Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students

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According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, about 20% of LGBTQ faculty members and students reported they feared for their physical safety on campus, while 43% consider their campus climate to be homophobic. These numbers demonstrate the need for colleges to take an active stance against LGBTQ harassment and discrimination ― a stance that, in part, will make it so that LGBTQ students feel safe and welcome to attend.

LGBTQ is not a comprehensive acronym. Students looking for resources will likely come across many other abbreviations, since gender and sexuality fall across spectrums rather than set categories. Other examples include pansexual (P), gender non-conforming (GNC), and queer (Q). Acronyms aside, most LGBTQ campus resources try to serve as an umbrella resource for many identities. This list examines colleges that provide an exceptional level of support for students of various gender and sexual identities. We have referred to the Campus Pride index, which is a comprehensive national rating system that measures LGBTQ-friendly campus life. Campus Pride takes an exhaustive and multifaceted measurement approach, considering eight LGBTQ-inclusive factors to reach a measurement. The listing also includes descriptions of unique campus resources that provide support to students of various gender and sexual identities.

Academic institutions continue to take steps to create environments and policies that meet the needs of students with a wide range of gender and sexual identities. These populations have historically been underserved by hegemonic culture, so many college administrations are spearheading efforts to raise awareness of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) identities.

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Rank
School
Location
Tuition
1

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
$45,890 annually

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center offers peer mentorships, tons of space to study and socialize, and a calendar full of events. They are also a social and political hub for the queer community on campus, hosting over 25 undergraduate and graduate student groups. It is one of the oldest and most active LGBT centers in the country, and has been serving the Penn queer community for over 30 years.

  • 10 College Pride Index Score
  • 26 Meta Score
  • 36 Total Score

Address

34th & Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6303
(215) 898-5000
2

Ithaca College

Ithaca, NY
$38,400 annually

Ithaca College is home to a diverse, vibrant, and engaged community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), and allied students, staff, and faculty. Founded in 2001, the Center for LGBT Education, Outreach, and Services provides access to information, education, support, and services that value each person's unique diversity. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

Ithaca College campus offices strive to be inclusive of the needs of LGBTQ students. For example, the Career Services office has developed resources addressing career search issues for LGBTQ students, and the Chapel hosts an annual open house for LGBTQ and allied students. There are four separate LGBTQ student groups which welcome all who are interested, and are very active on campus.

  • 4 College Pride Index Score
  • 33 Meta Score
  • 37 Total Score

Address

953 Danby Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850-7002
(607) 274-3011
3

Indiana University - Bloomington

Bloomington, IN
$10,209 in state;
$32,350 out of state

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Support Services Office serves as a resource and information center for campus and community individuals, groups, events, and activities. Indiana University offers 11 separate LGBTQIA & Ally student groups as well as Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity and Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority for students looking for an active campus life.

  • 7 College Pride Index Score
  • 33 Meta Score
  • 40 Total Score

Address

107 South Indiana Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405-7000
(812) 855-4848
4

University of Washington

Seattle, WA
$12,397 in state;
$31,971 out of state

Students attending UW can take advantage of numerous Q Center services, including mentoring, advising, policy advocacy, and Dear Queer advice columns. The Q Center also offers a 2-credit Queer 101 focus group through the Comparative History of Ideas Department (CHID). The students are extremely active in the blogosphere, publishing advice and community news across two official UW blogging platforms.

The Q Center also publishes a quarterly campus newsletter, QMUNNITY, to highlight campus events.

  • 2 College Pride Index Score
  • 45 Meta Score
  • 47 Total Score

Address

1400 NE Campus Parkway
Seattle, WA 98195-4550
(206) 543-2100
5

Tufts University

Medford, MA
$46,598 annually

At Tufts the LGBTQ community so heavily integrated that they offer housing— Rainbow House — for LGBTQ students. The LGBT Center, founded in 1992, offers advisement, event programming, and educational resources. Team Q is a new LGBT Center mentoring program for new students, which allows them the opportunity to become comfortable with themselves and the campus.

  • 3 College Pride Index Score
  • 47 Meta Score
  • 50 Total Score

Address

Medford, MA 02155-5555
(617) 628-5000
6

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Amherst, MA
$13,443 in state;
$28,159 out of state

Founded in 1985, The Stonewall Center was the third LGBTQ on-campus center in the U.S, and is a model for campus centers across the country For the past 30 years, they have been providing the LGBTQ community support through cultural and educational programming, as well as peer training for LGBTQ students and their allies.

  • 5 College Pride Index Score
  • 51 Meta Score
  • 56 Total Score

Address

374 Whitmore Building 181 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-0111
7

San Diego State University

San Diego, CA
$6,766 in state;
$17,926 out of state

SDSU is distinguished as the second college to offer an LGBT Studies major in North America. Students can also pursue an undergraduate minor or graduate certificate. SDSU hosts a Lavender Graduation ceremony open to all students who identify as LGBTQA.

  • 8 College Pride Index Score
  • 48 Meta Score
  • 56 Total Score

Address

5500 Campanile Dr
San Diego, CA 92182
(619) 594-5200
8

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ
$40,170 annually

Princeton University's LGBT Center offers a wide range of both educational and cultural events including speakers, film series, and performance artists. They offer LGBT Peer Education panels that occur in social, residential, and educational settings. Currently there are seven different Discussion and Support Groups active on campus, organized around diverse topics such as athlete allies and transcending gender boundaries. The campus also offers gender inclusive bathrooms.

  • 11 College Pride Index Score
  • 45 Meta Score
  • 56 Total Score

Address

1 Nassau Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-0070
(609) 258-3000
9

Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA
$16,992 in state;
$29,566 out of state

Penn State's LGBTA Student Resource Center offers a significant amount of student programming and group events, such as discussions on safe sex, drug and alcohol recovery, graduate life, faith, and gender identity. Students searching for funding opportunities can apply to three different scholarship awards offered by the resource center.

Penn State students can also pursue a minor in Sexuality and Gender Studies, which features interdisciplinary courses across multiple departments, such as English, Women's Studies, and Sociology.

  • 15 College Pride Index Score
  • 42 Meta Score
  • 57 Total Score

Address

201 Old Main
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-4700
10

University of Oregon

Eugene, OR
$9,763 in state;
$29,788 out of state

The “U Out” Website is a central online space for the LGBT community, with blog posts and social media updates. They list conference registration material, job openings, social events and more here. Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Queer Alliance is in its 4th decade, and is for students, by students. There are a variety of specialty student groups at Oregon as well: The Outlaws for law students, Queer Students of Color, and Sappho, the queer women’s discussion group are just a few.

  • 24 College Pride Index Score
  • 37 Meta Score
  • 61 Total Score

Address

110 Johnson Hall
Eugene, OR 97403
(541) 346-1000
11

University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA
$12,697 in state;
$35,575 out of state

UCLA is home to a spectacular array of LGBTQ student organizations; there are over 20 groups that offer support and services to people from diverse backgrounds.

The official UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center provides a number of services, including counseling, advocacy, electronic resources, library materials, and education. Undergraduates can also pursue an LGBT studies interdisciplinary minor that consists of seven courses.

  • 21 College Pride Index Score
  • 43 Meta Score
  • 64 Total Score

Address

405 Hilgard Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1405
(310) 825-4321
12

Rutgers University - New Brunswick

New Brunswick, NJ
$13,499 in state;
$27,523 out of state

The Center of Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities (SJE) is a member of the National Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. Students can participate in 12 different campus organizations and clubs, dedicated to a wide array of identities, minority groups, and study fields.

Rutgers also has an extensive network for transgender and gender nonconforming students known as Trans@RU.

  • 1 College Pride Index Score
  • 64 Meta Score
  • 65 Total Score

Address

83 Somerset St
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1281
(732) 932-1766
13

University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD
$9,162 in state;
$28,348 out of state

Empowering social justice is a core value of The LGBT Equity Center, and to that end they offer their community a wide range of resources. The Rainbow Terrapin Network Membership Training offers students the ability to learn about the fundamentals of allyship and advocacy in order to reach out, take action and effect change.

  • 14 College Pride Index Score
  • 52 Meta Score
  • 66 Total Score

Address

College Park, MD 20742
(301) 405-1000
14

Macalester College

Saint Paul, MN
$45,388 annually

The student-run Gender & Sexuality Resource Center offers students the chance to get involved on personal and campus-wide issues. Their goal is to fight oppression through strong modes of resistance through “transformative, and revolutionary meetings, discussions, and events.”

  • 13 College Pride Index Score
  • 54 Meta Score
  • 67 Total Score

Address

1600 Grand Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55105-1899
(651) 696-6000
15

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI
$13,142 in state;
$40,392 out of state

The Spectrum Center offers resources and programming for the entire campus community. From Ally Development Training to panels and custom-tailored workshops, the Spectrum Center seeks to make LGTBQ full members of the community in every respect.

  • 36 College Pride Index Score
  • 31 Meta Score
  • 67 Total Score

Address

503 Thompson Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
(734) 764-1817
16

New York University

New York, NY
$44,848 annually

The NYU LGBTQ Student Center hosts several ongoing events, such as the "Breathing Room" weekly discussion, queer graduate socials, NY (Drag) U, and storytelling performances.
Students can unwind and study in the spacious David Bohnett Cyber Center and Library.
New students can learn more about the campus resources at NYU by participating in the First Year Queers and Allies (FYQA) program.

  • 28 College Pride Index Score
  • 41 Meta Score
  • 69 Total Score

Address

70 Washington Sq South
New York, NY 10012-1091
(212) 998-1212
17

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA
$43,498 annually

LBGT@MIT is a program of the Division of Student Life, and a part of the Student Activities Office. MIT is a member of the National Consortium of Directors of LBGT Resources. With a primary focus on students, their mission is to ensure a safe and supportive campus-wide community where lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, questioning individuals, and allies are all welcomed as equals.

  • 36 College Pride Index Score
  • 33 Meta Score
  • 69 Total Score

Address

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
(617) 253-1000
18

Montclair State University

Montclair, NJ
$11,318 in state;
$20,196 out of state

One of the interesting offerings of The LGBTQ Center is their Peer Mentor Program. They pair underclassmen and transfer students with experienced upperclassmen for a one-on-one experience. This allows mentored students to become more engaged with campus resources.

  • 6 College Pride Index Score
  • 64 Meta Score
  • 70 Total Score

Address

1 Normal Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07043-1624
(973) 655-4000
19

Stanford University

Stanford, CA
$43,683 annually

The LGBT Community Resources Center offers a unique student-run awareness program called Sharing Our Stories at Stanford. SOSAS workshops are conducted at student residences, for teams, and for administrators. Their goal is to build awareness for the campus community about LGBTQ issues in both residential and academic life.

  • 36 College Pride Index Score
  • 35 Meta Score
  • 71 Total Score

Address

Stanford, CA 94305
(650) 723-2300
20

University of Colorado - Boulder

Boulder, CO
$10,347 in state;
$32,115 out of state

Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer Resource Center (GLBTQRC) offers Safe Zone Training, which allows participants to develop skills to help GLBTQIA students. The training is open to anyone on campus, and upon completion, participants receive a “Safe Zone” sign that signifies they provide a safe space for GLBTQIA students.

  • 26 College Pride Index Score
  • 46 Meta Score
  • 72 Total Score

Address

Regent Drive at Broadway
Boulder, CO 80309-0017
(303) 492-1411
21

Oberlin College

Oberlin, OH
$46,870 annually

Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) embraces diversity in all its forms. They offer programming and support for all underrepresented students, taking a holistic approach to creating a truly inclusive community. The MRC sponsors over 300 events each year for students, and they actively reach out to allies to support their friends and peers.

  • 36 College Pride Index Score
  • 36 Meta Score
  • 72 Total Score

Address

70 N Professor St
Oberlin, OH 44074
(440) 775-8411
22

Harvey Mudd College

Claremont, CA
$46,509 annually

The Queer Resource Center is a 7 College resource center serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, asexual, omnisexual, pansexual and allied communities at the Claremont Colleges. The QRC houses a collection of over 1,200 LGBT-related books and movies, which can be checked out for free and used as textbooks for classes or research material for papers. The QRC's student staff members work hard every semester to hold a number of fantastic programs in addition to co-sponsoring many other events with various organizations.

  • 9 College Pride Index Score
  • 64 Meta Score
  • 73 Total Score

Address

301 Platt Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 621-8000
23

Ohio State University

Columbus, OH
$10,037 in state;
$25,757 out of state

The guiding philosophy of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) initiatives through the Multicultural Center inspire reflective thought and increase awareness of identity and community through an understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The programming, leadership development, training, educational resources, and service-learning opportunities enhance the learning community of Ohio State students, staff, faculty, along with the Central Ohio community toward extraordinary experiences for all.

  • 25 College Pride Index Score
  • 48 Meta Score
  • 73 Total Score

Address

190 N. Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210
(292) 646-8600
24

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA
$46,298 annually

The LGBT Resource Center is a national leader in LGBT student services and through our programs, services and collaborations with other campus departments we have created a LGBT and Ally inclusive environment for all students.

USC has been acknowledged in the past as a diversity leader for its non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

  • 36 College Pride Index Score
  • 38 Meta Score
  • 74 Total Score

Address

University Park
Los Angeles, CA 90089
(213) 740-2311
25

Yale University

New Haven, CT
$44,000 annually

The Office of LGBTQ Resources works to create a visible LGBT community that includes staff, faculty and students from all of Yale’s schools and from a wide variety of life experiences. Some of the programs they offer include Queer Leadership Workshops, to develop leadership skills in LGTBQ issues and Graduate & Professional Queer Programming developed specifically for those students.

  • 36 College Pride Index Score
  • 40 Meta Score
  • 76 Total Score

Address

Woodbridge Hall
New Haven, CT 06520
(203) 432-4771

Information & Data

Methodology

We started with a list of 35 schools awarded 4.5 or 5 stars on the highly-regarded Campus Pride Index. This comprehensive college catalog rates schools based on a rubric of eight LGBTQ-inclusive factors. Since a three star ranking represents average performance, each of the schools are known for an above-average rating. The Campus Pride Index is an opt-in service, one that lists just over 200 college campuses. Because of this, several schools well-known for inclusivity are not represented on the Index. To broaden the scope of the rankings, a meta-analysis of 10 different website rankings was conducted. Of those 10, five used Campus Pride’s list, so they were set aside. An aggregate score was created by adding these rankings together (schools not ranked were each given the same “dummy” score to be fair). We ended up with a pool of 58 schools. The final score is weighted: 50% Campus Pride Index and 50% aggregate score. In the event of a tie, the Campus Pride Index was given precedence.

How to Interpret the Data

You will find a wide range of campus sizes and locations represented in this list, across a mix of public and private colleges. While many of these academic institutions are noteworthy for LGBTQ inclusion, it is important for you to examine the colleges independently, so that you can make a selection based on your own needs.