The Best College for LGBTQ+ Students In Each State

We've identified the best colleges for LGBTQ+ students by state. Find out which colleges are making the effort to support LGBTQ+ students and set them up for success in school...

portrait of Staff Writers
by Staff Writers

Published on June 8, 2021 · Updated on March 18, 2022

Reviewed by Campus Pride

Our Review Network

BestColleges is committed to delivering content that is objective and accurate. We have built a network of industry professionals across healthcare and education to review our content and ensure we are providing the best information to our readers.

With their first-hand industry experience, our reviewers provide an extra step in our editing process. These experts:

  • Suggest changes to inaccurate or misleading information.
  • Provide specific, corrective feedback.
  • Identify critical information that writers may have missed.

Our growing Review Network currently consists of professionals in fields like business, nursing, social work, and other subject-specific industries; professionals in higher education areas such as college counseling and financial aid; and anti-bias reviewers.

Reviewers typically work full time in their industry profession and review content for BestColleges as a side project. Our reviewers are members of the Red Ventures Education Freelance Review Network and are paid for their contributions.

See a full list of our Review Network contributors.

Share this Article

State Ranking | Choosing an In-State School | LGBTQ+ State Protections | Student Resources | Meet Campus Pride | Our Experts


According to the American College Health Association's (ACHA) annual study, more than 20% of undergraduate students identified as other than heterosexual. Furthermore, more than 3% of undergraduate students identified as other than cisgender.

For those LGBTQ+ students who don't live close to major metropolitan areas and opt to stay close to home to attend college, options may be slim when finding an LGBTQ+-friendly university to attend.

For these reasons, BestColleges partners with Campus Pride each year to rank the best colleges for LGBTQ+ students in each state.

Every university featured on this list has been ranked using BestColleges school ranking factors for affordability and academics. The top-ranked school from each state is then hand-vetted by our panel of experts from Campus Pride.

This process ensures that each school on the list delivers a superior academic experience while also providing an inclusive and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ students.

Find the Top 25 Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students in the U.S.

Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students in Each State 2021

Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.

Campus Pride Index logo

In Partner with BestColleges.com

Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students in Each State

  • University of Alaska Southeast
    Location

    Juneau, Alabama

    UAS provides a wealth of LGBTQ+ resources and services to celebrate and build on its diversity. The school's Safe Zone offers training, support, advocacy, and other efforts to increase the number of safe spaces on campus. LGBTQ+ students have access to counseling services, support groups, and trans-inclusive programs.

    The main UAS campus features gender-neutral bathrooms and housing, along with an LGBTQ+ roommate-matching program and ally-trained residence staff. In addition to various LGBTQ+ student organizations, UAS also hosts the Campus Inclusivity Alliance and Transgender Support Group. Additionally, degree-seekers can pursue LGBT studies courses as part of their academic programs.

    UAS received 3.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index, with its highest marks coming in the housing and residence life category.


    Academic Snapshot

    • Admission Rate: 63%
    • Graduation Rate: 36%
    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,886 students
    • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $6,192

    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
    • Campus Pride Index Rating: 3.5 stars
  • The University of Alabama
    Location

    Tuscaloosa, Alaska

    In an effort to provide the LGBTQ+ community with safe spaces and access to services and resources, UA established the Safe Zone Resource Center. The center offers training programs, a student lounge, peer educator programs, and specialized health services. It also hosts support and discussion groups and an annual Lavender Graduation.

    The UA campus features gender-neutral bathrooms and campus housing, various LGBTQ+ student organizations, and the Alliance for LGBTQ Equality at UAB for staff and faculty. Degree-seekers can pursue courses in LGBTQ+ studies, along with scholarships and advocacy awards.

    UA received 2.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index, earning its highest marks in LGBTQ policy inclusion and support and institutional commitment.


    Academic Snapshot

    • Admission Rate: 59%
    • Graduation Rate: 72%
    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 32,795 students
    • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $10,780

    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
    • Campus Pride Index Rating: 2.5 stars
  • Hendrix College
    Location

    Conway, Arizona

    Hendrix offers students an array of LGBTQ+ student activities, including access to various LGBTQ+ student organizations. Unity — the long-running student organization — also helps design training programs and organize community-building exercises and events. Additionally, Trans@HDX seeks to build more safe spaces and educational resources for trans students and their allies.

    Much of the advocacy and policy work done on campus comes from the Committee on Gender and Sexuality. Hendrix provides gender-inclusive housing and bathrooms, along with Safe Zone program training for many staff and faculty members. Degree-seekers can also enroll in gender and sexuality studies courses and programs.

    Hendrix earned 3.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index overall, and five stars in the LGBTQ student life category.


    Academic Snapshot

    • Admission Rate: 72%
    • Graduation Rate: 71%
    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,109 students
    • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $33,000

    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    • Campus Pride Index Rating: 3.5 stars
  • University of Arizona
    Location

    Tucson, Arkansas

    UArizona's LGBTQ Resource Center was established in 2007 to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and improve school practices and policies. Since then, the school has implemented Safe Zone training and events like Transgender Awareness Week and a QTPOC speaker series. UArizona also provides specialized healthcare and mental health services and resources for LGBTQ+ learners

    Students at UArizona can pursue a gender studies program with an emphasis in sexualities and queer studies. The school also has more than 10 LGBTQ+ student organizations, along with gender-inclusive bathrooms and housing resources.

    UArizona scored 4.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index, earning five stars in LGBTQ support and institutional commitment and student life.


    Academic Snapshot

    • Admission Rate: 84%
    • Graduation Rate: 64%
    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 34,516 students
    • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $12,600

    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    • Campus Pride Index Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Stanford University
    Location

    Stanford, California

    Since the Gay People Union was formed in 1971, Stanford has had an organization fighting for LGBTQ+ rights on the campus. The organization that would become Stanford Pride continues to represent the community in dealings with the university and other organizations. One of their major initiatives includes working toward more gender-neutral housing and gender-neutral bathrooms in all facilities.

    Stanford students have access to Queer Student Resources, which offers information on accessible student spaces, counseling services, and fellowships. In addition to Stanford Pride, students can join more than 20 LGBTQ+ student and community organizations.

    Stanford received five stars on the Campus Pride Index, earning top scores in seven of 10 categories.


    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
    • Campus Pride Index Rating: 5 stars
  • University of Colorado - Boulder
    Location

    Boulder, Colorado

    CU Boulder's LGBTQ+ community has several organizations working on their behalf to continue improving the programs and services available to students. The Center for Inclusion and Social Change helps develop educational programs and services for all enrollees. Students can access resources through the Pride Office, including information on LGBTQ+ campus events, gender-inclusive housing, and specialized health services.

    Additionally, the Gender and Sexuality Center runs Safe Zone training, peer education programs, and other events. CU Boulder also hosts student organizations for LGBTQ+ students. Degree-seekers can enroll in LGBT studies and women and gender studies courses, degree programs, and certificate tracks.

    CU Boulder earned five stars overall on the Campus Pride Index, with five-star rankings in eight of 10 categories.


    Academic Snapshot

    • Admission Rate: 82%
    • Graduation Rate: 71%
    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 31,098 students
    • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $11,040-$16,512

    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
    • Campus Pride Index Rating: 5 stars
  • Connecticut College
    Location

    New London, Connecticut

    Founded in 2007, Conn's LGBTQIA Center is the main hub for LGBTQ+ activities and programs on campus. The center acts as a lounge for students, as well as a resource library and drop-in center. The facility and its staff/volunteers also run various events and programs, including the Pride Rally, a Lavender Graduation, and peer mentorship programs.

    Conn offers academic options on LGBTQ+ issues, such as the gender, sexuality, and intersectionality program. Student organizations include QTPOC, PRISM advocacy group, and Connecticut College Queer and Questioning discussion group. Many of the faculty and staff members at Conn also hold Safe Zone training.

    Conn received 4.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index, including top scores in LGBTQ support and institutional commitment and campus safety.


    Academic Snapshot

    • Admission Rate: 38%
    • Graduation Rate: 81%
    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,861 students
    • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $58,660

    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: New England Commission on Higher Education
    • Campus Pride Index Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Georgetown University
    Location

    Washington, Delaware

    Georgetown's LGBTQ Resource Center runs the majority of its campus initiatives, programs, and services for the LGBTQ+ community. The center offers outreach and educational programs, community support services, health and wellness services, and advocacy initiatives. Students can attend an LGBTQ+ retreat, a Lavender Graduation, and peer mentorship programs.

    Georgetown offers gender-neutral bathrooms, inclusive housing, and various LGBTQ+ student organizations. In terms of academics, the school runs a women and gender studies program and offers LGBT studies courses. The Tagliabue Initiative for LGBTQ Life helps fund specialized research and academic pursuits and conferences for LGBTQ+ learners.

    Georgetown earned four stars on the Campus Pride Index, scoring top marks in LGBTQ campus safety and institutional support and commitment.


    Academic Snapshot

    • Admission Rate: 15%
    • Graduation Rate: 94%
    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,513 students
    • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $59,784

    • School Status: Private
    • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    • Campus Pride Index Rating: 4 stars
  • University of Delaware
    Location

    Newark, District of Columbia

    UD provides many services and programs for LGBTQ+ students and allies through its office of Student Diversity and Inclusion, including Lavender welcomes, chats, and graduations. Learners can access a lounge and safe spaces on campus, as well as resources and information on volunteer and internship opportunities.

    UD has established all-gender housing, including the Gender and Sexuality Living Learning Community. Learners can join one of the many LGBTQ+ organizations available for students, staff, and faculty. The school also runs a sexualities and gender studies program within the women and gender studies department.

    UD received 4.5 stars on the Campus Pride Index, including five-star ratings in LGBTQ campus safety, student life, and counseling and health.


    Academic Snapshot

    • Admission Rate: 66%
    • Graduation Rate: 81%
    • Undergraduate Enrollment: 19,678 students
    • Annual Undergraduate Tuition, In-State: $12,730

    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    • Campus Pride Index Rating: 4.5 stars
  • University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, Florida

    UCF offers a wealth of services, resources, and community support for LGBTQ+ students. The school's LGBTQ+ Services provides community members with access to resource guides, mentoring programs, and various workshops. Students also enjoy access to gender-neutral bathrooms and safe spaces, such as the Pride Commons and Multicultural Student Center.

    Some of the many LGBTQ+ organizations at UCF include the Lavender Council student advisory board, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Pride Faculty and Staff Association. The school offers courses and certificates in gender studies, along with LGBTQ+ events and advocacy groups.

    UCF received 4.5 stars overall on the Campus Pride Index, as well as five stars in the support and institutional commitment, campus safety, and LGBTQ student life 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
    • Campus Pride Index Rating: 4.5 stars

Why Choose a School in Your State

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, and some opt to continue to live with their parents or guardians in order to save money while earning a degree.

Tuition cost is one of the biggest determining factors when selecting a college, and in-state tuition at a public university can be significantly lower than the tuition costs for out-of-state students.

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

What are States Doing to Protect LGBTQ+ Youth?

At the state level, laws and policies vary considerably regarding the discrimination and mistreatment of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Anti-bullying Laws

According to reports published by GLSEN, an American education organization, the District of Columbia and a total of 21 states have enumerated anti-bullying laws: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, 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

The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) notes that the District of Columbia and 22 states currently have laws prohibiting discrimination in schools 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. As it currently stands, 28 states have not passed anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ students.

Anti-LGBTQ+ Curriculum Laws

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.

Six states have these laws on the books: Alabama, 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.

Learn more about federal protections for LGBTQ+ students.

State Resources for LGBTQ+ College Students

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.

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. This database from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists more than 30 reports, pamphlets, and other publications aimed at LGBTQ+ youth, parents, teachers, school administrators, and allies. 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 LGBTQ+ subgroups. 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. 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. While Title IX protects against discrimination based on sex, the law does not yet explicitly 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. 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.

Find Additional Resources for LGBTQ+ Students on BestColleges

Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students College Scholarships for LGBTQ+ Students College Experience Guide for LGBTQ+ Students

What is Campus Pride?

Campus Pride serves 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. It exists to develop, support and give “voice and action” in building future LGBTQ and ally student leaders.

Our Experts

Meet the experts from Campus Pride that helped Best Colleges vet the most inclusive college in each state for LGBTQ+ students.

Portrait of Genny Beemyn, Ph.D.

Genny Beemyn, Ph.D.

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.

Portrait of 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.

Academic institutions continue to take steps to create environments and policies that meet the needs of students with LGBTQ+ identities. Here are the top-ranked schools. - BestColleges.com, in partnership with , announced today the ranking for the 2017 Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students. The new ranking highlights colleges and universities that create an inclusive and... As a prominent minority group, we've outlined a wide range of LGBTQ+ scholarships and financial aid opportunities available for college students.