Online education in Louisiana was at one time limited to private, for-profit colleges and universities. Today, limits are gone and online classes are available across the state. As of 2013, 16 four-year colleges and universities in the state of Louisiana offered online continuing education courses, certificate programs, hybrid degrees combining some online courses and some on-campus courses, as well as many completely online graduate programs.
But before we look at the schools that made up our list of the best online colleges in Louisiana, let’s start with the state of higher education and online education in particular in Louisiana today.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Louisiana
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that Louisiana had 72 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 35 public schools, 13 nonprofits and 24 for-profits. The total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the ’12-’13 school year at these schools was: 18,643 at public schools, 3,397 at private nonprofits and 294 at private for-profits.
- 35 public
- 13 non-profit
- 24 for-profit
Tuition-wise, the College Board found that, in the ’15-’16 school year, the average in-state tuition and fees for four-year public schools was $7,870 while the out-of-state average was $21,650.
As for the state’s financial aid efforts, the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP) reported that Louisiana awarded $26.101 million in need-based grants and $223.494 million in nonneed grants for the ’13-’14 school year. Grants make up 100% of the state’s total fiscal support for higher education.
The State of Online Higher Education in Louisiana
The NCES estimates that at least 4.1% of students enrolled in Louisiana’s Title IV institutions are in fully online programs. Of those, 69.8% were reported to be undergraduates and 84.6% were found to be living in Louisiana.
Two organizations stand out for their efforts to further online colleges in LA: Louisiana Online and the Louisiana Distance Learning Association (LaDLA). Louisiana Online is solely focused on the online offerings of public institutions throughout the state: pairing students with fully or partially online courses, often at schools in the network they are not fully enrolled in, permitting them to greatly expand their course selection. The service also caters to those returning to school to finish their degree — a population the state values greatly, as degree holders tend to be an economic boon to the state long term.
LaDLA is focused on the leaders administering or teaching online courses. This organization serves as a meeting of professional minds, allowing them to exchange resources and notes in order to up the quality of their distance courses. LaDLA is notable for its annual conference and its efforts to further the professional development of educators who largely work in online classrooms.
Louisiana is also a member of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus. An initiative that lets students sift through an impressive directory of online programs throughout the southeast U.S. SREB also has strong aid initiatives. Services like the Academic Common Market/Electronic Campus and the Regional Contract Program for Health Professions let students fully enroll in a selection of out-of-state programs while paying in-state rates. While the program selection is small and the admissions criteria strict, for qualified students these are incredible opportunities.
Best Online Colleges in Louisiana
Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Louisiana. Our profiles look at how schools approach online education and then list out their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing the best online schools in Louisiana, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Louisiana or our index of popular in-state scholarships.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Louisiana Tech University||Ruston||$$$$$||305 Wisteria|
Ruston, LA 71272
Louisiana Tech is a selective research university and one of the most affordable online schools in Louisiana. Its Ruston campus offers degree programs, concentrations, and certificates, and Louisiana Tech’s Global Campus provides online learning. Twelve academic and professional development opportunities are available online through each of the university’s five colleges.
The bachelor’s of science program in health informatics & information management received the highest award for academics in this subject area: the Louisiana State Board of Regents’ Commendation of Excellence. In addition to online study, students receive professional experience at practice sites. All courses are taught through Moodle, which provides students with extensive online research materials.
|2||University of Louisiana at Lafayette||Lafayette||$$$$$||104 University Circle|
Lafayette, LA 70503
The online undergraduate programs at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette focus on healthcare, with two fully online, accredited bachelor’s programs: a bachelor’s of science in kinesiology with a health promotion & wellness concentration and a bachelor’s of science in health services administration. The kinesiology program requires a first aid course, three hours of clinical experience, and nine hours of internship experience. In addition to these programs, the college offers an online RN-to-BSN program, plus more than 250 sections of online and hybrid courses in a range of subject areas.
As a member of the Southern Regional Educational Board Electronic Campus, UL Lafayette is committed to job advancement opportunities for adult learners, and it provides military friendly benefits for active and veteran service members. The university offers an online orientation program through Moodle to help new students adapt to online learning.
|3||Nicholls State University||Thibodaux||$$$$$||University Station La Hwy 1|
Thibodaux, LA 70310
Nicholls State University offers 15 online programs, with classes that can be completed in just eight weeks. Students can earn an online bachelor’s degree in several programs, ranging from creative writing to nursing to business administration, and can do so in about three years. Nicholls State's online degrees are acclaimed as the best value of online schools in Louisiana and have earned national accolades.
Online students have access to resources such as virtual advising, “First Time User” training, and technical support. The specially trained online faculty members are active in research and publication. Online bachelor’s programs are completed remotely, but students are welcome to visit the Thibodaux campus and enjoy a rich student life involving spirit groups, the KNSU student radio station, and Colonel Athletics.
|4||University of New Orleans||New Orleans||$$$$$||2000 Lakeshore Drive|
New Orleans, LA 70148
The University of New Orleans, located in one of the most vibrant cities of Louisiana, was the first fully-integrated public university in the South. Today, the university sustains a diverse community both on campus and online. UNO’s Extended Campus embraces the latest in educational technology. Of the seven online offerings, two are undergraduate programs: the bachelor’s of science in interdisciplinary studies (IDS) and bachelor’s of arts in philosophy. The IDS degree prepares students for diverse career paths in health management, business, or social sciences. The philosophy program is offered through Moodle, with instructors delivering lectures through iTunes U.
Academic support for online students includes advising and success coaching. Students can participate in on-campus activities, become involved in leadership organizations, and enjoy food and live music at The Cove.
|5||University of Louisiana at Monroe||Monroe||$$$$$||700 University Avenue|
Monroe, LA 71209-0000
One of the most distinguished online schools in Louisiana, the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s online school, eULM, has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges for over 60 years. eULM offers some of the most diverse undergraduate programs among all online colleges in Louisiana. Its nationally renowned bachelor’s of arts in criminal justice is the oldest in Louisiana, with over 88% of graduates now working in the criminal justice field.
All online resources are accessible through the myULM portal, where students can also find campus news, degree planning, a campus calendar, and registration. eULM sessions run in eight-week blocks throughout the year. Online students can take part in enriching on-campus activities, such as ULM’s Got Talent and Warhawks athletic events.
|6||Northwestern State University of Louisiana||Natchitoches||$$$$$||University Parkway|
Natchitoches, LA 71497-0002
Northwestern State University of Louisiana is home to eNSU, the first and largest online school in Louisiana. It is among the most affordable online schools, with veterans benefits and no out-of-state fees. The university’s global campus offers 39 online degree programs, 16 of which are unique bachelor’s degrees. Concentrations include prelaw and paralegal studies, child development and family relations, and emergency management.
Online lectures are delivered through Moodle, and classes meet on WebEx. Additional online resources include advising, tutoring, the university catalog, and the Watson Library. Local online students can explore the university’s historic Natchitoches campus, which boasts a country club, an activities center, Demon Athletics, and over 100 student organizations, as well as regular performances and lectures.
|7||McNeese State University||Lake Charles||$$$$$||4205 Ryan St|
Lake Charles, LA 70605
As one of the top regional public schools, McNeese State University enrolls over 7,500 students, many of whom are distance learners. The university offers a variety of online and hybrid courses, including seven fully online bachelor’s degrees. Programs prepare students for careers in areas from management to sociology.
McNeese State participates in the StraighterLine program for easily transferable credits. As one of the most affordable online colleges in Louisiana, McNeese State awards a competitive Non-Traditional Student Scholarship. The university offers technology resources both on- and off-campus, including Moodle, audio-video conferencing, and electronic learning laboratories.
|8||Southeastern Louisiana University||Hammond||$$$$$||548 Ned McGehee Ave.|
Hammond, LA 70402
Southeastern Louisiana University displays the same commitment to its online programs as to its campus, where nationally-renowned faculty teach classes in state-of-the-art facilities. Distance Education at Southeastern offers courses in a variety of delivery modes: completely online, hybrid, blended, and web-enhanced.
The school’s distinctive catalog of courses includes zoology and mythology, French, and leadership training. Southeastern distance learners benefit from some of the most extensive support services among online colleges in Louisiana: 24/7 access to a librarian, free paper writing consultations, tutoring services, and computer lab access. Online courses are offered via compressed video and TV and through the Southeastern Channel, which features live webcasts and video on demand.
|9||Louisiana State University-Alexandria||Alexandria||$$$$$||8100 Hwy 71 South|
Alexandria, LA 71302-9121
LSU-Alexandria has offered accessible, accredited, internet-based classes since 2001. Among online colleges in Louisiana, LSUA is the only one supported by the state. The broad spectrum of online degrees are taught by same faculty members who teach them on-campus. Tuition for online programs is lower here than at most other four-year online schools in Louisiana.
LSU-Alexandria offers undergraduate programs in four disciplines: business, criminal justice, healthcare, and liberal arts & sciences. Accelerated programs can be completed in 20 or fewer months. LSUA’s student resources include an online library with thousands of research materials, career planning, and online learning Tips for Success.
|10||Southern University and A&M College||Baton Rouge||$$$$$||3rd Floor, J.S. Clark Adm. Building, P.O. Box 9374|
Baton Rouge, LA 70813
Southern University and Agricultural & Mechanical College is dedicated to solving its community’s scientific, technological, socioeconomic, and cultural problems by training students in basic and applied research. The school prides itself on its diverse enrollment and, among online colleges in Louisiana, is the only one to be part of the historically black land grant university system.
Along with five campuses throughout Louisiana, undergraduate students can choose from five online bachelor’s programs, which are all fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Courses are taught through Blackboard, for which the university provides tutorials and workshops. Resources include the Center for Undergraduate Student Achievement and an online bookstore. Campus involvement and public service is encouraged, with many opportunities for local students to participate in events and organizations.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Louisiana
Below you’ll find a second listing of the online schools in Louisiana, sorted by the schools with the lowest tuition rates.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||School Link||Cost|
|1||Southern University at New Orleans||New Orleans||School profile||$$$$$|
|2||University of Louisiana at Lafayette||Lafayette||School profile||$$$$$|
|3||University of Louisiana at Monroe||Monroe||School profile||$$$$$|
|4||Louisiana Tech University||Ruston||School profile||$$$$$|
|5||McNeese State University||Lake Charles||School profile||$$$$$|
|6||Southeastern Louisiana University||Hammond||School profile||$$$$$|
|7||Northwestern State University of Louisiana||Natchitoches||School profile||$$$$$|
|8||Nicholls State University||Thibodaux||School profile||$$$$$|
|9||Southern University and A&M College||Baton Rouge||School profile||$$$$$|
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Louisiana
1825 Scholars Scholarship
The 1825 Scholars Award is available to students entering Centenary College of Louisiana. Selection is based on candidates’ application to the college, high school academics, and leadership or community service experience. Award is up to $20,000 per year for 4 years.
Academic Excellence Scholarship
Nicholls State University offers the Academic Excellence Scholarship to in-state freshmen with outstanding academic records. A GPA of 3.0+ and an ACT score of 27+ is required. The award amount is $2,565 per year for 4 years.
Chancellor’s Alumni Scholarship
Provided by Louisiana State University to the 10 entering freshmen who have the highest ACT/SAT scores. A minimum ACT score of 33+ or SAT of 1440+ is required. Applicants participate in an essay competition and interview. Award covers tuition, room, board, and stipend for study abroad and research opportunities.
The Dean’s Scholarship is available to freshmen entering Centenary College of Louisiana with an ACT score of 22+ and a GPA of 3.1+. The award amount is up to $12,000 per year for 4 years.
Jefferson Caffery Scholarship
The Jefferson Caffery Scholarship is for incoming freshmen at University of Louisiana – Lafayette who have an ACT score of 30+ or SAT of 1330+, a GPA of 3.0+, and who are National Merit finalists or semi-finalists. Award amount is $58,000.
LSU Distinguished Freshman Award
For National Merit finalists who indicate Louisiana State University as their first-choice school. Award amount is $750 to $2,000 per year, based on financial need. Recipients also have the opportunity to earn $1,500 per year via the Chancellor’s Future Leaders in Research program.
For freshmen entering Centenary College of Louisiana with an ACT score of 28+ or SAT score of 1310+ and a GPA of 3.7+. The award amount starts at $20,000 per year for 4 years.
TOPS – Opportunity Award
The TOPS Opportunity Award is available to Louisiana residents with a high school GPA of 2.5+ and an ACT score of 20+. The award covers tuition and fees any Louisiana public college or university. Funding is provided by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance.
TOPS – Tech Award
The TOPS Tech Award is available to Louisiana resident students pursuing skill or occupational training at any school within the Louisiana community and technical college system. A high school GPA of 2.5+ and an ACT score of 17+ is required. Funds are provided by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance.
UL Lafayette Academic Scholarship
Administered by the University of Louisiana, this award is available to students with a GPA of 3.0+ and an ACT of 28+ or SAT of 1250+. Award amount is approximately $15,000, distributed over 8 semesters as $1,000 per semester plus partial housing expenses.
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