Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students

Badge with 2-Line TitleBest Collegesfor LGBTQ Studemts2016
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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 Name Description

University of Pennsylvania

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

Ithaca College

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

Indiana University - Bloomington

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

University of Washington

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

Tufts University

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

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

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

San Diego State University

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

Princeton University

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

Pennsylvania State University

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.


University of Oregon

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

University of California - Los Angeles

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

Rutgers University - New Brunswick

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

University of Maryland - College Park

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

Macalester College

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

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

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

New York University

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

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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

Montclair State University

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

Stanford University

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

University of Colorado - Boulder

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

Oberlin College

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

Harvey Mudd College

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

Ohio State University

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

University of Southern California

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

Yale University

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
Best LGBT Colleges of 2015
1 Arizona State University Tempe, AZ
2 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
3 University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
4 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
5 University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA
6 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
7 University of California - Davis Davis, CA
8 University of California - Irvine Irvine, CA
9 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
10 Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
11 Iowa State University Ames, IA
12 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS
13 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
14 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
15 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
16 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
17 University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM
18 New York University New York, NY
19 University of Toledo Toledo, OH
20 Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, OH
21 Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA
22 University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
23 University of Washington Seattle, WA
24 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ
25 SUNY at Albany Albany, NY
26 University of Houston Houston, TX
27 University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA
28 University of California - Riverside Riverside, CA
29 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
30 American University Washington, D.C.