The 10 Cheapest Colleges in Louisiana
- Tips for Saving Money on College
- The 10 Cheapest Colleges in Louisiana
- How Much Will You Pay for College?
Louisiana is known for being one of the nation’s most vibrant states—it’s notable for everything from its music to food to sports to celebrations. Louisiana also has a reputation for its excellent colleges and universities. While big-name schools like LSU might immediately spring to the minds of college-bound students, the state is also home to more-affordable institutions. Louisiana has a lot to offer college students, both in and out of the classroom, no matter if you attend a highly ranked national university like Tulane or a historic and affordable institution like Grambling.
Tips for Saving Money on College
There are numerous steps that college-bound students can take to make higher education more affordable.
Earn Affordable College Credit
Earning college credits while living and studying on campus is expensive, however, it’s possible to earn affordable college credits before even starting college. AP exams allow students the opportunity to begin earning college credit at a low cost, as nearly all colleges award credit to students who have earned a requisite score on an AP exam (typically a 3 or 4). This enables students to start pursuing their degree with credits already accumulated, lowering expenses and helping to avoid spending costly extra years in school.
Graduate On Time
Most college-bound students believe college is a four-year commitment, but less than half of college students graduate in four years. Spending a fifth or sixth year in college also means paying for that extra time, which can add up fast! Students should work with their advisors to ensure they stay on track to graduate in a timely fashion and understand the planning and commitment required to graduate on time.
Seek Out Scholarships
Scholarships are a tried-and-true method for lowering the expense of college. While big-name awards such as the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest and Horatio Alger Scholarship offer eye-popping awards, smaller scholarships—like those offered by local organizations, businesses, nonprofits, and places of worship—can help chip away at college costs. Schools themselves are also a good source of scholarship dollars; colleges and universities provide $175 billion in annual scholarship funding compared to just $11 billion from outside sources.
The 10 Cheapest Colleges in Louisiana
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $14,619/$21,974
Location: Alexandria, LA
Acceptance Rate: 64%
Undergrad Enrollment: 3,100
Louisiana State University-Alexandria (LSUA) is one of the nine member institutions of the Louisiana State University System. LSUA began as a two-year commuter college, but today offers a variety of four-year degrees—ranging from accounting to visual communications— through its six colleges. The LSUA campus scores high marks from students; the website Niche ranks it 119th (out of 1,373 schools) on its list of the best college food in America and 208th (out of 1,371 schools) on its list of the best college dorms in the country.
Learn more about Louisiana State University-Alexandria and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $16,099/$25,000
Location: New Orleans, LA
Acceptance Rate: 72%
Undergrad Enrollment: 1,900
Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) is one of six historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that call Louisiana home and one of the most affordable colleges in the state. SUNO is nestled on 17 acres in Pontchartrain Park, one of the first suburban-style subdivisions developed for African Americans in the segregated South. The school is located just seven miles outside of downtown New Orleans, offering students many cultural and social opportunities. SUNO has taken steps to attract top students and keep costs down by waiving out-of-state fees for applicants with a minimum ACT of 20 or SAT of 1050 and a minimum GPA of 2.7.
Learn more about Southern University at New Orleans and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $17,444/$25,482
Location: Lake Charles, LA
Acceptance Rate: 63%
Undergrad Enrollment: 6,900
When McNeese State University first opened its doors in 1939, it consisted of just three buildings and welcomed a mere 140 students. Today, the 122-acre main campus is home to 50 buildings—including the original three—and nearly 7,000 undergraduates alone. One of those buildings is the Jack V. Doland Fieldhouse, a 53,838-square-foot state-of-the-art athletic facility that is home to the second-largest weight room in Louisiana, offices, meeting rooms, locker room, an academic resource center, and a Hall of Fame. The investment in athletics is paying off for McNeese, it has won 52 Southland Conference Championships, tied for the third-most won by a school and the most by a Louisiana member.
Learn more about McNeese State University and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $17,909/$30,387
Location: Hammond, LA
Acceptance Rate: 97%
Undergrad Enrollment: 13,300
Southeastern Louisiana University is the third-largest public university in Louisiana, boasts 13,000+ undergraduate students, and offers 43 undergraduate programs. There’s an abundance of activities to keep Southeastern Louisiana University students busy—the school has more than 100 student-run clubs and 18 Greek organizations are found on campus. Southeastern Louisiana University also owns and operates the Columbia Theatre—a historic theater established in 1928 and renovated in 2002—which hosts a number of events and workshops sure to interest students.
Learn more about Southeastern Louisiana University and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $18,102/$19,195
Location: Thibodaux, LA
Acceptance Rate: 93%
Undergrad Enrollment: 5,800
Nicholls State University is located in the heart of Louisiana’s bayou region, and its geography informs its academic offerings—the university is well known for its marine and environmental science programs, as well as being home to the state’s only four-year program in geomatics. Nicholls is also the only school in the state with a four-year culinary arts program; the website Niche ranks Nicholls 17th (out of 142) on its list of best colleges for culinary arts. Nicholls offers academic scholarships to students who meet specific criteria, starting with a minimum ACT composite score of 21 and a minimum unweighted high school GPA of 3.5.
Learn more about Nicholls State University and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $18,471/$29,259
Location: Natchitoches, LA
Acceptance Rate: 95%
Undergrad Enrollment: 9,900
Northwestern State University (NSU) was established in 1884 as a school to train teachers and sits on the oldest continually occupied site for higher education in Louisiana. The three columns of the college’s original building are still standing and their likeness serves as the school’s logo. Since 1923, NSU’s athletic teams have been known as the Demons and in 1984 the NSU Demon received an official name, “Vic,” which is short for victory. NSU offers scaled scholarships to high-performing students—they’re based on a student’s ACT score and GPA—which helps to control college costs.
Learn more about Northwestern State University of Louisiana and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $18,625/$27,648
Location: Grambling, LA
Acceptance Rate: 93%
Undergrad Enrollment: 4,100
Grambling is another of the six HBCUs in Louisiana and is steeped in history. Grambling is one of the 38 designated sites on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail—a collection of places celebrating the talents and contributions of the state’s Black trailblazers. Grambling has proven a good investment for many of its students; according to a 2017 study by the New York Times, it ranked 12th (out of 369 selective public colleges) in overall mobility (i.e., the likelihood a student would move up two or more income quintiles). Out-of-state fee waivers are available to students with a minimum 2.5 high school GPA who maintain a 2.5 GPA while at Grambling.
Learn more about Grambling State University and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $18,867/$23,703
Location: New Orleans, LA
Acceptance Rate: 83%
Undergrad Enrollment: 6,500
The University of New Orleans is a leader in providing education to students from all income levels—the Brookings Institute ranked UNO third on its list of public research universities with the highest percentage of low-income students. Students come to UNO to pursue a variety of fields. UNO offers the only electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering programs in the New Orleans area, and it’s one of just a few colleges in the nation with a school of naval architecture and marine engineering. UNO has prepared more educational personnel in the metro New Orleans area than any other institution. It’s also a leader in hospitality and tourism, as well as the arts—UNO alumni, staff, and students are typically well represented on stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Learn more about the University of New Orleans and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $18,770/$26,150
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Acceptance Rate: 44%
Undergrad Enrollment: 5,800
Southern University and A&M College, or simply Southern, is another of Louisiana’s HBCUs. The college was founded in 1880 and opened in 1881 with just 12 students. Today, the school enrolls almost 6,000 undergraduates and offers 33 different majors—ranging from accounting to urban forestry. Southern is well known for its engineering program, which is a top-ten producer of African-American undergraduate degree holders in the field and has placed alumni in notable companies such as IBM, ExxonMobil, Caterpillar Corp., Raytheon, Dow Chemical, and Chevron. Out-of-state waivers are available for students who have a minimum composite ACT score of 20, a minimum ACT English score of 18, a minimum ACT math score of 19, and a minimum high school GPA of 2.7.
Learn more about Southern University and A&M College and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $21,502/$35,230
Location: Lafayette, LA
Acceptance Rate: 67%
Undergrad Enrollment: 15,000
UL Lafayette is the second-largest university in the state and the largest school in the University of Louisiana System. The college is home to more than 80 majors and one of the most unique nicknames in the nation: the Ragin’ Cajuns. UL Lafayette has an R1 classification from the Carnegie Foundation, one of just 137 universities in the country to earn the designation. Lafayette earns high marks as a college town—thanks in part to its Southern food, historic attractions, unique culture, and heritage. It also earns praise for its acclaimed student life.
Learn more about the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and what it takes to get accepted.
How Much Will College Cost Your Family?
Researching the sticker price of schools will not paint a complete picture of what the cheapest colleges in Louisiana are for you. Because the cost of college can vary from student to student, net price is a better indicator of what you’ll actually pay to attend college. Net price is a calculation that considers financial aid when calculating cost. Most college websites provide a net price calculator, but our free Financial Aid Calculator allows you to easily estimate the expense of college for hundreds of schools in one place and in just minutes.
Use it along with our free Chancing Engine to estimate your odds of acceptance and gain deeper insight into your college future.