Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students in Every State Campus Pride Index

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According to Gallup, 3.8% of the population of the United States identifies as LGBTQ. While much of this population is concentrated on the two coasts of the United States, an increasing number of people who identify as LGBTQ are moving to more traditionally conservative towns in the hopes of finding more affordable living situations, away from the big cities. According to Consumer Affairs, cities including Indianapolis, Louisville, and Salt Lake City are becoming popular LGBTQ hotspots.

For students who don’t live close to these growing metropolitan areas, options may be slim when choosing an LGBTQ-friendly university to attend. While there are a number of great LGBTQ-friendly schools throughout the country, many students don’t have the opportunity to venture out of state to attend college. Some students can’t afford out of state tuition, and others want to stay close to family and friends.

For this reason, we have partnered with Campus Pride to rank the most LGBTQ-friendly college in each state. Campus Pride is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “develop, support and give “voice and action” in building future LGBT and ally student leaders.” Every university featured on this list has been hand vetted by our panel of experts from Campus Pride for their inclusion features to ensure that they represent the most positive option for LGBTQ youth in each state.

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Alabama

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, Alabama

With more than 38,000 students, the University of Alabama is both the largest and oldest college in the state. The school also receives praise as one of the most LGBTQ friendly colleges in the region. UA employs paid staffers to serve LGBTQ students and is home to a Gender Resource Center, which offers support to students and communities of all identities. UA’s campus boasts an active LGBTQ community, with dedicated student and ally groups and regular social activities and events that educate students on transgender issues, intersectionality, and sexual and gender identity. UA students can enroll in courses on a variety of LGBTQ topics, some of which are taught by LGBTQ faculty and staff. There's also the annual Lavender Graduation Ceremony, where LGBTQ graduates are recognized for their academic achievements and involvement in the local LGBTQ community.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Alaska

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Alaska Southeast Juneau, Alaska

Based in Juneau, the University of Alaska Southeast distinguishes itself among Alaska colleges for its LGBTQ inclusiveness toward both staff and students. Faculty and staff members at the college receive training on gender identity issues, and advisors and counselors are trained in trans-inclusive counseling practices. The school also demonstrates its institutional commitment to queer and transgender students through dedicated support services, including an LGBTQ resources center with paid staff members. The UAS campus is also a participant in the Safe Zone program, which trains staff and faculty to offer resources and assistance to students of all gender and sexual identities.

LGBTQ students who live on-campus can take advantage of the school's LGBTQ roommate matching and gender inclusive dorms, restrooms, and showering facilities. Residence and housing staff are also trained specifically to aid queer and transgender residents, making UAS one of the best colleges for LGBTQ on-campus residents in the state.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Arizona

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona

The University of Arizona is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state and is known as one of the best colleges for LGBTQ students in the Southwest. The school boasts strong campus resources, inclusive administrative and housing policies, and a strong focus on academic LGBTQ studies. UA is home to Wildcat Pride, an LGBTQ alumni group, as well as an Office of LGBTQ Affairs. In an effort to accommodate both queer and transgender students, the college offers a simple, convenient administrative process for changing name and gender identity information on student records.

UA's Tucson campus is home to the Institute for LGBT Studies, an interdisciplinary academic organization that promotes LGBTQ research, educational curricula, and public programming. Founded in 1993, the Institute draws funding from all of UA’s Arts and Sciences colleges to facilitate educational programs, speakers and events, research initiatives, and LGBTQ classes for UA students.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Arkansas

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Hendrix College Conway, Arkansas

Hendrix College is a small liberal arts school that serves more than 1,300 students each year on its campus in Conway, Arkansas. Hendrix ranks among the most LGBTQ friendly schools in the state in parts because of its four student groups that are dedicated to supporting queer and transgender students: Unity, an LGBTQ student and ally organization; Trans@HDX, which is dedicated to transgender and other gender nonconforming students; the Committee on Gender and Sexuality; and Students Advocating Gender Equality. The school also employs an LGBTQ services staff and offers gender-inclusive housing options and trans-friendly health insurance policies.

Students at Hendrix interested in LGBTQ studies can select a gender studies minor that draws from both the humanities and social sciences to analyze gender- and sexuality-related issues. Course options in the gender studies minor include anthropology of gender, gender and sexuality, issues in politics: gender, and psychology of gender.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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California

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Harvey Mudd College Claremont, California

Harvey Mudd College is a small liberal arts school that is part of the Claremont Colleges, a consortium of schools that share resources and encourage students to take courses at different member institutions. The school’s main academic focus is on mathematics, sciences, and engineering, although its relationship with other members means that students have the option to enroll in several courses on LGBTQ issues. Students can take advantage of several LGBTQ resources, including several student groups that serve the entire Claremont system.

The colleges also maintains a Queer Resource Center (QRC) that is dedicated to education, advocacy, and support. The QRC hosts events, offers counseling and other support services, and features a library of more than 1,200 LGBTQ books, movies, and textbooks that students can check out for free. Harvey Mudd also boasts gender-inclusive housing options and an LGBTQ mentoring program.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Colorado

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Colorado at Boulder Boulder, Colorado

Over the past two decades, CU Boulder has developed a reputation as one of the most LGBTQ friendly schools in Colorado due to its annual LGBTQ admissions fairs, gender-inclusive housing, an academic LGBTQ studies certificate program, and a dedicated LGBTQ resource center. Since 1995, CU Boulder’s Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) has offered a variety of support services to LGBTQ students, including information, community building, educational and cultural programming, and advocacy.

The GSC also hosts the TRANSforming Gender Conference, an annual gathering that focuses on advocacy and support for the transgender community and includes workshops, education sessions, panel discussions, and guest lectures. CU Boulder offers an undergraduate certificate in LGBTQ studies, which examines sexuality and sexual identity through lenses such as history, politics, psychology, art, literature, and sociology. This interdisciplinary program combines knowledge from a dozen academic departments and includes courses such as queer theory, psychology of gender and sexuality, and social construction of sexuality.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Connecticut

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Connecticut College New London, Connecticut

Connecticut College was founded in 1911 as a women's college and has always embraced diversity in its student body. Today, the New London-based schools is regarded as one of the best colleges for LGBTQ students in New England. Support for LGBTQ students begins even before enrollment, as the college actively participates in many LGBTQ admission fairs.

Conn offers gender-inclusive housing and an LGBTQ mentoring program for incoming freshman that helps them transition into academic and dorm life. Most of the school’s 1,800 students live on campus, and Conn boasts an active LGBTQ community with many social activities and events. Students can take advantage of the campus LGBTQIA Center, which offers a supportive space to study, socialize, and learn. The Center’s many resources include educational workshops, an extensive library, and leadership training sessions.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Delaware

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Delaware Newark, Delaware

Established in 1743, the University of Delaware is one of the oldest schools in the country. Today, the school's progressive policies have made it one of the top LGBTQ colleges in the Northeast. New UD students have the option to identify their sexual orientation on enrollment forms, and campus residents can take advantage of housing options specifically for LGBTQ students. The school also maintains a dedicated LGBTQ Program Coordinator to assist with campus advocacy, activism, and student support.

UD’s campus is home to several groups for queer and gender nonconforming students, including LGBTQ+ and Racial Justice Activism Living Learning Community, Haven, oSTEM, and specQtrum. The school also hosts a variety of educational and social events throughout the year. Undergraduates can pursue a sexualities and gender studies minor, an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the practices, perspectives, issues, and researching surrounding gender and sexuality.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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District of Columbia

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Georgetown University Washington, District of Columbia

Georgetown University is a prestigious private school located in Washington, D.C., that has taken major steps towards LGBTQ inclusion in the past decade. The school is home to a comprehensive LGBTQ Resource Center, which provides advocacy, education, support services, events, and programming for students, staff, and faculty. Guest speakers, events, and discussions often focus on the intersection of LGBTQ identity with spirituality, politics, race, and class. The Center also serves as a safe space and gathering place for students of all gender and sexual identities. In recent years, Georgetown's administration has made strides towards making the school more accommodating for transgender students, including the creation of a student insurance policy that includes hormone replacement therapy and an accessible policy to change name and gender identity on school records.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Florida

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida

The University of Central Florida is the largest college in the U.S. by enrollment with a student body of more than 64,000 students. UCF is also one of the best LGBTQ friendly schools in the country, thanks to its size and access to many different resources. Some of the schools many progressive measures include dedicated LGBTQ scholarships and a simple administrative process that allows students to change their name or gender identity on official school records.

The college also boasts an office of LGBTQ+ Services that connects students to resources, opportunities, and community events. In conjunction with the Multicultural Student Center, LGBTQ+ Services educates and advocates within the UCF community and explores the intersection of issues including race, class, gender, and sexual identity through programs and experiences. UCF also offers the Alliance Mentoring Program, which connects students to LGBTQ faculty and staff members who can provide academic, professional, and personal support.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Georgia

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Emory University Atlanta, Georgia

Emory University ranks as one of the nation's top private colleges and one of the most LGBTQ friendly schools in the country. One major on-campus resource is the Office of LGBT Life, which supports students of all sexual orientations and gender identities with the hope of creating an affirming campus environment. The office was founded in 1991 and engages the community through discussion groups, education sessions, and measures that raise awareness of LGBTQ individuals and issues on-campus.

Emory maintains a strong LGBTQ alumni network that offers additional support to students after graduation. Along with significant academic and community support, Emory accommodates LGBTQ students with progressive campus administration, including gender-inclusive housing and a trans-friendly student health insurance policy that offers coverage for hormone replacement therapy.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Hawaii

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu, Hawaii

UH Manoa is the flagship school of the University of Hawaii System and serves more than 20,000 students each year. The school is one of the best colleges for LGBTQ students in Hawaii thanks to its LGBTQ housing options, dedicated advisory committee that deals with LGBTQ issues, and its office of LGBTQ Student Services. The office is dedicated to creating a safe campus space and providing increased opportunities for LGBTQ students. The student services office functions as a gathering place for LGBTQ students, with lounges available for studying and hosting group meetings. The office is also a center of support that provides crisis response, Safe Zone training for LGBTQ allies, and space for conferences and events, including the school’s annual Rainbow Graduation for LGBTQ students and allies.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Idaho

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Idaho Moscow, Idaho

The University of Idaho is the state's flagship school and one of the most LGBTQ friendly colleges in the entire region. As part of its commitment to diversity and full inclusion, UI maintains a highly active LGBTQA Office that is dedicated to eliminating heterosexism, homophobia, cissexism, and other forms of gender identity oppression on its campus. The LGBTQA Office hosts regular events that focus on the intersectionality of LGBTQ identity, along with workshops and presentations that help educate the campus community. UI is also home to a Counseling and Testing Center that offers inclusive counseling services for students exploring issues of gender identity or sexual orientation. UI freshmen and transfer students can also take advantage of the school’s New Queer Student Mentoring Program, which connects mentees with returning students who can help them navigate the campus environment and acclimate to the college experience.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Illinois

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Northwestern University Evanston, Illinois

Northwestern University is one of the most prestigious private colleges in Illinois and is one of the best colleges for LGBTQ students in the Midwest. The school demonstrates its commitment to the LGBTQ community in many ways, including by offering trans-inclusive student health insurance (which covers hormone replacement therapy) and annual Lavender Graduation ceremony. NU is also home to a Gender and Sexualities Resource Center that offers a variety of support services to LGBTQ students.

NU is the site of the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, the nation’s first university research institute dedicated to LGBTQ health issues. The Institute was founded in 2016 and focuses its research programs on three main areas: the development of gender identity and sexual orientation, health interventions for sexual minorities, and the disparity in health and wellbeing for stigmatized populations, particularly LGBTQ populations.

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Indiana

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Indiana University, Bloomington Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana University Bloomington is the flagship institution in the state university system and offers support for LGBTQ students from the beginning of the enrollment process by allowing them to self-identify their gender on all registration and enrollment forms. LGBTQ students can also be housed in dorms that align with their gender identity. Students also have the option to live in the Spectrum Thematic Community, an intentional residential learning community for those interested in exploring the spectrum of gender and sexual identity. Though Spectrum is open to students of all gender and sexual identities, it operates in direct partnership with the IUB’s LGBTQ+ Culture Center and the gender studies department. The LGBTQ+ Culture Center itself serves as both an information center and a social gathering place where students can attend community events, connect with LGBTQ groups on campus, and browse a library filled with books, films, and zines.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Iowa

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Iowa Iowa City, Iowa

The University of Iowa has long been a progressive leader among U.S. colleges, becoming the first school to officially recognize an LGBTQ student organization in 1970 and the first to offer employee insurance benefits to domestic partners in 1993. Today, the college maintains that focus on inclusion and equality by actively working to employ LGBTQ faculty, recruit LGBTQ students, and provide LGBTQ-friendly career counseling.

The school’s LGBTQ Resource Center opened in 2006 and offers educational opportunities, leadership development, and a stronger sense of community to UI’s LGBTQ student population. The UI campus is also home to several LGBTQ student groups and advocacy organizations, including the UI Trans Alliance, the Safe Zone Project, and the Rainbow Alumni Network. Students at UI can pursue a degree in gender, women’s, and sexuality studies at the undergraduate or graduate level. These programs explore the intersection of gender, sexuality, class, race, nationality, and globalization.

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Kansas

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Kansas State University Manhattan, Kansas

Kansas State University is the oldest public college in the state and is one of the largest, with a student body of more than 22,000. K-State is praised as one of the most LGBTQ friendly schools in Kansas for its progressive housing policies and active LGBTQ community. The school’s LGBT Resource Center is a major part of its reputation, offering community building, social events, and a variety of education programs that are designed to foster productive conversations on issues of gender and sexual identity. K-State also hosts several organizations for LGBTQ students, including the Sexuality and Gender Alliance, the Gender Collective, and oSTEM, the national society for LGBTQ members of the science, technology, math, and engineering field. The college's commitment to LGBTQ students is also present in the housing department, which allows campus residents to work with the LGBT Resource Center to select housing options that best correspond with their gender identity and sexual orientation.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Kentucky

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Louisville Louisville, Kentucky

The University of Louisville wins praise as the best LGBTQ college in the state for its inclusive administrative policies, including gender neutral restrooms, and LGBTQ advisory committee, and a campus-wide initiative that sets goals for improving diversity and social practices through 2020. UofL is also home to a comprehensive LGBT Center that offers support to students, staff, faculty, alumni, and guests. Operating out of two campus offices, the LGBT Center serves as a space for community members of all sexual orientations and gender identities to learn and socialize together. The center also teaches students about available campus resources, including scholarships, academic opportunities, and bias incident response practices. One campus location in UofL’s Health Sciences Center offers health and wellness support for LGBTQ students and trains future healthcare providers to meet the needs of LGBTQ patients.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Louisiana

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana State University is the largest college in the state, but that doesn't keep the school from ensuring that LGBTQ students receive significant institutional support. LSU offers a variety of progressive initiatives, such as gender-inclusive housing for campus residents, dedicated LGBTQ counseling, and an academic LGBTQ studies minor. The LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs hosts the LGBTQ Project & Safe Space Campaign, a wide-ranging program that ensures campus safety and includes educational programming, professional development opportunities, advocacy work, and general resources for LGBTQ campus members.

LSU undergraduates can pursue a minor in LGBTQ studies, an 18-credit interdisciplinary program that focuses on the intersection of education, history, sociology, and women’s studies to examine different perspectives on gender and sexuality. The program draws on knowledge from several academic departments and includes courses such as student development and diversity, survey of feminist theory, and gender and American politics.

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Maine

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Bowdoin College Brunswick, Maine

Bowdoin College is a top liberal arts college and one of the most LGBTQ friendly colleges in New England. As part of its dedication to diversity and inclusion, Bowdoin’s Office of Admissions actively recruits LGBTQ students, offering helpful guides that cover queer and transgender life at the college and identify scholarship opportunities for LGBTQ students. Once enrolled, the school’s housing office offers roommate matching services for LGBTQ residents, making it easy for them to find the right fit. Bowdoin offers both LGBTQ advising and counseling services and maintains the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, which educates the campus community about gender identity and sexuality. The Resource Center hosts student discussion groups and organizations, social events, educational workshops, and guest speaking engagements, while also serving as a community gathering place and resource library.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Maryland

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Maryland, College Park College Park, Maryland

Located just miles from Washington, D.C., the University of Maryland is the largest college in the state and a popular LGBTQ college in the D.C. metropolitan area. The school boasts many progressive features, including inclusive career services, active student outreach, and a comprehensive LGBT Equity Center. The Equity Center offers several opportunities for LGBTQ students including internships, scholarships, campus resources guides, and training seminars.

First-year students can also take advantage of The One Project, a one-credit orientation course that helps new students connect with other LGBTQ community members and allies. UMD hosts several LGBTQ student organizations, including Theta Pi Sigma, a gender-neutral Greek social group, and SmithOUT and Smith Pride Alliance, two groups dedicated to LGBTQ representation in the college’s Smith School of Business. In these organizations, students can participate in numerous weekly discussion groups, which include options for students of color and female-identifying, asexual, and transgender students.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Massachusetts

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Tufts University Medford, Massachusetts

Tufts University is a prestigious private college that consistently ranks as one of the most LGBTQ friendly schools in the Northeast and in the entire country. The school receives praise for its inclusive campus resources, including the Rainbow House, which is a student dorm that offers a queer- and trans-friendly community, as well as an LGBT Center and progressive, trans-inclusive healthcare options. Tufts students receive care from staff trained in LGBTQ issues, and the school offers gender affirmation hormone treatment and assistance in identifying local surgeons who perform gender affirmation surgery.

The Tufts' LGBT Center was founded 25 years ago and offers a space for students and faculty to explore gender and sexuality through the lenses of academia, activism, and personal development. The center hosts student groups, educational programs and workshops, social events, and several campus resources for LGBTQ students, including scholarship opportunities and career counseling.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Michigan

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University of Michigan ranks as the top LGBTQ college in the state, with campus services that include gender-neutral restrooms, comprehensive ally programs, and the Spectrum Center, a collaborative space that offers support for LGBTQ students and staff. The Center provides several services and resources, including education workshops and training programs for LGBTQ students and allies, events and guest lectures, access to grants and scholarships, health services, and peer mentorship connections. For first-year and transfer students, UM offers the FreshPerspectives Cohort, a social group that helps new students connect socially and learn about the campus community.

The Spectrum Center maintains the Jim Toy Library, a 1,500-item collection encompassing books, magazines, videos, and music. UM also offers both an undergraduate minor and a graduate certificate in LGBTQ studies. The minor covers foundational topics in gender and sexuality, while the graduate certificate covers more advanced courses and includes a significant research component.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Minnesota

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Macalester College Saint Paul, Minnesota

Macalester College is a private liberal arts school that is recognized as one of the best LGBTQ colleges in the Midwest. The school offers a variety of resources for queer and transgender students, including LGBTQ housing options, counseling staffers trained in transgender inclusion, and the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC), which hosts special events and meetings for student LGBTQ groups. The GSRC helps connect students to campus resources for both personal and professional development, such as the Queer Professionals Network, which brings together LGBTQ students and alumni in the service of navigating business environments and sharing professional support. Social support groups at the school include the Queer Union, Macalester Reimagines Masculinity, and several identity collectives, such as the Trans Identity Collective, the Queer People of Color Collective, the Queer Women’s Identity Collective, and the Multisexual and Multiromantic Identity Collective. Macalester also operates the Out and Proud Online Community, a virtual space that helps increase visibility for LGBTQ staff and faculty.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Mississippi

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
The University of Mississippi Oxford, Mississippi

In 2016, the University of Mississippi (also known as Ole Miss) announced plans to convert a number of restrooms and changing rooms on-campus into gender-inclusive, single-occupancy units. The school is also reviewing its housing policy in order to be more accommodating to queer and transgender students.

Ole Miss is home to several organizations formed to create an atmosphere of respect and inclusivity for queer students. The Allies Program, part of the school's Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, offers trainings and networking events for students and faculty members. The University of Mississippi Gay-Straight Alliance works to 'increase tolerance and respect for individuals of all sexual orientations and identities' on campus and in the Oxford community. Additionally, the Chancellor's LGBTQ Advisory Committee works with university leaders to implement inclusive programs and policies.

The Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement also offers an annual Pride Camp, which takes place in August. This free networking event is designed to introduce students and faculty members of all backgrounds to LGBTQ+ organizations and allies on the Oxford campus.

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Missouri

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, Missouri

Washington University in St. Louis is a top LGBTQ college in the Midwest and has made great strides to support queer and transgender students on campus. Some of these initiatives include gender-inclusive campus housing, maintaining a standing LGBTQ advisory committee, and a Lavender Recognition ceremony, which celebrates the achievements of graduating LGBTQ students.

The college also hosts a center for LGBTQIA Campus Life, which helps connect students to academic, social, and professional resources. WashU is home to several groups for LGBTQ students and allies, and the school offers an annual overnight retreat for LGBTQ students, Destination Q, that allows participants to build social connections and explore issues of identity and leadership. WashU also hosts the annual James M. Holobaugh Award, which honors students, staff, and faculty who perform direct service or advocacy for the LGBTQ community. The Holobaugh Honors include seven awards that recognize contributions in different areas, including fine arts, leadership, intersectionality, academic exploration, and education.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Montana

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Montana State University Bozeman, Montana

Montana State University is the state’s largest and most LGBTQ friendly college. MSU is home to advocacy groups such as the Queer-Straight Alliance, offers gender-neutral restrooms and locker room facilities, and trains faculty and staff in LGBTQ-inclusive practices, including counseling and psychological services. The school also maintains a campus Diversity Awareness Office that is dedicated to promoting inclusion and increasing the understanding of diverse student identity groups, including the LGBTQ community.

The Awareness Office hosts events and educational programs, offers identity resources for students and faculty, and awards annual scholarships for LGBTQ students who embody leadership, citizenship, and activism. MSU also offers an LGBTQ Mentoring Program that connects experienced students, faculty, and staff members with new students and other members of the community who are looking for support. In this program, mentors introduce mentees to the campus culture and help new students connect with MSU’s LGBTQ community.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Nebraska

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, Nebraska

The University of Nebraska at Omaha is one of the state's largest colleges, with a student body of more than 15,000, and is one of the best for LGBTQ students. The school offers gender-neutral restrooms, LGBTQ-friendly housing, and a Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) that provides services and resources for students of all gender identities and sexual orientations. Founded in 2016, the GSRC organizes educational programming, social events, outreach work, safety services, and workshops to raise LGBTQ visibility and understanding in the campus community. The center also hosts the Queer and Trans Services Student Agency, a student group that provides LGBTQ programming and community health resources.

UNO ranks highly among the region’s LGBTQ friendly colleges for its undergraduate LGBTQ/sexuality studies minor, a 15-credit interdisciplinary program that examines sexual orientation and identity through the experiences and identities of queer and transgender individuals. UNO’s Criss Library houses the Queer Omaha Archives, which documents LGBTQ history in the city and region.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Nevada

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Nevada, Las Vegas Las Vegas, Nevada

In 2017, UNLV announced plans for Stonewall Suites, an all-LGBTQ residence hall located on the university's main campus in Las Vegas. All 35 rooms in the building were filled prior to the start of the 2017-18 academic year. UNLV also provides nearly 30 gender-inclusive, single-occupant bathrooms on its campus, including several found in residence halls. UNLV lists 16 different scholarship awards for LGBTQ students and allies, as well.

The university's Student Engagement & Diversity department offers 'Safe Zone trainings' aimed at promoting inclusivity and alliances within the student body, as well as the greater Las Vegas community. UNLV also features a 'Trans Lifeline' that offers support, encouragement, and advocacy for trans students. Other LGBTQ-friendly organizations found on the UNLV campus include Spectrum, the university's primary queer student organization, the Trans People of Color Coalition, and Outsports, an organization geared toward queer athletes.

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New Hampshire

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Dartmouth College Handover, New Hampshire

Dartmouth College has earned a 4.5 Campus Pride Index, due in part to its non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. The college also actively recruits employees from diverse backgrounds, including individuals who are out and visible.

Students at Dartmouth College can participate in internships with GLAAD, PFLAG, and other organizations that emphasize LGBTQ inclusivity and advocacy. The school offers 16 different scholarships for LGBTQ students, many of which are reserved for candidates in certain academic majors (such as journalism or psychology). Other programs include (GSX) Gender Equality XYZ, a group aimed at LGBTQ students as well as allies, and the Dartmouth IvyQ, which has partner groups at the other seven Ivy League schools. Dartmouth is also home to DGALA, an alumni association for LGBTQ graduates.

Dartmouth college allows students earning a bachelor's in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies to pursue a concentration in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies. The college also offers a wide selection of LGBTQ-oriented courses that tackle topics like the history of HIV and AIDS, hate crimes, queer literature, and 'the masculine mystique'.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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New Jersey

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University is one of the oldest higher learning institutions in the country and ranks as one of the top Ivy League LGBTQ colleges. The school’s LGBT Center serves as a comprehensive resource for students, staff, and faculty, providing a supportive space for all gender identities and sexual orientations. The center occupies many roles: providing educational programming and training, coordinating weekly events, facilitating workshops and panels, offering emotional and social support for Princeton’s LGBTQ community, and advising students in the academic exploration of LGBTQ issues.

The LGBT center also houses a resource room and library, a vast collection of books, films, periodicals, and other LGBTQ media. Additionally, Princeton's University Library is home to a substantial archive of LGBTQ studies material that dates back decades. Students can pursue a certificate in gender and sexuality studies at either the undergraduate or graduate level, which allows students to augment their chosen degree with an intersectional program that explores the spectrum of sexuality and gender in society.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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New Mexico

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of New Mexico Albuquerque, New Mexico

The University of New Mexico is the largest school in the state and one of the best LGBTQ colleges in the Southwest. UNM offers a roommate matching service that pairs students with other incoming LGBTQ students or allies. The school also offers dedicated housing for LGBTQ residents, creating a deeper sense of community from the moment students arrive on campus. UNM has instituted several other initiatives to accommodate LGBTQ students, including a mentoring program, LGBTQ-friendly Career Services, and a resource center.

UNM’s LGBTQ Resource Center emphasizes advocacy, education, safety, and support, providing resources and services for the school’s LGBTQ community. The center hosts social events, provides training and education opportunities, offers free health services, and houses a substantial LGBTQ library. Students can also utilize weekly counseling sessions available by appoint, with options for both group and one-on-one counseling.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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New York

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Cornell University Ithaca, New York

Cornell University is a prestigious Ivy League college that has a reputation as one of the most LGBTQ friendly colleges thanks to administrative measures such as gender-inclusive housing, ongoing training to prevent hate crimes, a trans-inclusive healthcare policy, and a simple process for students to change name or gender on school records. Cornell’s LGBT Resource Center was established in 1994 and has grown over the past two decades to encompass mentorship programs, internship opportunities, educational programming, and annual events that occur throughout the school year. Cornell offers the First Year Queer Peer, an immersion program for incoming freshman and transfer students that helps them adjust to the campus culture through social and academic events. Students can pursue a graduate or undergraduate minor in LGBT studies that examines cultural, social, historical, political, and artistic perspectives on gender and sexuality. Undergraduate students must enroll in four courses to complete the minor, while graduate students can design their own course of study.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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North Carolina

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Elon University Elon, North Carolina

Elon University is a private liberal arts college that serves around 6,700 students each year. Since 2013, Elon’s Gender & LGBTQIA Center has undertaken extensive efforts to increase services and resources for queer and transgender students, and the work has paid off — the school now ranks among the most LGBTQ friendly colleges in the South.

Elon has instituted several LGBTQ-friendly initiatives, including an LGBTQ Mentorship Program, updates to health services that include trans-inclusive training for staff, and a major increase in the number of gender-neutral restrooms around campus. The school also offers LGBTQ friendly housing in its Gender & Sexuality Living Learning Community, a dedicated advisory committee for LGBTQ issues, and a women's, gender, and sexualities studies minor. This minor includes over 80 different courses on gender and LGBTQ topics from 17 academic departments.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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North Dakota

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
North Dakota State University Fargo, North Dakota

North Dakota State University ranks as the top LGBTQ college in the state. NDSU’s Office of Gender and Sexual Diversity seeks to build and sustain an inclusive campus through collaboration with student groups, academic departments, school administration, and the community at large. The Office organizes education programs, support services, and the Safe Zone Ally Program, which works to increase safety for LGBTQ students through training and the creation of safe spaces around campus. NDSU’s support for LGBTQ students carries over to its residential housing policies, which offers roommate matching with other LGBTQ residents and allies.

Students can also take advantage of extensive counseling services, support groups, gender-neutral bathrooms, LGBTQ scholarships, and a Lavender Graduation reception honoring LGBTQ graduates. The Office of Gender and Sexual Diversity hosts an LGBTQ Resource Center that serves as a meeting space and holds a large collection of queer and transgender literature.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Ohio

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio

The Ohio State University is one of the largest colleges in the country, with a student body of more than 59,000 students. OSU is also one of the top LGBTQ colleges in the Midwest and offers substantial LGBTQ services, including gender-inclusive dorms and peer mentorship programs. OSU’s Multicultural Center organizes LGBTQ initiatives around four main areas: student cohort groups, leadership opportunities, education programs, and signature events.

These student groups include the QPOC Q*mmunity, which is dedicated to LGBTQ students of color, Q*mmunity Dialogues, which is dedicated to general community building and social justice, and the First Year Q*mmunity, which provides support to new OSU students through social events, discussion groups, and peer mentorship. Leadership development opportunities include retreats, seminars, workshops, and the LGBTQ Leaders Consortium, which brings together officers from several campus LGBT groups to share skills and knowledge. Education programs build allyship and LGBTQ visibility on campus, while events occur throughout the year and celebrate different aspects of LGBTQ culture. The Multicultural Center also hosts social events and guest speakers throughout the year.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Oklahoma

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus Norman, Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma is one of the state's top LGBTQ friendly colleges that boasts several resources, including counseling and support groups, a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy, and a dedicated resource center for LGBTQ students. OU's Gender and Equality Center (GEC) is dedicated to social justice, leadership opportunities, and diversity education. The center organizes various advocacy and education programs around campus, including health services, gender-based violence prevention, and social events. Much of the GEC’s programming is arranged by the LGBTQ Program Advisory Board, which includes both undergraduate and graduate students who interview for positions. The board is responsible for fostering a more tolerant campus environment and raising LGBTQ visibility and community awareness. One of the GEC’s major initiatives is the creation of peer education programs, which allow students to teach other students about LGBTQ issues. The GEC presents programs to student groups and at residence halls around the OU campus.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Oregon

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Oregon Eugene, Oregon

The University of Oregon is ranked as one of the most LGBTQ friendly colleges in the country and offers a multitude of resources and initiatives that benefit queer and transgender students. These initiatives include prospective student outreach, transition support, LGBTQ Education and Support Services, and regular training on queer and transgender identity for staff and faculty. UO offers several gender-inclusive housing options, including the Gender Equity Hall, which is specifically designed for students who are committed to gender diversity and inclusion.

The Gender Equity Hall is also home to the LGBTQIA+ Scholars, an academic residential community dedicated to collaborative living and learning. Students in the program pursue OU’s queer studies minor, an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the historical and cultural formation of sexuality. The LGBTQIA+ Scholars housing program allows students to build deeper connections by drawing connections between academic, community, and political life at OU.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Pennsylvania

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League college based in Philadelphia that receives praise for its many LGBTQ-friendly policies, including gender-neutral restrooms and housing, a simple process to change name and gender on student records, and a comprehensive LGBTQ resource center. Penn’s LGBT Center is one of the oldest in the country, with a history that spans over 35 years. Today, the Center serves as a social and political gathering place for the campus, hosting student groups, special events, education sessions, and a substantial library of LGBTQ books and other media. Outreach is another of the Center’s primary goals, with a Speakers Bureau comprised of trained LGBTQ and ally members that presents workshops and education sessions to other campus groups relating to queer and transgender experience on a wide variety of topics. The LGBT Center also operates a mentorship program that connects new students with trained mentors who offer advice on gender and sexual identity along with the challenges of college.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Rhode Island

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Bryant University Smithfield, Rhode Island

Bryant University’s profile as an LGBTQ college rose in 2015 after Chris Burns, an assistant basketball coach, made national news as the first male NCAA Division I coach to come out as gay. The school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion also extends to support services for LGBTQ students and a dedicated LGBTQ resource center. Bryant’s Pride Center offers a safe space for LGBTQ students and allies, serving as an information resource where students can learn about other campus services.

The Center works alongside Bryant Pride, a student LGBTQ organization, to raise queer and transgender visibility on campus. Along with community meetings and educational services, the Center hosts a library of LGBTQ material, including films and literature. Bryant students can enroll in a women, gender, and sexuality studies concentration or minor, which explores the construction of gender and sexual identity.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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South Carolina

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Clemson University Clemson, South Carolina

Clemson University is a public research college that ranks as the second-largest school in South Carolina. As one of the best colleges for LGBTQ students in South Carolina, Clemson works to accommodate queer and transgender students through a variety of campus services, programs, and advocacy efforts. These efforts include educational presentations and outreach work, ally training, and several student groups. The most prominent campus group is the Clemson University Sexuality and Gender Alliance, which holds weekly meetings and works to encourage awareness, inclusivity, and community.

Another important organization is the LGBTQ Task Force, which advises faculty, administration, staff, and students on LGBTQ matters and makes recommendations for campus policy and procedures. Clemson has also taken major steps to improve its healthcare offerings for transgender students, with health staff who have received trans-inclusive training, inclusive healthcare information, and a progressive student health insurance policy that offers both counseling and hormone replacement therapy.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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South Dakota

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
South Dakota State University Brookings, South Dakota

South Dakota State University is one of the largest schools in the state that receives praise as the top LGBTQ college in the state. SDSU boasts a counseling staff trained in trans-inclusivity, themed housing for LGBTQ students, and the Gender and Sexualities Alliance, a campus group for LGBTQ students that regularly presents educational workshops and coordinates social events on campus. The college also hosts a special graduation ceremony honoring the achievements of LGBTQ students. SDSU offers a minor in gender and women’s studies, which explores interdisciplinary perspectives on the development of sexuality, gender identity, and gender roles in society. This 18-credit program brings together academic departments as diverse as English, sociology, history, and psychology, and includes course options such as development of human sexuality, psychological gender issues, and sociology of gender roles.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Tennessee

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
Vanderbilt University Nashville, Tennessee

Vanderbilt University is one of the top LGBTQ friendly colleges in the South, which offers services that include a trans-friendly student health insurance policy, dedicated counseling services for LGBTQ students, and an LGBTQ resource center. The Office of LGBTQI Life creates cultural, educational, and social opportunities for Vanderbilt’s LGBTQ population, serving as a resource for students and an advisor for other LGBTQ student groups on campus. The Office holds workshops, training sessions, and other events that raise awareness of gender and sexual identity on campus.

Vanderbilt offers several options for women and gender studies, including an undergraduate major or minor and a graduate degree. These degrees explore the intersection of sexuality and gender through lenses such as politics, culture, and history and include courses on topics like sex in society, feminist approaches to gender and sexuality, and sex and gender in everyday life.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Texas

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, Texas

The University of Texas at Dallas is one of the most LGBTQ friendly colleges in the state thanks to its several progressive policy measures, including gender-neutral housing, an extensive non-discrimination policy that covers sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBTQ scholarships, inclusive counseling services, and inclusive student counseling services. UTD’s Galerstein Gender Center operates the LGBT+ Education, Advocacy & Programming (LEAP) initiative, which offers educational training and workshops for students, staff, and faculty members. LEAP also advises administrators on LGBTQ-friendly campus policies and offers Safe Zone training for allies. New staff and faculty at the college receive extensive training on gender identity and sexual orientation issues. UTD also offers an 18-credit interdisciplinary minor in gender studies that explores many LGBTQ-related topics through courses such as psychology of gender, gender and work, and human sexuality.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Utah

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Utah Salt Lake City, Utah

The University of Utah is the top LGBTQ college in the state, with policies and services for queer and transgender students that include LGBTQ-friendly housing options, gender-neutral restrooms, a Lesbian and Gay Student Union, and a well-funded LGBTQ Resource Center with paid staff. Utah's LGBT Resources Center emphasizes information, education, and advocacy on its quest to raise campus awareness related to issues like gender identity and sexual orientation.

The Center hosts educational workshops, lectures, and social events to inform the campus community and bring LGBTQ students and organizations together. It also offers leadership training and scholarship opportunities for LGBTQ students who are active in the community. Utah is deeply committed to transgender students, as demonstrated by its trans-inclusive health insurance policy (which covers hormone replacement therapy) and events such as the Trans Legal Clinic, which offers legal assistance for students attempting to legally change their name and gender.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Vermont

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Vermont Burlington, Vermont

The University of Vermont is one of the country's oldest colleges and is also one of the most LGBTQ friendly. The school has received praise thanks to its many progressive measures such as trans-inclusive student health insurance, LGBTQ-friendly housing options, an LGBTQ studies minor, and a dedicated LGBTQ resource center. The LGBTQA Center serves as a hub for the campus LGBTQ community, connecting UVA students to activities, events, community resources, advocacy opportunities, and information on LGBTQ-related topics. UVM offers several options for students who are interested in LGBTQ studies, including an undergraduate major and minor in gender, sexuality, and women's studies, as well as a minor in sexuality and gender identity studies. While the major focuses on a variety of topics in gender and sexuality, the sexuality and gender identity studies minor allows students to study specific LGBTQ issues, with courses on LGBTQ politics and history, sociology of sexualities, and queer lives: LGBTQ history.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Virginia

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia

The University of Virginia is the state's flagship college that serves more than 22,000 students annually. UVA also distinguishes itself as one of the most LGBTQ friendly schools in the state through measures such as gender-neutral restrooms, LGBTQ housing options, and inclusive career services. UVA’s LGBTQ Center and LGBTQ Student Services both support queer and transgender students on campus by hosting educational programming, events, and workshops. The LGBTQ Center serves as a gathering place, event space, study lounge, and a library stocked with LGBTQ reading materials.

Student Services at UVA is responsible for coordinating a range of events and programming, include Safe Space training for LGBTQ allies, queer health talks, and the LGBTQ Speakers Bureau. The LGBTQ Speakers Bureau is comprised of students, faculty, and staff who volunteer their time to educate UVA students on LGBTQ issues through educational panel discussions. LGBTQ students can also take advantage of several award and scholarship opportunities that recognize academic achievement and community involvement.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Washington

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Washington Seattle, Washington

The University of Washington ranks among the most LGBTQ friendly schools in the state, with campus services that include roommate matching for LGBTQ students, dedicated counseling services, and a progressive policy of support for LGBTQ victims of sexual and domestic violence. UW is also home to the Q Center, a student-run LGBTQ resource center that employs three paid staff members. Founded in 2005, the Q Center offers education sessions, policy advocacy, events and programming, and collaboration opportunities for other LGBTQ student groups on campus. Students also benefit from professional and academic support, including leadership development and the Queer Mentorship Program.

UW offers a graduate certificate in sexuality and queer studies, which explores methods of social and cultural critique from a queer perspective. The 20-credit certificate includes one required course, queer desires, that examines the politics of sexuality. Students complete the remaining credits with a selection of advanced elective courses from a wide variety of academic disciplines, such as communications, gender studies, English, and history.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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West Virginia

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
West Virginia University Morgantown, West Virginia

West Virginia University receives praise from LGBTQ groups for its inclusive housing policies, gender-neutral restrooms, and trans-inclusive counseling services. The school is also home to the revamped LGBTQ+ Center that serves as the physical and intellectual hub of LGBTQ activities on campus. The Center coordinates educational programming and outreach services, provides academic support for students, and advocates for LGBTQ community members both on and off campus. The Center is also home to the WVU LGBT Commission, which advises the school on policy and works to highlight the contributions of the college’s LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff members. LGBTQ students can use the Center as a study space and a meeting site for campus groups. They can also take advantage of unique services like the LGBTQ mentorship program and the annual Lavender Graduation ceremony.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Wisconsin

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Eau Claire, Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire is recognized as one of the best colleges for LGBTQ students in the Midwest. UWEC receives praise for its generous selection of LGBTQ services and resources, including inclusive housing policies, easy name and gender changing processes for student records, and both a Gender & Sexuality Resource Center and an LGBTQ Resource Center with paid staffers. Known as The Bridge, UWEC’s LGBTQ center is dedicated to event coordination, resource referral, and active outreach, working to educate the college community at large and increase support for LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty.

UWEC also offers an undergraduate certificate in LGBTQ studies, which provides students a broad perspective on queer theory, sexual identity, and gender identity. The certificate requires a minimum of 12 credits, with two required three-credit courses: perspectives in LGBTQ studies and queer theories and sexual politics. Students complete the certificate by choosing from several additional courses, including sociology of sexualities, psychology of women, and topics in LGBTQ studies.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

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Wyoming

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
University of Wyoming Laramie, Wyoming

The University of Wyoming is the top LGBTQ college in the state, receiving praise for its LGBTQ student organizations, an inclusive housing policy, a campus Safe Zone policy, extensive LGBTQ library collections, and the Rainbow Resource Center that serves LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff. The Center hosts the annual Shepard Symposium on social justice and offers various other services and resources, including a lending library, LGBTQ scholarships, and counseling.

UW offers a queer studies minor at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, allowing students to explore the history and theory of sexuality with a focus on LGBTQ issues. This interdisciplinary program encompasses several academic disciplines, including literature, culture studies, sociology, and gender studies. Undergraduate students must enroll in 18 credits of coursework with one required class on LGBTQ/NS studies. Graduate students must enroll in 12 credits of coursework with one require course in queer theory.

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Meet our panel of experts from Campus Pride who hand-picked the most inclusive college in each state for LGBTQ students.

Genny Beemyn, Ph.D.

Genny Beemyn, Ph.D.

Genny is the director of the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, co-chair of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBTQ Resource Professionals, and a board member of the Transgender Law and Policy Institute. Beemyn has published and spoken extensively on transgender college students and trans-inclusive campus policies.
Susan R. Rankin, Ph.D.

Susan R. Rankin, Ph.D.

Susan is a Research Associate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education and Assistant Professor of Education in the College Student Affairs Program at The Pennsylvania State University. Rankin’s current research focuses on the assessment of institutional climate and providing program planners and policy makers with recommended strategies to improve the campus pride for under-served communities. More info online at Rankin Consulting at www.rankin-consulting.com.
Shane L. Windmeyer, M.S., Ed.

Shane L. Windmeyer, M.S., Ed.

Shane is a leading author on gay campus issues, national leader in gay and lesbian civil rights and a champion for LGBTQ issues on college campuses. He is cofounder and executive director of Campus Pride. Windmeyer is also the author of The Advocate College Guide for LGBTQ Students, the first-ever college guide profiling the “100 Best LGBTQ-Friendly Campuses.” More info online at www.shanewindmeyer.com.

Students have many reasons for choosing a college or university in their home state. Some prefer to attend a school that is reasonably close to their family, with many online learners opt to live with their parents or guardians in order to save money while earning a degree. Others may choose to study at an in-state school so they can take courses with friends from high school. The three factors listed below are also important considerations for students when deciding whether to attend an in-state or out-of-state institution:

  • In-state tuition costs: Historically, colleges and universities have offered lower tuition rates to in-state students and charge higher tuition rates to out-of-state students. However, a growing number of institutions offer a flat tuition rate to all online students, regardless of their residency status.
  • College services and facilities: Online students are often invited to use the on-campus resources at their college or university. These resources include libraries, gyms and athletic centers, in-person counseling services, and extracurricular clubs and organizations that hold live meetings and host networking events.
  • Name recognition and affiliation: Many schools have a reputation for producing strong job candidates in certain industries, such as healthcare, education, business or STEM fields. Therefore, a degree from one of these institutions can greatly benefit graduates in their job search. Students should also look into the alumni network of each potential school to learn about the school’s connections within the local, state, and national business communities.

Top 10 States for Percentage of LGBT Individuals with College Education

State Percentage of LGBT Individuals with College Education
District of Columbia 72%
Massachusetts 51%
Rhode Island 49%
Vermont 49%
Maryland 44%
Colorado 44%
Washington 43%
New York 43%
Minnesota 41%
Maine 41%

Source: Williams Institute

All prospective college students face several important considerations when it comes to choosing the right online degree program. The overall cost of education ― including tuition and fees, housing, and transportation ― is a major factor. Program format is also key, as some online programs are self-paced while others follow a traditional academic schedule. Applicants are also encouraged to look into program length, degree subject availability, and learning resources that are offered to online students.

LGBTQ students face additional challenges when selecting a college or university, such as institution type. According to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, all colleges and universities that receive federal funding are prohibited from discriminating against any students based on their sexual orientation. However, this law does not extend to private colleges that are governed by religious organizations. A school’s location is another factor, since certain states have enacted discriminatory laws targeting LGBTQ populations in recent years.

The following factors are also key considerations when considering the best colleges for LGBTQ students:

LGBTQ Campus Safety All campuses strive to create a safe and respectful learning environment for all of their students. However, the most LGBTQ-friendly schools outline clear policies and reporting procedures for incidents involving abuse, harassment, and other crimes against students based on their sexual orientation and/or gender expression. Schools that fail to highlight these details may not be suitable options for LGBTQ students.

LGBTQ Housing In recent years a large number of colleges and universities have adopted ‘gender-inclusive housing’ policies, which state that any student living on campus can live with a roommate of either gender; these policies are seen as a way of minimizing discrimination against transgender learners. According to Campus Pride, 263 colleges and universities in the U.S. offer gender-inclusive housing.

LGBTQ-Friendly Policies Most schools have anti-discrimination policies regarding sexual orientation, but a growing number have also adopted policies aimed at curbing discrimination against transgender students. Campus Pride reports that 1,036 colleges and universities currently have anti-discrimination policies that include gender expression.

Counseling and Mental Health Opportunities Counseling services are a standard offering at any college or university, but some schools have counseling wings dedicated to LGBTQ students. In some cases, these departments feature counselors and other staff who also identify as LGBTQ.

The U.S. government has enacted a variety of laws designed to protect minority groups ― including LGBTQ individuals ― from discrimination. These include the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was passed in 2009 to help the federal government study hate crimes more closely and prosecute offenders that have not been pursued by local authorities. There’s also the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a law which prohibits discrimination against students of any age on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation.

However, the 50 states vary considerably in terms of state-level laws and policies regarding the discrimination and treatment of LGBTQ individuals. For instance, less than half of all states have introduced ‘enumerated anti-bullying laws’ designed to protect students from verbal or physical abuse based on sexual orientation and gender identity. According to records published by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the District of Columbia and a total of 17 states have enumerated such anti-bullying laws: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The remaining 33 states do not have any enumerated anti-bullying laws on the books.

Anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ students are another variable. GLSEN notes that the District of Columbia and 13 states currently have laws protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender expression: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Additionally, Wisconsin has laws protecting individuals against discrimination based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity. The remaining 36 states have not passed anti-discrimination laws regarding LGBTQ students.

Finally, it should be noted that certain states have passed laws that prohibit teachers from discussing LGBTQ issues ‘in a positive light’. In fact, in some cases these laws mandate that such subjects should be taught in a negative light. Seven states have these laws on the books: Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. Utah also had these laws until they were recently repealed in 2017. Additionally, the states of Missouri and South Dakota have passed legislation that explicitly prohibits the adoption of enumeration anti-bullying laws.

There are a variety of resources that prospective and current LGBTQ students can access online. The list below represents a small sample of the articles, databases, and other tools that are available to LGBTQ college students. For more information, please contact your school’s LGBTQ center.

Resources for LGBTQ Youth By State

Lambda Legal is a nonprofit organization that provides legal advocacy for members of the LGBTQ community. This comprehensive list includes a wide range of online and in-person resources offered by the organization.

LGBTQ Youth Centers by State

This database from the Centers for Disease Control lists more than 30 reports, pamphlets, and other publications aimed at LGBTQ youth, parents, teachers, school administrators, and allies.

Scholarships For LGBTQ Students

This extensive collection of financial aid opportunities includes LGBTQ scholarships and grants of varying amounts. Many of these awards are reserved for certain academic majors or niche LGBTQ subsects.

LGBTQ Student Guide

This how-to tutorial for LGBTQ college applicants includes tips and strategies for researching schools and programs, contacting academic officials, and determining how ‘LGBTQ-friendly’ an institution is using various metrics.

The Campus Pride Ultimate Queer College Guide

Campus Pride offers this useful guide for researching school policies, programs, organizations, and resources and determining whether they are beneficial or detrimental for LGBTQ students.

Effective LGBTQ Strategies for a Safer, More Welcoming Campus

Campus Pride tackles the subject of increased campus safety with this guide that includes strategies for evaluating school policies, implementing educational programs, promoting LGBTQ events, and remaining safe on- and off-campus.

Transgender Membership in Fraternities & Sororities and Title IX

While Title IX protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation, the law does not yet cover gender expression ― a key concern for transgender students. This proposal from Campus Pride examines ways for members of fraternities and sororities to promote inclusion and tolerance of transgender students.

Campus Pride’s 2017 Best of the Best Top 25 LGBTQ-friendly Colleges & Universities

Every year, Campus Pride unveils a list of the 25 best U.S. schools for LGBTQ students. This year’s ranking features schools in 16 states, including historically conservative ones like Indiana, Kentucky, and North Carolina.