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Typically offer a wide range of majors and degree programs leading to the four-year bachelor’s degree. Most have graduate programs as well, leading to master’s degrees and Ph.Ds.

Smaller private colleges are sometimes classified as “liberal arts” colleges because they focus on a general education in the humanities, math, and social and physical sciences, leading to a four-year bachelor’s degree. But there are also private universities that are quite large and offer the complete range of majors, with very specialized bachelor’s degrees.

The best fit for many collegebound high school grads, community colleges offer a two-year degree called an associate degree, plus a variety of diplomas and certifications. You can get job-ready for many of the most available jobs in Louisiana today—or you can take your associate degree and transfer to a four-year school.

These smaller schools offer technical degrees, diplomas and certifications for specific jobs, like HVAC technician or medical records. Programs range from a few weeks to one year, or even a full two-year associate degree.

Pursuing a degree online is a great option for students who need to attend classes on their own time, want to work full time, or are simply uninterested in traditional campus life. Online degree programs allow you to get the same degrees you can get in the classroom (certification, associate, bachelor’s).

Some public universities have big campuses and large enrollments, and some general classes can be “mega-classes,” with a hundred students or more. Large classes and a feeling of anonymity can be a turn-off for some students, but with them come larger libraries, more class offerings and more counselors, too.

Many private schools are smaller than state universities, and that means smaller classes. Most promise more attention from professors and more classes with professors, instead of classes handled by graduate students.

Offer an assortment of jobspecific programs (nursing, computer programming, automotive technology), but also classes in more general disciplines to develop your basic skills (writing, math, science). Their open admissions mean you don’t have to meet the rigorous requirements of Louisiana’s four-year colleges to get started.

Concentration is on very specific career skills (welding, process technology, LPN, culinary arts), though with associate degree programs at some schools you will still get a dose of broader classes like physics, math and English.

The possibilities are growing with each passing semester. Louisiana community colleges now offer multiple degree programs with instruction delivered 100% over the Internet. Louisiana universities offer dozens of online courses, and there are even national accredited online universities.

They’re called “state” schools because the state government helps fund them, so tuition and fees are lower than at private schools.

Higher tuition and fees than public schools. But you can still use your TOPS award at most Louisiana private schools, and most have superb scholarship and aid programs based on both merit and need.

Qualifying students can take advantage of TOPS to pay tuition, which is already a bargain at a community college—in some cases less than half the cost of a state university.

The cost of online programs is usually comparable to or less expensive than traditional programs.




The tuition and fees for a private, for-profit school often run higher than a public university, while Louisiana’s public technical colleges have the lowest tuitions of any postsecondary option. Financial aid is often available, and the TOPS Tech award can be used at public technical colleges.

Louisiana Tech $8,853

Xavier U. of New Orleans $23,300

South Louisiana Community College $3,944


TUITION EXAMPLE* Medical Training College $11,200


TUITION EXAMPLE* Varies by type of school

Larger schools offer plenty of on-campus housing, and dorm life is practically a rite of passage for many young adults. Sports, clubs and extracurricular activities abound, along with social options like student government, fraternities and sororities. Another perk is frequent cultural activities like concerts, theater and lectures.

Students looking for a smaller environment or a particular religious affiliation often find it by going private. The number of clubs, sports events and cultural offerings depend on the school’s size, but they are no less enriching. If nightlife isn’t really your thing anyway, you can probably find a small private college that fits your style!

They enroll lots of nontraditional, commuter and working students, so on-campus housing is a rarity. Still, most have active clubs and student organizations, and some spice it up with cultural events, such as theater and lectures, and some even have collegiate athletics.

You won’t find a marching band or intramural sports. But there are dozens of these schools located in smaller cities around the state, so convenience is a plus, as are flexible schedules, smaller class sizes and handson experience.

None! But with online class discussion boards, you may still have opportunities for meeting other students, idea sharing and class camaraderie.

For websites, tuition estimates and other information about public universities in Louisiana, see page 58.

For websites, tuition estimates and other information about private schools in Louisiana, see page 59.

For a list of Louisiana’s community and technical colleges and contact information, visit or see page 60.

Proprietary schools are listed beginning on page 61.

Inquire with your school of choice about online courses and degree programs. Or simply use Louisiana Online at to find an online program at a Louisiana college that is right for you. You can also search thousands of options using Electronic Campus, a Web resource offered by SREB.

*2016-17 full-time tuition & fees. SOURCE: Louisiana Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

2017-2018 Louisiana NEXT Higher Education Guide  

What kind of advanced education is right for you? Check out Louisiana NEXT's Higher Education Guide for 2017-2018.

2017-2018 Louisiana NEXT Higher Education Guide  

What kind of advanced education is right for you? Check out Louisiana NEXT's Higher Education Guide for 2017-2018.