Making the decision to attend college paves the way for your future choices and decisions, and choosing the right school is just as important. There are over 120 public and private colleges and universities, as well as trade and technical schools in Louisiana, 38 of which are accredited by the state's Board of Regents. Making the best choice requires considering many elements, from whether to attend a four-year or a two-year program, to degree options, to financing your education.
Fortunately, we have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in Louisiana, including the top four-year and two-year schools.
Best Colleges in Louisiana
Louisiana offers 23 accredited 4-year public colleges and universities, as well as 12 reputable private institutions throughout the state. The Louisiana Board of Regents operates four separate systems, three of which include public 4-year programs, and each with several universities under its jurisdiction. The three 4-year systems are: The University of Louisiana System, the Louisiana State University System and the Southern University System. Most of these universities can be found in the southern and northern portions of the state, in both urban and rural areas. With schools that reflect cultures and populations as diverse as its cities and town, students have many educational options to choose from in Louisiana.
Since implementing its strategic master plan for higher education in 2011, the state's Board of Regents (BOR) has seen a rise in graduation rates at Louisiana's public 4-year postsecondary institutions from 42.2% to 47.7%. The state continues to invest in strategic initiatives to increase graduation rates to meet its goal of 50,000 graduates per year by 2025. In addition to its in-state schools, Louisiana is committed to the success of its students, and participates as a member of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) in programs that offer students options for pursuing degrees which may not be offered at a Louisiana college, but can be accessed through a participating out-of-state school.
|1||Louisiana Tech University Ruston, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
Founded in 1894 in the small town of Ruston, Louisiana Tech is an elite public research university that enrolls over 12,600 students from 47 states and 69 countries around the world. Students can pursue bachelor's degrees in the liberal arts, business, education, engineering, and the sciences; programs include: cyber engineering, exercise and health promotion, and molecular science and nanotechnology. There is also an interdisciplinary studies option that gives students at this Louisiana college an opportunity to create their own degree.
Louisiana Tech is a pioneer in innovative science and is home to several research institutes and centers, including the Institute for Micromanufacturing, the Center for Applied Physics Studies, and an Integrated STEM Education Research Center. An annual Student Research Symposium, featuring student work, is hosted in the university's gym. For the more left-brained student, this university has a thriving creative arts and humanities scene, including a theater; art gallery; and programs like the Louisiana Tech Concert Association, The Tech Talk, and an annual stage combat workshop.
|2||University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
Recognized as one of the best colleges in Louisiana, University of Louisiana at Lafayette is recognized as a premiere research university by the Carnegie Foundation, with SMART classrooms, cutting-edge facilities, and hands-on research experiences available to all undergraduate students. UL has over 80 bachelor's degree programs, including architectural studies, informatics, the visual arts, and a number of pre-professional degrees.
A University Honors Program, whose motto is "per sapientiam felicitas" or "through knowledge, happiness", offers outstanding students a range of benefits, including advanced courses and independent study, exclusive events and scholarships, and internships. All students will find plenty of academic support through a tutoring and learning center with computer lab, a writing center, and TRIO program services -- including academic counseling and peer mentoring -- for first-generation and underrepresented students.
|3||Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 83%||
Tulane University of Louisiana provides a uniquely flexible approach to helping students create degree programs that align specifically with their career objectives and intellectual interests; students choose double-major combinations from the university's 75 undergraduate offerings. The Creative Premedical Scholars Program is designed for students who want to major in the liberal arts but pursue a career in medicine, and a variety of other special programs cater to students who think outside the box. Students can also take advantage of more than 100 study abroad programs in over 40 countries, the most diverse set offered by Louisiana colleges. Tulane's shuttle system provides students with safe and reliable transportation between the university's campuses in New Orleans, as well as to popular sites throughout the city. Tulane embraces its diverse student population, with its most recent class hailing from 47 states and 21 countries.
|4||Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University Baton Rouge, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Based in Baton Rouge, Franciscan University is a Roman Catholic institution that ranks among the top healthcare schools in Louisiana. Founded in 1923 as a nursing school, the university offers degrees in arts and sciences, business, and health professions. Students can pursue associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in areas such as respiratory therapy, medical laboratory science, nutritional sciences, and nurse anesthesia. The university offers liberal arts minors to augment undergraduate healthcare majors, including minors in English, ethics, philosophy, and writing.
Franciscan University provides interdisciplinary, hands-on learning opportunities such as service learning, experience in simulated hospital environments, and clinical lab work. The university holds an annual campus-wide disaster simulation to train students in interdisciplinary emergency protocols and practices for scenarios such as bioterrorism attacks and natural disasters.
|5||University of Holy Cross New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 28%||
Located on the Mississippi River and within walking distance of downtown New Orleans, the University of Holy Cross was founded as a Ministry of the Marianites Sisters of Holy Cross and continues to provide a faith-based education at the core of its programs. In the tradition of liberal arts studies, undergraduate degrees include programs in the allied health sciences, English, education, and theology. Students who are unsure of what path they want to follow may pursue a general studies degree that allows them to tailor their program to fit their interests.
With a student to faculty ratio of 10:1, and an average class size of 20 students or less, students at this Louisiana college have access to personalized attention that will help them succeed. Full-time faculty are recognized experts in their field, and over 70% hold a PhD or other advanced degree. Students also have access to the Chambers Counseling and Training Center, which provides services for the community and serves as a hands-on learning center for undergraduate students pursuing degrees in counseling. Campus ministry includes weekly mass, faith sharing groups, an annual student retreat, and Catholic volunteer network.
|6||University of New Orleans New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 36%||
The University of New Orleans opened in 1958 as the first fully-integrated public university in the South. Today's students can choose from a variety of bachelor's degrees spanning the arts and sciences, business, education, engineering and other professional studies. Distinctive options include naval architecture and marine engineering; urban studies and planning; hotel, restaurant and tourism administration; and film. UNO offers undergraduates, including freshmen, rewarding service-learning experiences through its Office of Service Learning and Institutional Community Engagement programs. The office, which is one of the only of its kinds amongst colleges in Louisiana, also hosts special seminars, speaker series, and other events throughout the year.
Students who are interested in dedicating a minimum of 30 services hours to a project close to their hearts can also become part of the Privateer Service Learning Corp, with all completers eligible for a small scholarship. First-year students who need extra help in math and science can apply for the Privateer Pathways program, which helped 83% of participating freshmen succeed in their first year in 2015.
|7||Louisiana State University-Alexandria Alexandria, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
Students at Louisiana State University-Alexandria can choose from 13 bachelor's degree programs, with recently added concentrations in general studies, elder care administration, health sciences, the humanities, and the visual and performing arts. The Honors Program admits students during any year of study, including freshmen and transfer students. Those accepted into the program receive a range of honorary benefits and opportunities, including access to special speakers, research experience with the option to publish in an undergraduate academic journal, and a private reception with members of the university administration.
LSUA is one of the only colleges in Louisiana to have varsity rodeo and rugby teams, along with club golf and a campus spirit squad. Student services include career planning and placement, with access to academic counselors and a curated collection of online resources; an on-campus health center; proctored testing services; and individual or couple counseling services.
|8||McNeese State University Lake Charles, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
McNeese State University's campus, located in Lake Charles, is the only one among our list of colleges in Louisiana to harbor a 503-acre farm, with another 1,400 acres dedicated to farming and research. The university is also home to the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development Center. The university's school of agricultural sciences offers degrees in agribusiness, nutrition and food science, and pre-veterinary medicine. Bachelor's degrees are awarded through its six colleges, including the College of Science & Agriculture, the Burton College of Education, and the College of Nursing & Health Professions.
Qualifying students can apply for a diverse set of scholarships, including athletic, honors college, and non-resident awards. Newly-admitted students have the option of participating in "Cowboy Camp", an early and exclusive orientation to campus that includes early move-in, social events and competitions, and chances to win scholarships and other prizes.
|9||Nicholls State University Thibodaux, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Founded in 1948 as a junior state college, Nicholls was renamed in 1958 to honor a celebrated brigadier general in the Civil War. The college, which gained its university status in 1970, counts its ongoing partnerships with community schools, agencies, and businesses as being central to its mission in providing its students with hands-on learning experiences, while contributing to the development and well-being of the community.
This college in Louisiana provides a variety of bachelor's degrees, including a BFA, a BSN, and an interdisciplinary studies program. Pre-professional degrees are available in several fields, including pre-athletic training, pre-veterinary medicine, and pre-occupational therapy. Many programs offer their own student organizations, scholarships, and internships. Opportunities for student involvement in media include a student-run radio station, yearbook, and campus newspaper. Students may also join one of the 100 other professional, service, recreational, or hobby-based clubs and organizations.
|10||University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 43%||
University of Louisiana at Monroe offers a number of special programs for students looking to build their character and leadership skills. Students can choose from degrees in the arts, sciences, and professional fields. Undergraduate programs include toxicology, a bachelor of fine arts, and a degree in kinesiology. Students can participate in the university's Emerging Scholars program, a unique features among other colleges in Louisiana. Students in this program are recognized as "junior colleagues" of participating professors, collaborate on professional activities, and receive a small stipend at the end of the semester. An esteemed Peer Leaders program also gives students the chance to assist faculty in teaching the university's first-year seminar and serve as peer mentors.
The university's new International Student Center serves as a welcoming hub for new students studying internationally, providing temporary campus housing and social opportunities. Students in the Global Ambassador program assist in organizing campus events for international students, including the annual international student banquet, and provide peer support.
|11||Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers a comprehensive set of undergraduate degrees, including military science; teaching, leadership and counseling; allied health; and creative and performing arts. Students interested in an interdisciplinary program, which blends academic fields for a more customized degree option, can choose a BA in liberal arts, a BS in resource management, or a general studies program. The university has one of the most comprehensive first year experience programs offered by colleges in Louisiana, with a coordinated set of special programs and resources that help students make a successful academic transition. As part of the experience, students participate in a two-day Freshman Connection, where they meet university administrators and faculty and learn about the many academic and support services available on campus.
NSU is located in the historic port city of Natchitoches, with satellite campuses in Shreveport, Alexandria, and Fort Polk. Over 100 student organizations cover an array of interests including academics, creative and performing arts, service, government, and greek life. NSU's Demons athletics teams include men's and women's basketball, cross country, football, and women's volleyball.
|12||Loyola University New Orleans New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
Loyola University New Orleans offers a diverse set of bachelor's degree options, including pre-professional programs. Students interested in music performance and other aspects of the industry will find a variety of programs not offered at other Louisiana colleges, including: vocal, keyboard, guitar, and orchestral performance; music therapy; and music industry studies.
Loyola was founded in the Jesuit tradition, with an Office of Mission & Ministry that serves the spiritual needs of students on campus as well as residents in the local community. The Ignacio Volunteer Program offers service trips to Belize and Jamaica, where students work to make positive differences in the lives of impoverished residents through projects in the political, sociological, and economic spheres. Students will find a tight-knit campus community that takes pride in its traditions, including rubbing "Iggy's" feet before a big test; taking part in the winter Sneaux festival, which features 20 tons of manufactured snow; and Catfish Fridays.
|13||Southeastern Louisiana University Hammond, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Southeastern Louisiana University offers a wide range of undergraduate degrees, including programs in consumer and family sciences, sport management, and criminal justice. SLU offers one of the most comprehensive set of academic support services among colleges in Louisiana, including a foreign language center, internet resource center, math tutoring lab, and a writing center. The university also participates in a number of Upward Bound and TRIO programs for underrepresented and first-generation college students.
The university's free Lion Traxx shuttle service provides transportation around campus, which includes a recently opened computer science and technology building for students in computer science, engineering technology, industrial technology, and several other related programs. SLU's Rec Sports & Wellness Center offers "something for everyone", including a pool, intramural sports, and a wellness program with group classes and personal training.
|14||Southern University at New Orleans New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 16%||
Southern University at New Orleans offers bachelor's programs across nine of its academic departments, with programs in addictive behaviors counseling and prevention or a dual degree in math and another major of choice. SUNO also offers a degree in child development & family studies, the only program of its kind among Louisiana colleges. In January 2017, the school began construction on a new four-story natural sciences building, slated to be opened in summer of 2018, and a new School of Social Work facility is also being built.
Students are set up with the academic resources that they need to be successful throughout their senior year, including free installation of Microsoft's Office 365 ProPlus software, extensive library resources, and dedicated student support services for qualifying students that include free tutoring and financial seminars. SUNO offers competitive tuition rates for its more than 2,400 in- and out-of-state students.
|15||Centenary College of Louisiana Shreveport, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Centenary College of Louisiana's focus on diversity and global citizenship secures its reputation as one of the best colleges in Louisiana. All students complete its one-of-a-kind Trek program, which provides major-oriented internships, projects, and courses in three areas: career, community, and culture. Students can choose from 22 majors, including museum management, theoretical mathematics, and speech pathology. Many of the undergraduate degrees include concentrations that give students a chance to dig deeper into certain aspects of their fields.
The college's three unique "World House" living and learning communities -- Peace, Social Justice, and Environmental Sustainability -- give students the opportunity to develop conflict resolution and global citizenship skills. Each living community is connected to a community service partner that provides focused project experiences. Centenary also hosts a Student Diversity Intern program, which provides diversity training and hands-on learning experiences that celebrate and promote different heritages.
|16||Louisiana State University-Shreveport Shreveport, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 36%||
Students at Louisiana State University-Shreveport can choose from a number of bachelor's degrees in the liberal arts, including several elementary and secondary education degrees with concentrations in fine arts, Spanish, or French. LSUS hosts an annual, multi-disciplinary student forum that brings together participants from nine other universities for student project and research presentations across academic disciplines.
LSUS is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, and its athletics teams make regular tournament appearances. The university is also home to the first USA Weightlifting High Performance and Development Center, which hosts regional and international competitions. Adding to its credentials as one of the top-ranking Louisiana colleges are the university's state-of-the-art facilities and tools used in various programs, including the new Student Success Center, which offers academic support and professional development services to students including tutoring and supplemental instruction.
|17||Xavier University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
Xavier University is the only historically black and Catholic college in the U.S. The school strives to combine the attributes of both its faith and culture.
The undergraduate curriculum at Xavier is centered in the liberal arts. All students are required to take a core of prescribed courses in addition to more intensive work in their respective majors. Opportunities exist for students to participate in relevant research under faculty mentors, through internships, and through study-abroad programs.
While more than half of Xavier's students major in the natural or health sciences, the university also offers programs in the fine arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and education and counseling.
Xavier, a recognized national leader in the field of science education, is first among the nation's colleges for the number of African-American graduates who go on to complete medical school. It is also one of the nation's top three producers of African-American doctor of pharmacy degree recipients.
|18||Remington College-Shreveport Campus Shreveport, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Remington College at Shreveport offers an on-campus bachelor's degree in criminal justice, with several other degree options offered online. Instructors bring real-world industry experience into the classroom and prepare students for successful careers after graduation. Remington is a non-traditional, non-profit college, with a specific focus on providing career-centric degrees for first-time and adult students that sets it apart from other colleges in Louisiana. Tuition freezes are available for students who stay continuously enrolled throughout their entire program. A handful of academic- and merit-based scholarships are also available to qualifying students. Remington is a Yellow Ribbon school and accepts all tuition-assistance benefits.
Students will find a number of events and service initiatives hosted on Remington's campus throughout the year, including community blood drives, an annual African American read-in, and family-oriented "Night Out" events. A hands-on career services center helps students prepare resumés, practice for interviews, and connect with potential employers.
|19||Louisiana College Pineville, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
Louisiana College, a private institution offering a Christian liberal arts education, is the only four-year Baptist university of all Louisiana colleges. This school offers bachelor's degrees in business, the sciences, Christian studies, the humanities, education, the arts, and allied health. Students interested in teaching languages will find programs in French, English, and Spanish education. An innovative Department of Convergence Media also offers a variety of degrees, including programs in sports media and media production. All programs are accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and many departments hold accreditation from national professional associations.
Separate on-campus chapel services are offered for under- and upperclassmen, and a Spiritual Enrichment Program gives students opportunities to get involved with related organizations and fellowships, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a Catholic student organization.
|20||Dillard University New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 39%||
Dillard is a historically-black, four-year liberal arts school, and a founding member of the United Negro College Fund. Bachelor's degrees are awarded through Dillard's College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, and its School of Nursing. Innovative options include a dual degree in engineering with a minor in either math or computer science, a degree in theater technology, and a recording arts program.
Dillard offers men's and women's intercollegiate athletic teams in basketball, cross country, and track and field. The university's scenic, 55-acre campus features a mix of oak trees, historic buildings, and modern facilities. Two of the university's newest buildings are LEED-certified, including a modern student union and wellness center constructed after Hurricane Katrina. Dillard is also one of the only 100% tobacco-free Louisiana colleges. University alumni have gone on to be accepted at ivy league and other leading universities around the world, including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and the London School of Economics.
Best Community Colleges in Louisiana
The Louisiana Community and Technical College Systems (LCTCS) runs 13 community and technical colleges, offering associate's degrees, technical diplomas and industry-based certificates.
However, two-year and technical college students continue to struggle with retention. In order to combat this, LCTCS recently announced a partnership with the Louisiana State University Division of Economic Development (LSUED) aimed at tracking and measuring earnings of LCTCS graduates. The state hopes to help double the annual earnings of LCTCS graduates by 2020. Louisiana's adult education program, named “WorkReady U,” also runs 34 programs at more than 200 adult education instructional sites throughout Louisiana.
|1||South Central Louisiana Technical College Morgan City, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 32%||
SCLTC offers specialized programs in business and industry, teaching students the skills and knowledge they need to enter their field of choice. Program options at the Young Memorial Campus include business office administration, information technology, and marine operations, to name a few. A student government association gives students the chance to get involved in academic planning and policy and strengthen or develop leadership and collaborative skillsets.
SCLTC is a military-friendly institution and offers a number of veteran-specific benefits that set it apart from other community colleges in Louisiana, such as a veteran orientation, priority class scheduling, and a career placement workshop. Students who qualify for financial aid are also eligible for book and supply vouchers. SCLTC’s programs are accredited by their corresponding national professional or service organization (such as the U.S. Coast Guard for marine operations). As part of its efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle for students and faculty, SCLTC is a tobacco-free campus and the school provides resources for those looking to quit smoking.
|2||Northshore Technical Community College Bogalusa, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
Northshore Technical Community College, which offers 23 technical and professional programs across its four campuses and online, recently opened its newest location in Lacombe in February 2017. Program availability varies by campus, but includes hands-on career paths in fields like culinary arts, maritime technology, and pharmacy tech. A dedicated job board allows students to search for opportunities online at any time. Students may also pursue transfer options to several four-year state schools, including an engineering pathway to the University of New Orleans and a criminal justice track to Northwestern State. Northshore offers a unique YouthBuild educational program for students ages 16 to 24 who have not finished high school. The program provides opportunities to gain life skills, participate in AmeriCorps, or prepare for enrollment at a postsecondary institution.
|3||Northwest Louisiana Technical College Minden, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Recognized as one of the best community colleges in Louisiana, NLTC offers associate degrees at its campuses in Minden, Natchitoches, and Shreveport. Program offerings vary by campus, but include degrees in industrial instrumentation technology, culinary arts, and care and development of young children. A handful of clubs and organizations, such as the National Technical Honor Society and Student Ambassadors, provide students with opportunities to meet and connect with peers. Additionally, NLTC has an agreement with Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) that grants NLTC students free admission to BPCC performing arts and athletic events. Local high school students can apply for dual enrollment at NLTC and get a head start on earning credits toward an associate degree. NLTC hosts a number of events at its campuses throughout the year, including visiting speakers and state-level technical skills competitions.
|4||Central Louisiana Technical Community College Alexandria, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
CLTCC is the community and technical college for nine parishes in Louisiana, with a main campus in Alexandria and six additional locations throughout the state. All of CLTCC’s degree programs are accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Students can pursue an associate degree in a variety of technical fields including carpentry, outdoor power equipment technology, and drafting & design technology. Aspiring nurses and medical practitioners can choose from a degree in patient care, pharmacy, or nursing. If you’re interested in business or public service, CLTCC also offers programs in business office administration and criminal justice. As with many top-ranked Louisiana community colleges, CLTCC offers affordable per-semester tuition. Students may be eligible to receive a partial or full grant for tuition.
|5||Louisiana State University - Eunice Eunice, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 16%||
Students at LSU-Eunice can choose from an extensive selection of career-oriented associate degrees, along with a foundational set of science and arts programs that prepare students to transfer to a four-year institution. Over 100 programs cover the fine arts, humanities, business, and the biological and physical sciences, among others. LSU-Eunice also offers programs in some of the region’s most in-demand fields, and students will find professional degrees not offered at many other two-year colleges in Louisiana, including an associate of applied science in health care management. LSU-Eunice offers top-performing students, (those who maintain at least a 3.3 GPA) admission into its honors program, with advanced seminar classes and the chance to apply for honors scholarships. Top-notch facilities on campus include state-of-the-art computer labs, wireless laptop printing, and real-time remote IT support.
|6||Fletcher Technical Community College Schriever, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 17%||
FTCC provides a diverse set of associate degree programs, offering a heavier concentration of health care and manufacturing degrees than other Louisiana community colleges. Select degree options in the nursing & allied health department include practical nursing, cardiopulmonary care science, and phlebotomy. Students can choose to follow either an AAS degree track for immediate entry into the workforce or an AS designed program, which allows students to transfer to a four-year college or university in Louisiana. Students in FTCC's manufacturing & service technologies programs can choose an AAS path that prepares them for competitive careers as electricians, welders, and automotive technicians.
Since its founding in 1948, FTCC has evolved from a pure trade preparatory school to an institution that offers degrees in several burgeoning fields. Students have the opportunity to join groups like the school's student government association or honors society, and student services such as a counseling center and academic learning resource center provide support to boost students’ efforts at long-term success in their life and careers.
|7||Louisiana Delta Community College Monroe, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 12%||
Students at Louisiana Delta Community College will find a variety of occupational associate degrees across the health and natural sciences, industrial sciences, and business and technology. Students can also earn an associate of arts or science degree through one of eight transfer programs that prepare students to enter into any four-year institution in Louisiana as juniors. Transfer programs consist of 39 hours of general education courses and 21 hours of specialized coursework. In addition to its main campus in Monroe, Louisiana Delta maintains eight satellite campuses throughout the state's northeast region. An on-campus child care center in Monroe offers affordable rates and a place for parents to leave their preschoolers while they work or attend class. Additionally, Louisiana Delta provides a number of program-specific and merit-based scholarships, including awards for first-generation college students and student athletes.
|8||South Louisiana Community College Lafayette, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 20%||
Boasting one of the most affordable tuition rates in the state, SLCC prides itself on small class sizes and flexible learning plans. SLCC’s eight campuses offer classes during the day, evening, and weekend to meet the needs of over 10,000 busy students. Available majors vary by campus, with the largest selection at the Lafayette campus. Options include several unique associate degrees, such as digital media design, emergency medical technology, and industrial electronics technology. Students interested in pursuing a transfer pathway can choose an AA in fine arts, the humanities, or social sciences — or an AS in the biological or physical sciences. A dedicated career services department supports students by providing one-on-one career counseling, identifying employment opportunities with job fairs, giving guidance on entrepreneurial aspirations, conducting mock interviews, and more.
|9||River Parishes Community College Gonzales, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 15%||
Students at RPCC can take advantage of an impressive assortment of technical and professional degree programs. River Parishes also offers Associate of Arts or Science Louisiana Transfer (AALT, ASLT) program options that lay the foundation for advanced study at a four-year institution. Some AAS degrees, including instrumentation technology and process technology, require students to complete a culminating internship and/or capstone project. Students complete an average of 64 credit hours for each AAS program. Those who enroll in one of the college’s seven available AALT or ASLT programs are not required to transfer to a four-year university but are prepared to do so if they choose. Transfer program options include an AS in teaching grades 1-5, an AA in the humanities, or an AS in the physical sciences. RPCC posts part- and full-time employment opportunities in the local community.
|10||SOWELA Technical Community College Lake Charles, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 34%||
Located in Lake Charles, SOWELA Technical Community College has offered technical programs to its surrounding communities for more than 70 years. SOWELA offers a mix of technical and career-based programs, with two-year transfer programs designed to prepare students for a bachelor’s program at a four-year institution. Popular programs include graphic art, plumbing construction, and computer software. Students can find support through academic and professional advising services, as well as confidential counseling that includes individual and group sessions, tobacco cessation classes, and crisis intervention. Student organizations provide opportunities for academic, professional, and spiritual support and networking, with groups like Future Business Leaders of America and “The Circle,” a Christian fellowship organization. Students can also play intramural flag football or participate in the school’s annual talent show, a fun event not offered by many other Louisiana community colleges.
|11||Bossier Parish Community College Bossier City, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 12%||
Bossier Parish offers one of the most diverse sets of associate degree programs in Louisiana, including AAS, AA, and AS programs designed as four-year transfer pathway programs. Many AAS degrees have multiple concentrations available: students in the communication media program, for example, can choose from five cutting-edge concentrations that include multimedia, photography, and sound and music recording. Other stand-out AAS options include respiratory therapy, industrial technology, and cyber technology. Transfer programs cover business, the sciences, fine arts, health care, and education. On-campus student resources include a library and learning commons, tutoring center, and bookstore with Bossier Parish apparel and gear. Additionally, on-campus job interviews and semi-annual career fairs help students secure employment opportunities. Bossier Parish’s athletic teams include men’s and women’s basketball and cross-country, along with softball and baseball.
|12||Remington College - Lafayette Campus Lafayette, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
Remington at Lafayette offers a variety of program options, including programs for medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, computer and network administrators, and those interested in criminal justice. Students can also complete a business administration degree in one of three “triple track” programs — executive assistant, bookkeeping, or marketing and sales — which can be completed in just 18 months. Graduates from the computer and network administration program will leave school prepared to take five Microsoft and CompTIA exams, with costs covered for students’ first try on each exam. As one of the most respected community colleges in Louisiana, Remington at Lafayette regularly hosts local employers, such as Chase Bank, and members of community agencies who visit campus to speak about career opportunities. Students can also look to the Career Services office on campus for resume help and interviewing tips.
|13||Nunez Community College Chalmette, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 16%||
Located in Nunez, Louisiana, Nunez Community College offers associate degrees in career and technical education, as well as associate degrees for transfer into senior colleges. Students may earn associate degrees in fields such as business information technology, paralegal studies, teaching grades 1-5, and the care and development of young children.
The associate of applied science in business technology explores business theory, practice, and technology, with concentrations in accounting, entrepreneurship, business administration, and medical office management. Students in the associate of general studies program receive foundational education in math, the humanities, and sciences that transfers into a baccalaureate program. One of the top community colleges in Louisiana, Nunez also offers certification and diploma programs in fields such as welding, culinary arts, and emergency medical technician. Additional non-degree pathways lead to high school completion and offer transition programming for displaced workers.
|14||Remington College Baton Rouge, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
Remington at Baton Rouge offers a variety of associate degrees, including a program in process technology that typically takes students less than two years to complete. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions as process operators in a range of industries, including petroleum refinery, power generation, food processing, and chemical manufacturing. Faculty members have direct industry experience and serve as teachers and mentors who help students become competitive candidates. The college's process technology curriculum is approved by the North American Process Technology Alliance.
Students at Remington are part of a tight-knit community that offers ongoing events not found at other Louisiana community colleges. Such events include holiday drives, blood drives, complimentary “cuts for kids,” and prom night makeovers.
|15||Delgado Community College New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 11%||
DCC offers over 100 associate degree programs across its eight campus locations, including many options not provided at other two-year colleges in Louisiana. Unique programs include an AA in American Sign Language interpreting, an AAS in architectural design, and an AAS in hospitality management. As an alternative to occupational AAS degrees and transfer-friendly AA/AS pathways, students can choose a customized degree path that fits their professional objectives by completing an associate of general studies, which can be structured as either a terminal or a transferrable degree.
Students can accelerate their degree by applying for credit for prior learning, which includes advanced placement coursework, professional exam certification, and life or military experience. Students at DCC will find a lively campus with over 50 student organizations, a student-run radio and newspaper, and on-campus festivals and events held year-round.
Living in Louisiana
If you're thinking about applying to one of the best colleges in Louisiana, continuing reading to learn more about living in the Pelican State.
Louisiana is bordered by Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, Texas to the west and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. While residents and visitors will find prairies and woodlands in the north, much of central and southern Louisiana was formed from the sediments that washed down the Mississippi River, leaving great areas of coastal marsh and swampland known to locals as the “Bayou Country." This environment fosters a rich set of flora and fauna, including ibis, tree frogs, paddlefish and alligators, as well as plant life such as orchids and carnivorous plants.
Louisiana is the only state with political subdivisions called parishes, which are equivalent to counties. The largest parish by population is East Baton Rouge Parish. Many of the state's urban environments are multicultural and multilingual, influenced by 18th-century French, Spanish, Native American and African populations. There are several unique dialects of French, Creole and English spoken in Louisiana, particularly in the New Orleans area. Louisiana is well known for its unique Cajun language (and cooking). The state is home to many special interest heritage sites, including The African American Heritage Trail and Poverty Point. Louisiana is also known as the Festival Capital of America, with over 400 occurring each year, from music to themed festivals.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the overall unemployment rate for Louisiana in August 2015 as 6%. The most heavily populated industries include Trade, Transportation and Utilities; Government; Education and Health Services; Leisure & Hospitality; and Professional and Business Services. Much of Louisiana's southern economy is dependent on cultural and tourism attractions and businesses. According to a recent survey, Louisiana is ranked as one of the top five states for friendliness to small businesses.
- Northern Louisiana
- Major Cities: Ruston, Monroe, Shreveport, Minden
- Attractions: Sci Port: Louisiana's Science Center, RW Norton Art Gallery, Louisiana State Exhibit Museum, Walter B Jacobs Memorial Nature Park
- Cost of Living: Shreveport
- Popular Schools: University of Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana State University-Shreveport, Louisiana Tech University, Southern University-Shreveport
- Population for Shreveport: 198,242
- Unemployment for Shreveport: 5.7%
- Southern Louisiana
- Major Cities: Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Hammond
- Attractions: The French Quarter, USS Kidd and Veterans Memorial, Old State Capitol, Vermilionville, Laura Plantation
- Cost of Living: Baton Rouge
- Popular Schools: Louisiana State University, Loyola University New Orleans, Tulane University, Nicholls State University
- Population for Baton Rouge: 228,895
- Unemployment rate for Baton Rouge: 6%
A resident student is defined as a person who has lived full-time in Louisiana for a minimum of 12 months, immediately preceding the student's first day of classes for the term for which residence classification is requested.
Residency is determined by the Board of Regents. The following requirements may be used to determine residence status:
- For Minors:
- Students under the age of 18 who live with a parent (or guardian) are classified as a resident, based on the parent(s)' established residence in Louisiana, which is generally determined based on full-time employment and domicile in the state. If a student enrolls as a nonresident, and his or her parents move to Louisiana full-time, that student can be re-classified as a resident.
- If only one parent qualifies as a resident, the student may be classified as a resident if he or she lives with that parent.
- If one of the student's parents is a graduate of the institution to which he or she attends, the student may be classified as a resident.
- For Adults:
- An individual may classified as a resident if he or she has worked full-time for a minimum of one year in the state of Louisiana AND has not been registered at an educational institution for more than six semester hours previously.
- An individual who is not employed may still be classified as a resident if he or she can provide evidence of living in Louisiana for 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of the semester.
- Members of the armed forces stationed in Louisiana are classified as residents.
- Students who marry a Louisiana resident may gain residence status.
Additional Sources for Louisiana Students
- Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA)
- Louisiana Rewards for Success - Gear Up
- Louisiana's "529" College Savings Plan
- FAFSA Online
- Louisiana Higher Education Grants - GrantWatch
- Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges & Universities
Higher Education News
Official State Links
- Best Colleges in Louisiana of 2017
Rank School Location 1 Louisiana Tech University Ruston, LA 2 University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette, LA 3 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA 4 University of New Orleans New Orleans, LA 5 University of Holy Cross New Orleans, LA 6 Centenary College of Louisiana Shreveport, LA 7 Nicholls State University Thibodaux, LA 8 McNeese State University Lake Charles, LA 9 Louisiana State University - Shreveport Shreveport, LA 10 Southeastern Louisiana University Hammond, LA 11 Southern University and A & M College Baton Rouge, LA 12 Loyola University New Orleans New Orleans, LA 13 Remington College - Shreveport Campus Shreveport, LA 14 Louisiana College Pineville, LA 15 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA 16 Louisiana State University-Alexandria Alexandria, LA 17 Southern University at New Orleans New Orleans, LA 18 Xavier University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA 19 Dillard University New Orleans, LA 20 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, LA Best Community Colleges 1 South Central Louisiana Technical College-Young Memorial Campus Morgan City, LA 2 Central Louisiana Technical Community College Alexandria, LA 3 Northwest Louisiana Technical College Minden, LA 4 Louisiana State University - Eunice Eunice, LA 5 SOWELA Technical Community College Lake Charles, LA 6 Northshore Technical Community College Bogalusa, LA 7 Louisiana Delta Community College Monroe, LA 8 South Louisiana Community College Lafayette, LA 9 Remington College - Lafayette Campus Lafayette, LA 10 Remington College - Baton Rouge Campus Baton Rouge, LA 11 Bossier Parish Community College Bossier City, LA 12 River Parishes Community College Gonzales, LA 13 Baton Rouge Community College Baton Rouge, LA 14 Fletcher Technical Community College Schriever, LA 15 Delgado Community College New Orleans, LA
- Best Colleges in Louisiana of 2016
Rank School Location 1 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA 2 Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA 3 University of Holy Cross New Orleans, LA 4 University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette, LA 5 Centenary College of Louisiana Shreveport, LA 6 University of New Orleans New Orleans, LA 7 Southeastern Louisana University Hammond, LA 8 Loyola University - New Orleans New Orleans, LA 9 McNeese State University Lake Charles, LA 10 Southern University and A&M College Baton Rouge, LA 11 Nicholls State University Thibodaux, LA 12 Xavier University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA 13 Louisiana State University - Shreveport Shreveport, LA 14 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, LA 15 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA 16 Southern University at New Orleans New Orleans, LA 17 Louisiana State University - Alexandria Alexandria, LA 18 Dillard University New Orleans, LA 19 Grambling State University Grambling, LA Best Community Colleges 1 Baton Rouge Community College Alexandria, LA 2 Remington College-Lafayette Campus Morgan City, LA 3 Louisiana Delta Community College Minden, LA 4 Southern University at Shreveport Shreveport, LA 5 Northwest Louisiana Technical College Lafayette, LA 6 Bossier Parish Community College Baton Rouge, LA 7 Capitol Area Technical College Bossier City, LA 8 Remington College - Shreveport Campus Shreveport, LA 9 Central Louisiana Technical Community College New Orleans, LA 10 Louisiana State University - Eunice Eunice, LA 11 Nunez Community College Lake Charles, LA 12 Northshore Technical Community College Bogalusa, LA 13 Remington College - Baton Rouge Campus Baton Rouge, LA 14 South Louisiana Community College Lafayette, LA 15 Our Lady of the Lake College Baton Rouge, LA 16 River Parishes Community College Gonzales, LA 17 Fletcher Technical Community College Schriever, LA 18 Delgado Community College Chalmette, LA 19 SOWELA Technical Community College Monroe, LA 20 South Central Louisiana Technical College - Young Memorial Campus Baton Rouge, LA