Best Colleges & Universities in Louisiana
Louisiana is home to 37 two-year and 38 four-year colleges and universities, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Within 50 miles of New Orleans alone there are 15 colleges, including Southern University at New Orleans, University of New Orleans and the University of Holy Cross.
Louisiana offers higher education at a variety of institution types including large research universities, small liberal arts colleges, and private and public universities.
The Best Colleges in Louisiana ranking aims to provide a solid starting point for students deciding on which college to attend. To accomplish this, EDsmart has ranked colleges in Louisiana according to four main factors including cost, academic quality, student satisfaction, and future salary potential.
EDsmart assesses Louisiana colleges based on data that covers four main factors:
- Cost (average net price)
- Academic quality (graduation rate)
- Student satisfaction (retention rate)
- Salary After Attending (the median earnings of former students who received federal financial aid, at 10 years after entering the school)
This ranking aims to help students assess the affordability and value of top colleges in Louisiana so they can make informed decisions about which college to attend.
Best Colleges & Universities in Louisiana in 2020
1. Louisiana Tech University
Average Net Price: $10,774
Retention Rate: 80%
Graduation Rate: 53%
Salary After Attending: $41,500
Founded in 1894, Louisiana Tech University is a four-year, selective-admissions research university which awards bachelor’s, masters and doctoral degrees. With 12,467 part- and full-time students and a student-faculty ratio of 24:1, students will never be lost for things to do or opportunities to network. Funding an education may be easier than one would think, with 89% of the student body receiving financial aid towards their studies.
LTU students benefit from innovative, yet comprehensive, academic programs in engineering, business, science, education, and liberal arts. These share the stage with outstanding athletics, sports facilities, campus housing and activities focused on student development and wellness. The University ranked No. 5 on the Wall Street Journal’s list of best public U.S. universities in terms of Return On Investment, offers something for everyone.
One of the highlights at Louisiana Tech University is an Enterprise Campus where students engage in research, study and practical training with both faculty and outside companies. The University features unique and nationally-recognized programs in nanosystems and cyber-engineering, supply chain management, health informatics, and innovative venture research. Their signature programs include forestry, agriculture, psychology, aviation and architecture.
2. University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Average Net Price: $12,768
Retention Rate: 75%
Graduation Rate: 45%
Salary After Attending: $39,900
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is a selective admissions university with over 80 majors and over 30 graduate programs. With 19,387 students enrolled in Fall 2018, the university is growing every year. According to the 2019 edition of “The Best 384 Colleges” published by the Princeton Review, UL Lafayette is one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education.
UL Lafayette students can choose from custom learning experiences, such as Living-Learning Communities (LLC’s) and Themed-Living Communities (TLC’s) for first-year students. These on-campus housing options give them the opportunity to live in the same residence hall as other students who share their major while taking the same classes. Top programs at UL Lafayette include:
- Computing, informatics and smart systems development
- Nursing and health care systems and support
- Environmental science
- Energy science
- Louisiana arts, culture and heritage, including a focus on Cajun and Creole cultural traditions
Participate in UL Lafayette’s many programs in applied research, specializing in real-world solutions to real-world problems. For example, the university’s National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies Institute (NIMSAT) develops tools and applications that support the work of homeland security and emergency management officials. These tools allow agencies to respond more efficiently to natural disasters and emergency situations.
3. McNeese State University
Average Net Price: $10,977
Retention Rate: 67%
Graduation Rate: 42%
Salary After Attending: $38,200
Lake Charles, LA
McNeese State University, ranked as one of the best regional universities and one of the top public universities by U.S. News and World Report for eight consecutive years, boasts an expansive and beautiful campus. The campus, scattered with live oak trees and azaleas, consists of the 121-acre main campus, a 503-acre farm, a 65-acre athletics complex, and nearly 1,600 acres of donated farm property used for research, farming and ranching.
With over 50 degree programs, students have plenty of opportunities to pursue the degree path that’s right for them. McNeese offers 34 undergraduate and 18 graduate programs, 17 of which are available online. The University’s 21:1 student-teacher ratio ensures that learners get plenty of instructor attention, while 6 men’s sports and 8 women’s sports leagues provides students with ample opportunities to stay at peak performance on and off the field.
McNeese has a wide range of student support programs to support personal and professional development. With an active student government, Greek life, and dozens of student organizations, students can participate in numerous activities. The C.A.R.E. Mentorship Program is an outreach and retention program for students who are struggling with getting acclimated to university life. Targeting minority students and at-risk students, it’s a tremendous resource for those who need further support.
4. University of Louisiana at Monroe
Average Net Price: $11,316
Retention Rate: 73%
Graduation Rate: 42%
Salary After Attending: $37,500
With 9,038 students, the University of Louisiana at Monroe offers a wide range of programs for students in all disciplines. With 62 undergraduate and graduate programs, it offers bachelor’s, masters and Ph.D. degrees. ULMs 18:1 student-teacher ratio ensures plenty of personalized attention and its 1:3 male-female ratio is perfect for students who are looking for a specific kind of academic experience.
UL Monroe’s nursing program is ranked 9th in the U.S., while its pharmacy program is the only state-funded program in Louisiana. Its Atmospheric Sciences program is the only one in the state, while its Risk Management and Insurance program is ranked amongst the top 20 of its kind in the nation. With 150 student organizations, there’s have plenty to do when students need a break from studying.
UL Monroe offers several intensified programs for students who are looking for increased challenges. The ULM Honors Program attracts intellectually-curious students who are exposed to more in-depth topics and work closely with the Honors faculty. UL Monroe’s Emerging Scholars Program unites students and professors in cooperative research and career activities. In this program, students qualify for a special stipend that can fund university-sponsored professional activities.
5. Nicholls State University
Average Net Price: $12,448
Retention Rate: 70%
Graduation Rate: 47%
Salary After Attending: $37,5oo
A wide swath of academic and extracurricular endeavors are made possible and accessible on Nicholls State University’s 287-acre campus. This university accomodates 6,488 undergraduate and graduate students who benefit from 107 programs of study, many of the most popular ones being in business and applied sciences. Meanwhile, the 20:1 student-faculty ratio and average undergraduate class size of 23 ensures that students get the personalized attention they need to succeed.
Nicholls has a 2:1 female-male ratio, something that may appeal to some students. Its 14 NCAA Division 1 sports leagues for men and women offers pre-professional playing opportunities. With more than 100 student organizations for students to choose from, there are always plenty of ways to enhance the student experience. 1 in 5 undergraduates lives on-campus, with reasonably-priced housing options offering even more chances to enjoy campus life.
Offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Nicholls provides a range of academic opportunities to its students. Its cross-enrollment and early start programs give academically gifted students the chance to reach advanced academic goals. With nearly one-third of its students over the age of 25, these programs are extremely helpful to many Nicholls students.
6. University of Holy Cross
Average Net Price: $13,645
Retention Rate: 72%
Graduation Rate: 42%
Salary After Attending: $39,500
New Orleans, LA
For a solid private college education mixed with down-home Catholic values, other schools can’t beat the University of Holy Cross. Unique among colleges in Louisiana, UHC is a ministry of the Marianites of Holy Cross, a Catholic monastic order of women who are dedicated to service. The Marianites of Holy Cross are committed to ensuring that UHC graduates are equipped with both the academic know-how and the moral fiber to excel at work and in life.
With a total enrollment of 1,260 and a female-male ratio of 4:1, students can commit themselves wholly to their studies at UHC. The student-faculty ratio of 10:1 and average class size of 20 ensures that learners will get plenty of personalized attention. With 65+ programs, attendees have an ample selection of majors to choose from.
UHC awards bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees, along with professional certificates. The UHC Department of Nursing was awarded the Nightingale Award in 2014 for Nursing School of the Year. UHC offers a variety of online programs, as well as several student organizations like honor societies, professional organizations and student clubs.
7. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Average Net Price: $11,295
Retention Rate: 73%
Graduation Rate: 37%
Salary After Attending: $34,300
For a college experience in a historic small-town locale, look no further than Northwestern State University of Louisiana. NSULA is a public university with the main campus in Natchitoches and satellite campuses in Leesville, Fort Polk and Alexandria, as well as a nursing campus in Shreveport. The main campus is situated on 918 spacious and attractive acres, bordered by several lakes.
Offering bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in 50+ degree programs, NSULA has a wide range of classes to meet students’ needs. Its total enrollment of 11,081 and a student-faculty ratio of 19:1 ensures that they receive both personalized attention and the benefits of a large and diverse student body at one of the better schools in Louisiana. Popular majors include health professions, liberal arts, education, business and psychology.
NSULA was ranked in the 2019 edition of Best Colleges as Tier 2 in Regional Universities South. Its campus experiences include over 100 student organizations, acclaimed performances and lectures, a fully-equipped fitness center, and a range of restaurants for students to enjoy. Its NCAA Division 1 sports teams offer intense pre-professional playing opportunities, while its on-campus housing provides shelter for 1 in 5 students.
8. Louisiana State University-Alexandria
Average Net Price: $8,975
Retention Rate: 58%
Graduation Rate: 26%
Salary After Attending: $33,700
Louisiana State University at Alexandria is a rural public university with a 2,000-acre campus. It was named one of the top ten public colleges with the lowest in-state tuition by U.S. News and World Report. With a total enrollment of 3,372 and a female-to-male ratio of 2:1, LSU-A guarantees a study-focused environment with few distractions as one of the great colleges in Louisiana.
LSUA’s student-faculty ratio of 20:1 and exclusive focus on undergraduate education ensure that students get personalized attention in their major of choice. Popular majors include nursing, business administration, criminal justice, biology, education and liberal arts. LSUA also offers several degree programs 100% online, a boon to working adults and those who live far from the campus.
Academically-gifted students may choose to join the LSUA Honors Program, which provides enhanced learning experiences, research opportunities, and priority registration in a close-knit and intimate group of scholars. More than 30 student organizations and an active NAIA status offer students a wide variety of extracurricular options. The campus contains a 9-hole golf course and fully-equipped fitness center.
9. Louisiana State University-Shreveport
Average Net Price: $9,571
Retention Rate: 62%
Graduation Rate: 33%
Salary After Attending: $35,700
Louisiana State University at Shreveport offers a 200-acre urban campus with plenty of amenities. With 7,036 undergraduate and graduate students and a student-faculty ratio of 21:1, LSU-S combines the dynamism of an inner-city environment with the academic rigor of a large state university. Its 1:1 female-to-male ratio ensures plenty of opportunities for diverse exchanges with people of the opposite sex.
With 74 undergraduate and 12 graduate programs, many online, LSU-S has a wide variety of degrees to meet student needs. The Noel Memorial Library has 250,000 volumes, 2,000 journals and 300 online electronic databases in its main collection. With over 70 student organizations and nationally-ranked NAIA athletic teams, LSU-S offers plenty of extracurricular activities for students to enjoy. For weightlifters, LSU-S houses the first U.S. Olympic Committee-sponsored USA Weightlifting Development Center.
Located just three to five hours from Dallas, Houston, Little Rock, and Jackson, MS, Shreveport offers a wide assortment of shopping and recreational opportunities to students. On- and off-campus housing options are luxurious and well-appointed, allowing students to live in comfort and style. State-of-the-art sporting and recreational facilities allow students to stay fit and enjoy physical activities throughout their collegiate years.
10. University of New Orleans
Average Net Price: $11,135
Retention Rate: 63%
Graduation Rate: 34%
Salary After Attending: $37,800
New Orleans, LA
The University of New Orleans offers an urban public university education on an idyllic 195-acre campus. With 7,976 undergraduate and graduate students calling the campus home, its diversity parallels the big-city vibe of the surrounding metropolis. In fact, UNO is situated right on the banks of Lake Pontchartrain, about 20 minutes from New Orleans’ French Quarter.
With nearly 50 areas of undergraduate study and 40+ areas of graduate studies, UNO awards bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Popular majors include business, liberal arts, visual and performing arts, engineering, and psychology. The student-faculty ratio of 22:1 ensures that students are regularly given the personal attention they need to excel in their studies. In addition, UNO places a strong emphasis on international education with an assortment of well-established study abroad programs.
UNO adheres passionately to their commitment to research, with strategic collaborations in areas such as film, coastal restoration, computer science, and planning and urban studies. Learners also have access to internships, service learning projects and industry-relevant employment. Outside the classroom, take advantage of 100 campus clubs and regular campus events like a mud volleyball tournament known as Swampball and jazz music performances at the Sandbar. Student-athletes can compete in NCAA Division 1 athletics.
11. Southeastern Louisiana University
Average Net Price: $12,739
Retention Rate: 64%
Graduation Rate: 41%
Salary After Attending: $37,200
For a big-campus experience, consider Southeastern Louisiana University. Its 363-acre campus is home to 14,308 students, with a 3:2 female-to-male ratio. Voted one of the top 50 colleges in the nation in awarding financial aid by bestcolleges.com, it offers an accessible education at a diverse university.
SLU offers 43 undergraduate, 18 master’s, and 2 doctoral programs, with 2 additional programs available online. Top programs include nursing, supply chain management, education, new media and animation, biological sciences; occupational safety, health and environmental management; and speech-language pathology. With a 19:1 student-faculty ratio, 23 students per undergraduate class, and 152+ areas of study, students can enjoy a focused education in their major of choice.
Student life on campus is vibrant as well. Participate in 130+ student organizations, or take advantage of the campus’ active Greek life. With 1/7 of students living on-campus, ample options are available to choose from when deciding where to stay while studying at SLU. SLU offers NCAA Division I athletics for students seeking competitive play, which rounds out the college education.
12. SOWELA Technical Community College
Average Net Price: $10,000
Retention Rate: 54%
Graduation Rate: 36%
Salary After Attending: $34,200
Lake Charles, LA
For an associate’s degree from a small school with a focus on tech, check out SOWELA Technical Community College. Its urban campus offers education to a diverse range of students, from first-time freshmen straight out of high school to returning adult learners. With an open admissions policy and plenty of credit for life experiences, STCC is dedicated to meeting the needs of all its students.
SOWELA Tech helps students to earn a degree or certificate in any of 11 different fields. Popular programs include engineering technologies and engineering-related fields, business, management, marketing and construction trades. With a student-faculty ratio of 24:1, attendees be able to benefit from small classroom sizes and personalized attention. STCC offers hands-on training, with industry-current equipment and labs.
As a community college, STCC is more reasonably priced than a four-year university, so students can start out at STCC and then transfer their credits to a four-year college or university when they graduate. The Flight Advising Success Team (FAST) is a student advising system that will provide learners with the guidance necessary to finish their degrees properly. While on campus, students can take advantage of 10+ student organizations and a range of special events.
13. Southern University at New Orleans
Average Net Price: $7,335
Retention Rate: 49%
Graduation Rate: 17%
Salary After Attending: $28,600
New Orleans, LA
For an affordable university experience in a cultural and historical city, Southern University at New Orleans is an excellent choice. SUNO, a public historically black college and university (HBCU), is ranked 1st as the most affordable college or university in Louisiana by College Calc.
With 16+ undergraduate majors, as well as 4 master’s programs in social work, criminal justice, computer information systems and museum studies, SUNO focuses on what it does best. The most popular majors include business, criminal justice and social work. The University also offers degrees in forensic science, health information management systems, and liberal arts.
With an enrollment of 2,308 and a 20:1 student-faculty ratio, learners will get plenty of individualized attention as they complete their studies.
Life outside the classroom at SUNO is very enjoyable as well. When students need a break from studying, 45 student organizations and an active Greek life offer a range of activities and programs for enjoyment in students’ free time. In addition, SUNO has 5 NAIA-ranked sports teams for male and female student-athletes to enjoy. Finally, students can take advantage of the lakefront apartment-style student housing with such amenities as washers, dryers and dish washers in each room.
14. River Parishes Community College
Average Net Price: $8,393
Retention Rate: 52%
Graduation Rate: 17%
Salary After Attending: $27,600
For those seeking a valuable public community college degree at an affordable price, River Parishes Community College is a viable school. With a student body of 3,146 students, RPCC awards associate’s degrees to a broad spectrum of students from all walks of life. Its 3:2 female-to-male ratio ensures a diverse mix of experiences for all enrolled students.
RPCC offers degrees and certificates in 7 different fields. Popular programs include liberal arts, precision production, and engineering. With distance education options available, students can take classes on-campus or choose to study from the privacy of their own home. RPCC’s 31:1 student-faculty ratio ensures a mix of small classes and lecture-style classes, giving them a well-rounded academic experience.
Four student organizations help students experience a fulfilling extracurricular life during their time at RPCC, including 2 honor societies. As students approach graduation, the TRiO offices provide extensive career counseling and guidance to keep their professional lives on track. The school has an open admissions policy and offers credit for life experiences, ensuring that returning students get a head start on their education.
15. Louisiana State University-Eunice
Average Net Price: $9,430
Retention Rate: 51%
Graduation Rate: 13%
Salary After Attending: $31,900
Students at Louisiana State University at Eunice enjoy a 196-acre campus while earning their associate’s degrees in a town-centered environment. LSUE offers associate’s degrees to 2,673 enrolled students from all walks of life. Its 3:1 female-male ratio ensures a focus on studying without the distractions of a more diverse campus.
LSU Eunice provides degree and certificate programs in 8 different fields. Popular programs include liberal arts, health professions, homeland security, law enforcement, and firefighting. With distance education options available, those who wish to expand their horizons can educate themselves in a classroom or even from the comfort of their own home. LSUE’s 23:1 student-faculty ratio offers a range of study environments, while the URSI (Undergraduate Research Summer Institute) provides the opportunity to conduct research projects with faculty members.
LSUE has an open admissions policy and offers credit for life experiences, making it accessible for all types of learners. The school earned the highest ACT “Student Satisfaction Survey” results for all accredited 2- and 4-year campuses in Louisiana. With a variety of student organizations to choose from and university housing available, students can have fun in and out of the classroom.
16. Fletcher Technical Community College
Average Net Price: $10,214
Retention Rate: 58%
Graduation Rate: 20%
Salary After Attending: $28,100
For a community college degree that emphasizes technical skills, look no further than Fletcher Technical Community College. With 1,968 students, this public college teaches associate’s degree curriculum to a diverse body of students. Its open admissions policy ensures that as many students as possible can take advantage of course offerings.
Degree and certificate programs in 9 different fields are made available by FTCC. Popular ones include transportation and materials moving, liberal arts, and business. FTCC offers degrees under five categories: arts and sciences, business, manufacturing and services, nursing and health, and petroleum. With a 17:1 student-faculty ratio, students get the personalized attention they need to excel.
Plus, distance education is available so that students can study in a classroom or the comfort of their own home. FTCC offers cross-enrollment and high school dual enrollment, allowing students to take classes at multiple institutions. FTCC attendees can widen their scope of experience by participating in 6 student organizations, including an honor society. With such features, it’s no wonder that FTCC was ranked 2nd on WalletHub’s “2018’s Best & Worst Community Colleges.”
17. Bossier Parish Community College
Average Net Price: $9,521
Retention Rate: 51%
Graduation Rate: 11%
Salary After Attending: $30,700
Bossier City, LA
For those seeking a solid two-year education in the arts and sciences, Bossier Parish Community College may be the place. BPCC’s 8,464 students study on an urban campus, earning associate’s degrees from a reputable public college. Its open admissions policy ensures that a college education is attainable for a diverse range of students, while the 2:1 female-to-male ratio provides an environment that is conducive to studying for many.
BPCC offers degrees and certificates in 16 different fields. Popular programs include liberal arts, health professions, radio and television broadcasting technicians, and business majors. BPCC has a 34:1 student-faculty ratio and offers distance education opportunities to its students. With a wide variety of intercollegiate teams, religious organizations, service groups, special interest groups, and student media groups, if they so desire, students can stay busy in and out of the classroom. Student-athletes can take advantage of BPCC’s NJCAA Division I sports programs.
18. Delgado Community College
Average Net Price: $8,836
Retention Rate: 47%
Graduation Rate: 8%
Salary After Attending: $29,800
New Orleans, LA
At Delgado Community College, a two-year public university in New Orleans, one can partake in a high-quality education in the midst of one of the most culturally significant cities in the South. DCC has an open admissions policy that has brought their student body to a total of 18,698 strong and offers credit for life experience, ensuring that the college serves a broad spectrum of students.
Delgado Community College will celebrate 100 years of service to the New Orleans region in 2021. The oldest and largest community college in Louisiana, Delgado provides instruction online and at seven locations. Fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Delgado offers students the most comprehensive array of education and training services available in the 10-parish New Orleans region. Additionally, Delgado has articulation agreements with most of the state’s four-year colleges and universities that allow students to transfer their Delgado credits to bachelor’s degree programs. As well as offering degrees and transferable college credits, Delgado provides diplomas and certificates in many professional and technical areas. Workforce development is a priority at Delgado, hence the college’s well-known motto: “Education that works!”
DCC provides degrees or certificates in 18 different fields. Popular programs include health professions, liberal arts, and business. The 21:1 student-faculty ratio ensures that learners get the personalized attention they need to succeed. DCC attendees have the opportunity to enjoy NJCAA Division I athletics programs and a range of student organizations and activities.
19. Baton Rouge Community College
Average Net Price: $9,095
Retention Rate: 44%
Graduation Rate: 9%
Salary After Attending: $30,800
Baton Rouge, LA
For a great two-year education in business or the applied sciences, consider pursuing an education at Baton Rouge Community College. BRCC’s 8,043 students attend the 60-acre urban public two-year university for associate’s degrees and certifications in a wide range of fields. A 3:2 female-male ratio ensures an environment that is dedicated to studying, while their NJCAA Division I athletics offer an outlet for stress to student-athletes.
BRCC offers degrees and certificates in 13 different fields, with popular programs at BRCC, including business, liberal arts, and health professions. BRCCs 28:1 student-faculty ratio provides a lecture-hall education to students, along with personalized attention when necessary. Transfer to a four-year university from BRCC, or choose from community education programs and services, lifelong learning, developmental education, distance learning, or workforce and continuing education programs.
20. Nunez Community College
Average Net Price: $9,492
Retention Rate: 45%
Graduation Rate: 16%
Salary After Attending: $27,600
For those looking for a no-frills practical education, Nunez Community College may be precisely what they are needing. With 2,506 students, this suburban public two-year university awards associate’s degrees to students from all walks of life. NCC has an open admissions policy and offers credit for life experiences, ensuring a diverse student body.
Students at NCC can choose from 12 different fields for their degree or certificate program. Popular programs at NCC include health professions, liberal arts, and business. Its 26:1 student-faculty ratio leaves many students with plenty of personalized attention to help them do well in their studies. NCC houses three student organizations, two honor societies, and an NJCAA Division I baseball team for student-athletes.
21. Southern University at Shreveport
Average Net Price: $10,454
Retention Rate: 44%
Graduation Rate: 10%
Salary After Attending: $25,000
For a traditional two-year education with enhanced extracurricular options, look no further than Southern University at Shreveport. This two-year institution enrolls 2,651 students in associate’s degree and vocational certificate programs, with a bachelor’s degree option for accounting majors. Reasonably priced, the university is a good option for a wide range of traditional and non-traditional students.
SUS offers 19 majors, with popular programs including health professions, liberal arts, and business. SU at Shreveport’s 20:1 student-faculty ratio ensures plenty of personalized attention. Additionally, SUS has a wide range of student organizations and activities. The most popular clubs on campus include Afro-American Society, SUSLA Gospel Choir, Student Center Board, and Allied Health and Engineering Club.