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Western Michigan University appears in these rankings:

20 Best Value Colleges for Students with Autism

30 Best Value Colleges and Universities in Michigan

5 Schools that Cater to Commuters in Michigan

Western Michigan University is one of several regional university campuses in Michigan that cater to local students as well as those coming from other states. Founded in 1903 as an institution for future teachers, it operated like a normal school during its early years and grated diplomas and certificates to its graduates that showed they knew how to educate students. Its early programs let students graduate in just two years. Though it also operated as a state teachers college and a college of education, the college kept introducing new programs in different subjects. In 1957, it earned university status and became Western Michigan University. WMU was the fourth and last of the original regional schools to become a full university.

Located in Kalamazoo, WMU has five campuses both in that city and in neighboring areas that measure 1,200 acres in size. The majority of its students attend its West Campus, which the university refers to as its main campus. More than 6,000 students attend one of the seven regional learning centers and campuses owned by the university, which are in cities like Detroit and Battle Creek. In addition to its education programs, WMU offers more than 140 undergrad programs, more than 70 graduate programs and 30 programs that are open to doctoral students. WMU also ranks as one of the country's best colleges, according to both Washington Monthly and U.S. News & World Report, and has a student base of more than 23,000 students.

Western Michigan University Accreditation Details

If there is even a slight chance that you might take classes on another campus and transfer those credits or that you might transfer from one school to another, you must make sure that both colleges have regional accreditation. Regional accreditation also ensures that you have the chance to get financial aid. Western Michigan University has regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, which first granted it accreditation in 1915. More than 40 of the degree programs that it offers have accreditation also, including those in business, engineering, psychology, social work and education. Some of the groups that accredited those programs include:

Council on Social Work Education

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Aviation Accreditation Board International

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

American Occupational Therapy Association

Western Michigan University Application Requirements

Western Michigan University is a state college that accepts more students every year than private schools do. Though it has an acceptance rate of more than 80%, it will reject those who do not meet its requirements. The university looks at factors that include high school grades, high school curriculum, grade point average, test scores and class ranking. WMU students have, on average, a GPA of 3.4 and a score of at least 23 on the ACT. The university will accept those with a lower test score or a lower GPA based on certain factors.

The WMU application deadline for the fall semester is June 1, but the university encourages those who need financial aid to apply earlier in the year. Those hoping to qualify for in-state tuition rates must complete a residency form and submit paperwork that shows the student lived in Michigan or established residency in the state at least 12 months before starting classes. The online application asks questions about a student's identity and requires that the student give his or her social security number and pay a $40 fee. WMU also asks for a high school transcript to verify that all education information listed on the application is correct and an ACT or SAT test score from the testing board.

Tuition and Financial Aid

It's important that Michigan students establish residency early on because they will then qualify for a discounted tuition rate. WMU charges around $11,500 in tuition and fees for Michigan residents who enroll full-time, which lets them take up to 30 credit hours of classes over the course of the school year. The cost for nonresidents to attend Western Michigan is closer to $27,000 a year. Tuition rates will also increase once students begin taking upper level or upper division classes. WMU estimates that students will spend a little over $9,000 a year for a meal plan and a room in a residence hall.

Any student who needs help paying for college should fill out the FAFSA, select WMU as the college they want to attend and file a copy online. As soon as the university receives this information, it will create a unique financial aid package based around a student's overall need. Students can then log into the school's system to view their financial aid packages and sign off on those packages. WMU also offers a number of scholarships, including a Medallion Scholarship that awards chosen students with $15,000 for each of the four years they spend at the university.

Autism Center of Excellence

Western Michigan University has a strong history of helping students with special needs complete their college degrees. It is home to the Autism Center of Excellence, which is in turn home to the Autism Services Center. This center offers help and support for college students with autism. One thing it offers is a summer transition program, which the university designed to help students transition from high school and living at home to taking college classes on its campus. Students can pick a class to take in the summer and earn three credits at the end of that class, but they also get paid to work on a job on the campus. Those enrolled in the program will also work with a peer mentor, live in a residence hall and attend special events with other students.

The center also offers an early move in program for students who need more time to acclimate to college life. This program allows college students with autism to move in earlier than their peers and take part in special events and activities before classes start. Its orientation program is also helpful. During orientation, students and their families can ask any questions they have and get help signing up for classes or applying for help from the center. Parents must bring along documents to prove their children's conditions. Western Michigan University offers a number of helpful programs for autistic students as well as their parents through its Autism Services Center.

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