Here's an overview of online colleges in Louisiana:

  • As of 2019, almost three dozen online colleges in Louisiana give students the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor's, or master's degrees.
  • There are 26 colleges with online associate degree programs, 21 with bachelor's degree programs, and 20 that offer online programs at the master's level.
  • The highest number of online degree programs can be found at Northwestern State University of Louisiana, University of Phoenix-Louisiana, and University of Louisiana at Monroe.
  • There are four major college systems in Louisiana: Louisiana College and Technical System, Louisiana State University System, University of Louisiana System, and Southern University System. All of them offer online degree programs.

If you've already earned some college credits and you're ready to go back to school, Louisiana's Transfer Degree Guarantee program can help qualified students prepare to transfer from a community college to one of Louisiana's public four-year universities. However, what online college should you transfer to? This page might be able to help you come a decision.

On this page, we feature not only lists of the best online colleges in Louisiana, but also online colleges ranked by affordability, information regarding scholarships and grants specific to Louisiana, and data on the best jobs and industries in the Pelican State.

What Makes a Good Online College in Louisiana?

We have created multiple rankings to show the best online colleges in Louisiana, using various metrics so we can rank online colleges for different needs and goals. The "What Makes a Good Online College?" section of our "About Us" page outlines why we believe these factors can assist students in making an informed decision about what might be the best online college for their needs.

Every school on this page has been accredited by an official body such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Visit our "What is College Accreditation?" page to learn about the importance of accreditation, or the Louisiana Department of Education for specifics about accreditation in the state of Louisiana.

Best Online Colleges in Louisiana for 2019-20

Students interested in distance learning options in Louisiana can use our ranking of the best online universities in Louisiana to help them make an informed decision about online education in the state. By browsing our rankings, students can compare a number of facts about the best online colleges in Louisiana, such as number of online programs offered, graduation rate and availability of tuition plans.

1

Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Natchitoches

Tuition & Fees
$7,922
Distance Education Participation
78%
Number of Programs Offered
55
School Type
4-year
2

Louisiana Tech University

Tuition & Fees
$9,645
Distance Education Participation
72%
Number of Programs Offered
16
School Type
4-year
3

McNeese State University

Tuition & Fees
$7,920
Distance Education Participation
56%
Number of Programs Offered
21
School Type
4-year
4

Nicholls State University

Tuition & Fees
$7,886
Distance Education Participation
51%
Number of Programs Offered
13
School Type
4-year
5

Louisiana State University-Alexandria

Tuition & Fees
$6,669
Distance Education Participation
61%
Number of Programs Offered
12
School Type
4-year
6

Grambling State University

Tuition & Fees
$7,435
Distance Education Participation
58%
Number of Programs Offered
7
School Type
4-year
7

Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

Tuition & Fees
$11,374
Distance Education Participation
22%
Number of Programs Offered
17
School Type
4-year
8

Louisiana State University-Shreveport

Tuition & Fees
$7,166
Distance Education Participation
76%
Number of Programs Offered
5
School Type
4-year
9

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Tuition & Fees
$8,470
Distance Education Participation
32%
Number of Programs Offered
36
School Type
4-year
10

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Tuition & Fees
$9,888
Distance Education Participation
29%
Number of Programs Offered
11
School Type
4-year

Affordable Online Colleges in Louisiana for 2019-20

Below are lists of the most affordable two- and four-year online colleges in Louisiana. We determined these lists by analyzing the in-state tuition costs each school reported to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Financial Aid Resources in Louisiana

The state of Louisiana is a strong proponent of education, as evidenced by its state financial aid programs and its educational outreach. In addition to a number of scholarships and grants designed to help offset the cost of college, the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) publishes LOSFA LOOP, an informational resource for students, parents and more.

Take a look at how Louisiana financial aid programs can help to bridge the gap between cost and burden.

What Grants and Scholarships are Available in Louisiana?

Louisiana's state scholarship programs are part of TOPS (the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students). Most recipients are chosen based on a combination of merit and need. Here are some examples.

1

TOPS - Opportunity Award

Type : Scholarship
Award Amount
$4,006
Application Deadline
July 1
Application Deadline
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL
Criteria:

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.

2

TOPS - Performance Award

Type : Scholarship
Award Amount
$4,406
Application Deadline
July 1
Application Deadline
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL
Criteria:

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.

3

TOPS - Honors Award

Type : Scholarship
Award Amount
$4,806
Application Deadline
July 1
Application Deadline
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL
Criteria:

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.

4

Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP)

Type : Scholarship
Award Amount
$2,000
Application Deadline
July 1
Application Deadline
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
Criteria:

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.

Looking for more grant information? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Grants for tips on how to find grants, or our Ultimate Guide to Scholarships for similar tips on scholarships.

Student Loans in Louisiana

Although Louisiana financial aid is primarily focused on scholarship and grant programs, students are encouraged to look into federal and private student loan programs to find the solution that's best for them. Ideally, scholarships and grants will cover a portion of your college costs since those funds do not have to be repaid. However, if you need further help in paying for college, loans are available.

Get the scoop on how student loans work in the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Louisiana

  • Louisiana state financial aid site
  • Main TOPS scholarship page
  • Previous state loan information

Costs for Out-of-State Students in Louisiana

Enrollment by out-of-state students has gone up significantly at some Louisiana colleges and universities. Louisiana State University, for instance, has seen a 109 percent increase in non-resident students since 2017, according to news reports.

Top-tier online colleges can make Louisiana an attractive state for pursuing a higher education, but out-of-state tuition can be as much as three times the amount charged to residents. In order to reduce non-resident rates, consider if one of the following might be available to you:

  • Fee waivers: Schools like Southeastern Louisiana University and The University of Louisiana Monroe offer fee waivers to qualified incoming freshman that will waive out-of-state tuition and let them pay in-state rates instead.
  • Scholarships: Other schools, like Louisiana State University and Louisiana Tech University, have scholarship programs specifically intended to make tuition more affordable to academically qualified non-residents.
  • Academic Common Market: Fifteen states participate in the Academic Common Market. If you live in one of these states and your degree program isn't offered in your home state, you can enroll in a participating Louisiana college or university at in-state tuition rates.

Check with your school's admissions or financial aid office to learn about other options to offset out-of-state tuition. Colleges may have programs for veterans, military members, school employees and others.

Plus, check out the following links, which may be helpful to out-of-state students.

Best Careers in Louisiana

EmploymentEmployment GrowthMedian High School SalaryMedian Bachelor's Salary
2,034,9908.3%$28,954$47,974
Employment in Louisiana2,034,990
Employment Growth in Louisiana8.3%
Median High School Salary in Louisiana$28,954
Median Bachelor's Salary in Louisiana$47,974

Top Louisiana Industries

*Industry rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Top IndustriesEmploymentProjected GrowthAverage Salary
Pipeline transportation544,73010%$68,238
Oil and gas extraction770,66010%$62,835
Petroleum and coal products manufacturing768,8809%$61,363
Utilities1,051,6409%$58,525
Support activities for mining824,4809%$59,114
Chemical manufacturing1,056,4109%$57,180
Rail transportation775,6409%$58,242
Waste management and remediation services884,0109%$56,571
Construction of buildings1,018,9109%$54,431
Mining (except oil and gas)783,1308%$55,477

With a rich environment full of resources and a sprawling network of rivers running within its borders, Louisiana has been a hub for the harvesting and transportation of natural resources ever since its early days as a state. With the high production of crude oil and natural gas taking place in Louisiana by companies like Newpark Resources and Halliburton, those who want to earn jobs related to oil and gas extraction, as well as petroleum and coal products manufacturing, should have good opportunities to build their careers in the state.

In addition, many other top industries in Louisiana work to supplement these key natural resource industries. Pipeline transportation, support for mining, waste management and construction of buildings are all important components of building an oil and gas industry, and they have created many opportunities outside of the extraction and mining field for Louisianans.

However, while it is often simple to earn an entry-level position in one of these top industries, workers in Louisiana can greatly improve their job prospects -- and potentially their quality of life -- by investing in their education. According to the Lumina Foundation, the current rate of people in Louisiana who have completed higher education is 44.2 percent, which is lower than the national average of 47.6 percent.

In order to help correct this, the state has implemented programs through Louisiana Economic Development (LED) and the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (LIDEA) that can provide the knowledge, skills and training that can benefit employees. Higher education can help Louisiana workers earn higher salaries, gain better job security, promote to management positions in their field and more, making it an endeavor well worth considering.

To find out more about the employment landscape in the state, continue reading for information about the best careers in specific parts of Louisiana.

New Orleans-Metairie, LA Metro Area

Total Population
1,260,660
Median salary for high school grads
$28,688
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
$47,558
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
26.5%
Median rent
$947

The New Orleans-Metairie area has several energy and manufacturing companies where residents can work, such as Boeing, Chevron, Lockheed Martin and Shell. As a result, this area is well-suited for chemical engineers, geoscientists, petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, gaugers and similar workers. In addition, New Orleans hosts various companies in other sectors -- like health care, education and governmental -- with legal departments that need law experts, creating potential opportunities for lawyers and attorneys to build their careers.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water VesselsPostsecondary nondegree award$99,2002,390
Chemical EngineersBachelor's degree$104,100590
Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and GaugersHigh school diploma or equivalent$78,2101,520
Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and GeographersBachelor's degree$141,590350
LawyersDoctoral or professional degree$122,6403,600

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Baton Rouge, LA Metro Area

Total Population
828,741
Median salary for high school grads
$31,671
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
$52,189
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
29.5%
Median rent
$873

For chemical engineers and chemical plant and system operators in the Baton Rouge area, companies like BASF, ExxonMobil and CB&I present many opportunities to find employment. In addition, professionals who want to pursue construction management careers in Baton Rouge may be well suited at companies like Performance Contractors, ISC Constructors and MAPP Construction Inc.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Chemical EngineersBachelor's degree$130,940660
Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and GaugersHigh school diploma or equivalent$78,190800
Construction ManagersBachelor's degree$101,7901,240
Chemical Plant and System OperatorsHigh school diploma or equivalent$67,4501,830
First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating WorkersHigh school diploma or equivalent$97,3002,180

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Shreveport-Bossier City, LA Metro Area

Total Population
443,974
Median salary for high school grads
$25,932
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
$46,514
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
20.3%
Median rent
$789

From registered nurses to medical and health services managers to nurse practitioners, medical professionals in the Shreveport-Bossier City region can find many opportunities. Some of the top employers in the area include the Willis-Knighton Medical Center, the Christus Schumpert Highland Hospital and the University Health-Shreveport and Minden Medical Center. Meanwhile, those who work as general and operations managers may be able to find employment at some of the large industrial companies in the city, such as Frymaster L.L.C., Libbey Glass, Inc., Benteler Steel and Calumet Shreveport Lubricants & Waxes.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
General and Operations ManagersBachelor's degree$102,5802,310
Medical and Health Services ManagersBachelor's degree$100,250530
Registered NursesBachelor's degree$64,7305,400
Nurse PractitionersMaster's degree$111,450210
First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention WorkersPostsecondary nondegree award$65,100350

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

 
Sources
Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following criteria:

  • Level of institution is either "Four or more years" or "At least 2 but less than 4 years"
  • Data is reported for all 11 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section
  • At least 1 percent of students are taking at least some of the classes via distance education
  • "Number of programs offered via distance education" was an integer greater than 0

We ranked the resulting 1,813 colleges on 11 criteria, using provisional 2017-18 data from IPEDS:

  1. Number of programs offered via distance education
  2. Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
  3. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  4. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media
  5. Graduation rate
  6. Retention rate
  7. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Guaranteed, Other)
  8. Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
  9. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
  10. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  11. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools' tuition amounts are based on 2017-18 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2014-15, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2017-18, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
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