The Best Colleges for LGBTQ+Students 2021

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By Staff Writers

Published on August 2, 2021

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Reviewed by Genny Beemyn, Ph.D., and Shane L. Windmeyer, M.S., Ed., Campus Pride


How to Choose an LGBTQ+ Friendly College | LGBTQ+ Student Protections | Meet Campus Pride | School Ranking | Our Experts


According to a 2010 study conducted by Campus Pride, LGBTQ+ faculty members and students were significantly more likely to experience harassment than their cisgender, heterosexual peers.

In addition, LGBTQ+ students and faculty members were significantly less likely to feel comfortable with their environment on campus.

These findings demonstrate the need for colleges to take an active stance against LGBTQ+ harassment and discrimination ― a stance that will help LGBTQ+ students feel safer and more welcomed.

Each year, BestColleges partners with Campus Pride to highlight the best colleges in the country for LGBTQ+ students.

The ranking below combines the BestColleges academic and affordability metrics for school rankings with the Campus Pride Index score for each college.

What are the best colleges for LGBTQ+ Students? Here are our top 10:

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Campus Pride Index logo

In Partner with BestColleges.com

Rank School Campus Pride Rating
1 Stanford University

2 Princeton University

3 University of Washington

4 University of Pennsylvania

5 Tufts University

6 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

7 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

8 University of Maryland - College Park

9 Lehigh University

10 Harvey Mudd College

The Campus Pride Index is a comprehensive national rating system that measures LGBTQ-friendly campus life.

Campus Pride takes a multifaceted approach, considering factors in eight LGBTQ+-inclusive categories to reach a measurement. Each listing in the Index also includes descriptions of unique campus resources that provide support to LGBTQ+ students.

A Note on the Use of “LGBTQ+” in the Campus Pride Index

LGBTQ+ is not a comprehensive abbreviation. 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) and gender non-conforming (GNC).

Terminology 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.

As LGBTQ+ populations have historically been underserved by the education system, many college administrations are spearheading efforts themselves to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ identities and create policies that meet the needs of students with a wide range of gender and sexual identities.

What Makes a College LGBTQ+ Friendly? with Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride Executive Director

Transcript

So I think that any campuses that wants to get started being LGBT inclusive or wants to kind of measure where they are at for LGBTQ inclusion — that's why we provide the Campus Pride Index.

It's an online tool that provides about 80 different benchmarks around LGBTQ inclusion and by taking that assessment tool you're able to lead with an action plan.

My name is Shane Windmeyer. I am the executive director, I am the founder of Campus Pride. Campus Pride started in 2001 when myself and a few of my colleagues who were younger professionals in higher education decided that there needed to be a website, a clearinghouse, for LGBTQ+ students who were looking to create change to make their campuses better.

So we started an organization online called "Campus Pride Net" and it was really a clearinghouse of resources for LGBT young people. And it wasn't until 2006-2007 when I published a book called &ldquol;The Advocate College Guide," that was the first time ever that we've had a comprehensive look at what does it take to be LGBT friendly.

I think we have reached a time in 2020 where colleges want to be LGBTQ friendly but they don't necessarily know what that means especially when it comes to transgender or bisexual or middlesexuality. And often colleges think that by having a LGBTQ club or a gay pride event on campus or maybe even a drag show that somehow that makes them gay friendly or queer friendly.

And while those programs or those events are important it's about the policies, the programs, and the practices of the campus that create the foundation for campuses to truly be authentic and have meaningful engagement with LGBTQ people and to create that sense of safety that every family or parent or young person wants as an LGBTQ person going to college.

As part of the ranking that we do with BestColleges, we're really taking the data from the Campus Pride Index and what the Campus Pride Index does is it has eight different, what we call LGBTQ friendly factors. Which are eight different areas of campus from housing to campus safety, to academics, to student life, and it looks at these factors and in these factors there's best practices. Or a research foundation of programs and policies that create that environment for LGBTQ inclusion. And so some of those might be having a mentorship program for LGBTQ students.

Possibly it's having gender inclusive policies when it comes to health insurance. So having gender affirmation covered as part of the health plan. It could be having a student club for transgender students or LGBTQ students.

I think it's real important to think about the signals that it takes for an LGBTQ student to kind of get the message that they're welcome and that they're included. That we have out LGBT resident advisors, that we have orientation folks that are out. You should have LGBTQ people just as you do other aspects of diversity in everything you do on campus.

That includes queer people, LGBTQ language that calls out transgender lives and their experiences. That talks about bisexuality, talks about being gay, uses the term "LGBTQ+".

It is so simple for people to think, 'Oh, I have a rainbow flag' or 'I have a safe space program and we have a safe space sticker on my door' as a faculty member. Those are important signals to send a signal of inclusion but oftentimes our signals are also sent in what we say and what we don't say as administrators, as staff, as faculty, as fellow students.

And so when we talk about diversity, we need to talk about diversity in an intersectional manner making sure that they understand that people of color are latinx or are african american students. Making sure that there are services that are intersectional for those LGBTQ people of color or those queer people of color.

And so we try to look at it from a policy, program and practice perspective. In higher education we can no longer have these silos of 'we're doing LGBTQ student work', 'okay, we're doing international student work', 'okay, we're doing african american work', or 'we're doing latinx community work'. I mean these communities are intersectional and we have to start approaching them that way

I think there's an assumption that every college campus is a bastion of LGBTQ progress and that queer people run the campus and everything is rainbows and unicorns but in reality its only about a quarter to 30% of colleges in this country have inclusion when it comes to sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy.

So what that means is that there are roughly 60-70% of colleges out there that don't even have a basic policy that says that they don't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Now when we look at transgender or gender identity that number drops even lower.

And so it's important that you ask about policies. Its also important that you ask about the programs that they have for trans, for bisexual, for LGB … The whole spectrum of the "Rainbow Community" as you might call it, on a college campus.

It's also important to note that there are colleges, sadly, that call themselves religious that openly discriminate against LGBTQ young people. Meaning that they have policies through Title IX that says they can discriminate towards someone for being transgender or gay, for being out on campus. And so you want to make sure you don't go to any of those campuses even though you may have strong religious beliefs.

We are in a time where just because you're Christian or whatever religion you believe in, that is not synonymous with not being LGBTQ inclusive. So, it's kind of tricky because there are many religious schools out there that have created an affirming, welcoming space for LGBTQ people but there are many that also openly discriminate or don't tell you until you really dig deep.

I think at the end of the day, it is about doing your research. Just like if you want to be a scientist, you want to find campuses that support science. So if you want to be an LGBTQ out person on a campus, you want to find campuses that are going to be supportive of you being your authentic self.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How to Choose the Right College for LGBTQ+ Students

In recent years, a growing number of young adults have begun to openly identify as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) community.

A 2020 study by the American College Health Association (ACHA) found that, out of a sample of more than 8,000 undergraduate students, 21% identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, asexual, pansexual, or questioning.

Many of the country's colleges and universities have taken measures to ensure that LGBTQ+ students feel safe and respected.

Learn five LGBTQ+-friendly features students should look for in a college.

According to the Consortium of Higher Education Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Professionals, more than 150 postsecondary institutions in the U.S. currently offer professionally staffed LGBTQ+ centers, and organizations like Campus Pride evaluate different schools based on how 'LGBTQ+-friendly' they are.

LGBTQ+ students are encouraged to research different schools based on the following criteria, in addition to academics, affordability, and other general factors included in a college search.

LGBTQ+ Campus Safety

Every campus has a nondiscrimination policy that bans harassment and abuse against students, staff, and faculty. But discrimination against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity is not always included. Nor does every college have staff who are trained to support LGBTQ+ people who have exerienced harassment and discrimination.

LGBTQ+ Housing

To provide supportive housing for trans students, many colleges are moving toward gender-inclusive residence halls. Campus Pride reports that more than 250 colleges and universities currently offer 'gender-inclusive housing', which enables any student to have a roommate of any gender. Furthermore, students may feel more comfortable at schools that openly support LGBTQ+ students in their housing information materials.

LGBTQ-Friendly Policies

According to Campus Pride, more than 1,000 postsecondary institutions in the U.S. have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender expression. At the opposite extreme, the organization also maintains a 'shame list' of schools that 'openly discriminate against LGBTQ+ youth and/or have requested Title IX exemptions to perpetuate the harms of religion-based bigotry'.

Counseling and Mental Health Services

In addition to organizations and policies that strive to create an inclusive atmosphere for LGBTQ+ students, many colleges and universities currently offer counseling options aimed at these individuals. These therapists often identify as LGBTQ+ themselves.

How are LGBTQ+ Students Protected Today?

Before attending a college or university in the U.S., LGBTQ+ students should be aware of their legal rights.

The following acts have been passed within the last decade in order to provide more protection and advocacy for all LGBTQ+ individuals, including college students.

Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hates Crimes Prevention Act

A federal law passed in 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was named for two hate crime victims: Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming who was murdered in 1998; and James Byrd, Jr., an African-American man killed by white supremacists the same year.

The act provides more leeway for federal law enforcement officials to investigate crimes that local authorities have dismissed or closed, allocates funding to aid the prosecution of hate crime perpetrators, and requires the FBI to maintain statistics regarding hate crime incidence rates for different vulnerable groups.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination of any individual attending a federally funded educational program. These programs include public colleges and universities, as well as elementary and secondary schools and vocational training programs offered by individuals or organizations that receive federal financial assistance. This law does not extend to private undergraduate colleges or private schools that are controlled by religious organizations.

Anti-discrimination Laws

In addition to federal measures like the two listed above, many nondiscrimination laws exist at the state level. Lambda Legal, a nonprofit organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ civil rights, highlights some of these nondiscrimination laws, which can be found here. You can also check your state government website to see what additional protections exist for LGBTQ+ students.

What is Campus Pride?

Campus Pride was founded in 2001 as an online networking community known as Campus PrideNet; the current name was adopted in 2006.

Campus Pride abides by a mission to serve "LGBTQ and ally student leaders and campus organizations in the areas of leadership development, support programs and services to create safer, more inclusive LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities."

The organization's projects and initiatives are concentrated in five core values: social justice, youth voice and action, empowerment, positive change, and diversity.

How Can Students Utilize Campus Pride?

One of Campus Pride's most noteworthy initiatives, the Lambda 10 Project, was launched to 'heighten the visibility' of LGBTQ+ students in fraternities and sororities.

The success of Lambda 10 has led to the creation of other projects centered around LGBTQ+ members of the Greek community, including the Out & Greek Conference and the Greek Ally Network.

Campus Pride produces the Campus Pride Index, which awards star ratings (scaled one to five) to colleges based on their LGBTQ+ supportive policies, LGBTQ+ student resources, and other criteria.

Campus Pride also maintains the shame list, a directory of 'the worst campuses for LGBTQ+ youth'.

How Can Students Get Involved With Campus Pride?

Students can get involved with Campus Pride in several ways.

The organization offers 'Stop the Hate' training programs that are intended to reduce the number of discrimination incidents and hate crimes on college campuses.

Students can also download the 'Lil' Purple Backpack', a comprehensive resource guide regarding laws, organizations, and advocacy programs for LGBTQ+ students. This guide is available for free.

Other activities and opportunities include job and career fairs, online training, internships, and Camp Pride, a leadership academy for LGBTQ+ undergraduate students.

More Campus Pride Resources for LGBTQ+ College Students

Learn More About One Top College For LGBTQ+ Students: University of Washington

We sat down with Founder and Director, Jen Self, and Associate Director, Jaimée Marsh, of the Q Center at the University of Washington to talk about the development of their program and the work they do with LGBTQ+ students and allies. Check out what they’re doing right!


Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students 2021

Stanford University View School Profile Stanford, CA

Stanford has a long history of involvement in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Founded in 1971, the Gay People Union eventually became Stanford Pride — an organization committed to providing support for the LGBTQ+ community and acting as the voice for its members in university matters. The school has also made progress in becoming gender inclusive in all areas.

Through Stanford's Queer Student Resources, students can find information on various LGBTQ+ communities, student spaces, and wellness and healing services. This site also connects learners with LGBTQ+ awards and fellowships and resources for counseling, transitioning, and public safety. Stanford received five stars on the Campus Pride Index, scoring particularly high on academic life, campus safety, and counseling and health services.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 4%
  • Graduation Rate: 94%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,996 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $55,473

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Princeton University View School Profile Princeton, NJ

In 1989, Princeton began officially organizing LGBTQ+ student activities. With the help of the LGBT Center, the school supports sexual and gender diversity and inclusion through advocacy, educational programs, and safe spaces for organizations and individuals. Princeton offers an array of events, resource rooms, and training sessions and workshops on all matters concerning the LGBTQ+ community.

Students have access to learning materials and other LGBTQ+ resources, community events and presentations, and various student-run organizations. Among the many campus initiatives, the LGBT Center runs peer outreach and mentorship programs. Princeton received five stars on the Campus Pride Index, earning perfect grades in support and institutional commitment, student life, and campus safety.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 5%
  • Graduation Rate: 96%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,422 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $56,010

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
University of Washington View School Profile Seattle, WA

Opening in 2005, UW's Q Center provides support, mentorship, and access to resources for LGBTQ+ students. The organization also consults the school on the needs of its students, develops programs, and helps grow the services provided on campus. LGBTQ+ learners enjoy access to social groups, along with leadership development, mentoring, queer 101 classes, and professional ally training.

UW also runs a Lavender Graduation for its LGBTQ+ students, discussion groups, and presentations. The Q Center's resource repository offers access to mental health, legal advice, and policy information and contacts. UW earned five stars on the Campus Pride Index, scoring perfect in most categories, including LGBTQ policy inclusion and recruitment and retention efforts.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 49%
  • Graduation Rate: 84%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 32,046 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $11,745

  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
University of Pennsylvania View School Profile Philadelphia, PA

Founded in 1982, Penn's LGBT Center is one of the oldest centers of its kind in the country. The center advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, supports students and members, and celebrates campus diversity and successes. The center hosts more than 25 student organizations and various events, both on campus and online.

Among the many resources available, LGBTQ+ students can access mentor and outreach programs, professional ally training, and program funding. The school also hosts the LGBT Center Library and wellness services. Penn received five stars on the Campus Pride Index, with perfect scores in policy inclusion, student life, and counseling and health.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 8%
  • Graduation Rate: 95%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 11,872 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $53,166

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Tufts University View School Profile Medford, MA

Tufts' LGBT Center represents its LGBTQ+ students by offering advocacy, support services, and programs all year round. In addition to providing a safe space for community members, the center runs counseling services, peer education groups, and workshops to improve campus and classroom environments and communication. Degree-seekers can also pursue program options in gender and sexuality studies.

Tufts hosts discussion groups, graduate organizations, and staff and faculty pride groups. LGBTQ+ students can live and hang out at various special interest housing facilities, such as the Rainbow House. Earning five stars on the Campus Pride Index, Tufts received perfect scores in the academic life and housing and residence life categories.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 15%
  • Graduation Rate: 93%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,907 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $61,646

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: New England Commission on Higher Education
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor View School Profile Ann Arbor, MI

Going through several name changes since its creation in 1970, U-M's Spectrum Center officially became the first staff office for LGBTQ+ students in a college or university in the country in 1971. The center strives to improve accessibility for all students, fight oppression, collaborate with the school to boost inclusivity, and provide education and leadership to students.

U-M's Spectrum Center developed an ally training program in 2005; helped implement gender-neutral housing policies; and helped create drop-in centers, support groups, and nearly 20 student organizations. LGBTQ+ students can access a specialized library, grants and fellowships, and an undergraduate minor and a graduate certificate program in LGBTQ studies.

U-M earned five stars on the Campus Pride Index, receiving top marks in the areas of support and institutional commitment, LGBTQ housing, and counseling.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 23%
  • Graduation Rate: 92%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 31,266 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $15,948

  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Massachusetts Institute of Technology View School Profile Cambridge, MA

Though they were not officially recognized until 1998, MIT's first LGBTQ+ student group was formed in 1969, making it one of the earliest in the country. More than 50 years later, LBGTQ@MIT offers many services and programs to LGBTQ+ students, including a Lavender Graduation, movie nights, and various events and presentations throughout the year.

LGBTQ+ students can access women's and gender studies programs, queer and ally educational tools, and educational and professional development funding. They can also visit the Rainbow Lounge — a safe and welcoming recreational and resource space that dates back to 1975. MIT earned 4.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index, including perfect grades on policy inclusion, LGBTQ housing, and academic life.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 7%
  • Graduation Rate: 94%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 4,530 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $55,510

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: New England Commission on Higher Education
University of Maryland - College Park View School Profile College Park, MD

With the help of the LGBT Equity Center, UMD seeks to embrace diversity by building a fully inclusive campus, establishing policies that address the needs of the LGBTQ+ community, and providing improved access to resources for all students. UMD's LGBTQ+ learners can join numerous specialized student organizations, support groups, and leadership committees.

UMD offers students access to an LGBT equity library, internships, scholarships and grants, and various events dedicated to celebrating this vibrant community. Degree-seekers can pursue a certificate and undergraduate minor in LGBT studies, as well. UMD received five stars on the Campus Pride Index, earning high marks for recruitment efforts, counseling, and campus safety.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 47%
  • Graduation Rate: 86%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 30,511 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $8,824

  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Lehigh University View School Profile Bethlehem, PA

Since the forming of its first LGBTQ+ organization in 1972, Lehigh has greatly expanded its services and programs for the community. Resources include the ally program (formed in 1997), the Rainbow Room lounge (which opened in 2005), more than 50 gender-inclusive bathrooms, and gender-inclusive housing (since 2018).

Lehigh's Pride Center runs training and mentorship programs, hosts support groups and student organizations, and offers learners access to the Pride Library. The center also fights for prison abolition, racial justice, and disability justice. Lehigh received five stars on the Campus Pride Index, including perfect marks for LGBTQ academic life, student life, and campus safety.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 22%
  • Graduation Rate: 87%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,178 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $56,980

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Harvey Mudd College View School Profile Claremont, CA

Harvey Mudd's LGBTQ+ students have been organizing since the 1970s, and the community received their own safe space and resource center in 1993. The Queer Resource Center now serves seven institutions from the Claremont Colleges and features a resource library and the Rainbow Ski Lodge lounge and lobby.

LGBTQ+ students and allies can access various events and programs at Harvey Mudd, along with a peer mentor group and a Lavender Graduation. The school's students and center organizers focus on advocacy efforts, community outreach, and campus education. Harvey Mudd earned five stars on the Campus Pride Index, receiving top scores in LGBTQ housing, campus safety, and policy inclusion.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 14%
  • Graduation Rate: 92%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 904 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $58,359

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
University of Virginia View School Profile Charlottesville, VA

Since the founding of the Gay Student Union in 1972, UVA has had an official organization fighting for LGBTQ+ rights on campus. Decades later, the school now offers gender-neutral bathroom options, inclusive housing, and more than 10 specialized student organizations for LGBTQ+ students. Through the LGBTQ Center, students can access a lounge and safe community space and educational materials.

The school offers scholarships and awards for LGBTQ+ students, a Lavender Graduation, and support and counseling services. Degree-seekers can join one of the many community groups or volunteer at the center or as part of its initiatives. UVA earned 4.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index, with the highest marks coming in counseling and health and institutional support and commitment.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 26%
  • Graduation Rate: 94%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 17,010 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $14,188

  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Ohio State University View School Profile Columbus, OH

Ohio State's LGBTQ+ community has access to multiple on-campus safe spaces, health and wellness services, and gender-inclusive housing and bathrooms. The Student Life Multicultural Center runs mentorship programs, hosts student cohort groups, and offers student internships and leadership training. Degree-seekers can pursue programs in gender and sexuality studies and an LGBTQ+ studies minor.

Ohio State students can also access the school's LGBTQ+ educational resources and financial aid programs. The Student Life Multicultural Center provides active allyship training workshops for both students and faculty. Ohio State scored five stars on the Campus Pride Index, including five stars in LGBTQ student life, counseling and health, and recruitment and retention efforts categories.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 52%
  • Graduation Rate: 84%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 46,818 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $11,518

  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
University of California - Los Angeles View School Profile Los Angeles, CA

Since the mid 1990s, UCLA's LGBTQ Campus Resource Center has helped empower the school's LGBTQ+ community and build a safe and inclusive environment for all learners. The resource center offers allyship training, drop-in counseling services, and year-long events and programs. Students can also access career development, financial support, and leadership opportunities.

UCLA's LGBTQ+ degree-seekers can participate in gender and sexuality courses or take a minor in LGBTQ studies. They can also join some of the university's community outreach initiatives, student experience projects, advocacy efforts, and conferences. UCLA received 4.5 stars overall on the Campus Pride Index, earning its highest marks in LGBTQ counseling, academic life, and student life.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 14%
  • Graduation Rate: 91%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 31,543 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $13,239

  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
San Diego State University View School Profile San Diego, CA

SDSU and the Pride Center aim to make the school as inclusive and safe as possible for its LGBTQ+ community. The center offers campus-wide training and awareness initiatives, ensuring LGBTQ+ students have access to support, wellness services, and self identity resources. SDSU features gender-inclusive bathrooms and housing, cultural and identity centers, and a Pride Employee Resource Group.

SDSU students can also join peer mentorship and leadership training programs. Undergraduates can major or minor in LGBTQ+ studies, while graduate students can pursue a certificate. SDSU earned five stars on the Campus Pride Index, receiving perfect scores in LGBTQ student life, campus safety, and academic life.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 35%
  • Graduation Rate: 74%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 30,848 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $8,136

  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Cornell University View School Profile Ithaca, NY

Cornell's LGBT Resource Center was first developed in the 1990s to help build a more inclusive campus. Since then, the center has established an ally support program, gender-friendly bathrooms, trans-inclusive housing, and various other inclusive policies. The school also offers specialized health services, Lavender Graduations, a first-year immersion program, and internship and volunteer programs.

For its LGBTQ+ community, Cornell features an advocacy clinic, career resources, and more than 15 student organizations. Undergraduates can pursue a feminist, gender, and sexuality studies major or minor. Cornell received 4.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index, earning perfect scores in LGBTQ student life, campus safety, and counseling and health.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 11%
  • Graduation Rate: 95%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 15,043 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $40,382-$60,286

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Purdue University View School Profile West Lafayette, IN

Purdue's LGBTQ Center is responsible for supporting and representing the LGBTQ+ community in all university matters. The center offers yearly programs, a lecture series, and various training opportunities, along with advocacy efforts, a resource library, and safe zone and trans-inclusion training. Purdue's campus features gender-inclusive bathrooms, coming out resources, and a wealth of community involvement opportunities.

LGBTQ+ students can take a minor in LGBT studies or individual courses, along with a major and minor in gender and sexuality studies. Purdue also offers a six-week study abroad program in sex, history, and the cities. Purdue scored five stars on the Campus Pride Index, with high marks for LGBTQ recruitment and retention efforts, academic life, and student life.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 58%
  • Graduation Rate: 81%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 34,596 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $9,992

  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
New York University View School Profile New York, NY

NYU first offered its LGBTQ+ community their own space in 1970. Six years later, the Gay People's Union became the community's first student organization at NYU. The school's LGBTQ+ Center now features a lounge, safe zone and LGBTQ+ introduction training, and year-long educational and community events and programs.

The center also offers Trans@NYU, which provides resources, policy information, and specialized services for transgender and nonconforming indiviudals. NYU's LGBTQ+ students enjoy access to more than 20 student- and school-run organizations. Learners can also pursue graduate certificates in LGBT health, education, and social services.

NYU received 4.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index overall, including five-star grades in LGBTQ campus safety, counseling and health, and academic life.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 20%
  • Graduation Rate: 85%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 26,981 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $56,500

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Kenyon College View School Profile Gambier, OH

Through Kenyon's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the LGBTQ+ Community provides resources and support services to enhance the LGBTQ+ student experience and campus inclusion policies. The school features regularly recurring LGBTQ+ events and programs, 70 gender-neutral bathrooms, and an NCAA facilitator to oversee inclusion in school athletics.

Kenyon students can also access safe space ally training and various LGBTQ+ courses, along with specialized scholarship opportunities and approximately 10 LGBTQ+ student organizations. The Unity House provides monthly training and programs for interested students, as well as community-building social events.

Kenyon earned five stars on the Campus Pride Index, receiving perfect scores in most categories, including LGBTQ policy inclusion, academic life, and student life.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 36%
  • Graduation Rate: 87%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,750 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $63,060

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
The University of Texas at Dallas View School Profile Richardson, TX

In 1996, UT Dallas established the Galerstein Gender Center to provide advocacy, policy analysis, and educational workshops. The center also offers a resource collection, annual events, and leadership development programs. UT Dallas students enjoy access to an array of LGBTQ+ and gender equity programs, along with gender-neutral bathrooms, meeting spaces, and LGBTQ+ counseling and consultation services.

Students can also join one of five LGBTQ+ student organizations, participate in safe zone ally training, and volunteer in one of the many community initiatives, such as Trans Pride or Dallas Hope Charities. UT Dallas earned five stars on the Campus Pride Index overall, with five-star scores in individual categories like support and institutional commitment, LGBTQ housing and residence life, and campus safety.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 69%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 20,996 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $16,064

  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Columbia University in the City of New York View School Profile New York, NY

To improve diversity and inclusion policies at Columbia, the school and students developed LGBTQ @ Columbia — an organization dedicated to providing programs and services for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. In addition to running multiple programs, events, and lecture series throughout the year, Columbia's efforts include advocacy, safe zone training, specialized scholarships, and a Lavender Graduation.

Columbia's LGBTQ+ students also have access to more than 20 student and campus organizations, gender-inclusive bathrooms, and gender-neutral housing. The school offers an LGBT health program, along with research centers and facilities dedicated to women, gender, and sexuality studies. Columbia scored 4.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index, including five stars in the LGBTQ student life and counseling and health categories.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 6%
  • Graduation Rate: 96%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 8,221 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $58,920

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Macalester College View School Profile Saint Paul, MN

In an effort to create a more inclusive campus environment, Macalester and its Department of Multicultural Life developed the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center. The center runs ally workshops, an online community, and a Lavender Reception and Graduation. Prospective students can also choose a major or a minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies.

Macalester's LGBTQ+ students have access to all-gender bathrooms, all-gender community housing, and various other safe spaces. The school also hosts multiple LGBTQ+ student and campus organizations. Macalester received five stars on the Campus Pride Index overall and top marks in the categories of LGBTQ campus safety, housing and residence life, and academic life.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 41%
  • Graduation Rate: 90%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,098 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $60,288

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Rutgers University - New Brunswick View School Profile New Brunswick, NJ

Since 1992, LGBTQ+ students at Rutgers have received access to specialized resources and services through the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities. The center advocates for LGBTQ+ issues, offers a drop-in center for community members, and runs various support, leadership, and mentorship groups. Rutgers hosts numerous events, including retreats, allyship projects, and a trans awareness week.

The school also offers diversity and ally training, gender-neutral housing, and LGBTQ+ community living. Degree-seekers can pursue a master's degree in LGBT health and join one of the 15 LGBTQ+ student organizations. Rutgers earned five stars on the Campus Pride Index overall, receiving perfect marks in most categories, such as LGBTQ academic life, campus safety, and counseling and health.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 60%
  • Graduation Rate: 80%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 36,158 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $12,230

  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Williams College View School Profile Williamstown, MA

Dedicated to offering LGBTQ+ students an inclusive environment, Williams established the David Center and Gender Sexuality Resource Center to provide specialized resources, programs, and support. The school offers allyship and identity workshops, lectures, supportive housing, and gender-inclusive restrooms. Students can also access LGBTQ+ counseling and healthcare services.

Williams' LGBTQ+ students can join many clubs and organizations, including the Queer Student Union, the Dively Committee for Human Sexuality & Diversity, and the Trans Inclusion Committee. The school also runs a women, gender, and sexuality academic program. Williams scored 4.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index, earning perfect scores in LGBTQ campus safety, student life, and support and institutional commitment.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 13%
  • Graduation Rate: 95%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,094 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $59,350

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: New England Commission on Higher Education
University of Central Florida View School Profile Orlando, FL

In an effort to better support LGBTQ+ students, provide them with equal opportunities, and enhance campus diversity, UCF introduced LGBTQ+ Services. This organization offers access to resources, mentorship programs, and ally training. UCF also established an LGBTQ+ student advisory board to represent the community in school matters, as well as the Pride Commons — a safe community space.

UCF students have access to gender-neutral restrooms and an array of LGBTQ+ student organizations. Learners can take courses and earn certificates in gender studies and join one of the many social justice and advocacy communities on campus. UCF scored 4.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index overall and five stars in the LGBTQ student life, campus safety, and support and institutional commitment categories.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 43%
  • Graduation Rate: 73%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 59,371 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $6,379

  • School Status: Public
  • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Swarthmore College View School Profile Swarthmore, PA

Since the establishment of the Gay and Lesbian Union and Bisexual and Questioning Circle student groups in the 1980s, Swarthmore College's LGBTQ+ community has a long and proud history. Today, students can access resources and programs through the Hormel-Nguyen Intercultural Center. The center runs monthly events, circulates a digital publication, and provides specialized funding for marginalized students.

Students can enroll in the gender and sexuality program, participate in the advocate development program, or join the mentoring program or an LGBTQ+ student organization. The school also hosts a student and faculty and staff advisory board, gender-neutral bathrooms, and a diverse collection of resources for transgender people.

Swarthmore received 4.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index, scoring its highest marks in the LGBTQ policy inclusion, student life, and academic life categories.


Academic Snapshot

  • Admission Rate: 9%
  • Graduation Rate: 94%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,594 students
  • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $55,856

  • School Status: Private
  • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Find Additional Resources for LGBTQ+ Students on BestColleges

Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students in Each State College Scholarships for LGBTQ+ Students College Experience Guide for LGBTQ+ Students

Reviewed By:

Genny is a leading expert on the experiences of trans people in the United States, particularly the lives of trans students, and on the development of trans-inclusive college policies and practices. They are the director of the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the Trans Policy Clearinghouse coordinator for Campus Pride.

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.

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