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Education Data

The West Michigan region is home to more than 20 colleges and universities, which produce some of the most qualified graduates in the nation. This strong educational network provides the Grand Rapids business community with a pipeline of highly skilled talent.

Regional Highlights

  • More than 79,600 students enrolled in local colleges and universities
  • 42% of our workforce has an associate’s degree or higher
  • Ranked 2nd in the nation for efficient spending on education in 2015 (WalletHub.com)
  • Ranked 4th Smartest City in the U.S. by Forbes


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Top 10 Degrees by Field (2019)

Degree MSA* West Michigan**
Business Management/Marketing/Support Services 3,250 4,067
Health Professions and Related Programs 2,615 3,920
Liberal Arts and Sciences 1,558 2,089
Education 1,003 1,146
Engineering & Engineering-Related Fields 526 1,207
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting & Related Protective Services 246 727
Public Admin. & Social Service 542 666
Visual & Performing Arts 395 635
Computer & Information Sciences & Support Services 476 618
Psychology 573 616

West Michigan College Enrollment (2018)

Institution 2018 Enrollment 2018-19 Graduates
Aquinas College 1,578 332
Baker College 8,974 1,439
Calvin College 3,625 817
Cornerstone University 1,625 416
Davenport University - Western Region 3,100 650
Ferris State University 11,896 2,493
Ferris State University - Kendall College of Art and Design* 1,214 307
Grace Bible College 981 86
Grand Rapids Community College 13,788 2,347
Grand Valley State University 21,680 4,660
Hope College 3,149 711
Kuyper College* 161 38
Michigan State University - West 977 319
Montcalm Community College 1,667 402
Muskegon Community College 4,078 667
Northwood University - Grand Rapids* 180 143
Spring Arbor University - Grand Rapids* 50 17
Western Michigan University - Grand Rapids* 900 184
Western Michigan University - Thomas M. Cooley Law School - Grand Rapids* 228 61
Total 79,623 16,028

Educational Attainment - West Michigan Region** (2020)

Educational Attainment - Grand Rapids MSA*** (2020)

Citations and Data Sources

Data source: Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) / www.economicmodeling.com.

*2017 Data

**The West Michigan region consists of the following counties: Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, and Ottawa.

***The MSA consists of the following counties: Barry, Kent, Montcalm, and Ottawa.