The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) projects employment in the state to increase by 8.3% from 2016 to 2026, slightly faster than the anticipated rate of growth for the entire United States economy. Certain industries in Louisiana should experience even more rapid expansion. For example, the LWC projects employment in the field of healthcare and social assistance to grow by nearly 12% during that time period, adding roughly 34,000 new jobs.
To take advantage of the most lucrative of these new opportunities, however, you will likely need some form of postsecondary education. Registered nurses in Louisiana, for instance, earned an annual mean wage of $63,970 in 2018, or approximately $21,000 more per year than the average pay for all other occupations. Occupational health and safety specialists -- the individuals who inspect workplaces and ensure compliance with government regulations -- earned $76,280 that same year. Both of these positions require, at a minimum, an associate degree.
Top 10 Colleges in Louisiana
- Tulane University of Louisiana - New Orleans, LA
- Louisiana Tech University - Ruston, LA
- University of Louisiana at Lafayette - Lafayette, LA
- Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College - Baton Rouge, LA
- McNeese State University - Lake Charles, LA
- University of Holy Cross - New Orleans, LA
- Louisiana State University-Alexandria - Alexandria, LA
- Centenary College of Louisiana - Shreveport, LA
- University of Louisiana at Monroe - Monroe, LA
- Loyola University New Orleans - New Orleans, LA
Our ranking of the best colleges in Louisiana can help you decide where to continue your education. It includes information on each school's admission standards, areas of study, online and hybrid programs, and financial aid opportunities. Crucially, all of the colleges profiled below are regionally accredited.
2020 Best Accredited Colleges in Louisiana
Tulane University of Louisiana
|New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 83%||
Tulane University features a world-class faculty and high-quality degree programs that draw students from all 50 states and nearly 60 countries around the globe. Undergraduate students can major in fields such as Asian studies, engineering, and philosophy, while graduate students receive advanced instruction in subjects such as finance, law, and public health. Students at Tulane can also earn their degrees at a distance, including through the fully online master of social work program.
Community service lies at the heart of both Tulane's mission and its educational philosophy. Originally founded to train medical professionals fighting yellow fever and cholera in New Orleans, students at the university continue to log roughly 780,000 hours of civic service and volunteerism each year.
Undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and submit results from either the ACT or SAT. To qualify for guaranteed admission, you must be a Louisiana resident, maintain a high school GPA of at least 3.6, and score 31 or higher on the ACT (or 1450 or higher on the SAT).
Louisiana Tech University
|Ruston, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
Established in 1895, Louisiana Tech University now serves roughly 12,500 students each year through a combination of undergraduate and graduate programs in fields such as agricultural business, environmental science, health information management, and sociology. Working professionals can also take advantage of the university's fully online programs in engineering management, business administration, and history.
Students at Louisiana Tech also have the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research. For example, students at the university's Center for Secure Cyberspace can learn about cyber forensics, information fusion, and secure information dissemination. In addition, the Institute for Micromanufacturing provides hands-on learning experiences related to nanotechnologies.
Admission to Louisiana Tech as an undergraduate student requires a high school diploma and scores from either the ACT or SAT. Graduate admission requirements vary by program, but applicants typically need a bachelor's degree and scores from the GRE or GMAT. Scholarships are available on the basis of both academic merit and financial need.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
|Lafayette, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the second-largest university in the state, with more than 19,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in areas such as chemical engineering, educational leadership, geology, and nursing. Many of these students pursue their degree online; they enjoy the convenience of distance education and pay in-state tuition regardless of where they live.
In addition to state and federal financial aid, students at UL Lafayette can apply to a host of scholarship and tuition waiver programs. For example, out-of-state applicants with a high school GPA of at least 2.5 and an ACT score of 23 or higher may qualify for a fee waiver worth nearly $55,000 over the course of four years. Room and board scholarships -- with an estimated value of nearly $20,000 per year -- are also available to students who excel academically.
To enter an undergraduate program at UL Lafayette, you must have a high school diploma and take either the ACT or SAT. You must also meet minimum academic requirements to qualify for guaranteed admission.
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
|Baton Rouge, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Louisiana State University is the flagship school of the Louisiana State University System and the largest institution of higher education in the state, with over 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled each year. More than 90% of all students at the university receive scholarships or financial aid, and two out of every three students graduate with no student loan debt. In addition, LSU alumni make an average of $12,000 more per year than graduates of other public colleges and universities in the state.
LSU is home to 14 colleges and schools that prepare students for careers in fields such as business, engineering, mass communication, and veterinary medicine. Through LSU Online, students can also earn bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees at whatever time and place is most convenient for them.
Applicants must submit official copies of their high school transcript, ACT or SAT scores, and at least one letter of recommendation from a teacher. No test scores are required to enter an online program.
McNeese State University
|Lake Charles, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
In addition to its substantial on-campus offerings, McNeese State University delivers 17 fully online bachelor's and master's programs in fields such as business administration, criminal justice, instructional technology, and psychology. Students may also pursue online graduate certificates in gifted education, school library science, and mental health nursing.
Students who study at the university's campus in Lake Charles enjoy easy access to more than 2,000 acres of farm property -- a convenient field lab for agriculture and environmental science majors. The campus is also home to a 65-acre athletics complex, an entrepreneurship and economic development center, and more than 100 active student organizations.
Along with ACT or SAT scores, undergraduate applicants must submit their high school or GED transcripts. During the admissions process, prospective students can also apply for a variety of scholarship awards. For example, the Presidential Scholarship provides up to $4,700 per semester for undergraduates who score higher than 30 on the ACT, while the McNeese Transfer Scholarship offers $1,000 per semester to students who maintained at least a 3.75 GPA at another college or university.
University of Holy Cross
|New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
Students at the University of Holy Cross benefit from small class sizes, a faith-based atmosphere, and personal attention from the university's faculty and staff. Undergraduate students can pursue degrees in topics such as accounting, food science, history, and theology. Holy Cross also offers graduate programs in management and counseling, along with a diverse selection of fully online degrees and certificates.
At the university's career center, students can receive feedback on their resume, participate in mock interviews, and explore possible professions through assessments, job shadowing, and internship opportunities. Both online and on-campus students can also take advantage of free tutoring, academic advising, and mental health counseling services.
To enter a bachelor's program at Holy Cross, you must have a high school diploma or GED. The university provides guaranteed admission to applicants with a high school GPA above 2.5 and an ACT score of 20 or higher. Holy Cross provides limited scholarship funding to students on the basis of academic merit and financial need.
Louisiana State University-Alexandria
|Alexandria, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
An institution specifically for undergraduates, Louisiana State University of Alexandria offers bachelor's programs in fields such as cardiovascular technology, emergency management, international business, and sports broadcasting. An additional 10 programs are available online and in an accelerated format, allowing students to schedule their coursework around the demands of a full-time job or family responsibilities.
An optional seminar for all incoming freshman introduces students to campus resources, community engagement opportunities, and possible courses of study. Students who participate in the seminar maintain, on average, a higher GPA than their peers and are more likely to earn their degree in just four years. Additional support services for freshman include a student mentor program and enrollment advising.
To earn admission to LSUA, you must have a high school diploma or equivalency with a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Applicants who score lower than 19 on the ACT or 1030 on the SAT may also need to take developmental courses prior to formally enrolling in a program.
Centenary College of Louisiana
|Shreveport, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Founded in 1825, Centenary College of Louisiana is the oldest liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River. The college boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, giving students extraordinary access to the expertise and guidance of their professors.
While Centenary does not currently offer any online programs, on-campus students can major in subjects such as biochemistry, economics, geology, and music. Undergraduate students can also construct their own major by working with a faculty advisor to develop a unique course of study and a capstone project proposal that integrates their coursework.
Additionally, the college's Trek program provides a range of experiential learning opportunities. For example, students may participate in internships, design their own research project, compete in entrepreneurship and innovation competitions, or volunteer in their community.
Admission to an undergraduate program requires a high school diploma or GED, ACT or SAT scores, and an essay. The college also strongly recommends that applicants submit a letter of recommendation and schedule an interview with an admissions counselor.
University of Louisiana at Monroe
|Monroe, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
Each year more than 9,000 students at the University of Louisiana Monroe pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in disciplines such as education, financial management, allied health, and the visual and performing arts. Graduates join a network of roughly 65,000 alumni working in northern Louisiana and around the world.
The university hosts 35 fully online programs in areas such as criminal justice, risk management and insurance, and medical laboratory science. Online classes are available in four-, eight-, and 16-week formats, and distance learners do not pay any out-of-state fee, no matter where they live.
Whether you choose to study online or in person, you must have a high school diploma or GED to apply to an undergraduate program. Prospective students must also submit results from either the ACT or SAT. Graduate applicants must have a bachelor's degree and submit scores from either the GRE or GMAT. ULM welcomes transfer students from all community colleges in the state, though they must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA in their prior coursework to receive transfer credit.
Loyola University New Orleans
|New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 56%||
As a Jesuit university, Loyola University New Orleans combines the strength of a liberal arts curriculum with the hands-on learning of community service. The Loyola Core, a set of common classes and experiences incorporated into all undergraduate programs at the university, helps students develop critical thinking, communication, information literacy, and ethical reasoning skills.
Loyola offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer information systems, digital filmmaking, music education, and physics. Online students can also seek an associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in fields such as business, criminal justice, ministry and theology, and nursing.
The university strongly encourages both online and in-person students to participate in a service learning opportunity. For example, through Loyola's Hunger Relief program, students serve food with dignity to homeless residents of New Orleans, while the university's collaboration with the Best Buddies program gives students the chance to work with and learn from individuals with Down's Syndrome.
Undergraduate admission to Loyola requires a high school diploma or GED. Most applicants must also submit ACT or SAT scores, though Loyola waives this requirement for prospective online students aged 22 or older.
University of New Orleans
|New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 32%||
The University of New Orleans was the first fully integrated public university in the South. The university now serves students from across Louisiana, all 50 states, and more than 130 countries.
In addition to the university's on-campus programs in biological sciences, hotel administration, and urban planning, UNO offers nine fully online bachelor's and master's degrees in areas such as philosophy, engineering management, and creative writing. Working professionals can also enroll in online certificate programs to develop discrete skills in application development, instructional design, and software product management.
High school students must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA in order to apply to UNO. They must also score 19 or above on the ACT math section and 18 or above on the exam's English section. While the university's Privateer Pathways program offers conditional admission to prospective students who do not meet these academic requirements, applicants must have at least a 2.0 high school GPA to pursue a bachelor's at UNO.
Southeastern Louisiana University
|Hammond, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
Southeastern Louisiana University offers more than 150 majors, minors, and concentrations in diverse fields such as athletic training, family and consumer sciences, industrial technology, and occupational health and safety. Fully online programs also give learners the option to explore subjects such as criminal justice and nursing, while also taking advantage of the same tutoring and academic support services provided to on-campus learners.
In addition to earning satisfactory scores on either the ACT or SAT, freshman applicants must maintain a high school GPA of at least 2.35. Graduate applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, maintain a college GPA of 2.5 or above, and take either the GRE or GMAT, depending on their program.
Priority scholarships offered by the university can substantially reduce the overall cost of your education. For example, incoming students with ACT scores of 30 and above pay no tuition or fees and receive a $3,000 annual housing and meal award. The Senator Ben Nevers Scholarship provides up to $6,000 per year to transfer students with a strong record of academic achievement.
Louisiana State University-Shreveport
|Shreveport, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 30%||
Louisiana State University in Shreveport delivers coursework in eight-week semesters, allowing students to earn their degree at an accelerated pace. Alongside more than 30 on-campus programs in subjects such as community health and secondary education, the university offers eight online bachelor's programs and 16 online and customizable master's degrees.
Students at LSUS may also enroll in the university's Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program. LEAD classes, seminars, and service learning opportunities provide students with additional training in subjects such as public speaking, negotiation, and group dynamics.
First-year applicants must have a high school diploma with at least a 2.0 GPA. Prospective students must also submit scores from either the ACT or SAT. All incoming freshmen receive automatic consideration for the university's financial aid programs, including merit-based scholarships that cover the full cost of tuition, fees, and books.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
|Natchitoches, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 39%||
Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers a wealth of online and hybrid learning options through its global campus. For instance, students can earn an online associate degree in general studies, then transfer into one of the university's online bachelor's programs in areas such as addiction studies, radiologic sciences, or public safety administration. Graduate students can also pursue one of many fully online master's, doctoral, and specialist degrees. Additionally, competency-based distance education programs allow students to graduate as soon as they master core concepts and skills.
For students who prefer classroom learning, NSU administers three campuses and an additional three satellite locations throughout the state. On-campus programs cover topics such as education, journalism, nursing, and social work.
Freshman applicants must submit high school or GED transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Incoming students may also apply for specific scholarships, such as the President's Leadership Program, a one-year development experience that also comes with a financial award.
Nicholls State University
|Thibodaux, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Nicholls State University attracts a diverse and accomplished group of students. For instance, the 2018 freshman class was comprised of 63% first-generation college students and more than 30% students of color. That year, Nicholls also admitted 64 high school valedictorians, and incoming students boasted an average high school GPA of 3.34.
Students can choose from more than 100 programs of study in fields such as dietetics, geomatics, petroleum engineering technology, and teacher education. Fully online programs in safety technology, business administration, and early childhood education also feature accelerated paths to help students graduate faster.
All undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and take either the ACT or SAT, though Nicholls does not set minimum academic requirements for admission. Instead, it considers the entirety of a candidate's strengths, including special talents, professional history, and potential contribution to the diversity of the university's educational experience.
Xavier University of Louisiana
|New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Founded with the mission of serving African-American Catholics, Xavier University of Louisiana welcomes students from all faiths and backgrounds. Today, the university's enrollment is roughly 75% African-American and 20% Catholic. About half of Xavier students are Louisiana residents.
Undergraduate programs at the university include topics such as bioinformatics, middle school education, political science, and sociology. Certain programs offer accelerated tracks, which allow students to earn their bachelor's degree in as few as three years. In addition, Xavier's graduate school provides advanced training in fields such as educational leadership and health equity.
Freshman applicants must submit high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, and a letter of recommendation from a high school guidance counselor. Prospective graduate students must hold a bachelor's degree and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA during their undergraduate studies. Xavier is a member school of the United Negro College Fund, which awards more than $100M in scholarships each year.
Southern University at New Orleans
|New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 20%||
The Southern University at New Orleans enrolls just over 2,300 students across associate, bachelor's, and master's programs in areas such as forensic science, health information management systems, public administration, and elementary education. Students who cannot regularly commute to one of the university's two campuses in New Orleans may also opt to seek an online bachelor's in general studies or an online master's in museum studies.
Through the Early Start program at SUNO, students can earn college credits while still enrolled in high school. Dual enrollment students pay only $100 per course and can earn up to 24 credits before formally applying to an undergraduate program.
Incoming freshmen must have a high school diploma or GED and submit results from the ACT or SAT. Admissions officers conduct a holistic review of each applicant's materials, though admitted students usually possess a high school GPA of 2.0 or higher and a composite ACT score of 20 or above.
|Pineville, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
Louisiana College is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Louisiana Baptist Convention. In addition to programs in Christian studies and pastoral ministry, the college offers roughly 70 bachelor's and master's degrees in business, education, the natural sciences, and nursing. The school does not currently host any fully online programs.
The college is committed to supporting the spiritual growth of its learners; as a result, all full-time students at LC must regularly attend chapel services. Additional student services include tutoring and academic advising; writing consultations; career and mental health counseling; and support specifically designed for students with disabilities, veterans, and international students.
Undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and take the ACT or SAT. To qualify for guaranteed admission as a freshman, you must maintain a high school GPA of at least 2.0 and receive a composite score of at least 20 on the ACT (or 1030 on the SAT).
Southern University and A & M College
|Baton Rouge, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Southern University and A&M College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Additionally, over 96% of individual academic programs at SU hold national accreditation within their area of specialization.
Undergraduate students can major in fields like computer science, finance, rehabilitation services, and urban forestry. SU also offers fully online degrees in business management, health information technology, and psychology. Both online and on-campus students at the university enjoy access to a rich suite of career services, a mental health counseling center, and research assistance.
Applicants to SU must have a high school diploma with a GPA of at least 2.0. Prospective students with a GED must also receive a score of at least 23 on the ACT or 1130 on the SAT. Admission to the graduate school requires a bachelor's degree, a minimum 2.7 undergraduate GPA, and acceptable scores from either the GRE or GMAT.
|New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Roughly 90% of the 1,300 students pursuing degrees at Dillard University are African-American, along with 65% of the university's faculty members. Although Dillard is both a historically black institution and an affiliate of the United Methodist Church, it admits students of all races and creeds.
The university offers undergraduate degrees in fields such as physics, film, social work, and financial economics. While Dillard partners with the University of New Orleans to jointly provide a master's program in urban studies and public policy, it does not offer any graduate programs of its own. Online and hybrid courses are also not available at the university.
Dillard's "Finish in 4" program helps students graduate with a bachelor's in just four years. The program features extensive orientation and first-year experiences, dedicated academic and financial aid advising, and an optional second-year experience that focuses on the development of 21st century skills.
Admission to Dillard requires a high school GPA of at least 2.5 and a composite ACT score of at least 18. Applicants who do not meet these standards may instead submit two letters of recommendation and a personal statement for conditional consideration.