Louisiana’s higher education system may not be big, but it is undeniably diverse. There are more than 38 accredited public and private institutions statewide. Public options include several two-year community colleges managed by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, plus a sizeable selection of four-year universities. These public universities are comprised of three distinct systems: The University of Louisiana, Louisiana State and Southern University. An additional 11 private colleges and universities further boost learning options. Collectively, all of these institutions provide students with high-quality training in a myriad of fields, but those with online classes and degrees do so in a much more convenient format.
Online schools in Louisiana come in all shapes and sizes, but at least one state-sponsored initiative makes it easier for students to evaluate their options. The Louisiana Electronic Campus, managed by the Louisiana Board of Regents in conjunction with the Southern Regional Education Board, is a symposium of Louisiana colleges and universities offering online courses and degree programs. The virtual campus offers an impressive selection of 2,800 online courses and degree programs, yet it represents just a sliver of the state’s distance learning options. No single distance learning program is right for everyone. Let’s review the full scope of Louisiana’s higher education system, including several high-ranked online schools.
Louisiana is home to a solid network of public and private colleges and universities, but programs vary dramatically. The following outline can help students make sense of their options.
Online schools in Louisiana range from major public universities to smaller private colleges. Together, they offer more than 200 online programs that provide the same high-quality education of classroom-based education, but in a much more flexible format. Some schools offer self-paced asynchronous programs, which allow students to access lectures and materials whenever and wherever they want, so long as they meet all instructor-set deadlines. While online schools strive to be convenient, each is distinct in its disciplines and credentials. Students considering online schools in Louisiana should research all of their options to ensure that they make the right choice.
One easy way to get a sense of Louisiana’s online learning options is to visit the Louisiana Electronic Campus online. This virtual campus connects students with online courses and degree programs from a number of participating institutions. The LEC is an excellent place to start, but not all online schools in Louisiana participate in the initiative. Prospective students should still research several schools, including public and private colleges, to get a clear picture of what’s available.
Louisiana is home to one of the world’s fastest-growing two-year college systems. These schools serve more than 100,000 students each year across 13 campuses, and frequently rank among the highest certificate and associate degree producers in the United States. Most offer a balance of career-focused programs designed for quick entry into the workforce, and academic programs for students who intend to transfer to four-year institutions. Community colleges may also offer programs that serve their communities in different ways, like literacy and English as a Second Language support for adult learners, high school dual-enrollment and GED completion programs, and enrichment programs for senior citizens. Professional and corporate development programs are also common. Because these schools often cater to working professionals, they usually offer evening, weekend and online course options.
Louisiana’s public four-year institutions are managed by three distinct systems. The Louisiana University System is comprised of nine geographically diverse universities offering more than 750 academic programs. Within the system, 10 separate institutions offer a multitude of undergraduate and graduate certificates and degrees in areas like criminal justice, technology, mass communication and more. The final system is the Southern University System, which serves 13,000 students across five campuses. Southern University is part of the only historically black Land Grant university system in the nation.
Each of Louisiana’s public institutions offers its own unique courses, certificates and degrees, so prospective students will need to research which schools offer programs suited to their goals. Although all public four-year schools in Louisiana offer some type of online learning, the classes, degrees and even technologies will vary. Students can visit the Louisiana Electronic Campus online to get a better sense of the options.
Louisiana’s 10 private and independent institutions serve at least 31,000 students each year, or about 15 percent of the state’s undergraduate student population. They also produce about one-fifth of the state’s degrees. No two programs offer the same credentials and disciplines: small liberal arts universities serve a much different student base than targeted career colleges.
Private colleges and universities tend to be more expensive than public institutions, but are self-governed and therefore have a lot more leeway when designing programs and curricula. This can make them an attractive option for students who prefer small class sizes, specialized degrees or programs with religious affiliations. Many private schools in Louisiana also offer flexible online programs, making it easier for students to work while studying and offset some of their costs.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees in the areas of nursing, health, education and systems technology. Examples of specific degrees include a Master of Science in Nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration and a Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction. Students interested in teaching and student development can also earn an online graduate certificate in Instructional Coaching.
UL Lafayette offers a myriad of standalone hybrid and fully online courses, or “eCourses,” most of which are peer-reviewed for quality and design. These certified courses must meet 21 essential standards. Online students have access to many of the same support services they would expect to find on campus, including technology assistance, online orientation, tutoring and career counseling.
Learn more about support services, classes and degrees at http://online.louisiana.edu/.
Louisiana State University
LSU offers five online master’s degrees and an online post-baccalaureate certificate in construction management. Degree programs typically require about 36 to 42 credit hours and can be completed in 15 to 24 months. The certificate in construction management is 18 credit hours and takes students six to 12 months to complete. LSU’s online master’s degrees include business administration, educational leadership, human resource education, construction management and education, with a specialization in higher education administration.
Students interested in pursuing an online degree at LSU must go through the same application process as traditional campus-based students. Requirements vary by program. Online students can enroll on a full-time or half-time basis. Those taking six hours of courses are considered full-time students, while three credit hours constitutes half-time.
To get more details or to read about a specific online degree program at LSU, visit LSU Online.
Bossier Parish Community College
Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC), a member of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, offers online certificate and associate degree programs in subjects such as business administration, health care management, criminal justice and computer information systems. BPCC also offers several accelerated online programs with four- and eight-week course formats. Courses are administered through the Blackboard learning management system and may include discussion boards, PowerPoint presentations and audio/video tutorials. Online students have the same access to BPCC resources as traditional campus-based students, including tutoring, counseling, job placement services and library resources.
To learn more, visit Bossier Parish Community College’s Division of Educational Technology at http://www.bpcc.edu/educationaltechnology/index.html.
University of Louisiana at Monroe
The University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) offers 33 online degree programs. Distance learning associate options are restricted to just one general studies program, but students can earn online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in more than a dozen subject areas, like education, health sciences, business administration and teaching. ULM offers two doctoral degree programs online, one in education (EdD) and the other in marriage and family therapy (PhD).
Online courses at ULM are offered in both accelerated and traditional formats. Admission into their online undergraduate programs requires at least a high school diploma or GED. Graduate program admissions vary by program, but generally include a bachelor’s degree as well as a 3.0 GPA.
ULM provides online students with a variety of resources to help them succeed in the virtual classroom, including a homework app to organize and keep track of assignments. ULM recommends that students possess a personal computer, a high-speed Internet connection, and word processing software, such as Microsoft Office.
For more information about ULM’s online programs and specific requirements, visit the eULM website at http://onlinedegrees.kent.edu/.
Northwestern State University
Northwestern State University offers 34 online degree programs through its eNSU program, including a number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Although graduate degree programs are more prevalent than undergraduate programs, both span a wide breadth of fields, such as education, security, health and human performance, and art. eNSU is managed by the Office of Electronic and Continuing Education, which models its programs on standards set by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB).
All NSUe courses are delivered through Moodle, an online learning system similar to Blackboard. Students can access Moodle courses on a MAC or PC, but additional technical requirements may vary by course or major.
To learn more about the online programs offered through eNSU, visit http://ensu.nsula.edu.
Best Online Schools in Louisiana for Service Members
Some students attending online schools in Louisiana have specific needs and goals, such as military service members, veterans and their families. The flexibility of distance degrees makes them a solid fit for students who might be deployed or relocated in the course of their studies. Some of these schools offer tuition discounts and other aid specifically for active and veteran members of the Armed Forces, or programs that help these students better understand and maximize their civilian education benefits. Academic and transition support services can also be helpful. Schools with campus locations near military bases often welcome online students to on-site military and veteran’s centers that provide even more support. The following online schools in Louisiana go above and beyond to support men and women in uniform.
|Tuition||City||ROTC - Army||ROTC - Navy||ROTC - Air Force|
|University of New Orleans||$5,164||New Orleans||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Southern University and A & M College||$5,812||Baton Rouge||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dillard University||$13,650||New Orleans||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Xavier University of Louisiana||$17,700||New Orleans||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Southern University at New Orleans||$3,073||New Orleans||Yes||No||Yes|
|Grambling State University||$3,932||Grambling||Yes||No||Yes|
|Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College||$5,193||Baton Rouge||Yes||No||Yes|
Best Online Schools in Louisiana for Personal Attention
Many online schools in Louisiana offer flexible degree programs through the Web, with no classroom visits required. However, some prospective students may be concerned about missing out on the spontaneity of classroom lectures and benefits of collaborative work. While it’s true that online students must be a little more disciplined and self-motivated than their campus-based counterparts, they need not feel isolated.
Many programs offer interactive, live-streaming lectures that connect students with instructors and peers in real-time. Online message boards, chat rooms and videoconferencing programs, such as Skype, boost collaboration. Virtual office hours and enrollment limits enable instructors to provide more one-on-one support. Optional campus-based seminars, intensives and student networking events are additional perks. Here are the top online schools in Louisiana for students seeking this type of personalized learning experience.
|Grambling State University||20 to 1||5,018||$3,932||Public||Grambling|
|University of New Orleans||20 to 1||10,144||$5,164||Public||New Orleans|
|Our Lady of the Lake College||19 to 1||2,122||$9,013||Private not-for-profit||Baton Rouge|
|Southern University at New Orleans||19 to 1||3,375||$3,073||Public||New Orleans|
|Louisiana College||16 to 1||1,282||$12,150||Private not-for-profit||Pineville|
|Louisiana State University-Alexandria||15 to 1||3,282||$3,739||Public||Alexandria|
|Southern University and A & M College||15 to 1||6,635||$5,812||Public||Baton Rouge|
|Our Lady of Holy Cross College||13 to 1||1,065||$8,520||Private not-for-profit||New Orleans|
|Xavier University of Louisiana||13 to 1||2,883||$17,700||Private not-for-profit||New Orleans|
|Dillard University||12 to 1||1,447||$13,650||Private not-for-profit||New Orleans|
|Centenary College of Louisiana||11 to 1||818||$29,500||Private not-for-profit||Shreveport|
|Tulane University of Louisiana||11 to 1||9,270||$41,500||Private not-for-profit||New Orleans|
|Loyola University-New Orleans||10 to 1||3,540||$33,846||Private not-for-profit||New Orleans|
|Saint Joseph Seminary College||6 to 1||91||$13,500||Private not-for-profit||St. Benedict|
|Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport||5 to 1||78||$6,670||Public||Shreveport|
|Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-New Orleans||5 to 1||1,073||$3,767||Public||New Orleans|
Best Online Schools in Louisiana for Women in Tech
Technology and engineering are among the fastest-growing and highest-paying fields in the country, but gender barriers make it difficult for some women to take advantage of these benefits. Studies suggest that this disparity often begins in college, if not earlier. Some online schools in Louisiana are changing that trend.
These programs may offer a higher-than-average share of experienced female professors who can serve as mentors and role models for young women, or tech-specific professional and student organizations with a robust virtual presence. Optional campus- and Web-based seminars, internship and fellowship opportunities, and career support programs can help, too. Perhaps one of the best way schools can support these students, however, is by making high-quality degrees more accessible to mothers, working professionals and female students with limited local options. Here are the top online schools in Louisiana for tech-aspiring women.
|TUITION + FEES||CITY||WOMEN IN TECH DEGREES AWARDED||TOTAL ENROLLMENT||TYPE|
|Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College||$6,989||Baton Rouge||127||26,836||Public|
|Louisiana Tech University||$6,574||Ruston||69||7,799||Public|
|McNeese State University||$5,088||Lake Charles||44||6,529||Public|
|University of Louisiana-Monroe||$5,443||Monroe||42||5,724||Public|
|Northwestern State University of Louisiana||$5,557||Natchitoches||37||5,544||Public|
|Southern University and A & M College||$5,810||Baton Rouge||33||5,673||Public|
|University of Louisiana at Lafayette||$5,374||Lafayette||32||13,858||Public|
|Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-New Orleans||N/A||New Orleans||31||2,262||Public|
|University of New Orleans||$5,850||New Orleans||27||7,487||Public|
|Tulane University of Louisiana||$45,240||New Orleans||20||10,261||Private Not for Profit|
|Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport||N/A||Shreveport||15||814||Public|
|Our Lady of the Lake College||$9,757||Baton Rouge||15||756||Private Not for Profit|
|Southeastern Louisiana University||$5,242||Hammond||8||11,138||Public|
|Our Lady of Holy Cross College||$9,710||New Orleans||6||597||Private Not for Profit|
Best Online Schools in Louisiana Fighting for Families
Helping families, children and others in need is a noble career goal, and the journey starts with the right degree. Several online schools in Louisiana offer degrees in social work, counseling and similar fields, but they are not all equivalent. Some of the best programs offer online students the chance to complete supervised internships within their local communities, helping them build practical knowledge and experience that could never be conveyed through courses alone.
Access to targeted student and professional organizations and events are just as invaluable for these future social services professionals, as are special scholarships, networking opportunities and career support. When one considers these perks alongside rankings, reputation and other academic opportunities, some online schools in Louisiana are front-runners. Let’s take a look at some of them.
|CITY||SOCIAL DEGREES AWARDED||WOMEN||MEN||TUITION & FEES||TOTAL ENROLLMENT|
|Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College||Baton Rouge||249||192||57||$6,989||26,836|
|Tulane University of Louisiana||New Orleans||155||133||22||$45,240||10,261|
|Southern University at New Orleans||New Orleans||147||132||15||$4,372||1,883|
|Grambling State University||Grambling||98||81||17||$5,273||4,572|
|Southeastern Louisiana University||Hammond||73||64||9||$5,242||11,138|
|Louisiana Tech University||Ruston||62||27||35||$6,574||7,799|
|University of Louisiana at Lafayette||Lafayette||44||37||7||$5,374||13,858|
|Southern University and A & M College||Baton Rouge||40||35||5||$5,810||5,673|
|Northwestern State University of Louisiana||Natchitoches||37||33||4||$5,557||5,544|
|University of Louisiana-Monroe||Monroe||36||30||6||$5,443||5,724|
|University of New Orleans||New Orleans||26||20||6||$5,850||7,487|
|McNeese State University||Lake Charles||23||20||3||$5,088||6,529|
|Loyola University-New Orleans||New Orleans||17||16||1||$35,182||3,877|
|Louisiana State University-Shreveport||Shreveport||16||16||$4,943||2,482|
|Nicholls State University||Thibodaux||8||5||3||$5,679||5,056|
|Xavier University of Louisiana||New Orleans||7||7||$18,700||3,184|