[Skip to Content]

The Right Place

Higher Education

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 83,000 students enrolled in local colleges and universities
  • 39% of our workforce has an associate’s degree or higher
  • Grand Rapids has seen a 93% increase in the number of college educated residents since 2000
  • Ranked 2nd in the nation for efficient spending on education in 2015 (WalletHub.com)
  • Ranked 4th Smartest City in the U.S. by Forbes

Top 10 Degrees by Field (2017)

Degree MSA* West Michigan Region**
Business Management and Marketing 3,057 3,868
Health Professions and Related 2,554 2,957
Education 1,396 1,553
Liberal Arts and Sciences 1,274 1,737
Public Administration and Social Service 604 692
Psychology 566 594
Social Sciences 480 486
Communications and Journalism 475 505
Computer and Information Sciences 413 614
Biological and Biomedical Sciences 387 492

West Michigan College Enrollment (2017)

Institution 2017 Enrollment 2016-17 Graduates
Aquinas College 1,714 394
Baker College 3,481 726
Calvin College 3,918 898
Central Michigan University - Grand Rapids 36 38
Cornerstone University 2,447 725
Davenport University - Western Region 3,561 751
Ferris State University 14,715 3,993
Ferris State University - Kendall College of Art and Design 1,214 307
Grace Bible College 1,012 123
Grand Rapids Community College 14,464 1,888
Grand Valley State University 25,460 5,580
Hope College 3,234 827
Kuyper College 208 62
Michigan State University - West 977 319
Montcalm Community College 1,666 423
Muskegon Community College 4,423 554
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 83,660 17,952

Educational Attainment - West Michigan Region** (2017)

Educational Attainment - Grand Rapids MSA* (2017)

Citations and Data Sources

Data source: Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI)

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

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