Best Colleges in Louisiana

Earning a degree in the Pelican State can set you up for career success. Learn more about the top colleges in Louisiana.
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Updated on April 22, 2024
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The best colleges in Louisiana offer students a variety of high-quality programs, plenty of financial aid opportunities, and excellent student services.

In June 2023, the Louisiana Illuminator reported that the state legislature invested nearly $400 million into state colleges and universities. Louisiana college students in 2024 and beyond should benefit from an improved educational experience.

We've highlighted some of the most popular colleges in Louisiana to help start your search. We'll also discuss average tuition costs and in-demand jobs in the state.

Featured Online Bachelor's Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

10 Popular Colleges in Louisiana

Louisiana's 10 most popular colleges are a mix of public and private schools with stellar reputations.

The following school data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and is updated through 2022.

1. Tulane University of Louisiana

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $65,538
  • Acceptance Rate: 11%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 14,027

Founded in 1834, Tulane ranks as the top college in Louisiana for its long history of academic excellence, accelerated programs, and robust student services. Undergraduates can select from about 100 academic programs, including chemistry, classical studies, and political science.

The university helps learners lower their cost of attendance (COA) through institutional scholarships. The Dean's Honor Scholarship renews for all four years in school as long as recipients maintain a minimum undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.

2. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $11,954 (in-state), $28,631 (out-of-state)
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 37,348

Located in the state capital, LSU stands apart from other colleges in Louisiana with its 16 Division I teams, significant research opportunities, and nationally recognized programs. Undergraduates can choose from over 300 academic programs, including anthropology, journalism, and rhetoric.

LSU also offers more than 150 fully online undergraduate and graduate programs.

LSU awards $330 million in first-year scholarships annually. Applicants are automatically considered for institutional scholarships and grants.

3. Loyola University New Orleans

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $47,240
  • Acceptance Rate: 78%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 4,397

Located in the heart of New Orleans, LOYNO attracts applicants with its rich history and commitment to providing a Jesuit educational experience.

Popular undergraduate degrees include business analytics, chemistry and biochemistry, and economics. LOYNO's hybrid nursing BSN lets practicing RNs continue working while in school.

First-year academic scholarships award $18,000-$27,000 annually, significantly lowering recipients' cost of attendance. These awards renew as long as you maintain a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.

4. University of Louisiana at Lafayette

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $10,418 (in-state), $24,146 (out-of-state)
  • Acceptance Rate: 75%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 15,219

Prospective STEM majors should consider UL Lafayette, as the university receives private research funding at the same level as the nation's top universities.

The school's 240 undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations allow you to custom-tailor your educational experience. Bachelor's degrees include moving image arts, nursing, and petroleum engineering.

UL Lafayette's out-of-state fee waiver makes education more affordable for learners with excellent standardized test scores and high school grades. This waiver can save eligible students over $68,000 in tuition and fees.

5. Louisiana Tech University

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $10,125 (in-state), $16,866 (out-of-state)
  • Acceptance Rate: 62%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 10,839

Located in Ruston, Louisiana Tech features a 19-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, a high retention rate, and an idyllic campus environment. Students come from nearly every state and more than 60 countries.

Although a technical university, Louisiana Tech offers many liberal arts majors, including communications studies, English, and foreign languages.

The university's partnerships with local companies can help students find internships and employment opportunities. A dedicated scholarship portal helps learners research and apply for the latest institutional aid programs.

6. Xavier University of Louisiana

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $27,868
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 3,419

A XULA education blends traditional academic instruction with career-preparation classes, giving students tools to navigate a sometimes turbulent job market.

The university's College of Arts and Sciences offers degrees in six areas, including fine arts, business, and social behavior sciences. Outside of class, students can join or root for one of the university's 15 intercollegiate sports teams.

A Catholic HBCU, XULA accepts applicants from all backgrounds. Some institutional scholarships cover the full cost of attendance, and recipients renew their awards by maintaining a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.1.

7. Southern University and A&M College

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $9,848 (in-state), $17,198 (out-of-state)
  • Acceptance Rate: 54%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 8,226

Prospective students apply to SUBR for the school's award-winning nursing program, research opportunities, and excellent graduate outcomes.

The university's six colleges and schools include the Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences. Undergraduates can earn a bachelor's in criminal justice, social work, or sociology.

Like other colleges in Louisiana, SUBR students use Scholarship Universe to research and apply for institutional and private financial aid opportunities.

8. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $8,864 (in-state), $19,652 (out-of-state)
  • Acceptance Rate: 98%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 9,389

Located in Natchitoches, NSU runs the Louisiana Scholars' College. The college requires advanced coursework and offers learners unique research, internship, and study-abroad opportunities.

Students can select from majors in the arts and sciences, business and technology, education and human development, and nursing and allied health.

NSU offers different scholarships for first-year, returning, and transfer students. Amounts vary based on high school and undergraduate academic performance.

9. University of Louisiana at Monroe

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $9,190 (in-state), $21,290 (out-of-state)
  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 8,398

Reasons to attend ULM include nearly 100 majors and minors, more than 125 student organizations, and a low 19-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

The university also features fully online undergraduate degrees, such as modern languages, psychology, and management. On-campus career development events help students make the most of their education and network with potential employers.

Incoming first-year students with a minimum high school GPA of 3.5 and an ACT score of 33 can receive a $6,000 tuition scholarship and a $7,000 housing award. ULM awards extra aid to Louisiana residents.

10. Louisiana State University, Alexandria

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $7,050 (in-state), $14,650 (out-of-state)
  • Acceptance Rate: 58%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 4,289

Prospective degree-seekers apply to LSUA for the university's diverse student body. The university's SPERO program provides students with disabilities with college and career success tools. Other resources for students include free online and on-campus career counseling programs.

LSUA undergraduate majors include clinical psychology, secondary education, and professional aviation. The university considers all incoming on-campus students for institutional scholarships.

List of All Colleges in Louisiana

We've created a complete list of all four-year nonprofit universities in Louisiana. You can use the table below to compare data on student population, average net cost, acceptance rate, and number of applicants.

The following school data comes from NCES. All data is from 2022. Schools with fewer than 500 undergraduates were not included in this list.

All Colleges in Louisiana
School Total Student Enrollment Avg. Annual Net Price Acceptance Rate Number of Applicants
Centenary College of Louisiana 556 $30,050 64% 1,139
Dillard University 1,224 $18,949 80% 5,052
Grambling State University 5,058 $15,796 42% 10,732
Louisiana Christian University 1,026 $14,566 75% 579
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College 37,348 $21,296 76% 38,853
Louisiana State University-Alexandria 4,289 $7,274 58% 2,913
Louisiana State University-Shreveport 8,721 $7,587 89% 974
Louisiana Tech University 10,839 $12,243 62% 7,595
Loyola University New Orleans 4,397 $23,808 78% 7,340
McNeese State University 6,230 $10,154 71% 3,554
Nicholls State University 5,883 $12,365 98% 2,289
Northwestern State University of Louisiana 9,389 $14,238 98% 2,903
Southeastern Louisiana University 13,465 $12,291 99% 4,887
Southern University and A & M College 8,226 $16,959 54% 10,609
Southern University at New Orleans 1,950 $14,999 94% 928
Tulane University of Louisiana 14,027 $50,263 11% 31,615
University of Holy Cross 1,120 $18,074 87% 917
University of Louisiana at Lafayette 15,219 $13,036 75% 11,752
University of Louisiana at Monroe 8,398 $11,353 70% 4,303
University of New Orleans 7,111 $11,508 70% 7,296
Xavier University of Louisiana 3,419 $18,080 95% 8,803
Source: NCES

Cost of College in Louisiana

Louisiana residents attending a public two- or four-year college paid the lowest per-credit tuition rate during the 2021-2022 school year. The average public university tuition in Louisiana was about the same as the national average, according to NCES.

Tuition rates in Louisiana are highest at private universities, with an average of nearly $43,000 per year — almost $10,000 more than the national average.

Students can save money on an undergraduate degree by applying for financial aid. Some online programs feature reduced tuition and fees, as well.

Cost of College in Louisiana in 2021-2022
Institution Type Average Tuition & Required Fees
Public Four-Year (In-State) $9,749
Public Four-Year (Out-of-State) $23,395
Private Four-Year $42,892
Public Two-Year (In-State) $4,242
Public Two-Year (Out-of-State) $5,445
Source: NCES

Why Study in Louisiana?

A Bureau of Economic Analysis report from December 2023 shows that Louisiana's economy grew faster than most states' in the second quarter of 2023. A strong economy creates a more favorable job market for recent college graduates.

Louisiana features an affordable cost of living (COL), meaning lower housing, food, and utility prices. Residents enjoy a 9% lower COL than the national average, according to Louisiana Economic Development.

The state is also home to vibrant cities, numerous cultural sites, and natural beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges in Louisiana

What is the #1 college in Louisiana?

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Tulane University is widely recognized as having the best academic reputation in Louisiana. LSU ranks as the #1 college in Louisiana in terms of enrollment and number of applicants. However, LSUA ranks first in terms of affordability.

Look beyond simple rankings when deciding between colleges in Louisiana. A smaller or more expensive school may offer the program or student support services you need for academic and career success.

What is the hardest college to get into in Louisiana?

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With only an 11% acceptance rate, Tulane ranks as the hardest college to get into in Louisiana. Many factors make Tulane a popular school with applicants, such as small class sizes, research centers, and a location near downtown New Orleans. The university also awards generous institutional scholarships to qualified undergraduate degree-seekers.

What HBCUs are in Louisiana?

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There are six HBCUs in Louisiana, including DU and GSU. The United Negro College Fund reports that these schools make a significant impact on students' lives, increasing lifetime earnings by more than 50%. Louisiana HBCUs also employ nearly 8,500 Louisianans and add about $1 billion to the state economy annually.

What is the best college in New Orleans?

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Many consider Tulane the best college in New Orleans for its place near or at the top of many national rankings. The university's dozens of undergraduate majors and Greek life make it a top choice for prospective students.

Other New Orleans universities rank as best in different ways. The University of New Orleans leads as one of the top U.S. universities in helping students increase their economic mobility, according to the Economic Mobility Index. Consider UNO if you want to increase your lifetime earning potential.

What colleges in Louisiana are online?

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Many of the best colleges in Louisiana offer online degrees, such as LOYNO, GSU, and LSU. LSU Online does not charge out-of-state tuition and features more than 150 degrees and certificates. Classes last seven weeks, and you learn from the same professors as on-campus students.

Online education features many benefits, but you may thrive better in an on-campus environment. Speak with admissions counselors to learn more about the pros and cons of online learning.