Louisiana’s Top Affordable Online Colleges
Across the country, more employers want workers to possess some level of higher education. For example, Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce projects that by the year 2020, 56% of jobs in Louisiana will require postsecondary education, and 7% will require a master’s degree. As traditional labor-based careers in the U.S. shrink, continuing an education may serve you well. This guide outlines the state of higher education in Louisiana, online degrees in particular. With the growing popularity of online programs, students who live both in and outside the state can benefit from higher education in Louisiana.
Why Choose Louisiana for Online Higher Education?
An online education in Louisiana may benefit anyone looking to complete a degree, but it especially serves full-time employees, single parents, or laborers wanting to shift careers. With 60 online programs available in Louisiana, students all over the U.S. may experience the flexibility and affordability of distance learning.
- Number of programs offered completely online in Louisiana 60
- Undergraduate students enrolled exclusively online in Louisiana 8,635
- Graduate students enrolled exclusively online in Louisiana 6,790
- Total international students enrolled exclusively online in Louisiana 76
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Cost of Attending an Online College in Louisiana
Generally, in-state students pay a lower tuition than out-of-state ones. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average in-state tuition for a public, four-year school in Louisiana is $17,287, with out-of-state tuition at $23,099. As online learning becomes more common, more schools offer distance programs to resident and nonresident students at lower costs than traditional on-campus formats. This reduction can be attributed to fewer associated costs for in-person attendance, campus housing, lab fees, and physical textbooks.
In-state tuition$8,162 – public, four-year institution$3,919 – public, two-year institution
Out-of-state tuition:$23,099 – public, four-year institution$7,292 – public, two-year institution
Attending school in Louisiana is slightly more affordable than the average cost of attendance nationwide, with a national average being $18,632 to attend a public, four-year institution.
Many online programs in Louisiana are offered at the same cost as their on-campus counterparts. Some schools are known to offer discounted tuition for distance learners, while other programs offer in-state tuition to out-of-state students earning their degree online in Louisiana.
- Public, 4-Year University:Louisiana State University, $732 per credit
- Private, 4-Year University:Tulane University, $1057 per credit
- 2-Year College:South Louisiana Community College, $133.93 per credit
Considering a Louisiana School as an Out-of-State Student
When selecting a distance program out of your state, consider tuition, accreditation, and program transferability in addition to academics. Be aware of possible restrictions or state agreements for individuals earning their education out-of-state. Some schools, especially if they are unaccredited, may not grant you a degree that is acceptable for work in your state. Louisiana has a number of reciprocity agreements with other member states of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB).
Out-of-State undergraduate students studying exclusively online in Louisiana1.048
Out-of-State graduate students studying exclusively online in Louisiana2,362
Louisiana holds membership in the Academic Common Market, a branch of the SREB. The SREB — a nonprofit group funded by member donations and grants from federal and state agencies — consists of 16 member states and devotes itself to improving the accessibility and affordability of higher education. Funds are awarded as reciprocal tuition, meaning that students attend college out of state for the same cost as standard resident tuition in that state. Distance learners from Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia may all be eligible for reciprocal tuition.
State Authorizations for Online Learning
In addition to standard accreditation, typical for nearly all higher education programs, online degrees must go through other authorizations. The variability in accreditation by state and region determines the standard of education required of students to work in a given field in their state. Online programs and reciprocity agreements mandate the necessity for additional accreditation and review. Most distance programs are reviewed by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements to ensure that online programs are held to the same high standard of traditional degrees.
Check with an admissions or financial officer Tuition rates are ultimately program- and institution-based. Ask someone from a prospective program about what rates apply to you specifically as a potential member of a specific program.
One-Stop College Research Resources for Louisiana’s Online Schools
To find out all you need to know about your ideal school, browse the institution’s website. For students who are still deciding on a school or who are unsure how to pick one that best suits their needs, the FAQs below may help.
Q: Do online credits cost more or less in Louisiana?
Earning an online degree from a school in Louisiana often costs the same for in- and out-of-state students. Most online schools in Louisiana will offer lower tuition to distance learners due to the lower costs associated with online, asynchronous program delivery. Students should be aware; however, that other fees may be associated with online learning, such as membership to an online portal or access to the online library. Students, particularly those from out of state, should note if hybrid program models exist and ensure they do not cost extra. With the exception of students from other ACM/SREB member states, out-of-state students looking to attend on-campus classes at any Louisiana school will be charged out-of-state tuition.
Q: Which Louisiana schools accept the most transfer credits?
Throughout Louisiana, universities and colleges permit transfer credits from other regionally or nationally accredited schools. That said, some institutions will not accept credits for classes deemed “non-academic,” such as those earned at a vocational school. Students with coursework from other schools and programs may submit credits for transfer through the Master Course Articulation Matrix, which allows students to determine classes that will transfer to other institutions in Louisiana. Most online institutions in Louisiana will also analyze a transfer applicant’s transcripts in determining whether or not to accept a credit.
Even if a transferable credit is completed, many schools will require a minimum grade. Some schools even allow the transfer of work and experience in place of actual credits from another school. It is also common for students to earn an associate degree at a local two-year school and then apply those credits toward an undergraduate degree at a four-year college or university. The Louisiana State Board of Regents has created the Louisiana Transfer Associate Degree, designed to provide students with 60 credits of general education that can be applied toward any bachelor’s degree in Louisiana.
Q: Will any online colleges in Louisiana accept a GED?
As of 2014, Louisiana no longer offers GED prep or testing. Instead, the state offers students the HiSET, one of three tests used in the U.S. to measure high school equivalency learning and skills. Within Louisiana, the Community and Technical College Network oversees this test. Employers, postsecondary institutions, and government agencies all accept the HiSET as well as the GED and the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC).
Schools in some states will only accept one form of high school equivalency. In Louisiana, most schools will only accept the HiSET, though students from out-of-state looking to attend a Louisiana school online or on campus may request a waiver to accept the GED or TASC earned in his/her resident state. HiSET prep and testing resembles the TASC or GED, but requires more subjects of testing. Unlike the GED which focuses mostly on technical education, the HiSET also tests a student’s abilities in reading, writing, and social studies.
Q: How many academic terms per year do online colleges in Louisiana offer?
Not only do most online schools offer a host of academic resources to distance learners, but they also frequently increase program flexibility through asynchronization and multiple start dates. By allowing students to begin their education at multiple times during the year or term, sometimes at one of several dates per month, online learners begin their education whenever is most convenient for them. Programs with multiple start dates are, by necessity, asynchronous in nature. Such programs best suit students who thrive on independent study. While asynchronous students still take part in peer discussion and receive instruction from professors, person-to-person interaction is limited. By enrolling in a program with multiple start dates, it becomes possible to accelerate your degree. While many online programs in Louisiana offer official accelerated curriculums, students completing an asynchronous degree may begin a new term at any time and complete all credits as quickly as possible.
Q: Which online colleges will accept FAFSA in Louisiana?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) serves as a great starting point for college students looking for financial assistance to pay for college. Most public schools and the majority of private schools in Louisiana accept the FAFSA. To apply for the FAFSA, you must be a U.S. citizen and enrolled in an institution of higher education. Applicants must have already earned their high school diploma, GED, HiSET, or TASC.
Almost every student who applies is eligible for financial aid in some form. Funds are awarded to students as scholarships, loans, research grants, and work-study opportunities. These options are presented to students at any school that accepts the FAFSA. The FAFSA is not to be confused with the College Scholarship Service (CSS). While these programs are similar, the CSS tends to be more stringent in evaluating need-based aid. Most online schools in Louisiana accept both the FAFSA and the CSS.
Q: Are there any free online classes I can take from Louisiana colleges?
In some cases, online institutions offer sample courses to prospective students, allowing individuals to click around the online platform, view a mock lecture, and note the appearance of assignments. Completion of any course materials without official enrollment will not be applicable toward any degree, nor will this education be accepted as transfer credit to any other institution.
Q: How can I find the online program options at Louisiana’s colleges?
Louisiana Online, created and maintained by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, the Louisiana State University System, the Southern University System, and the University of Louisiana System, is a great resource for online options. In addition to providing resources for students to locate a school or program, Louisiana Online links to academic and career counselors within the state and in neighboring SREB-member states; it also provides information on career or internship opportunities, and professional organizations, networking groups of like-minded individuals that seek to advance a given profession. This information is most valuable for students nearing the end of their online program and looking to connect with professionals in their field.
Louisiana Scholarships and Grants
The majority of individuals seeking higher education will likely need to employ some form of financial aid in the form of scholarship funds, grant money, or a work-study program. As college expenses have risen, more scholarship opportunities have become available to students at the local, state, and federal level. Pell Grants are a great first option for students seeking financial aid.
- Louisiana Go Grant Program The Louisiana Office for Student Financial Assistance created this need-based program. Applicants must be high school seniors or current undergraduate students. Applications are evaluated based on levels of estimated family contribution. Priority is awarded to adult students (25 years and older) and transfer students.Scholarship Amount:$300-$3000VIEW DETAILS
- Society of Louisiana CPAs Scholarships Each year, the Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants (SLCPA) awards a minimum of six scholarships to student members of the organization. To apply, students must be studying accounting and be a member of the SLCPA in one of nine accepted regions, such as New Orleans, Shreveport, or Baton Rouge.Scholarship Amount:$500-$2000VIEW DETAILS
- Stephen W. Cavanaugh Scholarship Fund Created in 2007, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation has awarded scholarship money to honor the late CEO of the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation. To apply, students must be enrolled full time at a Louisiana college or community college and be studying finance, business, actuarial science, or risk management.Scholarship Amount:$1000 / semesterVIEW DETAILS
- Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Scholarships Since 1985, this foundation has supported Louisiana students in the pursuit of higher education, particularly in the field of science. To apply, individuals must be accepted at a regionally accredited school with a high school GPA of at least 2.5.Scholarship Amount:$500-$2,500 / semesterVIEW DETAILS
- TOPS Opportunity Award The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students offers students scholarship money to apply toward any one of Louisiana’s 18 public colleges and universities, including Grambling State University, Southern University, and Louisiana State University. Applicants must be residents of Louisiana and intend to complete at least 24 college credits each year.Scholarship Amount:VariesVIEW DETAILS
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