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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 85,000 students enrolled in local colleges and universities
  • Over 38% 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 (
  • Ranked 4th Smartest City in the U.S. by Forbes

Want more information? We are ready to assist you. Please contact us to receive other regional information specific to your business location or expansion project.

Educational Attainment (2014)    
 Degree MSA* West Michigan**
 Graduate Degree and Higher 9.6% 8.2%
 Bachelor's Degree 19.5% 16.7%
 Associate's Degree 8.7% 8.8%
 Some College 22.9% 23.3%
 High School Diploma 28.6% 31.5%
 9th-12th Grade 6.4% 7.1%
 Less Than 9th Grade 4.5% 4.4%
Data source: Economic Modeling Specialists International. (EMSI)

Top 10 Degrees by Field (2012)    
 Degree MSA* West Michigan**
 Business Management/Marketing/Support Services 3,318 4,294
 Health Professions and Related Programs 2,822 4,582
 Education 1,180 1,356
 Liberal Arts and Sciences  906 1,315
 Psychology 639 674
 Public Admin. & Social Service 553 605
 Computer & Information Sciences 465 621
 Social Sciences 518 523
 Visual and Performing Arts 438 742
 Communication/Journalism 443 495
Data source: Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI)

Download the complete Degree Completions list (PDF).
Download the complete West Michigan Data Set (Excel).

College Enrollment  
 Institution 2013 Enrollment
 Aquinas College 2,300
 Baker College 3,557
 Calvin College 4,034
 Central Michigan University - GR 329
 Thomas M. Cooley Law School 354
 Cornerstone University 1,384
 Davenport University - Western Region 3,990
 Ferris State University - Kendall College of Art and Design 1,450
 Ferris State University 14,707
 Grace Bible College 303
 Grand Rapids Community College 16,613
 Grand Valley State University 24,447
 Hope College 3,388
 Kuyper College 317
 Montcalm Community College 1,787
Kuyper College 320
 Montcalm Community College 2,062
 Michigan State University - West 200
 Muskegon Community College 4,875
 Northwood University 108
 Spring Arbor University 86
 West Michigan University - Grand Rapids 1,480

*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.