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Online and On-Campus Colleges in LOUISIANA

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed March 2, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2014-15, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, accessed March 2, 2016, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • School pages, accessed April 20, 2017: Transfer Degree Admissions, The University of Louisiana Monroe, http://ulm.edu/admissions/la-transfer-degrees.html; Articulation Agreements, Northwestern State University, https://registrar.nsula.edu/articulation-agreements-partnership-agreements/; About LSU Shreveport, Louisiana State University Shreveport, http://www.lsus.edu/about-lsus; Academic and Research Centers, Louisiana Tech University, http://www.latech.edu/about/research.php; Online bachelor's program ranks among Top 75 in nation, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, http://www.louisiana.edu/news-events/news/20170111/online-bachelor%E2%80%99s-program-ranks-among-top-75-nation;
  • 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
  • Grants and Scholarships, Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance, accessed April 20, 2017, http://www.osfa.la.gov/SandG.htm
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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

These institutions stood a head above the rest when the dust settled. Let's start with No. 1:

Methodology
1University of Louisiana at Monroe+
ADMISSION RATE
88%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
39

Our top school focuses hard enough on distance education to mark it as one of best online colleges in Louisiana. Only one other school in the state offered a greater variety of degree programs in the virtual classroom than the 39 available at ULM. The Monroe campus also reported one of the state's lowest figures for average net price — a measure of the out-of-pocket cost of college after average grant and scholarship aid is deducted — placing at No. 3 and No. 4 respectively for low- and middle-income students.

Like all 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 an associate degree program at any of ten select community colleges in the state. Students must earn a C or better in each transferred course and maintain at least a 2.0 community college GPA.

Additional Info
2McNeese State University+
ADMISSION RATE
82%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
17

McNeese State University placed among the top schools statewide on nearly every metric we tested. It racked up no fewer than 10 top-8 finishes among Louisiana schools, in a list of categories that includes graduation rate, average net price, median student debt of bachelor's degree graduates and raw affordability of tuition and fees.

The Lake Charles school was also among the best online colleges in Louisiana. It ranked No. 3 in the state for its array of distance education programs, and its nearly 50 percent of students enrolled in some form of distance education landed it the No. 7 spot in that category. McNeese is a member of the University of Louisiana System, and the city offers miles of water's-edge views thanks to its namesake Lake Charles.

Additional Info
3Northwestern State University of Louisiana+
ADMISSION RATE
84%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
46

Students hoping to earn an online bachelor's degree in Louisiana shouldn't overlook our No. 3 school. Northwestern State University was best in the state when it came to online enrollment, with more than 73 percent of students taking at least some of their coursework in the virtual classroom in 2015. It also offered the largest number of online degree programs among all the best online colleges in Louisiana.

The Natchitoches institution also made a strong showing in the financial aid category. NSU students receive the state's second-highest percentage of institutional grant aid per dollar of tuition and fees. The school also maintains transfer and partnership agreements with more than 30 community colleges and other universities in Louisiana.

Additional Info
4Louisiana State University+
ADMISSION RATE
77%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
13

Louisiana State University is by far the largest school on our list, with a student body of more than 31,000, so it should be no surprise that no other school in our top ten offers a greater variety of academic programs overall. There were 220 degrees available in LSU's No. 1-ranked degree catalog in 2015-16, as well as enough online programs to land it the No. 5 spot statewide in that category.

Students at the Baton Rouge school also tend to follow through with their degrees once they enroll. LSU posted the state's second-highest graduation rate, according to the NCES, and its retention rate for first- to second- year students was No. 4 in the state. LSU also featured the state's most affordable average net price for low-income students.

Additional Info
5University of New Orleans+
ADMISSION RATE
58%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
4

This institution in Louisiana's largest city provided students with the highest proportion of institutional grant aid per dollar of tuition and fees of any school in the state. Perhaps as a combined result of aid availability and a No. 5-ranked average net price, graduates of the University of New Orleans left school with the second-lowest median student debt burden in the state during 2014-15.

More than 37 percent of the student body at UNO was taking at least some of its coursework online in 2015, and the flexibility provisions for students don't stop there. UNO tied for No. 1 in the category of flexibility for campus-based students, offering measures such as credit exams for life experience, weekend/evening degree programs and placement services for students who complete their degrees.

Additional Info
6Louisiana Tech University+
ADMISSION RATE
64%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
14

Students graduated from Louisiana Tech University at the second-highest rate among schools on our list. Affordability may have contributed to its impressive graduation rate — it ranked No. 5 in the average net price category for low-income students and No. 7 for students with family incomes nearer to average. Graduates were also able to repay their student loans within three years at the second-highest rate of any school on our list.

This University of Louisiana System school has one of the largest portfolios of degree programs in Louisiana, ranking No. 4 in the state for its 123 on-campus offerings in 2015-16. Also a research pillar in Louisiana higher education, Louisiana Tech features dozens of specialized research centers that cover a wide range of disciplines.

Additional Info
7Nicholls State University+
ADMISSION RATE
90%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
10

Affordability was a bright spot for this Thibodeaux institution. Nicholls State University ranked No. 4 among schools on our list for its cost of tuition and fees, and it made the top five for its percentage of graduates who were able to pay back their student loans within three years.

Nicholls is also one of the best online colleges in Louisiana, thanks to more than 51 percent of its student body being enrolled in at least some distance education coursework. Only two other schools on our list can claim higher enrollment percentages in their online programs. Weekend and evening degree programs are available as well, and the school graduated its students at a higher rate than all but three other schools on our list.

Additional Info
8Louisiana State University-Shreveport+
ADMISSION RATE
76%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
5

It may be one of the smaller schools in our top 10, but Louisiana State University - Shreveport isn't short on opportunity. The raw cost of tuition and fees at the Shreveport campus ranked No. 3 in the state for affordability, for starters, and the average net prices for middle- and low-income students ranked at No. 1 and No. 2 statewide, respectively. Graduates also left LSUS with the third-lowest amount of college debt among all schools in the state.

The distance enrollment rate at LSUS was nearly 63 percent in 2015, enough to place it behind just one other school on our list in that category. The university has also recently instituted an eight-week semester plan, to allow students to complete their degree programs at an accelerated pace if they wish.

Additional Info
9University of Louisiana at Lafayette+
ADMISSION RATE
55%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
7

Students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette choose their major from the state's third-largest array of degree programs. The average net price at the Lafayette campus placed at No. 8 statewide for both middle- and low-income students, and more than 70 percent of graduates were able to repay their student loans in three years or fewer after leaving school.

ULL also deserves a second look if you're looking for an online bachelor's degree in Louisiana. U.S. News and World Report ranks the online undergraduate degrees available at the Lafayette school among the top 70 online schools nationwide. Remedial services are available on campus as well, if non-traditional students need a refresher before

Additional Info
10Louisiana State University-Alexandria+
ADMISSION RATE
68%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$20
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
7

The most affordable tuition and fees costs among all the schools in our top ten can be found at Louisiana State University - Alexandria. The costs of books and supplies, also, were lower than at any other school in the state, and LSUA students paid the second-most affordable average net price in the state in 2015.

Graduates of LSUA also left school with the state's lowest average student debt burden. If it weren't for its limited selection of academic programs and a three-year loan repayment rate that fell a bit below average, this small Alexandria school may have climbed a few spots in our rankings.

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 Title Projected Job Growth Total Employment Annual Salary
Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders82.7%-$49,300
Software Developers, Systems Software58.2%1,180$72,270
Software Developers, Applications54.9%1,420$74,000
Interpreters and Translators41.4%70$38,990
Commercial Divers35.4%750$51,610
Materials Engineers34.2%60$110,440
Computer and Information Research Scientists33.3%60$84,010
Home Health Aides33.3%8,310$19,820
Occupational Therapy Assistants33.1%620$58,040
Physical Therapist Assistants30.9%1,450$46,060
Computer Systems Analysts30.6%1,900$71,510
Physical Therapist Aides30.2%1,160$23,300
Operations Research Analysts30%1,120$47,830
Statisticians29.4%50$72,210
Web Developers28.6%480$52,620
Physician Assistants26.6%570$92,570
Database Administrators26.4%510$89,550
Physical Therapists26%2,970$84,210
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic25.9%800$42,350
Personal Care Aides25.8%33,410$18,580
Industrial Machinery Mechanics25.8%7,230$53,640
Orthotists and Prosthetists25.7%100$83,390
Rolling Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic25.7%250$35,700
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians25.3%1,120$27,910
Nurse Practitioners24.6%1,780$98,470
Forensic Science Technicians23.6%190$50,720
Hearing Aid Specialists23.5%30$45,050
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians23.2%900$41,470
Medical Appliance Technicians23.2%40$36,360
Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians22.8%210$28,870
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 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.
 
Outstanding Student Scholarship
Applicant must be an incoming freshman at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette who has a minimum 33 ACT score or minimum 1440 SAT score.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$49,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

January 31

 

 

 
Provost Scholarship
Applicant must be an out-of-state resident with a minimum 3.75 GPA and minimum combined SAT Reasoning score of 1400 (composite ACT score of 32).
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 15 (Early Action admissions deadline)

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.25 GPA and full-time status.

 
Moody's Mega Math Challenge
Applicant must be a high school junior or senior who is part of a team working to solve an open-ended, applied math-modeling problem focused on a real-word issue in 14 hours. Teams must be comprised of three to five students.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 17

 

 

 
President's Non-Resident Scholarship
Applicant must be an incoming freshman student who is not a resident of Utah. Applicant is automatically considered with application for admission.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$17,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Not Available

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.6 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 1,649 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the most recent data available from government sources. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The estimated cost of books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average net price for students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average net price for low-income students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • 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, 2014-15
  • Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered, 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, 2015-16
  • Average retention rate for full-time and part-time students, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • 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
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Louisiana State University-Alexandria
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
8100 Hwy 71 South
City
Alexandria
State
LA
Zip Code
71302
Website
www.lsua.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
420-500
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
430-560
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
360-490
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
18-22
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Rural: Fringe
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
3,104
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$20
Admission Rate
68%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,158
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
7
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
50%
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
156 Thomas Boyd Hall
City
Baton Rouge
State
LA
Zip Code
70803
Website
www.lsu.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
510-620
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
510-640
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
23-28
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
26,156
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$40
Admission Rate
77%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$9,714
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
23
Number of Online Programs Offered
13
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
16%
Louisiana State University-Shreveport
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
One University Place
City
Shreveport
State
LA
Zip Code
71115
Website
www.lsus.edu/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
460-520
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
470-500
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
2,775
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$20
Admission Rate
76%
Offers On-Campus Housing
No
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,903
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
5
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
63%
Louisiana Tech University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
305 Wisteria
City
Ruston
State
LA
Zip Code
71272
Website
www.latech.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
480-600
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
490-630
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
21-27
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Distant
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
10,682
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$20
Admission Rate
64%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,854
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
23
Number of Online Programs Offered
14
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
27%
McNeese State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
4205 Ryan St
City
Lake Charles
State
LA
Zip Code
70605
Website
www.mcneese.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
440-530
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
470-580
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
7,386
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$20
Admission Rate
82%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,289
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
17
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
50%
University of New Orleans
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
2000 Lakeshore Drive
City
New Orleans
State
LA
Zip Code
70148
Website
www.uno.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
460-600
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
475-630
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
6,601
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$20
Admission Rate
58%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,004
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
4
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
37%
Nicholls State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
University Station La Hwy 1
City
Thibodaux
State
LA
Zip Code
70310
Website
www.nicholls.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
440-540
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
470-610
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
430-510
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
5,489
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$20
Admission Rate
90%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,348
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
19
Number of Online Programs Offered
10
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
51%
University of Louisiana at Monroe
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
700 University Avenue
City
Monroe
State
LA
Zip Code
71209
Website
www.ulm.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
450-558
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
510-660
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
440-550
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
7,482
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$20
Admission Rate
88%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,658
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
21
Number of Online Programs Offered
39
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
33%
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
University Parkway
City
Natchitoches
State
LA
Zip Code
71497
Website
www.nsula.edu/
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
420-550
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-550
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-24
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
8,059
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$20
Admission Rate
84%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,476
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
46
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
73%
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
104 University Circle
City
Lafayette
State
LA
Zip Code
70503
Website
www.louisiana.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
460-590
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
470-590
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
21-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
15,870
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$25
Admission Rate
55%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,256
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
23
Number of Online Programs Offered
7
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
25%
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