Online Colleges in Louisiana

Louisiana is home to a wide selection of online colleges and programs available to students who have various educational goals or want to complete a specific degree or certificate. Take a look at the information we have compiled below and discover more about the available online colleges in Louisiana, including 10 online schools in the state that have been ranked by affordability.

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According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana is home to 14 public four-year institutions and 22 public two-year colleges, many of which now offer online learning options. By itself, the University of Louisiana System is composed of nine universities, which offer approximately 150 programs online. Within the university system, the available degree programs include:

  • Online Associate degrees: 6 programs
  • Online Bachelor's degrees: 63 programs
  • Online Master's degrees: 56 programs

Additional online programs available through these public universities include online doctoral programs, post-baccalaureate certificates, add-on certificates and other educational options. Students can also turn to national online colleges, which offer learning to students in Louisiana and across the country. Many of these schools have offered online education and degree options to students in the state for years. ITT Technical Institute, for example, has an online Associate's of Applied Science degree in Computer Forensics available, but also has physical locations in Baton Rouge and St. Rose that afford students on-campus or blended learning options.

Adults interested in a college degree are likely to find others with similar interests in the state. As of 2012, 14.4 percent of adults in Louisiana aged 25 or older had earned a Bachelor's degree and 7.5 percent had earned a professional or graduate degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Some 1.9 million people are employed in Louisiana, and they earn an annual mean income of $39,510, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for 2013. This is lower than the average salary for adults with a Bachelor's degree in Louisiana who made a mean annual wage of $46,018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Those with graduate or professional degrees in Louisiana made a mean annual income of $54,659.

This information suggests that if you live and work in Louisiana, your chances of making a higher salary improves with a college degree. Online colleges in Louisiana provide a wide selection of schools and programs to help with this endeavor. There are 35 institutions alone offering Bachelor's degree programs, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.

Some online degrees may be completed entirely online, but others, like nursing programs, may require some classroom attendance. Hybrid programs, sometimes referred to as blended learning, combine both campus and online learning, and may be available to students enrolled in some degree programs.

The Most Affordable Online Colleges in Louisiana

The following list ranks the 10 schools in Louisiana that offer online degrees at the lowest tuition costs. This ranking is based on a number of factors that are important to prospective students such as the actual degree programs that are taught online, and information on tuition fees, accreditation and notable alumni. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (2013-2014) and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students. See our Methodology section for more details on the ranking methodology.

#1 - Louisiana State University at Shreveport

  • Tuition: $5,606 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 6 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: State senator Sherri Smith Buffington and Journalist Tim Greening

Students interested in the University of Louisiana at Shreveport can find single courses, graduate degrees and non-credit programs that are available to them through entirely online learning. Areas of graduate-level study include degrees in Business Administration; Curriculum and Instruction; and Health Administration. Most programs are offered through the school's eCampus, and when students need an exam proctor for an online class, they can head to campus to the school's Continuing Education department or make use of ProctorU services.

#2 - McNeese State University

  • In-State Tuition: $5,701 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 7 undergraduate and 4 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Professional golfer Derek Lamely, Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball pitcher Bob Howry, and Louisiana State Senator Willie Mount

Students at McNeese State University can find online programs, including certificates and degrees, available in areas such as Criminal Justice; Family and Child Studies; Nursing, Psychology; Sociology; and several other fields. Students can easily distinguish between courses that are offered entirely online, which are marked W for web-based, and those that are hybrid and require some on-campus learning, marked WH, for web-hybrid. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are available, and students primarily use the MyMcNeese portal to access learning and instruction.

#3 - Grambling State University

  • In-State Tuition: $5,950 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: Single courses available in a wide variety of subject areas.
  • Notable Alumni: Eight-time Mr. Olympia Winner Ronnie Coleman and New York Times Columnist Charles M. Blow

A historically-black college that offers online learning using the Moodle platform, Grambling State University primarily has single courses available through distance learning. These fall into many academic areas including Criminal Justice, Education, History, Sociology and Psychology, and Sports Administration. Hybrid coursework is also available in areas like Curriculum and Instruction; Developmental Education; English; and Social Work with programming offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. A Moodle training manual is available to prepare students for online coursework.

#4 - University of Louisiana at Lafayette

  • In-State Tuition: $6,192 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 5 undergraduate and 3 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Pulitzer nominee James Lee Burke, former Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco, and movie choreographer Marc Breaux

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette prioritizes education, offering online degree programs that can fit a student's schedule and budget. The school has nine online degree programs available in Education; Health; Nursing; and Systems Technology, with options for students at the undergraduate and graduate level, including doctoral and certificate programs. Students can find content that is challenging and engaging, and seek help and guidance from the school's academic student support and services, library services and technical support.

#5 - Northwestern State University of Louisiana

  • In-State Tuition: $6,207 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 15 undergraduate and 20 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: NFL running back Joe Delaney, outdoor writer Harry Middleton, and model Lindsey Evans, featured in the music video Blurred Lines.

Through Northwestern State University of Louisiana's eNSU program, students can find 35 accredited online degree programs offered from the Associate to Master's levels with undergraduate and graduate certificates also options. Students who would like to complete a full degree online can find choices in Addiction Studies; Adult Education; Business Administration; English; Psychology, among others. Of note, the school's online Bachelor's degree program in Psychology was ranked a best buy by GetEducated.com and U.S. News & World Report listed the school among its Top Online Education Program rankings in 2013.

#6 - University of Louisiana Monroe

  • In-state Tuition: $6,318 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 15 undergraduate and 16 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Country music singer Tim McGraw, former professional baseball pitcher Ben Sheets and American sportscaster Tim Brando

The University of Louisiana Monroe reports that the material offered in its online courses is of the same quality offered in face-to-face learning. Classes are taught in four, eight or 16-week formats depending on the course and the semester in which it is available. Online classes are offered through the Associate to doctoral level, with online degrees at the undergraduate level available in Business Administration; Criminal Justice; Elementary Education; Health Education and other areas. Graduate level education available online includes English; Gerontology; Occupational Therapy; and Teaching among others.

#7 - Nicholls State University

  • In-State Tuition: $6,468 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 8 undergraduate and 5 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Shoe designer Chuck Taylor, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Antonio Robinson, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cornerback Bobby Felder

With faculty members deeply involved in research and publication, students taking classes through Nicholls State University's online program can be assured they are receiving instruction from committed teachers. Students use the Moodle online learning program and can find courses offered in eight-week sessions starting in January, March, June, August and October of each year. Students can enroll for fully-online undergraduate degrees in Business Administration; History; English; Sociology; Interdisciplinary Studies; and other areas, and find Master's degrees offered online through partnerships within the University of Louisiana System. To top it off, students can participate in online advising at Nicholls State through Google Hangout.

#8 - The University of New Orleans

  • In-State Tuition: $6,578 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 2 undergraduate and 2 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Netscape Communications founder James Clark, comedian Ellen DeGeneres, and Big Brother 10 contestant Renny Martyn

Students seeking online courses and degrees through the University of New Orleans can find options through the school's Global UNO, which promotes online learning with an international education. Fully online degrees are available at the undergraduate level in Organizational Leadership and Philosophy, and at the graduate level in Romance Languages and Hospital and Tourism Management. The school's Bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership are interdisciplinary in approach and designed for students who have already completed 60 credit hours at the college level. Some courses may require students to head to campus for midterm and final exams.

#9 - Louisiana Tech University

  • Tuition: $7,302 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 4 undergraduate and 5 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Country singer Trace Adkins, four-time Super Bowl champion Terry Bradshaw, and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Karl Malone

Louisiana Tech University offers online learning through its Global Campus portal, providing academic degrees and professional development opportunities to learners. Online Associate's, Bachelor's, and Master's degrees are available in areas such as English; General Studies; and Health Informatics, but students can also find undergraduate and graduate certifications available online. To round out learning through Global Campus, a Faculty Focus blog offers insight into issues in online instruction and learning.

#10 - Loyola University at New Orleans

  • Tuition: $36,860 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 1 undergraduate and 4 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Harry Shearer, voice actor for The Simpsons, musician Harry Connick, Jr., and Sean O'Keefe, former NASA administrator and Navy Secretary

One of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, Loyola University at New Orleans has online programming available from the Bachelor's to Doctoral level in addition to offering campus-based learning. Academic subjects available online include a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Nursing, Master's degrees in Religious Education and Pastoral Studies and a Doctor of Nurse Practice (DNP). Called BLEND, an online RN-to-MSN bridge program is also offered that helps students with a Bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing to complete a graduate degree in nursing through distance learning.

Online Colleges: Expert Interviews

Darlene Williams

Darlene Williams, Vice President for Technology, Research, and Economic Development, Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at your school?

Northwestern State University of Louisiana has met educational needs with quality academic programming for over 130 years. Recognizing the power of technology to bring educational opportunity to all students, Northwestern now delivers 35 fully accredited online degree programs and 13 add‐on certifications. Northwestern maintains the highest standards for online degree programs. Courses are interactive, engaging, and designed to optimize online learning.

Northwestern State University was recognized as the most popular online school in Louisiana by the SR Education Group in 2014 and ranked with the 2014 Best Online Programs for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report. NSU is designated as an Adult Friendly Learning Institution and received national recognition for its Adult Learner Program from the Lumina Foundation. It was also named a Military Friendly School for 2015 by G.I. Jobs Magazine, ranking it in the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide.

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

Online degrees provide a great deal of flexibility for all students but particularly for working adults. While students may not meet face to face in a physical classroom space or at a specific time, the requirements for participation and completion of assignments are just as rigorous in an online class.

Explore your career and personal goals with a career counselor when giving consideration to a degree program. Engage in discussion with an academic adviser to discuss the online program that you are interested in or have selected as a program of study. You may consider completing an online learning readiness assessment. There are tools available that can provide insight into your abilities when it comes to online learning, and knowing this information may be extremely helpful. Time management will be important. Plan to spend the same if not more time engaged in online coursework, and establishing a schedule is advisable. Online classes provide an excellent opportunity to engage in interactive discussions and activities with your professor and peers. Your counselor, academic adviser, professors and your classmates are your support team. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them if you need guidance or support. Finally, enjoy the experience, and look forward to earning the degree or credential that will help you to achieve your life’s goals.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

“ELearning” has evolved tremendously in recent years, and with the capabilities provided by technology this evolution continues. Opportunities to engage in true lifelong learning experiences through the availability of online content will be even more accessible and obtainable. Technology is transforming eLearning. The concept of on campus vs. online becomes a thing of the past – it just becomes characterized as learning.

Paul Sisson

Paul Sisson, Ph.D., Dean of Graduate Studies, Associate Vice Chancellor for Sponsored Research, Louisiana State University Shreveport

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at your school?

First, we've focused initially on redesigning selected graduate programs in the 100 percent online format. The six degree programs currently fully online are:

  • ONLINE Master of Business Administration
  • ONLINE Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction
  • ONLINE Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration
  • ONLINE Master of Health Administration
  • Online MEDCI with Concentration in Educational Technology
  • Online MEDCI with Concentration in AG

These can all be found at http://www.lsus.edu/academics/ecampus. We chose to focus on graduate programs first because of feedback from existing and prospective students that indicated the online format was either necessary or highly desirable for them as they sought to further their education. The reasons for this varied from person to person, but almost always included family and work obligations that made the traditional onsite format either impossible or very difficult. We've taken a systematic approach to reformatting existing graduate degrees and putting them online, and it has paid off. We've retained the high quality of our programs, but made them much more accessible. The results have been increases in enrollment in each program, up to a factor of 10 in one case. And at the same time, our graduation rate has either remained stable or increased.

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

While the online format makes it possible to pursue a degree in a much more convenient manner, it's very important to realize that quality online education is just as academically demanding as traditional education and requires at least as much dedication and focus. If anything, the discipline required by the student is greater, but the advantage comes in being able to manage the times of day in which you learn. It's just as important as ever to confer with your adviser and map out a program of study, but in general you have more control over the pace at which you progress through the program.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

I think the future of education clearly lies in the direction of increased customization and flexible formats, which for the foreseeable future means online learning will continue its rapid growth. We anticipate continuing to adapt more programs in this fashion and expect to see the same enthusiastic response among students.

Snapshot of Louisiana Cities

Here is a breakdown of three major metropolitan areas in Louisiana and a look at their economic and demographic landscape. The economic data has been pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the 2014 Cost of Living Index published by The Council for Community and Economic Research. The demographic data is provided through the U.S. Census Bureau and the latest Labor Force Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Information from the Facts for Online Learners section comes from the region's Chamber of Commerce or city websites.

New Orleans
In Louisiana, the largest metropolitan area includes New Orleans and surrounding areas, and is known as New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner. With just over half a million employed people (524,950) in the area making average annual mean wages of $42,470, New Orleans could be a solid location for obtaining a degree and earning a living. The cost of living for the area is 95.1 and home prices are an average $255,500.

The New Orleans area has a total population reaching 1.19 million, and the area workforce accounts for 5.3 percent of the state's labor force.

Fun Facts for Online Learners
The city of New Orleans was founded in 1718, and is the only U.S. city where French stayed as the predominant language for more than 100 years. The city now has nearly 40,000 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, many in its French Quarter. Despite the city's old feel, it has received many awards for economic development, being ranked the #2 Boomtown in America by Bloomberg and the #3 Big City Winning the IT Jobs Battle by Forbes.

Baton Rouge
Louisiana's second largest area features the city of Baton Rouge. With an employed population of 366,610 earning mean annual wages of $41,580, this city could be a good location for working toward a college education and earning an living. The cost of living for the city is 95.4 and home prices average $273,200.

Based on 2012 census estimates, the greater Baton Rouge area has a population of 815,298 with the entire region accounting for 5 percent of the state's labor force.

Fun Facts for Online Learners
The Baton Rouge area is composed of nine different parishes, including east Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge and St. Helena. Baton Rouge, French for "red stick," is the state's capital. Forbes ranked Baton Rouge among its 25 Best Places to Retire in 2013 and Entrepreneur magazine listed it as one of its Top 5 Emerging Entrepreneurial Cities in 2013.

The metropolitan area known as Shreveport-Bossier City has a smaller workforce than the other areas with 172,320 employed people, who earn mean annual wages of $37,420. The cost of living in the area is 92.5 and the home prices, which are one of six composite categories comprising the index, average $267,477.

The Shreveport area makes up 5.7 percent of the labor force for the state with a total population of 273,493.

Fun Facts for Online Learners
The Shreveport-Bossier area is nicknamed Louisiana's Other Side and offers six riverboat casinos, music festivals and an air show at Barksdale Air Force Base. Its Convention Center, located in the heart of the downtown area, is the second largest convention center in the state and the very largest in the Ark-La-Tex tri-state area, bringing conventions, meetings and special events to the area.

Helpful Resources

One tool that may be helpful to students looking for online learning in Louisiana is the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus. Its website allows students to peruse virtual courses and degree programs offered by higher education institutions in the South, including colleges with online options in Louisiana, of which 12 are listed on its site. Students who are interested in attending an online college in Louisiana should begin by searching for programs using our Top Colleges Tool, which ranks school based on quality, affordability, and flexibility.


1. "Baton Rouge Area Chamber," Baton Rouge Area Economic Climate Update, http://www.brac.org/docs/pdf/Economic Climate_Aug_11_2014.pdf
2. "Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
3. "Bureau of Labor Statistics", Economic News Release, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/metro.t01.htm

4. "C2ER," The Cost of Living Index, http://www.coli.org/
5. Darlene Williams, Vice President for Technology, Research, and Economic Development, Northwestern State University of Louisiana, interview with the author May 2015

6. "eNSU," Northwestern State University of Louisiana, https://ensu.nsula.edu/online-degrees/
7. "eULM," University of Louisiana at Monroe, http://www.ulm.edu/onlinedegrees/"
8. Fall 2014 Distance Learning Course Schedule," Grambling State University, http://www.gram.edu/offices/administration/provost/academic support/distance learning/schedule.php
9. "Global Campus," Louisiana Tech University, http://www.latech.edu/globalcampus/
10. "Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce," Latest News, http://www.shreveportchamber.org/
11. "ITT Technical Institute," Campus Locator, http://www.itt-tech.edu/campus/state.cfm?state=LA
12. "Loyola Online," Loyola University New Orleans Online, http://elearning.loyno.edu/
13. "LSU Shreveport eCAMPUS," Louisiana State University at Shreveport, http://www.lsus.edu/academics/ecampus
14. "Online Degree Programs," The University of New Orleans, http://www.uno.edu/globaluno/online-degree-programs.aspx
15. "Online Programs," University of Louisiana at Lafayette," http://online.louisiana.edu
16. "Online Programs of Study," McNeese State University, http://www.mcneese.edu/dore/exed/online_programs_of_study
17. "The National Center for Education Statistics," College Navigator, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=GA&l=93&ic=1
18. "New Orleans Chamber," Power Your Business, www.neworleanschamber.org
19. "Nicholls Online," Nicholls State University, http://www.nicholls.edu/nicholls-online/programs-and-degrees/
20. Paul Sisson, Ph.D., Dean of Graduate Studies, Associate Vice Chancellor for Sponsored Research, Louisiana State University Shreveport, interview with the author May, 2015

21. "Southern Region Education Board," Electronic Campus, https://secure.electroniccampus.org/student/scripts/institutions/institutions.asp
22. "The United States Census Bureau" The America Community Survey, http://www.census.gov/acs/www/
23. "University of Louisiana System," Online Degree Programs, http://www.ulsystem.edu/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&nid=85&pnid=69&pid=238&fmid=0&catid=0&elid=0
24. "U.S. Census Bureau," American Fact Finder, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_12_1YR_S1501&prodType=table
25. "Wikipedia.org," List of Cities, Towns and Villages in Louisiana, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities,_towns,_and_villages_in_Louisiana

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This list also contains online colleges that accept students from Louisiana.

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