2017 Guide to Accredited Online Colleges and Universities in Louisiana

Located in the southern region of the United States, Louisiana is named after Louis XIV of France. With an area of 52,378 square miles, it is the 31st largest state in the nation.

Louisiana has the 25th largest population in the nation. It has an estimated population of 4,681,666 residents spread across its 64 parishes. Approximately 42% of Louisiana’s population is under the age of 30. It also has one of the most diverse populations in the nation with about 40% of the population identifying itself as belonging to a racial or ethnic minority group.

The capital city of Louisiana is Baton Rouge. However, with a population of 343,829 residents, New Orleans is the state’s largest city. About 13.18% of the state’s residents live in the New Orleans metropolitan area. Louisiana’s other big cities are Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Metairie, and Lafayette.

In Louisiana, about 22.5% of residents over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The state has a 66% retention rate for college students, meaning students who start college as freshmen and return their sophomore year. This number is just slightly lower than the national average of 71%. There are about 266,167 students enrolled in colleges across the state, including public, private, and online institutions.

Louisiana has more than 110 post-secondary institutions, of which 16 offer online programs. A total of six are public four-year colleges or universities, two are public community or technical colleges, and eight are private colleges, universities, or career and vocational schools. These schools offer 292 online certificate programs, 1,384 online associate programs, 3,042 online bachelor’s programs, 1,535 online master’s programs, 1,947 online professional programs, and 412 online doctoral programs.

There are many resources for students interested in online schools in LA, including the Board of Regents Louisiana Online portal. Visitors to the site can find information on the state’s online and hybrid educational options in LA’s public colleges. The Louisiana Distance Learning Association (LDLA) is a great resource for school administrators and teachers, and serves as a repository of ideas to help enhance online education for the students in Louisiana.

Number/Percentage Louisiana National Average
Number of Title IV 4-year colleges 32 56
Number of Title IV 2-year colleges 42 33
Percentage of students enrolled in distance education 15.4% 25.8%
Postsecondary education spending per full-time student $4,945 $6,954
Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree 5.5% 8.1%
Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree 14.8% 18.5%
Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher 7.7% 11.2%

Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey

Average Cost of College Tuition & Fees in Louisiana

Number/Percentage Louisiana National Average
Average in-state tuition & fees – public 4-year $8,162 $8,778
Average in-state tuition & fees – private 4-year $32,733 $27,951
Average in-state tuition & fees – public 2-year $3,919 $3,038

Source: NCES

Best Online Colleges in Louisiana

Offering flexibility and a wide range of offerings, Louisiana online colleges are an excellent opportunity for students to pursue higher education in any degree or field they choose. With both public and private school options to pick from, there are options to meet the needs of all students. Online colleges in Louisiana typically come with a lower price tag than traditional institutions, and provide students the chance to learn from professional teachers, on their own schedule, to earn a degree or advance their career.

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    Louisiana’s Higher Education Outlook

    According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2018, 51% of jobs in Louisiana will require a post-secondary degree or certificate. Luckily, the Louisiana Department of Education and the Board of Regents have seen positive trends of high school graduates going on to college. In the last few years, the number of high school students enrolled in postsecondary classes has increased. There has also been an increase of students enrolled in career/technical courses — 49% in the last three years. Online schools in Louisiana will help prepare students for a career in a diverse range of fields.

    When Governor John Bel Edwards was elected, a committee of higher education professionals came together to help make recommendations for his successful transition into office and to continue to make progress toward Louisiana’s higher education outlook. The committee said they were committed to enhancing the state’s higher education prospects for the benefit of postsecondary students.

    “The recommendations that follow highlight the need for Louisiana to stabilize and enhance the state’s commitment to postsecondary education while asking more of our institutions,” said Committee Chair Dr. Kim Hunter Reed. “In this new day, education and innovation must go hand in hand. We must advance proven practices to accelerate our stride as we increase the number of citizens holding a credential beyond high school. We must also target the clear challenges facing our state in the areas of improving equity and educating more adults. No state in the nation will meet its attainment goal without success in those areas, and Louisiana should lead the way.”

    Higher Education Initiatives in Louisiana

    Higher education in Louisiana is governed by the state’s Board of Regents. Governor John Bel Edwards has made higher education a priority in the state, and his Higher Education Transition Committee has designated three areas — affordability, attainment, and accountability — as their focus to help the state’s students.

    Louisiana offers students the opportunity to apply and receive the TOPS Scholarship (the Taylor Opportunity Program). TOPS is a merit-based scholarship, and students attending one of the state’s many public, community, or independent colleges are eligible. The 2017 Louisiana State Budget included 100% funding for the scholarship, ensuring more students can find adequate financial assistance for college.

    As an additional pathway toward graduation and as an aid to transition to higher education, Louisiana’s Jobs for America’s Graduates Program aids at-risk students in their journey to graduate from high school, college, and become career-ready. Roughly 90% of those who complete the JAG program go onto college. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards believes in the program and its success.

    “Not only are they taught important life skills, but they are able to be placed in good jobs and in many cases continue to advance their education,” he said. “Great strides are being made thanks to the hard work of the students and the JAG specialists. I am especially grateful to the businesses and other partners who see the value of this program and are committed to working with me to make it available to as many students as possible. An investment in our children and in programs like JAG will not only help grow their futures but also our state and workforce.”

    Consider these payment options when seeking out online schools in Louisiana.

    Resources for Louisiana

    • Southern Regional Educational Board: The SREB works with southern states, including Louisiana, to improve public education. The Board conducts research and analyzes data to ensure effective policy and standards.
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities: The LEH provides cultural educational opportunities for Louisiana, upholding and promoting the state’s heritage and history. They offer outreach programs, family literacy and adult learning programs, public lectures, and other opportunities for residents to learn and grow.
    • Louisiana Association for Public, Community, and Adult Education: The LAPCAE promotes learning opportunities for adults in the state. This includes English as a second language, GED courses, and adult literacy initiatives.
    • Louisiana Community and Technical Colleges: LCTCS provides educational and work opportunities and resources for Louisiana learners. It manages all two-year colleges in Louisiana.
    • State Library of Louisiana: The state library gives Louisiana’s residents access to a collection of online resources and materials — more than 11million items at their fingertips. It manages the statewide lending program and promotes the importance of libraries and reading in Louisiana.
    • Louisiana Office of Financial Assistance: The Office of Financial Assistance provides resources for students to find available scholarships and grants to pursue higher education.

    College Savings Plans

    For those trying to invest and save money for their future post-secondary endeavors, college savings plans are the way to go. College savings plans are sponsored by states and state agencies as a way for individuals and families to set aside money to be saved for future educational costs. These funds are exempt from federal taxes. It gets its “529” moniker from the section of the Internal Revenue Code for which it was named. Those who create the plan can select from a variety of investment options, much like a 401(k) or IRA. Once a savings plan account is created, the funds can be used for college tuition, books, or a variety of other education-related expenses. Most accredited colleges accept 529 plans.

    Louisiana’s START Savings Plan is open to all Louisiana residents age 18 and older. Started in 1997, the plan is managed by Louisiana State Treasurer. A $10 initial investment is required to open the plan, which cannot exceed $500,000 in overall contributions. Contributions to the plan are tax deductible — up to $2,400 for individuals and $4,800 for those filing as couples. Plan owners can pick from seven different investment options, and contributions to the account can be used for a variety of higher education costs at colleges nationwide or for traditional or online colleges in Louisiana.

    Educational Nonprofit Organizations in Louisiana

    In addition to the many state-run programs and resources available for higher education and online schools in Louisiana, there are also many nonprofit organizations with missions of assisting those interested in obtaining a post-secondary degree both at a traditional institution or through one of the many online colleges in LA.

    • Career Compass of Louisiana: Career Compass helps high schools students get to the next level by assisting with their transition to college. Many students face obstacles that prevent them from attending and being successful in college, and Career Compass works to eliminate those barriers.
    • Louisiana Achieve: This nonprofit strives to make sure high school graduates are ready for college and career. They work within the state to help raise educational standards and requirements.
    • The Louisiana Association for Public, Community and Adult Education (LAPCAE): LAPCAE promotes adult learning and literacy, basic education, GED preparation, and community education. They partner with other organizations to ensure educational opportunities for all people.

    Accrediting Bodies in Louisiana

    Schools can earn credibility and enhance their reputation as an educational leaders by seeking accreditation. Accredited schools have been certified and meet the standards of the governing agency. Depending on what type of school it is, the college is expected to meet a certain set of standards by the regional or national accreditation agency to which it is applying. Schools must demonstrate a solid foundation and mission of educating their students, and must show that they have the resources to continue this work longterm. Accreditation requires frequent reviews and checks to ensure they maintain these standards. Only apply to accredited online colleges in Louisiana; otherwise, you may not receive the education necessary to acquire a job.

    Some colleges have received regional accreditation, while some have been nationally accredited. Most regionally-accredited colleges (98%) are non-profit, and degree-granting. Typically, nationally accredited schools are for-profit schools, often with a religious affiliation. Both types require quality outputs from the colleges, can be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and can accept financial aid.

    Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the regional accrediting agency for southern states, including Louisiana. Accreditation standards for the body include an extensive review of the school’s’ institutional mission, its governance, effectiveness, and even financial resources.

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      Job Outlook for Louisiana

      Currently, the unemployment rate for Louisiana stands at around 5.7%, slightly higher than the national average of 4.3%. There are industries seeing steady growth, however. In 2016, construction was named as the state’s fastest-growing sector, adding 7,000 jobs in the previous year. Louisiana also has growing and thriving aerospace, entertainment, and software industries, creating a variety of opportunities for graduates from one of the many traditional or online colleges in LA. Additionally, there are many national companies headquartered in Louisiana, allowing for even further job opportunities for qualified candidates: CenturyLink, Delta Southern Railroad, and Zapp’s Potato Chips, to name a few. A degree from one of the accredited online colleges in Louisiana will help you land a position at one of these fine businesses.

      Top Industries in Louisiana

      Industry Description
      Oil Louisiana has the biggest concentration of crude oil refineries. It is also the third-largest petroleum producer in the United States.
      Natural Gas A fourth of the country’s natural gas production takes place in Louisiana. There are more than 112,000 miles of pipeline located throughout the state.
      Fishing The state supplies a quarter of the fish consumed in the U.S. In just one year, Louisiana brought in more than 1.9 million pounds of fish.

      Top Employers in Louisiana

      Top Employers Number of Employees
      Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals 12,000
      Ochsner Medical Center 8,049
      University Health Shreveport 7,000

      Source: Career InfoNet

      Louisiana by the Numbers

      Per capita income:

      • State: $25,456
      • US average: $29,979

      Median household income:

      • State: $45,727
      • US average: $55,775

      Gross Domestic Product:

      • State: $235.1 million
      • US: $18.57 trillion