Best Online Colleges in Louisiana 2021

by TBS Staff
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Online colleges in Louisiana prepare graduates to join the workforce and advance their careers.

Louisiana is home to public universities like Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge and the nine institutions within the University of Louisiana System, plus renowned private schools like Tulane University. Students in Louisiana can also attend a community or technical college.

Online colleges in Louisiana offer convenient, affordable pathways to earning a bachelor's degree. Many public universities in the state participate in LouisianaOnline, partnering up to offer online and hybrid degrees and courses.

Louisiana locals can earn an online degree to increase professional opportunities, change career paths, or fulfill a personal goal. Students outside of Louisiana may find unique degree options — especially those related to Louisiana's major industries. Our ranked list of online schools in Louisiana can help students make informed decisions when choosing an online college.

The Best Online Colleges in Louisiana

McNeese State University true View School Profile $ Lake Charles, LA 45% 36% 57% McNeese State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

A public university established in 1939, McNeese now enrolls over 7,000 students per year.

McNeese offers a variety of fully online programs, including one bachelor's degree, one graduate certificate, and five master's degrees. Options include a bachelor of science in psychology, a master of education in educational leadership, and a graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis.

Bachelor's degree applicants need a minimum 2.35 overall GPA, with either a core GPA of at least 2.0 or a 20 on the ACT or 1030 on the SAT. Graduate admissions requirements vary by program.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette true View School Profile $$ Lafayette, LA 48% 46% 35% The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Established as an industrial school in 1898, UL Lafayette now hosts the largest student body in the nine-school University of Louisiana system. Approximately 19,000 students attend each year.

The university offers numerous online programs, including five bachelor's degrees, nine graduate degrees, and three graduate certificates. Sample programs include a bachelor of science in health services administration, an MBA, an RN-to-BSN, and a graduate certificate in instructional coaching.

Those applying for a bachelor's program need a 2.0 or higher overall GPA and an ACT score of 18 English/19 Math or an SAT score of 500 Reading and Writing/510 Math. Applicants also need a core GPA of at least 2.5 or an ACT composite score of at least 23 or an SAT composite score of 1130. Those interested in graduate school should contact the relevant department for specific admissions requirements.

University of Louisiana at Monroe true View School Profile $ Monroe, LA 44% 40% 34% The University of Louisiana at Monroe is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Founded as Ouachita Parish Junior College in 1939, ULM underwent several name changes before joining the University of Louisiana system in 1999. Today, the university welcomes more than 8,600 students annually.

ULM offers a vast selection of online programs, from associate degrees to doctoral degrees. The university's online degrees encompass such fields as behavioral sciences, business, education, health sciences, humanities, and general studies.

Freshman applicants need an overall minimum GPA of 2.35 and either ACT scores of 18 English/19 Math or SAT scores of 500 Reading and Writing/510 Math. They must also show either a 2.0 minimum core GPA or an ACT composite score of at least 20. Graduate applicants need a minimum GPA of 2.75, along with any additional requirements imposed by their program of choice.

Nicholls State University true View School Profile $$ Thibodaux, LA 45% 54% 49% Nicholls State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Established in 1948 as a junior college, and now a member of the University of Louisiana system, Nicholls enrolls slightly over 6,500 students per year.

The university offers 17 online programs, from an associate degree in safety technology to a master of science in mathematics to an ISTE certification in educational technology leadership.

Freshman in-state applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA with an SAT of 1060 or ACT of 21, or a GPA of 2.35. Out-of-state applicants need a minimum 2.35 GPA with the same standardized test scores, or an SAT of 1130 or ACT of 23 with a lower GPA. Graduate admissions requirements depend on the program.

Louisiana State University-Shreveport true View School Profile $ Shreveport, LA 33% 38% 82% Louisiana State University-Shreveport is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Originally a two-year college founded in 1967, LSUS conferred its first bachelor's degrees in 1975 and added a graduate school in 1978. Today, the university welcomes approximately 7,000 students annually.

LSUS offers a variety of bachelor's and master's online programs in the areas of business, education, and nonprofit administration. Examples include an MBA with 10 different available concentrations or a master of education with eight different options.

Admissions requirements vary dramatically depending on the specific program and level, as well as the student's age and educational background. The university offers dedicated enrollment specialists to help guide applicants through the process.

University of New Orleans View School Profile $ New Orleans, LA 37% 38% 42% The University of New Orleans is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

The first racially integrated public university in the South, established in 1956 as part of the Louisiana State University system, UNO became part of the University of Louisiana system in 2011.

UNO offers a variety of online programs, including four bachelor's degrees, seven master's degrees, and one doctoral degree. Programs include a bachelor of arts in romance languages, a master of science in engineering management, and a doctor of philosophy in urban studies.

Bachelor's degree applicants need a minimum 2.0 overall GPA with either a 2.5 core GPA, an ACT composite score of 23, or an SAT composite score of 1140. Graduate applicants need a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or graduate GPA of 3.0. Some programs require GRE or GMAT scores as well.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana View School Profile $$ Natchitoches, LA 45% 63% 81% Northwestern State University of Louisiana is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Founded in 1884 as the Louisiana State Normal School, NSU is now part of the University of Louisiana system.

The university offers close to 50 online programs at all levels, from associate degrees to doctorates, including post-bachelor's and post-master's certificates. Possible degree choices include a bachelor of science in unified public safety administration with four different concentrations, a master of special education with four available concentrations, or a doctor of nursing practice.

Application requirements vary widely by program, level, and student status.

Louisiana State University-Alexandria View School Profile $ Alexandria, LA 30% 42% 65% Louisiana State University-Alexandria is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Established in 1959 and now a member of the Louisiana State University system, LSUA serves over 3,100 students per year.

LSUA offers close to 30 online programs, at the associate, bachelor's, and post-bachelor's certificate levels. Options include a bachelor of science in medical lab science, a bachelor of general studies in disaster science and emergency management, and a post-bachelor's certificate in special education.

Bachelor's program applicants need an overall GPA of 2.0 or above, as well as either a core GPA of at least 2.0 or a minimum ACT score of 20. Those interested in a post-bachelor's certificate should contact the department for admissions requirements.

Southern University and A & M College View School Profile $$$ Baton Rouge, LA 30% 78% 23% Southern University and A&M College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

A historically black college (HBC), SU opened with 12 students inside New Orleans' Israel Sinai Temple in 1881. The university moved to Scotlandville (now part of Baton Rouge) in 1914. Now the flagship of the five-member Southern University system, SU enrolls more than 7,000 students each year.

The university's online programs include two associate degrees, five bachelor's degrees, and three master's degrees. Options include a bachelor of science in criminal justice and an MBA.

The test-optional university requires freshman applicants to demonstrate a GPA of at least 2.0. Graduate applicants need an undergraduate GPA of 2.7 or above, GRE or GMAT scores, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose, as well as any requirements imposed by their department.

Loyola University New Orleans View School Profile New Orleans, LA 56% 62% 33% Loyola University New Orleans is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

A private Jesuit and Catholic university founded in 1912, Loyola now serves over 5,000 students per year.

Loyola offers a wealth of online programs, including seven bachelor's degrees, seven master's degrees, two dual master's, and a variety of nursing programs. Examples include a bachelor of arts in mass communication, a master of pastoral studies, and a doctor of nursing practice.

Application requirements depend on the program and level.

Best Online Colleges

Online Louisiana Colleges Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Featured Online Louisiana Colleges

Online Associate and Graduate Degrees

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges and universities in Louisiana are incorporating more online components, creating opportunities for online learners who want to return to school but still work full time or have other time limitations. Some online courses and programs are asynchronous, providing more flexibility than traditional college study.

Online colleges in Louisiana offer nearly 170 associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas. Many online associate degrees prepare students to transfer to a bachelor's program, but two-year degrees can also lead directly to the workforce in some fields. For example, Baton Rouge Community College offers an online associate of science in criminal justice, and Sowela Technical Community College provides associate of applied science programs in business administration and culinary arts.

Online graduate program options in Louisiana include a master of business administration (MBA) from LSU and a master's degree in criminal justice from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. LSU's online MBA includes 36 credits of coursework, with options to specialize in data analytics, emerging technology, or healthcare management. The criminal justice graduate program at ULM requires 33 credits of coursework for individuals completing a thesis, while non-thesis students earn a 36-credit degree.

Employment in Louisiana

In December 2020, the unemployment rate in Louisiana was 7.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) — down from 9.1% in July.

Key industries in Louisiana include agribusiness, energy, and manufacturing. The geography of Louisiana allows for a strong emphasis on coastal-oriented industries such as shipbuilding, dredging, and fishing and seafood capture. Easy access to the Gulf of Mexico means lots of engineering, managerial, and research jobs for residents of Louisiana as well.

Petroleum engineers in Louisiana are some of the top-paid workers in the state, and the BLS projects they will see 3% job growth between 2009-2029. Architectural and engineering managers, who earned annual mean salaries over $152,000 in 2029, are projected to experience similar gains.

The cost of living in Louisiana falls below the national average. With a cost of living index just under 87%, Louisiana offers residents more affordable housing, utilities, and health expenses than many states. The median price for a home in Louisiana is nearly $90,000 lower than the United States' average.

Below are some of the highest paying roles employing more than 1,000 individuals in Louisiana that do not require a first-professional degree, like a doctor of medicine or juris doctor. Salary information applies specifically to Louisiana, while job growth data pertains to the United States as a whole.

Highest Paying Careers in Louisiana
Career Annual Mean Salary (2019) Projected Job Growth (2019-2029) Education Required
Architectural and Engineering Managers $152,070 3% Bachelor's
Petroleum Engineers $132,000 3% Bachelor's
Industrial Production Managers $122,890 1% Bachelor's
General and Operations Managers $117,220 4% Bachelor's
Chemical Engineers $115,430 4% Bachelor's
Computer and Information Systems Managers $111,250 10% Bachelor's
Architectural and Engineering Managers $152,070 3% Bachelor's

Source: BLS

The following data reflects some of the highest paying roles employing more than 5,000 professionals in Louisiana. Salary figures apply specifically to Louisiana, while job growth data refers to the United States as a whole.

Common Careers in Louisiana
Career Annual Mean Salary (2019) Projected Job Growth (2019-2029) Education Required
General and Operations Managers $117,220 4% Bachelor's
Financial Managers $108,890 15% Bachelor's
Postsecondary Teachers $76,980 9% Master's or Doctoral
Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers $73,320 0% High School Diploma
First-Line Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers $69,000 3% High School Diploma

Source: BLS

Frequently Asked Questions

true Does LSU Offer Online Degrees?

LSU offers undergraduate and graduate degrees online. Students can explore degree options by career pathway, pursing fields like education, business, or healthcare. LSU also offers online continuing education programs.

true How Do You Find Accredited Online Colleges in Louisiana?

Institution of higher education in Louisiana must provide information about accreditation status. Students can check the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website for lists of accredited institutions and programs.

true What Is the Best College in Louisiana?

The best college in Louisiana is the school that best meets a student's academic, professional, and personal needs. Learners should individually assess what each school in Louisiana offers in terms of education, support, and post-graduation opportunities when choosing the best college or university for them.

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