nursing, Computer Science, Acting, and Japanese Studies. The Commuter Connection program offers SMART discounts, MichiVan services, study spots in Kresge Library, and meal plans in Vandenberg Cafeteria. Forbes ranked Oakland as America's 176th best public university.

5. Northern Michigan University

Located on 350 acres in Marquette on the Upper Peninsula, Northern Michigan University is a public, co-educational HLC-accredited institution endowed for $23 million that's attracting 8,879 students. With a 21:1 student-faculty ratio, NMU Wildcats select from 180+ academic programs like Paralegal Studies, Medicinal Plant Chemistry, Entrepreneurship, and Biology. Commuters benefit from locker reservations, five parking lots, babysitter services, and the Carpooling Network. Northern Michigan University was ranked the Midwest's 79th best college and 43rd top school for veterans by the U.S. News.

A growing percentage of Michigan's 259,577 college students in the 2015-16 academic year chose commuting over living in dorm housing. Along with driving 1,293 miles of highways statewide, commuters relied on Michigan DOT transit systems, including 79 intercity bus routes and the North-South Commuter Rail. Non-traditional learners seeking to attend college in Michigan should consider these and others like Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, Central Michigan University, and Ferris State University that cater to commuters.

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