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.

Want to see even more LGBTQ friendly schools?

Check out the top 25
LGBTQ+ colleges nationwide
View Rankings

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Alabama

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University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, Alabama Campus Pride Rating: half star icon empty star icon empty star icon

LGBTQ+ students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have access to the institution's resource center and student affairs office, which provide numerous LGBTQ+ resources for undergraduate and graduate students. Student counseling services welcome learners of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and UAB runs an LGBTQ+ mental health and wellness clinic that offers outpatient psychopharmacology and therapy. Safe zone peer educators provide education and training on gender and sexuality, welcoming LGBTQ+ students and allies.

UAB also boasts multiple support and affinity organizations for LGBTQ+ students, gender-inclusive restrooms in campus housing, and a simple process for students to change their name on university records and documents.

Every spring, UAB hosts a Lavender Celebration to honor LGBTQ+ students for their contributions to campus. Awards include the Glenda Elliott LGBTQ+ Advocacy Award -- recognizing a UAB student, faculty, or staff member who advocated for LGBTQ+ rights -- and the Lavender Leadership award for leadership on campus.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Alaska

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University of Alaska Southeast

Juneau, Alaska Campus Pride Rating: half star icon empty star icon

From its campus in Juneau, the University of Alaska Southeast offers numerous LGBTQ+ housing and residential life resources, including roommate matching so students can find LGBTQ+-friendly roommates, gender-inclusive on-campus housing, and gender-inclusive restroom facilities. Additionally, UAS trains its residence staff about LGBTQ+ issues and concerns in order to provide a safer environment for LGBTQ+ students living on campus.

UAS also offers counseling and support groups for LGBTQ+ students, where counseling staff all receive trans-inclusive training. Students can access LGBTQ+-inclusive health information through the health center, while the resource center provides additional support for LGBTQ+ students. Students can also choose from LGBTQ+-specific course offerings, and UAS provides an accessible process for students to change their gender identity in their university records. The university also actively hires LGBTQ+ faculty and staff members to create an inclusive environment in the classroom and across campus.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Arizona

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University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona Campus Pride Rating: half star icon

Located in Tucson, the University of Arizona earns excellent marks for its LGBTQ+ student life, campus safety, and institutional commitment. Prospective students can self-identify their sexual orientation and gender identity on their admission application, and the university boasts LGBTQ+ and ally student organizations and an LGBTQ+ fraternity and sorority. Other LGBTQ+ resources include safe zone training, campus events like Transgender Awareness Week, and an LGBTQ+ resource center where students can access mental health support.

UA also demonstrates its commitment to the LGBTQ+ community through campus safety initiatives, which include ongoing training for hate crime prevention, campus police training on sexual orientation issues, and active outreach to LGBTQ+ students and organizations. The university trains staff -- including on-campus housing staff -- about LGBTQ+ issues and inclusivity. An LGBTQ+ mentoring program helps incoming students transition to academic life, while the school's Rainbow Graduation celebrates LGBTQ+ graduates.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Arkansas

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Hendrix College

Conway, Arkansas Campus Pride Rating: half star icon empty star icon empty star icon

A small liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College was established in 1876. The school boasts numerous LGBTQ+ social activities, educational events related to intersectionality and transgender issues, and Unity -- an LGBTQ+ and ally student organization. Unity promotes community building and activism, with weekly meetings and on-campus events.

Hendrix offers a simple process for students to change their name or gender identity on university records. The college has a standing advisory committee that manages LGBTQ+ concerns and offers faculty and staff training on sexual orientation issues. Students living in on-campus residencies benefit from gender-inclusive restroom facilities, and Hendrix trains residence staff on LGBTQ+ issues. The college's student health insurance policy also covers counseling services and hormone replacement therapy for transgender students.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

California

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Harvey Mudd College

Claremont, California Campus Pride Rating:

Located in southern California, Harvey Mudd College is a member of the Claremont Colleges and offers engineering, science, and mathematics degrees in a liberal arts setting. With a student population of under 900, Harvey Mudd offers an LGBTQ+-inclusive environment where students can pursue an LGBTQ+ studies program with specific LGBTQ+ courses. The school also recruits faculty to produce LGBTQ+-related academic scholarship and offers faculty and staff training on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Students can access a queer resource center with a lounge, library, and clothing collection for students. The center provides educational, social, and social justice events and programming for LGBTQ+ students and allies. Resources also include information on transitioning at Harvey Mudd. The school boasts gender-neutral housing and a simple name change process. Additionally, the college's student health insurance plan features gender reassignment benefits.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Colorado

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University of Colorado Boulder

Boulder, Colorado Campus Pride Rating:

LGBTQ+ students at the University of Colorado Boulder benefit from a variety of inclusive programs. For instance, CU Boulder recruits LGBTQ+ students through admission fairs, offers LGBTQ+ student scholarships, and welcomes new LGBTQ+ students to campus with a mentoring program. Students can choose LGBTQ+ living spaces on campus, with a roommate-matching program to identify LGBTQ+-friendly roommates. The university also offers an LGBTQ+ studies program and recruits faculty members who produce LGBTQ+-related scholarship. At graduation, LGBTQ+ students can participate in a Lavender Graduation ceremony to recognize their achievements.

The university also hosts a center for inclusion and social change, which provides safe zone training, hosts events, and offers resources for LGBTQ+ students. Learners can also access mental health and psychiatric services through an on-campus counseling center. CU Boulder offers a transitioning guide with information about housing, name/gender changes, and a gender-neutral bathroom map for the campus.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Connecticut

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University of Connecticut

Storrs, Connecticut Campus Pride Rating: half star icon

A public research institution in the small town of Storrs, the University of Connecticut welcomes LGBTQ+ students and offers numerous resources through its Rainbow Center. For more than 20 years, the center has provided social and academic opportunities and services for LGBTQ+ students. The center hosts a mentorship program that pairs incoming students with returning learners to help new undergrads transition to life at UConn. The university also offers safe zone training and a Lavender Graduation to honor the accomplishments of graduates who contributed to the institution's diverse community full of different gender identities, gender expressions, and sexualities.

UConn also provides counseling and mental health services for LGBTQ+ students, gender-inclusive housing, and ongoing training for hate crime prevention. The Rainbow Center offers additional resources for transgender students, including a guide on the policies and practices of UConn. This guide discusses the process used to change names on university records, locations of gender-neutral restroom facilities, and on-campus housing options.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Delaware

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University of Delaware

Newark, Delaware Campus Pride Rating: half star icon

A public research institution that dates back to 1743, the University of Delaware enrolls over 24,000 individuals. LGBTQ+ learners benefit from several student organizations, including Haven, which hosts meetings and events to connect students. The university also offers LGBTQ+ advocacy, support, and resources, which provide ally trainings for students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, the LGBTQ+ program coordinator connects students with campus resources, advocates for students, and conducts one-on-one meetings to discuss problems. Incoming LGBTQ+ students can participate in the Lavender Welcome Reception, which connects new students with the LGBTQ+ community at UD.

UD offers all-gender housing and all-gender restrooms to create a more inclusive environment. Academically, the university provides an LGBTQ+ studies program, a list of faculty and staff allies, and an LGBTQ+ faculty/staff caucus that advocates for a safe and inclusive environment. UD also provides LGBTQ+-inclusive career services.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Florida

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University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida Campus Pride Rating: half star icon

The University of Central Florida enrolls more than 68,000 students on its Orlando campus, making it one of the largest universities in the country. The school's LGBTQ+ services connect students with l community members and resources, including guides for transgender students, a map of gender-neutral restrooms, and the Lavender Council -- a student advisory committee that promotes services for the community. UCF also offers an alliance mentoring program, which matches LGBTQ+ faculty and staff mentors with students. Mentors provide professional development support and encourage mentees throughout their academic careers.

UCF also offers a gender and orientation language diversity workshop and a coming out workshop; these provide forums for LGBTQ+ students and allies to learn and discuss challenges. Students can enroll in LGBTQ+ courses, and UCF recruits faculty specifically working on LGBTQ+ scholarship. The on-campus housing system trains residence staff about LGBTQ+ issues and helps students find LGBTQ+-friendly roommates through a roommate-matching system.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Georgia

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Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw, Georgia Campus Pride Rating: half star icon

A public institution with campuses in Kennesaw and Marietta, Georgia, Kennesaw State University supports LGBTQ+ students through a variety of resources, including a safe space program, a standing advisory committee for LGBTQ+ issues, and staff dedicated to LGBTQ+ support services. The school's LGBTQ+ resource center creates an inclusive environment and connects students to resources and support. Students can join multiple community groups, participate in programs and events, and access counseling services.

KSU offers the Safe Space Endowed Scholarship to support students who enhance the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals. Students can also join Stonewall Housing -- a gender-inclusive on-campus housing community. KSU provides a simple preferred name change process and offers maps to gender-neutral restrooms on both of its campuses. Graduates can participate in KSU's Rainbow Graduation to celebrate earning their degree.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Hawaii

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University of Hawaii at Manoa

Honolulu, Hawaii Campus Pride Rating: half star icon empty star icon empty star icon

Located just outside Honolulu, the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa was founded in 1907. UH Mānoa's housing and residence life policies offer LGBTQ+ living spaces, roommate matching to help find LGBTQ+-friendly roommates, and gender-inclusive housing for students. The university also trains housing staff on LGBTQ+ issues. The LGBTQ+ center at UH Mānoa offers programs and resources for LGBTQ+ students, such as confidential meetings, weekly drop-in groups, and a safe zone training program. The center also hosts a Rainbow Graduation Ceremony to honor the achievements of LGBTQ+ graduates.

Prospective students can self-identify their sexual orientation and gender identity on admission forms, and UH Mānoa offers a simple process for students seeking to change their name or gender identity on university records. Students also benefit from LGBTQ+ counseling services and trans-inclusive-trained counseling staff. The LGBTQ+ center's annual events -- including National Coming Out Day and the Rainbow Graduation Extravaganza -- create a sense of community on campus.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Idaho

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University of Idaho

Moscow, Idaho Campus Pride Rating: half star icon empty star icon

From its Moscow campus, the University of Idaho offers LGBTQ+ student support through its LGBTQ+ office. The office promotes a safe and welcoming space by providing several resources for LGBTQ+ students. These include coming out resources, such as an emergency scholarship for students who face a loss of financial support after disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity. The office also promotes LGBTQ+ History Month, Transgender Awareness Week, and celebrates the lives of LGBTQ+ people in the U of I community.

The Gender and Sexuality Alliance at U of I promotes individual growth and supports LGBTQ+ people and allies. Additionally, the university's counseling center offers inclusive counseling and services for students struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity. U of I also conducts ongoing training for hate crime prevention, facilitates outreach to LGBTQ+ students, and trains campus police about sexual orientation and gender identity issues.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Illinois

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Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois Campus Pride Rating: empty star icon

From its Evanston campus on the shores of Lake Michigan, Northwestern University welcomes LGBTQ+ students by providing an institutional commitment to LGBTQ+ issues. The school offers many LGBTQ+ resources through its multicultural student affairs office. Northwestern's LGBTQ+ advisory board promotes a sense of community among LGBTQ+ students and offers events like a queer wellness retreat. The university's gender queer, non-binary, and transgender task force promotes support services for students, while the Rainbow Alliance -- a student organization -- helps build a safer community.

Northwestern also offers all-gender housing, all-gender restrooms, and a simple process to change a student's gender and preferred name on their university documents. The school provides LGBTQ+ counseling for students with staff who receive trans-inclusive training. Academically, Northwestern offers an LGBTQ+ studies program and other LGBTQ+ course offerings. It also recruits faculty working on LGBTQ+ issues in their scholarship. Students can apply for LGBTQ+ scholarships.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Indiana

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Indiana University-Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana Campus Pride Rating:

The flagship institution in the state, Indiana University Bloomington enrolls more than 40,000 students into an inclusive environment. LGBTQ+ students gain support through the school's LGBTQ+ culture center, which includes an LGBTQ+ mentoring program for incoming freshmen. The school also provides private counseling to help learners deal with sexual orientation and gender diversity issues. Students can access free counseling services from trained counseling staff and access an LGBTQ+ library with materials and resources that are open to the Bloomington community.

The university supports LGBTQ+ students through multiple scholarship opportunities, including the LGBTQ+ Alumni Association Academic Scholarship. Student housing options include the Spectrum Thematic Community, which welcomes students across the gender and sexuality spectra. Most IU buildings, including campus housing, offer gender-inclusive restrooms. The university also provides LGBTQ+-friendly career services, including advisors trained in identifying queer-friendly employers.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Iowa

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University of Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa Campus Pride Rating: empty star icon

Founded in 1847, the University of Iowa offers an LGBTQ+ studies program and course offerings related to LGBTQ+ issues. The university also recruits faculty working on LGBTQ+ scholarship. Faculty and staff receive training related to sexual orientation and gender identity issues. The school's pride alliance center provides a supportive environment for the LGBTQ+ community, while the university hosts multiple student organizations for LGBTQ+ students and an LGBTQ+-friendly living environment in its residence halls.

UI actively works to recruit and support LGBTQ+ students. The university participates in LGBTQ+ admission fairs and offers scholarships for LGBTQ+ students, including the trans student support fund, which helps students pay for legal name and document changes. UI also offers an LGBTQ+ counseling clinic and hosts an annual Rainbow Graduation to celebrate the achievements of LGBTQ+ students.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Kansas

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Kansas State University

Manhattan, Kansas Campus Pride Rating:

Based in Manhattan, Kansas State University is an LGBTQ+-friendly institution that enrolls over 22,000 students. LGBTQ+ students at K-State benefit from the school's LGBTQ+ resource center, which promotes equity, respect, and social justice. The center hosts programs and events to create a diverse and inclusive community. K-State also hosts multiple student organizations for LGBTQ+ students and allies. For instance, the Gender Collective welcomes transgender students and others with diverse gender presentations, and the university's safe zone program works to create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ students.

Students at K-State have access to campus housing that fits their personal identity, including LGBTQ+ housing options and gender-inclusive restroom facilities across campus. The university also offers multiple scholarships for LGBTQ+ students and a Lavender Graduation to recognize their achievements. After graduation, alumni can join the K-State Lavender Alumni organization to remain connected with the community.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Kentucky

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University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky Campus Pride Rating:

A public institution between the Ohio River and Churchill Downs, the University of Louisville boasts several LGBTQ+-friendly policies. The university's LGBTQ+ center creates an inclusive community and acts as a resource for students. Prospective students can visit UofL for LGBTQ+-themed campus visits, which showcase the university's support services for LGBTQ+ students. The university also hosts annual Pride Week events, which feature movie screenings, a keynote address, and a resource fair.

Students can also participate in LGBTQ+-themed study abroad experiences offered through the LGBTQ+ center. Participants can examine the history of homosexuality in other countries and current political and social issues affecting LGBTQ+ communities abroad. Students can apply for multiple LGBTQ+ scholarships, including the Dawn Wilson Scholarship for LGBTQ+ Students of Color. UofL also offers gender-inclusive bathrooms, a Lavender Graduation, and an LGBTQ+ studies minor.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Louisiana

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Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

Baton Rouge, Louisiana Campus Pride Rating: half star icon empty star icon empty star icon

With over 30,000 students at its Baton Rouge campus, LSU supports LGBTQ+ learners through its LGBTQ+ project. This project promotes safe spaces on campus and offers educational opportunities and events for students. It also hosts Rainbeaux Rush -- an annual celebration for new and returning LGBTQ+ students. At the end of each year, LSU hosts a Lavender Graduation, which honors LGBTQ+ students. Individuals also benefit from multiple LGBTQ+ student organizations, including OUTlaw for students associated with the law school.

Students can take advantage over 70 gender-neutral bathrooms, easily use their preferred name on their ID cards, and access library safe spaces. Students new to the LGBTQ+ community can participate in First Contact -- a peer mentorship program to support students. Additionally, LSU's career center offers workplace and career readiness resources designed for LGBTQ+ students.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Maine

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Bowdoin College

Brunswick, Maine Campus Pride Rating: empty star icon

A private liberal arts institution in Brunswick, Maine, Bowdoin College earns high marks for LGBTQ+ policy inclusion and institutional commitment. Bowdoin features a resource center for LGBTQ+ students, a safe space program, and a standing advisory committee that oversees LGBTQ+ issues. The college's sexuality, women, and gender center offers an inclusive community on campus, with academic and personal development support. Bowdoin also offers resources for LGBTQ+ students interested in studying abroad.

Bowdoin offers roommate matching so students can identify LGBTQ+-friendly roommates. Many on-campus housing options provide gender-inclusive housing, with gender-inclusive restroom facilities. Bowdoin also trains its residence life staff members about pertinent LGBTQ+ issues.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Maryland

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University of Maryland-College Park

College Park, Maryland Campus Pride Rating:

Founded in 1856, the University of Maryland, College Park educates more than 41,000 students. UMD's LGBTQ+ equity center provides many resources and events to create an equitable community for LGBTQ+ students. Through the school's One Project, UMD provides programming for LGBTQ+ students in their first year, including a pre-semester meetup, a kickoff event called Quelcome, and a weekend retreat called Q Camp. LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff, and allies can participate in the Rainbow Terrapin Network, which offers training and educational resources for the community. Additionally, the Lavender Leadership Honor Society celebrates leadership for LGBTQ+ social justice.

UMD supports LGBTQ+ students in multiple ways, including through gender-inclusive housing options, a counseling center with walk-in hours, and LGBTQ+ health and sexuality resources through the health center. UMD's counseling center also offers an LGBTQ+ support group for students.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Massachusetts

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Tufts University

Medford, Massachusetts Campus Pride Rating:

Located just outside of Boston, Tufts University hosts an LGBTQ+-friendly environment. For over 25 years, Tufts' LGBTQ+ center has provided a safe space for students, with support in the form of advising services, educational resources, and events. At Tufts, students can choose housing options like the Rainbow House, which is an LGBTQ+-friendly environment that hosts social events and fosters a sense of community. In addition to an LGBTQ+ studies program, Tufts supports LGBTQ+ students academically through study abroad resources and career resources, including business conferences for LGBTQ+ students and a job board featuring LGBTQ+-friendly employers.

Tufts offers resources on LGBTQ+ internships, scholarships, and volunteer opportunities. The Tufts Queen History Project chronicles the achievements and challenges of the university's queer community, connecting students with their history. Learners can also participate in the questioning and/or coming out support group, which offers peer support in a confidential setting.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Michigan

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University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan Campus Pride Rating: empty star icon

Founded in 1817, the University of Michigan welcomes 46,000 students to its campus in Ann Arbor and demonstrates a strong institutional commitment to LGBTQ+ support. The school's Spectrum Center hosts numerous resources and events, including an LGBTQ+ welcome festival at the beginning of the year, an LGBTQ+ health and wellness week, and an annual Lavender Graduation to honor LGBTQ+ graduates. U-M offers LGBTQ+ health and wellness care, including trans care, through the university health system. The university also offers crisis response and support resources, including guides to returning home for breaks.

LGBTQ+ students at U-M can access gender-inclusive housing options, which offer supportive community environments. Students can also access a map of gender-inclusive restrooms on campus.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Minnesota

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University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Minneapolis, Minnesota Campus Pride Rating: empty star icon

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities offers LGBTQ+ courses through its gender, women, and sexuality studies department, while the school's gender and sexuality center offers programs to support and advocate for LGBTQ+ students, including educational and outreach programs. UMN's mentor program connects LGBTQ+ students with student, faculty, and staff mentors who support their personal and academic growth.

LGBTQ+ students also qualify for multiple academic awards and scholarships, including scholarships offered through the equity and diversity office. The Queer Student Cultural Center provides a safe space for students, information about community events, and job opportunities. It also connects students with UMN's mental health resources for LGBTQ+ students. On-campus students can choose to live in the Lavender House -- an LGBTQ+-friendly housing option -- and UMN also provides maps showing gender-inclusive restroom facilities on campus.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Mississippi

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University of Mississippi

Oxford, Mississippi

A public research institution in Oxford, the University of Mississippi was founded in 1844 and enrolls more students than any other university in the state. Ole Miss welcomes LGBTQ+ students through its center for inclusion and cross-cultural engagement. The university's UM allies training program educates students on LGBTQ+ issues and concerns, building a network of allies for the LGBTQ+ community. The M-Pride and Allies program hosts a Lavender Graduation each year to honor LGBTQ+ graduates, and the program also hosts Oxford Pride Week. The program's educational materials include infographics, brochures, and handouts to increase awareness and promote a more inclusive environment on campus.

The Ole Miss Chancellor's Standing Committee on LGBTQ+ Affairs advocates for policies and programs to support the LGBTQ+ community. The university's bias incident response team also addresses reports of harassment and hostile behavior/acts targeting the LGBTQ+ community.

Missouri

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Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, Missouri Campus Pride Rating: half star icon

A private institution founded in 1853, Washington University in St. Louis offers LGBTQ+ counseling with trans-inclusive-trained counseling staff, an LGBTQ+-inclusive health insurance policy, and LGBTQ+ health information. The university's LGBTQ+ campus life program also connects students with events, resources, and programs. For example, LGBTQ+ students can attend the Destination Q Retreat, which is a two-day retreat for undergraduate students focused on leadership and identity development.

Washington University also offers a leadership development award that recognizes members of the LGBTQ+ community who are committed to leadership growth. Multiple student groups connect LGBTQ+ students, including Connections*, which offers peer mentorship and support. Trained mentors offer support in a safe and confidential environment. Students can also join the Pride Alliance -- an organization that meets regularly to support students and create an inclusive environment.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Montana

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Montana State University

Bozeman, Montana

Located in Bozeman, Montana State University is the largest institution of higher education in the state and offers numerous resources to help LGBTQ+ students. The school has an LGBTQ+ resource directory that offers education, advocacy, and support resources for students, including social programs and events hosted through the school's diversity and inclusion student commons. The commons creates a safe space for LGBTQ+ students on campus, where learners can receive counseling and psychological services. In 2016, MSU also installed 25 gender-neutral restrooms on campus, creating gender-inclusive facilities for students.

LGBTQ+ students can also participate in a mentor program that connects students or take part in multiple student organizations dedicated to LGBTQ+ issues. MSU's Chosen Name Pilot Project lets students choose a non-legal preferred name for university documents and resources. Students who participate in the pilot project can provide feedback on their experience.

Nebraska

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Lincoln, Nebraska Campus Pride Rating: half star icon empty star icon

Operating as the state's oldest university, the University of Nebraska Lincoln enrolls over 25,000 students. UNL welcomes LGBTQ+ students by providing support and services through an LGBTQ+ resource center. The center organizes programs and services to create an inclusive and welcoming community. UNL's LGBTQ+ peer mentor program connects students to mentors who can offer advice and resources, supporting their social, personal, and academic transition to UNL.

The LGBTQ+ center also hosts events like the Rainbow Ball -- an LGBTQ+-inclusive homecoming dance -- and an annual Lavender Graduation to celebrate the achievements of LGBTQ+ graduates. UNL also offers a scholarship for LGBTQ+ students: the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Contributions to the LGBTQ+ Community. Learners experiencing short-term financial hardship can also access a special support fund. Students can enroll in LGBTQ+ courses at UNL or select gender-inclusive on-campus housing options, and UNL has a standing advisory committee that deals with LGBTQ+ issues.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Nevada

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University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada

A public institution with 30,000 students, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas hosts numerous LGBTQ+ programs and organizations on campus. LGBTQ+ students at UNLV can join Spectrum -- a student organization that focuses on activism, education, and outreach. In 2018, Spectrum hosted the university's first Lavender Graduation event, honoring LGBTQ+ graduates and celebrating their accomplishments. Additionally, UNLV has a student diversity and social justice center that organizes events for LGBTQ+ Pride Month and hosts an LGBTQ+ dessert social to welcome back LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff at the beginning of the year.

UNLV also offers an all-LGBTQ+ floor in one of its residence halls, known as Stonewall Suites, which creates a gender-inclusive environment. Residents participate in gender-inclusive events and educational opportunities. The school's library has a special collections section that offers documents on the history of the LGBTQ+ community in Las Vegas.

New Hampshire

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Dartmouth College

Hanover, New Hampshire Campus Pride Rating: half star icon

An Ivy League institution, Dartmouth College strives for LGBTQ+ policy inclusion. For instance, Dartmouth lets students self-identify their sexual orientation on admission applications and provides an accessible process for students to change their gender identity in university records. The college also hosts LGBTQ+ student organizations and social activities for undergraduate and graduate students. The school's outreach peer mentor program trains students to act as mentors, creating a supportive community for LGBTQ+ learners.

Dartmouth's professional development center offers a list of internships, professional organizations, and scholarships available to LGBTQ+ students. The college's LGBTQ+ alumni association also connects students with career resources and keeps graduates in touch with the college community. Dartmouth's office of pluralism and leadership offers LGBTQ+ student advising, which connects students with on-campus programs and resources. The college also hosts a Lavender Graduation to celebrate LGBTQ+ graduates.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

New Jersey

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Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey Campus Pride Rating:

New Jersey's Princeton University supports and empowers LGBTQ+ students through its LGBTQ+ center, which builds a strong community, hosts events, and offers educational resources. Incoming students can choose gender-inclusive housing options, which are available at each of Princeton's six residential colleges, and select an LGBTQ+-friendly roommate. Additionally, Princeton attempts to accommodate any student's need for a private bathroom in the residence halls.

LGBTQ+ students at Princeton can join multiple student organizations, participate in discussions and support groups, and earn a degree in gender and sexuality studies. Princeton regularly participates in LGBTQ+ admission fairs and offers scholarships for LGBTQ+ students. The LGBTQ+ center also provides information about the services and support available to transgender students, including health and wellness resources. Each spring, Princeton holds a Lavender Graduation to honor graduating LGBTQ+ students.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

New Mexico

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University of New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico Campus Pride Rating: empty star icon

Founded in 1889, the University of New Mexico enrolls over 26,000 students at its main campus in Albuquerque and supports LGBTQ+ students through its LGBTQ+ resource center. The center creates an inclusive environment by providing safety, education, advocacy, and support. Students can join the UNM Queer Straight Alliance, which hosts social events and organizes advocacy events. LGBTQ+ students can also learn at the LGBTQ+ library, volunteer to participate in LGBTQ+ awareness events, and find a list of the gender-inclusive restrooms on campus.

The university's student health and counseling office provides additional services to UNM students, including counseling providers who receive safe zone training and offer confidential support to LGBTQ+ students. Since 2011, UNM has hosted a Rainbow Graduation to recognize the achievements of LGBTQ+ graduates. Students can also receive the UNM LGBTQ+ Resource Center Pride Scholarship, which provides financial support for LGBTQ+ students.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

New York

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Cornell University

Ithaca, New York Campus Pride Rating: half star icon

From its Ithaca campus in upstate New York, Cornell University helps LGBTQ+ students through its LGBTQ+ resource center, which offers resources, information, and an inclusive community for students. Dating back to 1994, the LGBTQ+ resource center offers advising, mentorship opportunities, and programs for the LGBTQ+ community. The center also provides resources for parents and family members of LGBTQ+ students. Additionally, Cornell has gender-inclusive housing and accessible universal restrooms for students.

Students at Cornell can pursue a feminist, gender, and sexuality studies program and a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies program. Both programs offer multiple classes on LGBTQ+ issues and themes. Students also benefit from LGBTQ+ career resources offered by the career services department, which provides information related to LGBTQ+-friendly job posting sites, scholarships, and resources on LGBTQ+ concerns in the workplace.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

North Carolina

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Elon University

Elon, North Carolina Campus Pride Rating:

A liberal arts school in North Carolina, Elon University welcomes and recruits members of the LGBTQ+ community. The school participates in LGBTQ+ admission fairs, offers LGBTQ+ student scholarships, and hosts an annual Lavender Graduation and awards dinner to recognize LGBTQ+ graduates. The gender and LGBTQ+ center at Elon offers resources and services to the LGBTQ+ community, connecting students with on- and off-campus counseling resources to discuss issues around identity development, sexuality, coming out, and gender transitions.

LGBTQ+ students living in on-campus housing can join a gender and sexuality living learning community -- a group dedicated to supporting students interested in gender and sexuality topics. Elon offers over 120 universal restrooms across campus, including a resource locator to identify gender-inclusive restrooms. Students can easily change their preferred name on university records directly through the LGBTQ+ center. Elon also regularly brings transgender speakers to campus to educate the community about trans identities and trans inclusion.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

North Dakota

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North Dakota State University

Fargo, North Dakota Campus Pride Rating: empty star icon empty star icon

A public institution in Fargo, North Dakota State University actively seeks to employ LGBTQ+ staff and faculty members, including staff dedicated to LGBTQ+ support services. The university also has a standing advisory committee on LGBTQ+ issues. On campus, LGBTQ+ programs create an inclusive environment for students. Programming includes LGBTQ+ Pride Month events, an LGBTQ+ student scholarship, and a Lavender Graduation to honor graduates. The university also oversees a safe zone ally program, which offers three levels of training.

NDSU also supports LGBTQ+ students through roommate-matching services to help students find LGBTQ+-friendly roommates. The university hosts support groups for LGBTQ+ students and offers the Amanda Weitgenant Scholarship to assist LGBTQ+ students financially. NDSU provides a map of gender-inclusive restrooms on campus.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Ohio

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The Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio Campus Pride Rating:

Ohio State University enrolls over 60,000 students on its main campus in Columbus and welcomes members of the LGBTQ+ community by providing student organizations, social activities, and educational events on campus. Residential facilities include gender-inclusive housing with all-gender restroom facilities, and Ohio State also offers Gateway Gender-Inclusive Housing -- a residential facility for LGBTQ+ students.

Ohio State's LGBTQ+ initiatives, offered through its multicultural center, include events such as Bi Visibility Week, Transgender Empowerment and Awareness Week, and a Lavender Graduation to recognize LGBTQ+ graduates. Student support includes a first-year support group, a dialogues group to discuss experiences, and a mentoring program. The LGBTQ+ Leaders' Consortium meets regularly to address political and social issues, and students can learn about other resources and events online.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Oklahoma

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University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus

Norman, Oklahoma Campus Pride Rating: half star icon empty star icon

Located just south of Oklahoma City in Norman, the University of Oklahoma was founded in 1890 and enrolls over 31,000 students. OU's commitment to the LGBTQ+ community includes an LGBTQ+ studies program, active efforts to recruit faculty researching LGBTQ+ issues, and new faculty and staff training on sexual orientation and gender identity. Students benefit from the resources at the school's gender and equality center, which offers LGBTQ+ ally training to create a more inclusive environment and build advocates for equality. OU also hosts a Lavender Graduation to recognize the achievements of LGBTQ+ graduates.

The gender and equality center also hosts the Queer Student Association and offers counseling resources for LGBTQ+ students and sexual health resources. OU provides financial support for LGBTQ+ students through scholarships and a career center.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Oregon

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University of Oregon

Eugene, Oregon Campus Pride Rating:

A flagship public school with over 21,000 students, the University of Oregon was established in 1876. UO supports LGBTQ+ students with inclusive policies, numerous services, and an institutional commitment. For example, UO provides gender-inclusive on-campus housing options and inclusive medical and mental healthcare for LGBTQ+ students. The university also grants need-based and merit-based LGBTQ+ scholarships.

LGBTQ+ students can access services and resources through the school's LGBTQ+ education and support services department. In addition to ally training and panel discussions, the office provides other educational resources to build an inclusive campus. The office runs student-driven outreach teams, which work with current and prospective learners. Groups organize regular LGBTea Times to connect with other students and hosts a Lavender Graduation to recognize LGBTQ+ graduates. UO also boasts an LGBTQ+ alliance and a weekly queer women's discussion group.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Pennsylvania

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University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Campus Pride Rating:

Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania currently enrolls over 21,000 students. This Ivy League institution supports LGBTQ+ students by creating an inclusive environment through its policies and services. The school's LGBTQ+ center offers peer mentorship to support students and hosts events such as movie screenings, new student pizza parties, and a Lavender Graduation to celebrate LGBTQ+ graduates. One of the oldest LGBTQ+ centers on a college campus, UPenn's LGBTQ+ center has been supporting the LGBTQ+ community for almost 40 years.

UPenn's multiple LGBTQ+ student organizations welcome learners from various backgrounds; these organizations include FGLIQ (dedicated to first-generation, low-income queer students) and Out For Business (the business school's LGBTQ+ club). The LGBTQ+ center also grants funds for student groups to organize programs and events, as well as a travel fund to help students attend LGBTQ+ conferences.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Rhode Island

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University of Rhode Island

Kingston, Rhode Island

From its Providence campus, the University of Rhode Island offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as the state's flagship public research institution. URI's gender and sexuality center welcomes LGBTQ+ students with resources, programs, and support for the community. The center's events include the annual Big Gay Picnic -- a welcome event for students, faculty, and staff. The school also hosts an annual Lavender Graduation, which celebrates accomplishments in the LGBTQ+ community and grants awards. Additionally, URI holds an annual safe zone blitz week, providing workshops about issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.

URI students can choose to live in the school's gender, equity, and leadership in sexuality community -- a gender-inclusive on-campus housing option. The community's goals include creating a safe and supportive environment and addressing issues of equity. The school's gender and sexuality center also offers many resources, including a list of gender-inclusive restrooms on campus and a list of local LGBTQ+-friendly medical professionals.

South Carolina

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Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina Campus Pride Rating: empty star icon empty star icon

South Carolina's Clemson University supports LGBTQ+ students through counseling and health programs. The university offers trans-inclusive-trained counseling staff, LGBTQ+-inclusive health information, and a trans-inclusive student health insurance policy that covers counseling and hormone replacement therapy. Clemson also offers LGBTQ+ programs through its multicultural center, including ally training and a National Coming Out Day Festival. Pride events at Clemson include a keynote address, a book discussion group, film screenings, and a queer scholarship showcase. Clemson's annual Lavender Graduation recognizes the achievements of LGBTQ+ graduates.

LGBTQ+ individuals can join student organizations or participate in the LGBTQ+ alumni group after graduation. The university works with students to meet gender-inclusive on-campus housing needs, including private rooms. Students can also participate in a roommate-matching service to identify LGBTQ+-friendly roommates. Clemson provides a list of gender-inclusive restrooms on campus.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

South Dakota

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South Dakota State University

Brookings, South Dakota Campus Pride Rating: half star icon empty star icon empty star icon

A public research institution located in Brookings, South Dakota State University was founded in 1881. SDSU offers information and support for its LGBTQ+ students through its LGBTQ+ resource center. The center connects students to the SDSU Gender and Sexualities Alliance -- a campus organization that educates students about LGBTQ+ issues and gender identity. SDSU provides a list of gender-inclusive restrooms on campus and offers counseling services with a counselor experienced in LGBTQ+ issues. In addition to providing information about on-campus resources, the LGBTQ+ resource center provides a list of community resources, including LGBTQ+-friendly businesses, churches, and healthcare organizations.

SDSU offers an on-campus housing option for LGBTQ+ students called Allied for Acceptance; this community prioritizes inclusiveness. The campus also hosts safe zone trainings to educate the community about LGBTQ+ identities, with the goal of training allies to create a more inclusive community.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Tennessee

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Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee Campus Pride Rating: empty star icon

Located in Nashville, Vanderbilt University demonstrates its commitment to LGBTQ+ student life through LGBTQ+ undergraduate and graduate student organizations, regular LGBTQ+ social activities, and educational events on transgender issues. The school's office of LGBTQ+ life creates a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ students, providing resources and support on gender and sexuality. The office hosts several annual events, such as Welcome Week -- a kick off event to welcome LGBTQ+ students and allies to campus -- and a Lavender Celebration to celebrate the contributions of LGBTQ+ graduates. Vanderbilt also offers several workshops and trainings to educate the community and create a more inclusive environment.

The office of LGBTQ+ life also connects students with resources at Vanderbilt, including the university's counseling center, which provides counseling, wellness services, and referrals for LGBTQ+ students. The university provides information about LGBTQ+ health on campus through resources like the student health center.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Texas

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The University of Texas at Dallas

Richardson, Texas Campus Pride Rating:

Located just north of Dallas in the city of Richardson, the University of Texas at Dallas enrolls over 27,000 students. UT Dallas creates an inclusive LGBTQ+ community through its gender center, which hosts LGBTQ+ programs, Pride Month events, a Lavender Graduation, and an ally social to bring together safe zone allies and the LGBTQ+ community. The center also provides a list of gender-inclusive restrooms, a resource collection on LGBTQ+ themes, and information about changing a student's preferred name or gender marker on university documents.

UT Dallas also offers strong LGBTQ+ counseling support through its student counseling center. Counseling resources includes a gender and sexuality consultation team trained to serve the transgender and gender non-conforming community and a gender confirmation procedure to support students considering a gender transition.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Utah

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University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah Campus Pride Rating: half star icon

The state's flagship public research institution, the University of Utah offers support to LGBTQ+ students. This includes roommate matching to find an LGBTQ+-friendly roommate, gender-inclusive housing, and residence staff trained about LGBTQ+ issues and concerns. The school's LGBTQ+ resource center provides programs, resources, and support for LGBTQ+ students, including a mentorship program and events like Fabulous Fridays where LGBTQ+ students meet weekly to connect. The center also connects students with campus, local, and national scholarship opportunities for LGBTQ+ students.

In addition to its mentoring program, the LGBTQ+ resource center hosts Queer Peers -- a safe space for students and those questioning their sexual identity to receive support and information. The university's counseling center also employees counselors trained about LGBTQ+ issues.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Vermont

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University of Vermont

Burlington, Vermont Campus Pride Rating: half star icon

Established in 1791, the University of Vermont offers undergraduate and graduate degrees from its Burlington campus. UVM supports its LGBTQ+ community through resources, events, and programs. The school's Prism Center builds an inclusive environment through education, advocacy, and community building, including welcoming new students with an LGBTQ+ event before the fall semester where students hike through Vermont's backcountry. Students can also choose LGBTQ+ housing options on campus and access multiple gender-inclusive restrooms.

UVM provides LGBTQ+ mental and physical healthcare services through its center for health and wellbeing. The staff at the Prism Center are trained to help LGBTQ+ students seeking care on campus. Academically, students can minor in sexuality and gender identity studies, and UVM hosts a race, gender, and sexuality conference every year to showcase scholarship on LGBTQ+ topics.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Virginia

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University of Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia Campus Pride Rating: half star icon

Founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia enrolls over 24,000 students on its main campus in Charlottesville. The university is committed to LGBTQ+ student life and campus safety, and campus police receive training related to sexual orientation and gender identity. UVA's LGBTQ+ student services office connects students to the LGBTQ+ center and other resources for the LGBTQ+ community. The center hosts events such as an LGBTQ+ and allies reception, a garden party every spring and fall to kick off the semester, and a Lavender Graduation to honor LGBTQ+ graduates.

Students can choose inclusive housing and residence life options on campus at multiple residence areas. The school's counseling and psychological services office offers counseling services and support groups run by counseling staff trained about LGBTQ+ issues. UVA also offers multiple LGBTQ+ scholarships and awards, including scholarships recognizing LGBTQ+ students who promote social awareness and LGBTQ+ rights.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Washington

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University of Washington-Seattle Campus

Seattle, Washington Campus Pride Rating:

From its Seattle campus, the University of Washington welcomes LGBTQ+ students by providing numerous activities and services. The school's Q Center hosts student groups, offers programming and events, and amplifies student voices through its blog. The center's events include an annual welcome luncheon; a Lavender Graduation; and Dawg Daze Events, which introduce students to organizations such as the Queer Student Commission, a for-credit discussion group called Queer 101, the Q Mentoring Project, and UW's gay and progressive men's fraternity.

UW also offers a gender discussion group, a queer mentoring program, and a simple process for students to change their name or gender on university records. New students can learn about UW and Seattle's LGBTQ+ history through the Q Campus Walking Tour. The Q Center also provides a resource database that includes on-campus resources like the UW counseling center and Hall Health, which provides health and wellness services.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

West Virginia

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West Virginia University

Morgantown, West Virginia Campus Pride Rating: half star icon

Founded in Morgantown in 1867, West Virginia University is the flagship campus of the state's public university system. WVU offers gender-inclusive housing options and employs residence life staff who are trained in LGBTQ+ issues. LGBTQ+ students at WVU benefit from the school's LGBTQ+ center, which offers inclusive programming and outreach initiatives. The center's events include a welcome back mixer; safer sex trivia nights; and Queer Mountaineer Week, which celebrates Queer Appalachia culture.

The LGBTQ+ center provides a resource packet, which includes information on the school's LGBTQ+ studies minor, various on-campus resources, and a preferred name request form. The school's LGBTQ+ commission also works to assess and improve inclusiveness on campus, including highlighting the contributions of LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Wisconsin

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University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Eau Claire, Wisconsin Campus Pride Rating:

From its campus on the Chippewa River, the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire enrolls over 10,000 students. The school demonstrates an institutional commitment to LGBTQ+ students by working to provide quality student life and campus safety. The school's gender and sexuality resource center offers resources; education; and programming, including a peer connection and mentorship program, the Night Out Film Series, and an annual welcome week event. The center's training opportunities include bystander and ally training, safe space training, and Stand Up! bystander training to make campus more inclusive and welcoming.

UW-Eau Claire also offers multiple options for gender-inclusive housing, including Chancellor's Hall (an on-campus residence hall) and Haymarket Landing (an off-campus residence hall). The school's commitment to inclusive housing includes renovations to current facilities to offer all-gender restrooms and the LGBTQ+ Rainbow Floor.

Learn more at Campus Pride.

Wyoming

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University of Wyoming

Laramie, Wyoming

From its Laramie campus overlooking the Snowy Range mountains, the University of Wyoming enrolls over 12,000 students and offers numerous LGBTQ+ resources and scholarships. The school's Rainbow Resource Center builds an inclusive and supportive space for LGBTQ+ students by providing a research library, programs and events to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, and an annual town hall meeting. LGBTQ+ students can also join student organizations like Spectrum; earn a degree in queer studies; and pursue individual counseling through the school's counseling center, which also offers group counseling and outreach programs. UW runs a safe zone program to train students, faculty, and staff about LGBTQ+ issues.

The university recognizes and honors former student Matthew Shepard through the Shepard Symposium on Social Justice -- an annual conference dating back to 1997 that addresses social inequality. UW also offers the Matthew Shepard Scholarship to financially support LGBTQ+ students.

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 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 2018 Best of the Best Top 25 LGBTQ-friendly Colleges & Universities

Every year, Campus Pride unveils a list of the 30 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.