Louisiana is a collision of cultures, languages, and landscapes. Even in the melting pot that is America, Louisiana is like no other state in terms of its historical and cultural background. The combination of French, Spanish, Native American, and African influences has produced a vibrant and dynamic location to live, work, and study.
The economy of Louisiana is varied and diverse, with extensive agricultural production of sugarcane, soybeans, cattle, seafood, and more. Energy is another important industry; the state is rich in resources like natural gas and petroleum, both onshore and offshore.
Another major driver of economic growth is tourism, particularly in the New Orleans area. The city’s famous French Quarter, Jazz Fest, and Mardi Gras celebrations draw in visitors from all over the world to admire the city’s rich history, unique architecture, and exceptional cultural attractions.
Louisiana has also been named one of the top states in the nation for small businesses, based on data from more than 12,000 small business owners.
All of these factors, taken together, make Louisiana an incredible choice for students who plan to earn a degree and launch a career in the Bayou State. Online colleges have opened up educational opportunities for people who otherwise may not have the chance to earn a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree.
For anyone who has a full-time job, family commitments, or any other limitation that prevents them from regularly attending in-person classes, the many online colleges in Louisiana put higher education back in reach.
What are the best online colleges in Louisiana?
In our ranking of the best online colleges in Louisiana, we take into account two overarching factors: institutional excellence and return on investment. The institutional excellence determination is based on factors such as the test scores of incoming students, graduation rate, institutional reputation, endowment size, and student-faculty ratio. We also rate each college for return on investment based on tuition costs, average financial aid packages, student indebtedness after graduation, and expected early career salary for graduates. Using data provided by individual college websites, U.S. News & World Report, Payscale, and the IPEDS database, we’ve compiled the following ranking to help you choose among the best online colleges in Louisiana.
Tulane University of Louisiana
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $65,082
Tulane University is one of the premier higher education institutions in the United States. The campus is set in the historically and culturally vibrant city of New Orleans, just four miles from the world-famous French Quarter. Acclaimed faculty and a diverse student body make up the intellectual community of Tulane, earning the university the #39 slot in National Universities as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
Tulane’s Distance Learning program offers numerous acclaimed academic programs for graduate level students. The university has a ten-year history of providing outstanding learning opportunities for practicing professionals to further their careers. Online degree tracks, available through Tulane’s renowned School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, include the following:
- Master of Public Health in Occupational Health and Safety Management
- Master of Public Health in Occupational and Environmental Health
- Master of Public Health in Disaster Management
- Master of Science and Public Health in Industrial Hygiene
Classes for Tulane’s Distance Learning programs are presented synchronously, meaning that students will sign on and participate in coursework at the same time as their classmates and teachers. Typically, students will take two courses each semester, including summers, for three years. Each class meets at least once a week. All students will complete a Practicum and Culminating Experience at the conclusion of their program.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
College Choice Score: 89.12
Average Net Price: $35,490
High standards for the faculty who design and teach online courses have been a key component to the success of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s online degree program. An emphasis on student-focused, learning-centered academic programs has led to UL-Lafayette being a top choice for students in the Lafayette region as well as across the country who are looking to further their careers in healthcare administration, nursing, or physical health education.
The online and hybrid course catalog at UL-Lafayette is extensive and includes numerous resources to ensure student success, including access to 24/7 technical support, online tutoring, digital library services, and other high-impact tools. The three fully online bachelor’s degree programs at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette include:
- Physical Education Teaching and Coaching
- Health/Health Care Administration and Management
- Registered Nursing
Each of the 82 full-time faculty members at UL-Lafayette who teach online courses have been certified through the nationally recognized ULearn Online Teacher or ULearn Course Designer program. The online bachelor’s degree tracks at UL-Lafayette have been available since the 2011-2012 academic year; they now enroll a total of roughly 1,700 students as of 2017. Online courses feature responsive design for access on tablets and phones, integrated audio and video recordings, and in-house course development.
Louisiana Tech University
College Choice Score: 84.41
Average Net Price: $36,397
Named by Kiplinger’s 2017 Best College Values Report as Louisiana’s best value in higher education, and one of the 75 best values in the country, Louisiana Tech University is an excellent choice among regional and national colleges for low tuition costs and rigorous academic programs. According to Times Higher Education and World University Rankings, LTU is one of 20 universities that is set to “challenge the elite universities” and become globally renowned by the year 2030.
Fully online programs at Louisiana Tech are numerous, and include bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, add-on certificates, and post-baccalaureate certificates. Students may pursue a Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics & Information Management, or one of the popular graduate degree programs, including:
- Engineering & Technology Management (M.S.)
- Engineering, Industrial Engineering Concentration (M.S.)
- Master in Business Administration
LTU’s online portal is known as Global Campus, which provides academic and professional development opportunities for students, employers, and organizations. All of the needed classroom material is archived through the online learning platform for access at any time. Close to 100% of students are employed full-time when they enroll in LTU’s graduate engineering programs, a testament to the program’s flexible scheduling and adaptability for work and home obligations.
University of New Orleans
College Choice Score: 81.94
Average Net Price: $35,890
The University of New Orleans is a mid-sized public institution located on New Orleans’ bustling lakefront. The university has a pedigree of inclusion and diversity; it opened in 1958 as the very first fully integrated public university in the South. Besides its outstanding academic rankings (UNO is highly ranked by the Princeton Review, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report), the institution is also a driving force of the region’s business growth, generating a $470.5 million dollar economic impact for metropolitan New Orleans in the 2014-15 fiscal year.
UNO offers a number of fully online degree programs, primarily at the graduate level. Undergraduate students can pursue either a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies or a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. Master’s degree students have some additional options, including the following particularly popular programs:
- English (M.A.)
- Engineering Management (M.S.)
- Romance Languages (M.A.)
- Hospitality and Tourism Management (M.S.)
Some of UNO’s online programs allow students to take a certain number of credit hours on campus to supplement their online coursework, an ideal option for students who prefer a more hybrid educational experience instead of a fully remote one. UNO consistently ranks as one of the colleges with the lowest amount of student debt at graduation, helped by low tuition costs and the $41 million awarded annually in financial aid and scholarships to students.
McNeese State University
College Choice Score: 79.80
Average Net Price: $31,249
Located in Lake Charles, McNeese State University was founded in 1939 as a junior college and today offers undergraduate and graduate degrees across the full breadth of academic fields, from engineering and computer science to nursing to agriculture to visual arts. The university serves a total of 7,500 students, about 600 of which are online students. The 121-acre main campus is complemented by nearly 800 acres of donated farmland that the university uses for research and agriculture.
A variety of associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and specialty certificates are available through McNeese’s Online Learning program. Some of these academic tracks are fully online and require students to work through the course material independently, while some are available as hybrid programs with limited in-class time to round out students’ academic experience. The wholly online degree programs at McNeese include the following popular options for undergraduates:
- Criminal Justice (B.S.)
- Business Management (B.S.)
- Nursing (B.S.)
- Psychology (B.S.)
McNeese State University prides itself on being a regional institution with roots in the local community. Whether students attend McNeese online or through traditional enrollment, they’ll benefit from the university’s partnerships with the Southwest Entrepreneurial and Economic Development Center and the Louisiana Environmental Research Center, which provide plentiful research opportunities and networking connections for MSU students.
Loyola University New Orleans
College Choice Score: 78.51
Average Net Price: $53,748
The Jesuit tradition is closely intertwined with the history of the city of New Orleans. When the Jesuit order was restored in 1837 after having been banned from all French colonies, seven priests arrived and established what was then called the College of the Immaculate Conception. Today, Loyola University New Orleans is a nationally renowned institution; it’s been named #4 in the region for diversity and #12 “Best Value” in the South by U.S. News & World Report.
Among its impressive list of distinctions, LUNO was named as one of the Top 150 online education programs nationwide. The online offerings at Loyola are primarily degrees at the graduate level, including these top programs:
- Master of Science in Nursing
- Master of Pastoral Studies
- Master of Religious Education
- Doctor of Nursing Practice
Loyola uses the Blackboard learning management system to “let the classroom come to you.” For most academic tracks, all classes will be offered asynchronously, meaning that students can access and work through course material at any time (not just during designated class times). However, that doesn’t mean that earning an online degree through LUNO is easy: the majority of Loyola students report that the remote online courses are just as challenging, and just as engaging, as in-person classes.
Southeastern Louisiana University
College Choice Score: 78.22
Average Net Price: $32,560
The campus of Southeastern Louisiana University is located on 363 acres in Hammond, LA. SLU is the third-largest public university in the state, with a student body of over 15,000. The Division I Athletics, 94 student organizations, and 20 Greek organizations encourage a vibrant and involved student community, making Southeastern a popular choice for students who live on campus, as well as students who commute or who study from home.
SLU offers two different types of distance learning: one is composed of 50% to 99% online courses, while the other is 100% online. The suite of fully online degree and certificate tracks are primarily for those pursuing a career in nursing, with BSN, MSN, and DNP programs available. In addition to nursing programs, hybrid degrees are offered for the following fields:
- Family and Consumer Science (B.S.)
- General Studies (B.G.S.)
- Master of Arts in Teaching, Special Education/Early Intervention, Birth-5 (M.A.T.)
The university makes it a priority to ensure that students are ready for online learning and that they receive the support and guidance they need to succeed. To that end, SLU offers a Readiness Quiz to help students determine whether they’re prepared for the specific challenges of distance education. SLU utilizes the Moodle learning platform to deliver course content, so students are able to access class material at any time.
Grambling State University
College Choice Score: 72.92
Average Net Price: $34,267
The motto of Grambling State University is “Where Everybody is Somebody,” exemplifying the university’s commitment to supporting the growth and success of each individual student. GSU has grown and prospered greatly since its initial founding in 1901, and particularly in the last four decades, which has seen the addition of numerous academic tracks to the university’s catalog. Today, GSU is especially well known for its nursing, computer science, and teacher education programs.
While Grambling State offers an array of online and blended courses that can be used to earn credits toward nearly any of the university’s 47 degree programs, the degree tracks that are fully remote are focused around the field of teacher education. Online degree programs include:
- Developmental Education (M.S.)
- Post Master’s Certificate in Developmental Education
- Developmental Education (Ed.D)
Starting in August 2017, Grambling State will transition its learning platform to Canvas, a state-of-the-art learning management system. A number of different types of online and nontraditional courses are available at Grambling. Students may sign up for fully online courses, web-enhanced courses (traditional on-campus instruction augmented with digital coursework), blended courses (a combination of face-to-face classroom instruction and computer-based learning), and videoconferencing courses (which are primarily conducted in the on-campus and remote campus videoconferencing suites).
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
College Choice Score: 70.23
Average Net Price: $30,934
Established in 1884, Northwestern State University of Louisiana is a public institution serving just over 9,000 total students. The main campus of NSUL is located in Natchitoches, while satellite campuses are located in Leesville and Alexandria. A separate campus for the nursing program is located in Shreveport.
Fully online programs at Northwestern State include a wide variety of degrees for students at every stage of their academic career, from associate’s degrees to doctorate degrees. Numerous blended or hybrid degree and certificate tracks are also offered, including a Bachelor of Applied Science in Resource Management and Post Master’s Certificate in Family Nurse Practitioner. Popular undergraduate online programs include:
- Criminal Justice (B.A. with optional concentration in Prelaw and Paralegal Studies)
- Business Administration (B.S.)
- Computer Information Systems (B.S.)
- Liberal Arts (B.A.)
In addition to traditional class schedules for online courses, NSUL also offers “fast-track” courses, which allow students to focus on just one or two classes at a time. These classes run for eight weeks during spring or fall semesters, or three, five, or six weeks during the summer term. The majority of online courses will feature a combination of recorded lectures and textbook readings. Some may also feature online class meetings via WebEx and posting on discussion forums.
Louisiana State University of Alexandria
College Choice Score: 68.80
Average Net Price: $25,168
It’s fitting that Louisiana State University of Alexandria is located in the geographic center of the state; just as the physical campus puts students within easy reach of anywhere they want to go in Louisiana, it also puts a wide variety of degree programs and academic resources within their grasp. LSU Alexandria provides an excellent balance of challenging, rigorous academics and low cost. In 2014, the school earned the #2 slot in terms of the lightest debt load incurred by students upon graduation by U.S. News & World Report.
A number of bachelor’s and associate’s degrees are available through LSU Alexandria’s extensive online learning program. Most of these programs are focused on business, nursing and health care, criminal justice, and liberal arts and sciences. Some of the most popular online degree programs include:
- Medical Laboratory Science (B.S.)
- English (B.A.)
- Business Administration (B.S.)
- Elder Care Administration (B.S.)
Students who are studying remotely will have full access to the university’s extensive online library, featuring thousands of journals, articles, and ebooks. LSU Alexandria utilizes the learning management system Moodle to deliver course content, and provides plentiful video tutorials and technical resources, as well as easily accessible support staff, to help students navigate the online learning platform.
Nicholls State University
College Choice Score: 67.24
Average Net Price: $31,999
Founded in 1948 as part of the University of Louisiana System, Nicholls State University supports the community and surrounding region by preparing students to be leaders and innovators in their fields. 66% of Nicholls attendees are first-generation college students, and 44 foreign countries are represented in the NSU student body. Students at Nicholls can expect to find a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming community, whether on campus or online.
The online degree programs at NSU are ideal for career changers or those who want to improve their job prospects while working full-time. Students may pursue a post-baccalaureate certification in Applied Business, or a master’s degree in Nursing or Educational Leadership. Among undergraduate degrees, popular online majors include:
- Sociology (B.A.)
- General Family and Consumer Sciences – Child, Family and Social Services (B.S.)
- Business Administration (B.S.)
The affordable programs at Nicholls offer a unique eight-week course schedule that allows students to complete five courses a year and earn a bachelor’s degree within three years. All courses for online degrees are asynchronous, so students can “go to class” whenever they choose. Virtual advising is available via Google Hangout for online learning students. Every aspect of the online programs, from registration to class attendance to exams, can be done remotely, so students will never be required to come to campus while earning their degree.
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
College Choice Score: 65.79
Average Net Price: $42,913
Better known simply as Louisiana State University, this Baton Rouge-based campus is the flagship university of the extensive Louisiana State University System and one of the premier research institutions of the South. LSU is also the state’s largest university by enrollment, with a total student body of roughly 30,000. The university offers a variety of graduate degrees through wholly online programs.
The nationally ranked online graduate programs at LSU include engineering (named #11 in Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs) and business (named #47 in Best Online MBA Programs). The NCATE-accredited College of Human Sciences & Education also offers degrees and certificates in Education, Educational Leadership, and other areas. Top distance learning programs include:
- Master of Business Administration
- Construction Management (M.S. and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate)
- Master of Social Work
LSU’s online programs feature several different start dates throughout the year, providing extra flexibility for students who need to tailor their educational path to suit their schedule. Those who study remotely will benefit from 24/7 mobile access to GROK, LSU’s online knowledge database, which includes extensive technical resources. Convenient access to the Help Desk, either by phone or via chat interface, is also available to help students with any technical questions or issues in their coursework.
Southern University and A & M College
College Choice Score: 65.66
Average Net Price: $30,305
Southern University and A & M College is located in Baton Rouge, where the campus sits on Scott’s Bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. A historically black institution, SU has a total enrollment of roughly 6,400 students and a strong focus on growing its reputation as a highly ranked research university. The online offerings at SU are expanding quickly, with a growing number of degree tracks at every academic level.
Students may pursue an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a master’s degree through distance learning at Southern University. At the graduate level, SU offers an Executive Master of Public Administration, Executive Master of Science in Criminal Justice, and a Master of Business Administration. Among the many undergraduate degrees available, some of the most popular are the following:
- Computer Science (B.S.)
- Criminal Justice (B.S.)
- Psychology (B.S.)
- Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.)
All online courses through Southern University are asynchronous: students will have round-the-clock access to all the material they need to work through the course. The online learning portal provides distance learning students with all the same resources as on-campus students, including the library, bookstore, and student services office. SU highlights its commitment to engaging online courses with easy ways to connect with peers and faculty through integrated chat, forum, and email functions.
University of Louisiana at Monroe
College Choice Score: 64.16
Average Net Price: $31,646
Numerous programs at the University of Louisiana at Monroe have earned regional and national acclaim for academic excellence. Degrees offered by the business school are among just 5% in the country to be accredited by AACSB. ULM is also the only state-funded pharmacy program in Louisiana, and boasts a number of unique specialties and academic tracks, including Risk Management and Insurance, Atmospheric Sciences, and Toxicology. Online programs at ULM cover a wide variety of fields, including behavioral sciences, business, education, health sciences, and humanities.
Over 30 degrees are available through eULM, as the distance learning program is known at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Ranked among the most affordable online colleges for a bachelor’s degree in the nation, eULM provides excellent value without sacrificing academic rigor. Top undergraduate online programs include:
- Elementary Education (B.S.)
- Psychology (B.A.)
- Health Studies (B.S. with a concentration in Healthcare Marketing/Management)
Courses are offered in four-week, eight-week, or 16-week formats, depending on the content of each class and the semester in which the course is taken. Students will access course material through the Moodle learning management system. Some classes may include the use of a webcam and headset to allow face-to-face interaction with faculty members.
Xavier University of Louisiana
College Choice Score: 61.94
Average Net Price: $34,372
A private, liberal arts institution located in New Orleans, Xavier University of Louisiana has a strong sense of identity as a Catholic and historically black university. With a student body of roughly 3,000, XULA has been widely recognized as a national leader in numerous academic fields. In a ranking of all colleges nationwide, the institution was named #1 in awarding bachelor’s degrees to African American students in the biological and biomedical sciences, the physical sciences, and physics, and #3 in the number of African American graduates who go on to earn a Ph.D. in science and engineering disciplines.
At the core of Xavier’s distance learning program is the goal of promoting and expanding access to XULA’s tradition of academic access. An array of both online and hybrid courses are available through XULAOnline, although the university does not currently offer fully online degree tracks. Online courses are available on a wide variety of topics in the following fields, among many others:
- African American Diaspora Studies
- Business Administration
- Public Health Sciences
Librarians are available to assist students via email, chat, or text during regular library hours, and online students enjoy unlimited, round-the-clock access to XULA’s digital library of over 100,000 ebooks and millions of articles. A help desk and collection of how-to guides provide support for students navigating Blackboard’s desktop and mobile platforms.