A few decades ago, the city of Detroit used to be the capital of America’s automotive industry. However, as Japanese and German carmakers started invading the U.S. market at the beginning of the 2000s, the local car manufacturers succumbed to the pressure from foreign competitors and went into a sharp decline.

The fiscal situation of the city was so bad that in 2013 Detroit became the only American megapolis to have ever filed a Chapter 9 bankruptcy. The city council eventually regained control of the town treasury in November the following year.

Now, the city of Detroit has firmly set its foot on the path of recovery. To speed up this process, it needs an influx of young and daring people. Therefore, we’d like to present to your attention this list of cheap universities in Detroit.

Affordable Schools in Detroit for International Students

1. Wayne State University

Wayne State University (WSU) is the third-largest university in the state of Michigan. Founded in 1868, WSU currently has thirteen different schools and colleges that offer about 300 graduate and undergraduate programs to more than 27,000 full-time students.

WSU’s flagman school is the Mike Ilitch School of Business. Some of the most popular undergraduate programs that this cheap university in Detroit offers include Finance, Accounting, and Global Finance Chain Management. Also, this is the most affordable university on our list for students from the state of Michigan. WSU’s School of Medicine is also very popular nowadays.

2. University of Detroit Mercy

The University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) is a private higher education provider with a strong affiliation to the Roman Catholic Church. Its beginnings can be traced back to 1877. The university now has three major campuses and seven different schools and colleges.

The majority of undergraduate programs offered by the University of Detroit Mercy are taught at the McNichols Campus. With a total of six residence halls, this is also UDM’s largest campus. This is one of the few places in the state of Michigan where you can earn a B.Sc. degree in Addiction Studies.

3. DIME Detroit

  • Tuition Fees: $15,350/Year

DIME Detroit is the best place to earn a degree in popular music in Michigan. The university attracts talented musicians who would like to formalize their musical background by earning a fully accredited degree. Charging a flat fee of just over 15,000 dollars for all of its undergraduate programs, this is also one of the most affordable universities in Detroit on our list for international students.

The three undergraduate programs that DIME Detroit currently offers are:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Music: Commercial Music Performance
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music: Commercial Songwriting
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music: Music Industry Studies

4. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor is the best-reputed university in the Detroit metropolitan area. Established back in 1817, this cheap university in Detroit is also the oldest higher education provider in the state of Michigan. It has three major campuses – Central, North, and South.

The majority of the students at Ann Arbor are enrolled in one of the numerous undergraduate programs in the fields of Engineering, Arts, Sciences, and Humanities that the university offers. To give you an idea of how big this university really is, we’d just mention that it has got a total of 21 different schools and colleges.

5. Madonna University

  • Tuition Fees: $23,000/Year (Domestic) | $35,000/Year (International)

Madonna University is a small, private university in the Detroit metropolitan area with strong ties to the Roman Catholic Church. Its beginnings can be traced back to 1937. Now, it has just over 3,500 full-time students.

Looking at the undergraduate tuition fees that Madonna University charges, one cannot fail to notice that they are quite affordable for a private college. Yet, this is a highly selective university with an average admission rate of under 50%. Madonna University is very popular in Michigan for its undergraduate programs in Nursing.

6. College of Creative Studies

  • Tuition Fees: $44,000/Year

The College of Creative Studies is one of the expensive higher education providers in the city of Detroit. This is probably so, because of the cost of study equipment that its study halls and labs are equipped with. The undergraduate tuition fee does not depend on the student’s residence status.

This cheap college in Detroit has a very diverse academic portfolio offering undergraduate programs in Computer Animation, Computer Games Design, and Graphic Design. Of course, you may choose a more traditional major like Fine Arts, or Jewelry Design & Creation.

7. Lawrence Technological University

  • Tuition Fees: $47,500/Year

At the bottom of our list resides the most expensive candidate – Lawrence Technological University. It charges a flat fee of $47,500 for all of its undergraduate programs, regardless of the student’s nationality. The good news is that about 85% of all freshmen receive some sort of financial aid. The most popular majors include Mechanical Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Science.

All rates quoted in the paragraphs above are average values indicating the latest tuition fees for undergraduate full-time students. Please note that some schools like, for example, the College of Creative Studies and DIME Detroit may charge extra for study materials. For more information, please contact the Tuition & Admissions Office of the respective university.


We hope that this article on the cheapest universities in Detroit was helpful. Make sure also to check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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