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Central Michigan University is a large, public university located in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, which is almost exactly in the middle of the state, with Lake Huron to the East and Lake Michigan to the West. The university was founded in 1892 as a college for teachers. Today, CMU still centers around its liberal arts background along with more diverse degree offerings in STEM concentrations.

Overview of Central Michigan University (CMU)

Of the 300 programs available at all degree levels, several are nationally acclaimed such as their programs in engineering, business and communication, science and technology, and professional health degrees. The university has even been honored with the two most prestigious research classifications from the Carnegie Commission. In addition to students receiving a top education, CMU works to ensure students graduate with preservation initiatives and a desire for innovation in all fields.

CMU is a large university with over 16,000 undergraduates and more than 5,000 graduate students. Another 8,000 students participate in one of the 30 alternative campuses across the US and Canada or participate as online students. At the main campus, around 20% of students take at least some courses online and there are more than 235,000 alumni worldwide. You might even be familiar with some notable alumni from years past including Jeff Daniels, Carter Oosterhouse, Dick Enberg, Terry O’Quinn, Tim Allen, and many others.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting Town: Distant
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 20:1
Graduation Rate 61%
Year Founded 1892

Student Enrollment

Total Students21,622


Undergraduate Student

Male 6,883
Female 9,504

Graduate Student

Male 2,199
Female 3,036

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CMU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 6,323
Female 10,088


Male 4,300
Female 7,162

Acceptance Rate70%

Male 68%
Female 71%

Enrollment 2,527

Male 556
Female 531
Application Fee $40
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Required
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations Recommended
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline July 28
Common Application Accepted No

CMU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Central Michigan University is slightly more expensive than most liberal arts, public colleges and universities with a net price average of $15,266. Roughly 96% of students utilize available scholarships, grants, student loans, and other financial aid to help lower the financial burden of higher learning. At CMU, in-state students will be charged $12,960 annually for tuition and out-of-state students will be responsible for $24,120 each year.

Keep in mind that these tuition expenses do not cover books, rent, basic eating costs, supplies, or lab fees when applicable. Students should budget another $12,000 for such expenses. However, if a student has the desire to explore everything Michigan, neighboring states, and Canada has to offer, it is best to account for such additional expenses in an annual budget.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $15,266
Average Total Aid $9,417
Students Receiving Financial Aid 96%
Room & Board $10,328

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $12,960
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $24,120
  • Books and Supplies - $1,000
  • Room & Board - $10,328
  • Other - $1,080


All students at CMU have access to hundreds of career opportunities through eight world-class academic colleges including College of the Arts and Media, College of Business Administration, College of Science and Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of Education and Human Services, and others. Within each college, students will develop essential skill sets to succeed regardless of one’s chosen career path such as critical thinking, analysis, communication, and research.

The university is also one of the most military-friendly schools in the country. Military students, and others, can take advantage of the flexibility CMU has to offer, such as online and hybrid learning opportunities. If a student is deployed, they can participate in condensed eight-week terms, as well as earn military transfer credits based on life and work experience gained during time in the service. A Veteran’s Resource Center is also available and CMU is home to over 5,200 active or veteran alumni with over 155 generals and admirals who have completed their degrees from a CMU program. Some of the 30 campuses across North America are even located on military bases.

While the retention rate is reasonable at 77%, the four-year graduation rate is less-than-desirable at 28%. The six-year graduation rate is somewhat more respectable at 61%; however, it is still a bit lower than most other public state schools. A few of the reasons for these low rates could be directly related to the number of students working while earning a degree and the high number of military members participating in programs. Many of them may transfer to a different program once they are out of the military and graduate from there.

Student Population Total

Student Population 21,622

Evening Classes : Yes
Distance Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 1,071 Total Graduates / 27%
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 203 Graduates
Accounting 120 Graduates
Business Administration, Management and Operations, Other 107 Graduates
Business Administration and Management, General 97 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 366 Total Graduates / 9%
Radio, Television, and Digital Communication, Other 106 Graduates
Public Relations/Image Management 96 Graduates
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 74 Graduates
Advertising 60 Graduates
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies 339 Total Graduates / 9%
Kinesiology and Exercise Science 219 Graduates
Sport and Fitness Administration/Management 95 Graduates
Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies 21 Graduates
Health and Physical Education/Fitness, General 3 Graduates
Health Professions and Related Programs 320 Total Graduates / 8%
Communication Sciences and Disorders, General 89 Graduates
Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy 7 Graduates
Health/Health Care Administration/Management 61 Graduates
Dietetics/Dietitian 43 Graduates
All Education Majors 281 Total Graduates / 7%
English/Language Arts Teacher Education 58 Graduates
Early Childhood Education and Teaching 45 Graduates
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Mental Retardation 40 Graduates
Science Teacher Education/General Science Teacher Education 35 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 1560

Outcome & Salary

Graduates from CMU go on to accomplish great things in all areas of employment and professions including broadcasting, journalism, fashion designers, teachers, lawyers, policymakers, doctors, PAs, physical therapists, actors, professional athletes, and more. To help students achieve their goals and dreams, the university also offers a Career Development Center.

At the center, students can participate in mock interviews, career coaching, strategic decision-making, exploring career options, building a brand, and more. Internships and co-ops are widely available. Career ambassadors and career peers are available to assist with the job search and employment readiness processes and the university works to prepare students on signs to look for as to whether or not an employer is trustworthy and legitimate, as well as to bring reputable employers to the campus.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $49,000
College Grads Average Salary $65,121
College Grads Mid Career Salary $85,700
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $651,210
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,508,210
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $61,064
10 Year Projected ROI $590,146
20 Year Projected ROI $1,447,146
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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