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Online and On-Campus Colleges in LOUISIANA

Article Sources
  • School pages, accessed March 27, 2018: Facts & Figures, Louisiana State University, https://www.lsu.edu/admission/facts.php; 2017 Fall Facts, Louisiana State University, https://www.lsu.edu/bgtplan/facts/pdfs/2017FallFactsFinal.pdf; About Us, Louisiana State University, https://www.lsu.edu/about/index.php; Research, Louisiana State University, https://www.lsu.edu/research.php; About Tech, Louisiana Tech University, http://www.latech.edu/about/; Academic and Research Centers, Louisiana Tech University, www.latech.edu/about/research.php; Rankings and Recognition, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, https://www.louisiana.edu/about-us/rankings-recognition; Undergraduate Studies, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, https://www.louisiana.edu/academics/undergraduate-studies; Graduate Programs, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, https://gradschool.louisiana.edu/graduate-programs; Online Programs, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, https://online.louisiana.edu/; All Programs for eULM, University of Louisiana at Monroe, http://www.ulm.edu/onlinedegrees/all-programs.html; Community, University of Louisiana at Monroe, http://www.ulm.edu/infoservices/; Transfer Degree Admissions, University of Louisiana at Monroe, http://www.ulm.edu/admissions/la-transfer-degrees.html; History, McNeese State University, http://www.mcneese.edu/about-us/history/; Innovation Engineering Minor, McNeese State University, https://www.mcneese.edu/engineering/innovation_engineering_minor; Loyola at a Glance, Loyola University New Orleans, http://www.loyno.edu/jump/about/loyola-at-a-glance/index.php; Online Programs, Loyola University New Orleans, https://online.loyno.edu/online-programs/; Common Curriculum, Loyola University New Orleans, http://2014bulletin.loyno.edu/undergraduate/common-curriculum; About Tulane, Tulane University, https://tulane.edu/about-tulane; Research at Tulane, Tulane University, https://tulane.edu/research-tulane; Schools and College, Tulane University, https://tulane.edu/academics/schools-and-college; Academic Programs, University of New Orleans, http://www.uno.edu/Academics/index.aspx; Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.), University of New Orleans, http://www.uno.edu/Academics/InterdisciplinaryStudiesBIS.aspx; Future Students, University of New Orleans, http://futurestudents.uno.edu/; History and Traditions, Nicholls State University, https://www.nicholls.edu/about/history-and-traditions/; Fast Facts, Nicholls State University, https://www.nicholls.edu/about/fast-facts/; Programs and Degrees Awarded, Nicholls State University, https://www.nicholls.edu/programs/; The Bakery at CJFCI, Nicholls State University, https://www.nicholls.edu/culinary/bakery/; About, Northwestern State University, https://www.nsula.edu/about-us/; Online Degree Programs, Northwestern State University, https://www.nsula.edu/ensu/online-programs/; Articulation & Partnership Agreements, Northwestern State University, https://www.nsula.edu/registrar/articulation-partnership-agreements/;
  • University of Louisiana System, accessed March 17, 2018: About, https://www.ulsystem.edu/about/; Our Universities, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, https://www.ulsystem.edu/our-universities/ul-lafayette/; Our Universities, McNeese State University, https://www.ulsystem.edu/our-universities/mcneese/;
  • Best Colleges in Louisiana, Higher Education, U.S. News and World Report, accessed March 27, 2018, https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/la?_sort=enrollment&_sort-direction=desc
  • Outdoor Adventure, Experience Ruston, Louisiana, accessed March 27, 2018, https://www.rustonlincoln.com/outdoor-adventure
  • Our Members, Association of American Universities, accessed March 27, 2018, https://www.aau.edu/who-we-are/our-members
  • In New Orleans, 'Tis the Season for Startups, Entrepreneur, Jason Fell, March 25, 2014, accessed March 27, 2018, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232360
  • Our Universities, University of Louisiana System, accessed April 20, 2017, http://www.ulsystem.net/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&pid=402
  • The Premier City and Travel Guide to Natchitoches, Louisiana, accessed April 20, 2017: Home, http://www.natchitoches.net/; Steel Magnolias, http://www.natchitoches.net/the-arts/movies/steelmagnolias/;
  • Best Colleges, U.S. News and World Report, accessed April 20, 2017: Louisiana Tech University, https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/la-tech-2008
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2015-16, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • Grants and Scholarships, Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance, accessed April 20, 2017, http://www.osfa.la.gov/SandG.htm
  • Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
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From the nine schools in the University of Louisiana system to the dozens of other institutions across the state, bachelor's degree students in Louisiana have a lot of options. Whether you'd prefer to earn your degree at a large university's flagship location, at a regional satellite campus or at a small independent college, it can help to know how the schools in the Pelican State stack up against each other statistically.

We pulled together a load of data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and other sources under the U.S. Department of Education umbrella and analyzed it using a detailed methodology that you can read all about at the bottom of the page. The schools that excelled in multiple categories of our analysis emerged as the best traditional and online colleges in Louisiana.

Some schools may have had additional upsides that weren't easy to quantify, such as student life amenities and articulation agreements with graduates of Louisiana community colleges. We'll mention some of those in the descriptions of the individual schools. Take a look at the list below the fold and find out which were Louisiana's best four-year colleges by the numbers.

Best 4-Year Colleges in Louisiana

We gathered information important to students -- tuition cost, schedule flexibility, student services availability and more -- and analyzed it to sort out the best colleges and universities in Louisiana from the rest. Tap the methodology button for the specifics on how we did it, and check out the ten top Louisiana schools in our list below.

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Methodology
1Louisiana State University+
ADMISSION RATE
76%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
13

Louisiana State University is the largest institution in the state by far, boasting a student body of more than 30,000, so it should be no surprise that it's also one of the top schools in Louisiana for academic diversity. There are more than 200 total study plans available at LSU, including over 20 certificate programs and nearly 50 doctoral degrees, plus online courses.

What's more, if you're worried about paying for college, LSU has some encouraging student aid statistics. More than $300 million in financial aid and scholarships are awarded each year, and approximately two thirds of students leave school with a student debt balance of zero.

Extra focus is given to a few particular research areas at this Baton Rouge school. Don't overlook LSU if you're interested in a materials science, biotechnology, communication, energy, coastal environments or high-performance computing degree program.

Additional Info
2Louisiana Tech University+
ADMISSION RATE
63%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
16

Students who want to live in a close-knit college town while they earn their traditional or online degrees might find just what they're looking for at Louisiana Tech University. The city of Ruston, where the institution is located, has a total population of around 22,000 people -- not even double the university's total enrollment of around 13,000.

Not only that, but outdoor amenities galore can be found in and around town. Several lakes, hiking trails, mountain biking areas and city and state parks scattered around the region are ripe for exploration.

Also a research pillar in Louisiana higher education, this University of Louisiana System school features dozens of specialized research centers that cover a wide range of disciplines. The Institute for Micromanufacturing, Center for Applied Physics Studies and Center for Instructional Technology are just a few of the more than 20 resource centers available for students working on their degrees.

Additional Info
3University of Louisiana at Lafayette+
ADMISSION RATE
51%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
8

Student success is one of the most important metrics by which the best schools in Louisiana can be judged, and this largest institution in the University of Louisiana System has been watching its student success numbers rise. The graduation rate at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, for example, has shot upward nearly 50 percent in the last decade.

Enrollment of students is on the rise here as well, with Fall 2017 enrollment surpassing 19,000 and setting a new university record. Incoming undergraduates here can choose from more than 75 degree programs, while aspiring graduate students are treated to a catalog of 30+ master's programs.

ULL also offers one of the larger distance education catalogs among accredited Louisiana universities, which could be good news for those who prefer online courses. Nearly 10 different flavors of MBA can be earned as online degrees here, as well as degrees in nursing, educational leadership and health and wellness.

Additional Info
4University of Louisiana at Monroe+
ADMISSION RATE
76%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
37

The University of Louisiana at Monroe is another of the top colleges and universities in Louisiana for online study. It offers degrees at every point on the academic spectrum, from an Associate of General Studies (A.G.S.) plan on up to a selection of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degrees.

There's also special upside for aspiring entrepreneurs at ULM. The campus is a member of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) network, which provides technical and management assistance to small businesses.

Like other University of Louisiana System schools, ULM participates in the Louisiana Transfer Degree Guarantee. The program ensures the transfer of all 60 credit hours earned in participating associate degree programs. Students must earn a C or better in each transferred course and maintain at least a 2.0 community college GPA.

Additional Info
5McNeese State University+
ADMISSION RATE
64%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
23

Founded as Lake Charles Junior College in 1939, McNeese State University became an accredited four-year college in 1954 and took its current name in 1970. To hear the school tell it, though, the future of its students is more exciting than its history.

McNeese recently became just the second school in the entire U.S. to offer a minor in innovation engineering, designed to help students learn the process of developing their ideas into market-viable products and services. The six-course minor takes a step-by-step approach to the innovation process and includes a project section in which students work to make their ideas a reality.

This University of Louisiana System school is no slouch when it comes to nature's bounties, either. Its home city offers miles of water's-edge views, thanks to its namesake Lake Charles.

Additional Info
6Loyola University New Orleans+
ADMISSION RATE
68%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
7

Students who prefer a small-school feel are likely to find what they're looking for at Loyola University New Orleans, where undergraduate enrollment comes in right around 2,500 and the ratio of ten students per faculty member is nearly 40 percent better than the national average of 16:1.

Despite its small size, Loyola offers close to 60 undergraduate study plans and more than 10 graduate and professional degree programs. It was founded in the Jesuit Catholic tradition, but the core liberal arts curriculum is largely secular -- one religious studies course is required -- and students of all faiths are welcome.

Ecclesiastical programs are available here, however, if you're searching Louisiana colleges for the right faith-based degree. Loyola students can even earn a fully online master's degree in pastoral studies or religious education, ideal for those who could benefit from online degree programs.

Additional Info
7Tulane University+
ADMISSION RATE
26%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
2

Tulane University in New Orelans began its life as a medical college in 1834, and its eye toward high achievement hasn't dimmed in the 180 years since its founding. Tulane is a member of the Association of American Universities, a group of top-level research universities that includes prestigious institutions such as Johns Hopkins, Stanford, MIT and seven of the eight Ivy League schools.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching rates Tulane as a university with "very high research activity," and the facts seem to bear that out. Faculty and students at Tulane are involved in hundreds of sponsored research projects each year, in subjects like global health, medicine, the biosciences and more.

Dozens of majors and minors are available from the six schools in Tulane's undergraduate college. Graduate students have access to full-fledged schools of law, medicine and social work for working on their degree programs.

Additional Info
8University of New Orleans+
ADMISSION RATE
60%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
9

Another University of Louisiana System school, the University of New Orleans offers more than 35 Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs. Students who want to synthesize concepts and perspectives from multiple fields of study can enroll in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.) program, for which they develop an integrated learning plan instead of following a curriculum dictated by the university.

Students at UNO tend to land financial aid assistance, according to the numbers, and they don't stay unemployed for long after graduation. More than 75 percent of students here get some kind of financial help, and nearly 90 percent of graduates report being employed within two years.

What's more, New Orleans is establishing itself as a hotspot for tech innovation and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneur magazine recently profiled the "Silicon Bayou" as a city on the rise.

Additional Info
9Nicholls State University+
ADMISSION RATE
83%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
14

This Thibodeaux institution is relatively young among Louisiana colleges, having been founded in 1948, but it's not exactly lagging behind its more senior counterparts. Nicholls State University has a total enrollment of more than 6,100 students and a catalog that features over 100 graduate and undergraduate degree programs.

Education is one of the most widely covered subjects at Nicholls. Undergraduates have numerous flavors of education degree available, and graduates can choose from 11 degrees and concentrations.

One building on campus is a special treat for one group of cooperative learners as well as the student body at large. The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls features a retail bakery location that culinary students operate for two hours each week, gaining experience in their field while serving muffins and pastries to their fellow students.

Additional Info
10Northwestern State University of Louisiana+
ADMISSION RATE
62%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
48

Many Louisiana universities move their operations to new sites as they expand as institutions, but Northwestern State University has stood firm since the beginning. The Natchitoches campus where it currently stands still contains remnants of the same structure where its teacher education classes were first conducted in 1884.

Its campus may be the oldest continually occupied university site in Louisiana, but the school's approach to education is anything but stuck in the past. Dozens of online degrees are available through the eNSU Global Campus initiative, including more than 30 degrees and concentrations for online graduate students.

If you're hoping to go to community college for your first two years and then transfer to a university, NSU can help. Check with a registrar to learn more about the transfer agreements in place with numerous community colleges in the state.

Additional Info

Most popular degree programs in Louisiana

It can be helpful to know which degrees are most popular among Louisiana students, whether you're still searching for the perfect major or you're already decided and want to know what your classmates are likely to be studying. Check out this list of Louisiana's top degree programs for the past year.

In-Demand Careers in Louisiana

The job market in Louisiana has grown over the last few years, and some of this season's occupations are hotter than others. Here's a rundown of the hottest careers for Louisiana graduates.

Career TitleProjected Job GrowthTotal EmploymentAnnual Salary
Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders82.7%50$49,960
Software Developers, Systems Software58.2%1,200$75,250
Software Developers, Applications54.9%1,160$76,700
Interpreters and Translators41.4%120$39,170
Commercial Divers35.4%350$50,190
Materials Engineers34.2%120$100,480
Computer and Information Research Scientists33.3%--
Home Health Aides33.3%8,570$20,500
Occupational Therapy Assistants33.1%700$57,310
Physical Therapist Assistants30.9%1,530$47,270
Computer Systems Analysts30.6%1,930$72,230
Physical Therapist Aides30.2%1,410$26,840
Operations Research Analysts30%450$59,270
Statisticians29.4%50$73,100
Web Developers28.6%460$55,200
Physician Assistants26.6%910$86,930
Database Administrators26.4%440$88,390
Physical Therapists26%2,950$85,810
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic25.9%540$45,710
Personal Care Aides25.8%33,470$18,990
Industrial Machinery Mechanics25.8%6,050$55,190
Orthotists and Prosthetists25.7%160$82,370
Rolling Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic25.7%160$36,620
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians25.3%1,150$26,000
Nurse Practitioners24.6%2,420$98,780
Forensic Science Technicians23.6%220$49,410
Hearing Aid Specialists23.5%--
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians23.2%800$41,630
Medical Appliance Technicians23.2%70$30,920
Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians22.8%300$30,330
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Louisiana

There are several financial aid programs available exclusively to Louisiana residents:

  • The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) features four different awards for students attending Louisiana public schools or member institutions of the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
  • The Louisiana Go Grant program offers between $300 and $3,000 per year for students with financial need remaining after other sources of aid have been applied.
  • The Rockefeller State Wildlife Scholarship may award up to a maximum of $12,000 for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in forestry, wildlife or marine science.
 
TOPS - Opportunity Award
Applicant must be a Louisiana resident or the child of a parent who has been a Louisiana resident for at least two years prior to high school graduation. Applicant must be receiving a diploma from a public or state-approved high school, have completed 17.5 units of core curriculum courses with a minimum 2.5 GPA over the core courses only, and have scored a minimum combined SAT Reasoning score of 940 or a composite ACT score of 20. FAFSA must be filed between January 1 and July 1, 2012 (for 2011 high school graduates). Alternate eligibility requirements issued for home-schooled and Louisiana applicants from out-of-state high schools.
More

MAX. AWARD AMOUNT

$4,006

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Jul-01

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient continues to be enrolled full-time every semester, completes a minimum of 24 credit hours with a grade of D"" or higher at the end of each spring semester", maintains a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA at the end of each spring semester," and maintains steady academic progress for every other semester.

 
TOPS - Performance Award
Applicant must be a Louisiana resident or the child of a parent who has been a Louisiana resident for at least two years prior to high school graduation. Applicant must be receiving a diploma from a public or state-approved private high school and have completed 17.5 units of core curriculum courses with a minimum 3.0 GPA over the core courses only. Minimum combined SAT Reasoning score of 1060 or composite ACT score of 23 required. FAFSA must be filed between January 1 and July 1, 2012 (for 2011 high school graduates). Alternate eligibility requirements for home-schooled and Louisiana applicants from out-of-state schools.
More

MAX. AWARD AMOUNT

$4,406

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Jul-01

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable for up to four years if recipient continues to be enrolled as a full-time student, completes a minimum of 24 credit hours with a grade of D"" or higher (at the end of each spring semester)", maintains a minimum 2.3 GPA at the end of each spring semester for the first 24 hours earned, maintains a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA at the end of each spring semester once 48 hours have been earned," and maintains steady academic progress for every other semester.

 
TOPS - Honors Award
Applicant must be a Louisiana resident or the child of a parent who has been a Louisiana resident for at least two years prior to high school graduation. Applicant must be receiving a diploma from a public or state-approved high school and have completed 17.5 units of core curriculum courses with a minimum 3.0 GPA over the core courses only. Minimum combined SAT Reasoning score of 1210 or composite ACT score of 27 required. FAFSA must be filed between January 1 and July 1, 2012 (for 2011 high school graduates). Alternate eligibility requirements for home-schooled and Louisiana applicants from out-of-state high schools.
More

MAX. AWARD AMOUNT

$4,806

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Jul-01

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient continues to be enrolled full-time every semester, completes a minimum of 24 credit hours with a grade of D"" or higher at the end of each spring semester", maintains a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA at the end of each spring semester," and maintains steady academic progress for every other semester.

 
Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP)
Applicant must have a minimum 2.0 GPA, GED score of 45, or have a minimum composite ACT score of 20 (combined SAT Reasoning score of 940). Selection is made by post-secondary institution, which may have additional requirements.
More

MAX. AWARD AMOUNT

$2,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

July 1

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Additional Resources

      • University of Louisiana System - http://www.ulsystem.net/
      • Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities - http://laicu.org/
      • Louisiana Board of Regents - http://regents.louisiana.gov/page/about-regents
      • Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance - http://www.osfa.la.gov/
      • Louisiana Transfer Degree Guarantee - https://latransferdegree.org/
      • Louisiana Community and Technical College System - https://www.lctcs.edu/
Article Sources
Methodology

To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,383 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the following data points and the weights specified. In order to be included in the ranking, schools had to report data for each of the following data points:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
  • The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2015-16
  • 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2015-16
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered on campus, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2016
  • Full-time student retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2016
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
  • Percent of students working and not enrolled 6 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2013-14
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
    • Remedial services
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Guaranteed tuition plan
    • Tuition payment plan
    • Any other alternative tuition plan

Note:Tuition prices are based on data for the 2016-17 academic year reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.
All of the National Center for Education Statistics data came from IPEDS:
Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2015-16, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/

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