University of Michigan versus Michigan Tech?

I was accepted to UofM and MTU for engineering (aiming for BA in mechanical engineering) but am having difficulties deciding between the two and was wondering which university would benefit me more.

MTU: I visited this summer and loved the environment, winter weather is fine, low cost (I live in Michigan), not too sure about the type of people there/partying habits, 8 hrs away, mostly automotive (not something I am interested in), less recruitment outside michigan

UofM: great reputation, challenging curriculum (I’m not the partying type), opportunities/research, diversity, only 30 min away, nationwide recruitment, but not super fond of urban Ann Arbor, would cost twice as much-about $30,000 (my family is middle-class, worried about student debt)

Which do you think would offer me the best college experience combined with job prospects at a more well-known, technology-based company (that would leave me financially stable)?


Sorry, BS not BA

Is that $30,000/yr? In-state for the University of Michigan is typically a great value - they meet full-need.

“The College of Engineering’s scholarship committee meets on a rolling basis from late January to late March to review applications and determine award recipients.”

“Selected scholarship candidates will receive notification of their status, need for additional information, or selection; generally before mid-April of each year.”

Are you sure you actually know the net price for University of Michigan yet? It is probably too soon for you to commit to either until you can compare aid packages and costs side by side.

Yes, $30,000 per year. But that would not include financial aid, if I receive any. I am applying to the College of Engineering Scholarships but they seem pretty selective. I do not qualify for their Go Blue Guarantee.

Yes, it is a bit too soon (MTU already offered scholarships to me but UofM Scholarships are a bit later). It just seems like UofM gives more need-based aid and College of Engineering Scholarships are very selective. I’m stuck in the middle financially, so I’m not hoping for much aid.

Finances set aside which school would be better for my long-term goals?

Getting into engineering at U of M is not easy to do, so your stats must be impressive. It sounds like you are already familiar with Ann Arbor, is there a reason you wouldn’t want to go to the higher ranked school?

@3js3ks In general, UofM is probably going to cost more than MTU. Almost all of the people who were accepted to UofM at my school aren’t planning on attending there because it is too expensive. Also, I’m not much of a city person. I like central campus, but outside of that feels claustrophobic. From what I understand, the academic rigor at UofM and MTU are very similar. It just depends on what I want to do after college and which college will offer more opportunities for that.

I’d go with UM, unless it’s unaffordable - wait till you get your financial aid package and know the net price.

Without any financial aid, both schools are about the same price, $27,000 for instate. UMich has the #6 engineering school in the country. Tech is 8 hours away and “mostly automotive,” in which you’re not interested.

I haven’t visited Houghton, MI, but AA is a great colege town, one of the best college towns in the US. Great cafes, restaurants, bars, near a medical center, etc. And you’re about an hour from downtown Detroit. And about a half hour to the airport.

Decision seems simple and straight forward to me, without knowing the final cost with aid for each.

The city of Ann Arbor is not urban, it is suburban, so even LSA, which is in the downtown area of Ann Arbor, has a suburban feel rather than an urban feel…and the CoE is located in North Campus, which is in the outskirts of Ann Arbor and definitely does not feel urban.

With the exception of cost, Michigan has the edge in every category. Of course, cost is a major criterion. There is no point in selling the family farm to go to college. You should have a talk with your parents to ascertain how easy…or difficult it will be for them to afford Michigan. If your parents tell you they can cover it, I would recommend Michigan. If your parents tell you it will be difficult to pay for Michigan, I would seriously consider MTU.

It was more affordable for my daughter to attend Michigan than Tech or State. She was offered a nice scholarship ($10,000 a year for four years) that she didn’t even apply for. That materialized just a few weeks before the decision deadline. I don’t know what your finances are, but wait and see what Michigan offers, the first financial aid package did not include the big scholarship, it had the Regents Scholarship $1500, which is only good for first year. Michigan is ranked higher than Tech, but if you don’t want to go there it doesn’t really matter. If you don’t want any debt, did you apply to Oakland? They are very generous with merit scholarships.

I’ll start by saying the obvious, Michigan is the better school and will result in more opportunity…in most cases. This is assuming you make the most of your opportunities at both schools. A stellar, involved Tech student will be better off than an un-involved Michigan C student. Now the big question is, how much better and what is that worth?

Assuming the difference is $30,000 per year, $120,000 over 4 assuming no increases in cost, you can calculate the opportunity cost of choosing Michigan over Tech. If you were to put that money into the broad market and were fortunate enough to get historical returns, 7%, by doing nothing and letting it sit, you’d have over $1,700,000 in 40 years, basically at the end of your career. You’d have to make that much MORE at Michigan to justify the cost on a pure financial basis.

Many families are in a position where they can make a less sound financial decision to buy experience. We certainly did for our son. He ended up at a school that was about $60,000 more than his cheapest school. We however had money saved and a well funded retirement account. If your family has to incur a substantial financial burden, it would be hard to justify the cost difference.

I agree with others, wait to find out the final prices before making your decision.

My question is, if you are from Michigan, why is one state school SO much more than another?

@eyemgh My estimate was that UofM would cost about $15,000 more per year than MTU and is based on the fact that I have already received a good amount of scholarships from MTU that I applied for. I have to wait until the spring to see what my financial aid from UofM would be. I guess I should really be asking how generous UofM is with aid and who that aid goes to.

UMich no doubt!

If your family makes 65k or less, if you get in, you automatically get free tuition (and can get more, depending on situation/income).
There may be specific scholarships you need to root through the site to find.
If you want a smaller environment look into the residential college.

Cut that opportunity cost number in half then. The opportunity cost is over $850,000 to choose Michigan over Tech.

Again, I paid that much more for my son to attend the school he wanted to go to. I didn’t have to compromise my 401k or take loans though. None of us know your financial situation. You are probably getting more money from Tech because they have to offer merit aid to keep higher stats students. Michigan does not. Admission is incentive enough to fill their classes. What I can say confidently is that it isn’t nearly as simple as @wertu12 makes it out to be without knowing the burden it would or would not cause for your family.

@eyemgh That makes a lot of sense. I’ll try to compare the opportunity cost to my financial situation once I get a final estimate of how much aid I would receive at each institution. Thanks for your help!

If Michigan only costs $15,000 more per year or $60,000 for 4 years, I would consider Michigan a bargain. You will be able to pay this back once employed. Also keep in mind that engineering students do change their minds and sometimes want to go into a different field once at school. Michigan will give you more opportunities to do this instead of feeling stuck at a tech school.

But I agree with @eyemgh. You have to make the most of each opportunity. My son’s at Michigan for engineering and is involved. They will support your endeavors and interests and the Alumni factor is a real thing.

Companies would rather have an involved student at a lessor known school then one that just goes through the motion at a better known school. But, if you are an involved student at a known school… You would most likely have more opportunities.