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Best Community Colleges in Louisiana

Many of the two-year institutions in the Pelican State are members of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS), while others are offshoots of larger institutions. If you know what separates the best community colleges in Louisiana from the rest, you'll be able to make an informed decision about where to continue your own education.

LCTCS schools graduated nearly 29,000 students in 2016, with an additional 15,000+ making successful transfers to universities in Louisiana and elsewhere. Whether you're looking to make the switch to a bachelor's program or learn some valuable career skills with a technical certificate or associate degree, check out our list of the top ten Louisiana community colleges and find out some details about how each one works to help you succeed.

If you're looking to transfer from a community college to a four-year school in Louisiana, we've got you covered: You can also find useful insight and resources for Louisiana transfer students.

THE TOP 10 COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN LOUISIANA

1

Louisiana State University Eunice (Eunice)

Louisiana State University Eunice is the lone two-year institution in the LSU system, but its comprehensive programs and extensive suite of student services more than makes up for the lack of other campus locations. Around 3,000 students per year attend classes at LSUE, with around 47 percent of those enrolled in 2017 pursuing their degrees or certificates on a full-time basis.

As a comprehensive institution, LSUE offers career-oriented technical programs as well as traditional college majors and Louisiana Transfer (LT) associate degrees. Close to 100 different areas are available for transfer students, including all of the LT concentrations.

Certificate of Technical Studies programs in subjects like fire service technology in medical billing and coding are available as well. These plans take around 34 credit hours to complete and are not intended for transfer.

2

Bossier Parish Community College (Bossier City)

A total headcount of more than 6,000 students was recorded at Bossier Parish Community College in 2017, making it one of the top five schools by enrollment among the best Louisiana community colleges. The average student age at BPCC is 27, which suggests that nontraditional students may be more likely to be around members of their peer group.

Nearly 100 individual degree and certificate programs are available at BPCC, in subjects that range from welding to engineering to the music business. Around 50 of those study plans lead to certificates, diplomas or other credentials that typically take less than two years to complete.

BPCC is also one of the top online community colleges in Louisiana, offering around ten degree and certificate programs via distance education. A total of more than 270 online courses are available in all.

3

Baton Rouge Community College (Baton Rouge)

Baton Rouge Community College is one of the newer additions to the list of Louisiana community colleges, but the roughly 20-year-old school wasted no time in getting its efforts off the ground. Administrators expected just 700 students to enroll in 1998, but more than 1,800 showed up. Enrollment was nearly 8,000 in 2017, and the school's growth shows no signs of stopping.

Students here can choose from a catalog of degree and certificate programs that includes close to 60 individual study plans. One area where BRCC stands out is in the engineering department, with no fewer than nine pre-engineering concentrations on offer.

BRCC also has some great options for students looking into online colleges in Louisiana. Six degrees and certificates can be earned entirely via distance education, and three more consist of at least 75 percent online courses.

4

Delgado Community College (New Orleans)

Given that New Orleans is Louisiana's largest city, it may not surprise you to hear that Delgado Community College has the most students on its attendance rolls of any two-year school in the state. More than 20,000 people enroll in for-credit and non-credit classes at Delgado each year, with the majority seeking degrees, certificates and diplomas in one of more than 110 areas of study.

Despite that comparatively huge student body, Delgado admins have managed to keep the classroom environment fairly close-knit. The student-faculty ratio here is one of the best in the state -- just 17:1 in 2017.

Online education also has a substantial presence here. Associate degrees in criminal justice, business administration, hospitality management and accounting are all available fully online, and a range of certificates can be earned in the virtual classroom as well.

5

South Louisiana Community College (Lafayette)

It may have been established as recently as the late 1990s, but South Louisiana Community College is another of the largest two-year institutions in the state. Thanks to a merger with Acadiana Technical College in 2012, the Lafayette-based school welcomes a student body of more than 6,500 learners each year.

A total of close to 40 academic and career-focused programs are available to SLCC students, although course offerings may vary from campus to campus. The main location in Lafayette features the widest selection of degrees, with the sites in Opelousas and Abbeville rounding out the top three in terms of variety.

Whether you're looking to head straight into the workforce after your time in community college or transfer to a university, SLCC can help you transition. A wide range of career and transfer services are offered throughout the year.

6

Northshore Technical Community College (Lacombe)

So named for the location of its flagship site on the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, Northshore Technical Community College operates four campus locations in eastern Louisiana. The main campus in Lacombe is supported by satellite sites in Greensburg, Hammond and Bogalusa, as well as three specialized instructional services centers.

Total enrollment here was just shy of 5,000 people in 2017, with around 70 percent earning their degrees and certificates through part-time programs. The Lacombe campus is home to the largest number of students at a full-service location, reporting around 1,200 students total, with the Florida Parishes campus in Greensburg not far behind.

Students have around 20 academic and technical programs to choose from at NTCC. The institution also maintains transfer partnerships with a dozen four-year schools in the general area, including Louisiana State University, Southern University and the University of Southern Mississippi.

7

River Parishes Community College (Gonzales)

River Parishes Community College has offered academic and career-oriented degree and certificate plans to the citizens of Ascension Parish since 1997 and recently expanded its efforts with a second location in Plaquemine. Around 2,300 students attend classes here each year, making it one of the more intimately sized institutions among Louisiana community colleges.

Programs of study here include around half a dozen Louisiana Transfer degree tracks, on both the Associate of Arts (A.A.) and Associate of Science (A.S.) side of the coin. Prospective transfer students looking to study business, criminal justice, humanities or the social, physical or biological sciences at the bachelor's level can get their start with an AALT or ASLT degree from RPCC.

Plenty of occupational programs are available here as well. Career-focused students can pursue degrees in nursing, welding, teaching, office administration and more.

8

Louisiana Delta Community College (Monroe)

More than 3,600 students were enrolled in campus-based and online programs at Louisiana Delta Community College in 2017. Students interested in pursuing online education must first complete an orientation about Canvas, the institution's course delivery platform.

Residents of northeastern Louisiana have no fewer than eight LDCC campuses to choose from. The Monroe-based school has learning centers in seven other cities in the region, of which each one offers a unique mix of academic and career/technical programs.

The LDCC campuses in Monroe and West Monroe, for example, boast fairly robust selections of study areas for their campus-based degree and certificate programs, while many of the others concentrate on a narrower list of subjects. Programs at the Winnsboro location focus mainly on health care professions, while the Ruston campus offers a mix of nursing, business, technical and transfer programs.

9

Fletcher Technical Community College (Terrebonne)

Originally established in 1948 as South Louisiana Trade School, Fletcher Technical Community College offers close to 30 degree and certificate programs in five areas of study. The Terrebonne-based school has an open admissions policy and permits applicants without high school diplomas or equivalents to enroll in several of its programs.

Nursing programs at Fletcher do require a high school diploma or equivalent, and they also have an enviable record of success in training future health care professionals. According to the school's website, 100 percent of 2018 graduates from Fletcher's practical nursing program passed the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX-PN).

Students looking to get into the energy industry have an avenue available here, as well. The 63-credit integrated production technologies program works to prepare students for high-demand positions in petrochemical facilities and on deepwater oil production platforms.

10

Nunez Community College (Chalmette)

Nunez Community College reported total enrollment of close to 2,600 students on campus in 2017. The catalog of degree programs here focuses on general studies and technical programs and contains over a dozen subject areas.

The Chalmette school has several agreements in place with regional colleges and universities that can help your academic transfer go smoothly. It also partners with local businesses to align technical program curricula with industry needs.

Nunez has also shown great resilience in the face of catastrophe. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, buildings on campus were flooded under more than seven feet of water. Nunez immediately found offsite locations for courses, ensuring limited interruption in students' schedules, and staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to allow the campus to reopen just four months after the disaster.

Initiatives for Transfer Students in Louisiana

Anyone interested in transferring to Louisiana universities after finishing their lower-division coursework at a community college should look into the Louisiana Transfer Associate Degree as early as possible in their journey through school. Two types of transfer degree are available -- an Associate of Arts (AALT) and an Associate of Science (ASLT) -- and the program features eight pre-built concentration templates for aspiring bachelor's degree students:

  • Biological sciences
  • Criminal justice
  • Fine arts
  • General business
  • Humanities
  • Mass communication
  • Physical sciences
  • Social/behavioral sciences

Even with those templates, it's understood as each individual student's responsibility to select a schedule of courses that prepares them adequately for their intended university major. If you're planning a transfer, it can help a lot to stay in communication with your community college advisor throughout your degree plan and make sure you're choosing the right path.

If you're not interested in any of those eight subject concentrations, check and see if your college has articulation agreements with local four-year schools. Subjects such as computer science and engineering may be more accessible through such institution-to-institution plans. Read about the top 4-year colleges in Louisiana for additional insight into education in the state.

Methodology

We ranked community colleges in Louisiana on multiple factors related to educational opportunity, student performance and student services.

Each school was scored on a 10-point scale, using the following six data points:

  1. The percentage of students enrolled in distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  2. Cost of attendance, based on the average net price for students receiving scholarship and grant aid, and the total cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  3. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  4. The graduation rate in 150% time, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  5. The transfer-out rate in 150% time, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  6. Flexibility, based on the following data points from the National Center for Education Statistics, 2016

a. Whether the school offers credit for life experiences
b. Whether the school offers programs of study that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
c. Whether the school offers on-campus day care for students' children
d. Whether the school offers any kind of alternative tuition plan. These may include, but aren't limited to, payment plans or guaranteed rates.

Article Sources
  • College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed August 24-26, 2018, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=SC&ct=1&ic=2
  • Louisiana's Community and Technical Colleges, accessed August 25, 2018: Welcome, https://www.lctcs.edu/; Our Colleges, https://www.lctcs.edu/our-colleges;
  • School pages, accessed August 25-26, 2018: About Us, Louisiana State University Eunice, http://lsue.edu/about/index.php; LSUE Academic Programs, Louisiana State University Eunice, http://lsue.edu/academics/index.php; About BPCC, Bossier Parish Community College, http://www.bpcc.edu/aboutbpcc/introduction.html; Fact Book, Bossier Parish Community College, http://www.bpcc.edu/factbook/quickfacts.html; Programs of Study by Degree or Certificate, Bossier Parish xx, http://www.bpcc.edu/academics/programsofstudy/degree.html; Online Learning, Bossier Parish xx, http://www.bpcc.edu/onlinelearning/index.html; About BRCC, Baton Rouge xx, http://www.mybrcc.edu/about_brcc/index.php; Fully Online Options Resources, Baton Rouge xx, http://www.mybrcc.edu/academics/division_innovative_learning/elearning/resources.php; Programs and Courses, Baton Rouge xx, http://www.mybrcc.edu/academics/programs_and_courses.php; Delgado Community College, http://www.dcc.edu/; Programs of Study, Delgado Community College, http://www.dcc.edu/academics/programs.aspx; Online Course Offerings, Delgado Community College, http://www.dcc.edu/academics/delgado-online/online-course-offerings.aspx; About Us, South Louisiana xx, https://www.solacc.edu/about-us/about-us; Career & Transfer Services, South Louisiana xx, https://www.solacc.edu/career-success/career-transfer-services; Programs Offered, South Louisiana xx, https://www.solacc.edu/academics/programs-offered/index; Majors by Campus, South Louisiana xx, https://www.solacc.edu/academics/programs-by-campus; Census Day Enrollment, Northshore Technical xx, https://www.northshorecollege.edu/about/institutional-facts/census-day-enrollment; Programs of Study, Northshore Technical xx, https://www.northshorecollege.edu/programs/academic-and-technical/programs-of-study/index; University Transfer, Northshore Technical xx, https://www.northshorecollege.edu/programs/university-transfer/index; Northshore Online, Northshore Technical xx, https://www.northshorecollege.edu/campuses-centers/northshore-online/index; About Us, River Parishes xx, https://www.rpcc.edu/about-us/; Academics, River Parish xx, https://www.rpcc.edu/academics/; Programs, River Parishes xx, https://www.rpcc.edu/programs/; RPCC Westside Campus, River Parishes xx, https://www.rpcc.edu/about-us/westside-campus/; All Programs, River Parishes xx, https://www.rpcc.edu/programs/; About Us Home, Louisiana Delta xx, https://www.ladelta.edu/about-us/about-us-home/; Campuses Home, Louisiana Delta xx, https://www.ladelta.edu/campuses/campuses-home/; Campus Locations, Louisiana Delta xx, http://catalog.ladelta.edu/content.php?catoid=13&navoid=738; Knights Online, Louisiana Delta xx, https://www.ladelta.edu/Academics/knights-online/; About Us, Fletcher Technical xx, http://www.fletcher.edu/about-us/; Programs, Fletcher Technical xx, http://www.fletcher.edu/programs/; 100% NCLEX PASS, Fletcher Technical xx, http://www.fletcher.edu/100-nclex-pass/; Integrated Production Technologies, Fletcher Technical xx, http://www.fletcher.edu/programs/integrated-production-technologies/; Apply, Fletcher Technical xx, http://www.fletcher.edu/apply/; About Nunez, Nunez Community College, https://www.nunez.edu/about-nunez/index; Academics, Nunez xx, https://www.nunez.edu/academics; Student Life, Nunez xx, https://www.nunez.edu/student-life; Articulation Agreements, Baton Rouge Community College, http://www.mybrcc.edu/academics/academic_affairs/articulation_agreements.php;
  • QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, accessed August 23, 2018:
  • Louisiana Transfer Degree (LT), Louisiana Board of Regents, accessed August 24, 2018, https://regents.la.gov/divisions/planning-research-and-academic-affairs/academic-affairs/louisiana-transfer-degree-lt/
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/