UVM ranks in top 50 as LGBT Friendly College

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UVM ranks in top 50 as LGBT Friendly College

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 3:56am -- tim

UVM graduation by Sally McCay

Vermont Business Magazine College Choice has published a ranking of the 50 Best LGBT Friendly College and Universities. The University of Vermont ranked 39th and was the only Vermont college on the list. The following ranking highlights many universities that have a strong history of creating quality programming for the LGBTQ community and its allies.These standout schools are some of the best in the country at committing time and resources to equipping their students, staff, and faculty with tools that encourage education, support, safety and inclusion campus wide. 

College Choice began with a base list of regionally accredited universities that are highly rated by Campus Pride, a website that rates the LBGTQ-friendliness of colleges. Schools that passed this initial criterion were then evaluated and ranked based on academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability, average financial aid awarded, and return on investment. In other words, all the schools on this list would be good choices for students looking for an LGBTQ-friendly school. The ranking is directly connected to the other factors students consider to be most important. 

The University of Pennsylvania leads the ranking, which evaluated and ranked schools based on publicly available information on accreditation, Campus Pride rating, academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability, average financial aid awarded, and return on investment. Williams College and Amherst Collegecame in second and third respectively.



CC SCORE: 100.00

PER-YEAR COST: $49,536


The University of Pennsylvania, commonly known as Penn, was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740 and is one of the country’s Colonial Colleges, established before American Revolution. It is an Ivy League research university located in Philadelphia, regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. 89 undergraduate majors are offered, and the university holds a “One University” policy, which grants undergraduates access to courses in nearly all undergraduate and graduate schools, as well as allowing students to take courses at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore – an agreement known as the Quaker Consortium. With a student to faculty ratio of 6 to 1, in the fall of 2015 Penn had 10,406 undergraduate and 11,157 graduate students.

Founded over 30 years ago, Penn’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center is one of the oldest LGBTQ centers in the country. The Center offers mentorships, study space, events, as well as outreach and education for the wider university. Staff at the Center also advocate on “behalf of Penn’s LGBT community for sensitive and inclusive University policies and practices.” In addition to the Center, the university also has the Lambda Alliance, an umbrella advocacy group for queer students on campus. The Lambda Alliance’s purpose is to advance the “causes of legal and social LGBT equality on campus.”



CC SCORE: 99.90

PER-YEAR COST: $50,070


135 miles from Boston and nestled in the Berkshires, Williamstown, Massachusetts is home to Williams College. Established in 1793 as a men’s college, Williams became coeducational in 1970. It is a private liberal arts college, regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, offering 36 undergraduate majors and 2 master’s degree programs. In 2015, the college had about 2,000 undergraduate students and a student-faculty ratio of 7:1. 94% of Williams students are involved in at least one of the college’s 150 student organizations.

The Davis Center is Williams’ multicultural center, created in 1989 after student protests demanding the college recognize the need to support underrepresented communities on campus. The Davis Center’s objective stated on their website is “to contribute to the personal and intellectual growth of the Williams community through advocacy and support for historically underrepresented populations including . . . LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer) communities . . .” Today, Williams’ LGBTQ community is robust and diverse, including a group for LGBTQ athletes, a group for students, faculty, and staff on campus who are gender non-conforming, a LGBTQ mentorship program through the Davis Center, and a LGBTQ advisory roundtable, to name only a few.



CC SCORE: 97.60

PER-YEAR COST: $50,562


Amherst College is known as one of the “Little Ivy” colleges. A private, liberals arts college, Amherst was founded in 1821 in Amherst Massachusetts and is a 90-minute drive from Boston. The college is solely an undergraduate institution, with 38 majors and nearly 1,800 students enrolled in 2015. It is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Amherst is part of the Five College Consortium, along with Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which allows students to choose over 6,000 courses for credit across all five schools.

The Queer Resource Center (QRC) supports the LGBTQQIAA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and Ally) students at Amherst. The QRC provides a variety of services including a safe community and study space, Queer/Trans 101 Trainings, and a library with over 500 books on queer issues/topics. According to the QRC’s website, the center “seeks to empower the lives of queer students at Amherst College by uniting the diverse individuals in the community across gender, race, age, class, religion, and ability differences. The intention of the QRC is to provide a safe, intentional, open, and confidential atmosphere where queer students and their allies can gather openly and discuss relevant issues/topics.” In addition, the QRC networks with the other colleges in the Five College Consortium to provide an even stronger community for LGBTQ students at Amherst.



CC SCORE: 96.27

PER-YEAR COST: $50,649


Harvey Mudd College (HMC) was founded in 1955 and is part of the Claremont Colleges – a consortium of seven schools all located in Claremont, California. HMC is a private liberal arts college, offering nine majors in the fields of engineering, science, and mathematics. It is regionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. In 2015, Harvey Mudd had 800 students and a 9:1 student-faculty ratio. Students are encouraged to take courses outside their majors, for credit, at the other Claremont Colleges

The Queer Resource Center (QRC) serves students at all seven of the Claremont Colleges who identify as “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, asexual, omnisexual, pansexual, or as an ally.” Along with a library of over 1,200 LGBTQIA-related materials, the QRC offers space for community, study, events, and support. The Queer Questioning Allied Mentor Program (QQAMP) is a peer-mentoring program, which is open to all students. For those at Harvey Mudd specifically a resource guide is provided online for those who are transgender or transitioning while at school, and also offers gender-neutral housing options. In addition, as of 2013 The Claremont College Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) covers gender reassignment benefits of $100,000 per policy year.



CC SCORE: 95.13

PER-YEAR COST: $53,000


Originally established in 1754 as King’s College by King George II, Columbia University in the City of New York, commonly known as Columbia University is a private, Ivy League, research university in Manhattan. It is the oldest college in New York and was also the first school in the country to confer a Doctor of Medicine degree. It is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. There are more than 80 different majors and concentrations at Columbia and 80% of the undergraduate classes have fewer than 20 students.

As part of the Multicultural Affairs office, LGBTQ @ Columbia “provides students with LGBTQ student group advising, events, education, advocacy, and other services and resources to help all students explore and better understand diverse queer and trans identities, experiences, and communities at Columbia and beyond,” according to their website. LGBTQ @ Columbia is the umbrella organization for six student organizations, as well as programs and events such as Trans Awareness Week and the Quench (Queer+Lunch) Series. Additionally, students can find a support group for those who are coming out, a peer-to-peer mentoring program, and online resources for the trans community.



CC SCORE: 94.95

PER-YEAR COST: $25,117


Founded in 1919, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is the second-oldest of the University of California campuses. Located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, UCLA offers over 125 undergraduate majors, almost 150 graduate programs, and is the most applied-to university in the country. In 2014 undergraduate enrollment was just under 30,000 students. It is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. UCLA has graduated 13 Nobel Laureates and over 140 companies have been created from technology developed at the university.

The LGBT Campus Resource Center is a department of UCLA’s Student Affairs. According to the center’s website, the mission of the LGBT Campus Resource Center is to provide “a comprehensive range of education and advocacy services supporting intersectional identity development. We foster unity, wellness, and an open, safe and inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex, transgender, queer, asexual, questioning, and same-gender-loving students, faculty, staff, alumni, their families, and the entire campus community.” In addition, there are over 20 LGBTQ student organizations including BlaQue (for the pan-African LGBTQ community), La Familia (Latina/o LGBT student group), and Fluid (a discussion group for bi/pansexual-related issues).



CC SCORE: 94.91

PER-YEAR COST: $49,241


Duke University is a private research institution located in Durham, North Carolina. Originally established in 1838 as Trinity College, it became Duke University in 1924 through a philanthropic endowment. In the fall of 2015, Duke had 6,485 undergraduate students and 8,465 graduate and professional students, with a student-faculty ratio of 7:1. Duke is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and offers 50 undergraduate majors and 52 minors. In an advancement of the university’s mission of ” knowledge in service to society,” more than 75% of students at Duke are engaged in service-learning opportunities in Durham and throughout the world.

The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity at Duke seeks to “achieve an inclusive campus climate for students, staff, faculty, and alumni with marginalized sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions through education, advocacy, support, mentoring, academic engagement, and providing space,” according to their mission statement. One of the projects to come out of the center is the Sports and Social Justice Leader Initiative, with the goal of fostering student athletes with the “leadership skills and knowledge to influence and impact social change on topics related to LGBTQ+ inclusion, beyond the courts and in their communities.” In addition, the Blue Devils United is a student group providing outreach, community, and advocacy for Duke’s LGBTQ students and allies.



CC SCORE: 94.81

PER-YEAR COST: $48,212


Another of the Little Ivy schools, Bowdoin College is a private liberal arts college established in 1794. The college is located in Brunswick, Maine near Casco Bay and the Adroscoggin River, a 12-mile journey from Freeport. It is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In 1970, Bowdoin became one of only a handful of schools to make the SAT optional for admission. Like several other schools, Bowdoin did away with the fraternity system in the 1990s, switching over to a House System in 1997. As of 2015, Bowdoin has over 40 majors, a student-faculty ratio of 9:1 and a student population of 1,805. Bowdoin’s mascot is the polar bear.

The Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (RCSGD) at Bowdoin is “dedicated to educating the campus community about sexuality and gender identity,” which includes a library of queer-related books and media. It works in tandem with the college administration to help make Bowdoin “a more queer-friendly environment” and coordinates with the other groups on campus to organizes various events to meet the needs of the school’s community. Examples include the created of a transgender student guide, to assist both current and prospective students, faculty, and staff in support.One of the groups the RCSGD partners with Bowdoin’s Queer-Straight Alliance, which is comprised of LGBTQ and questioning students and allies who seek to “raise awareness of queer issues at Bowdoin and in the Brunswick community.”



CC SCORE: 94.50

PER-YEAR COST: $50,604


Tufts University is a private research university with campuses in Medford/Somerville, Boston, and Grafton Massachusetts, as well as Taillores, France. It is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Tufts was founded in 1852 and as of the fall of 2015 had 5,290 undergraduate and 5,847 graduate and professional students. It has 341 recognized student organizations, with 93.8% of students participating in at least one extra or co-curricular activity. Their mascot is Jumbo the Elephant.

Tufts has the “Group of Six,” centers that work both together to help increase awareness and appreciation for the diversity of Tufts. Included in this group is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center, which was founded in 1992. The Center “provides programming, advising, and educational resources and aims to improve the experience of gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and transgender people at Tufts, as well as to provide campus-wide education about sexuality, gender, and the effects of heterosexism, cissupremacy, queerphobia, and other forms of dehumanization.” It offers advocacy, counseling, discussion groups, resources, peer education programming, trainings and workshop, community space, and email lists connecting interest groups.



CC SCORE: 94.42

PER-YEAR COST: $32,172


Founded as Elon College in 1889, Elon University, established in 2001, is a private liberal arts university located in Elon, North Carolina. It is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In the fall of 2015, it had 5,903 undergraduate and 728 graduate students, with a student to faculty ratio of 12:1. Elon offers over 60 undergraduate majors and eight graduate programs. 88% of undergraduates participate in volunteer work and 72% study abroad. Elon offers over 200 student organizations.

The Gender and LGBTQIA Center (GLC) “exists so LGBTQIA and Ally students & employees feel respected, safe, and valued on campus, so they may fully participate in the full array of academic, co-curricular, and leadership experiences offered at Elon University.”GLC provides a social space for students, a library, and study space. Along with the GLC, students can participate in Spectrum, the Queer-Straight Alliance group. The university also offers over 90 gender-neutral bathrooms, all of which are listed on the GLC webpage.



CC SCORE: 94.12

PER-YEAR COST: $49,116


Founded in 1865 in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is both a private Ivy League university and one of three land-grant universities in the country. As of the fall of 2015, Cornell had 14,315 undergraduate students and 7,589 graduate and professional students across 14 colleges and schools. Aside from its main campus in Ithaca, the university operates Cornell-run and partnered programs in New York City, New York; Doha, Qatar; Geneva, New York; Washington, D.C.; and Rome, Italy. It is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Cornell has graduated 45 Nobel Laureates.

The Cornell Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center was established in 1994, coming out of the Cornell’s Gay People’s Center in the early 1970s and the lobbying of LGBT students in the early 1990s for a LGBT Living Center. The center “coordinates the efforts of the entire Cornell community to ensure the inclusion of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQQIA) individuals and works to eliminate discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.” The Center works to provide education outreach, advocacy and support to students, staff, and faculty at Cornell. Within the LGBT Resource center are more than 20 undergraduate and graduate student organizations. Cornell is a member of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals.



CC SCORE: 93.87

PER-YEAR COST: $43,450


One of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution, Princeton University was founded in 1746 and is presently located in Princeton, New Jersey. It is a private Ivy League research university regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Princeton had 5,275 undergraduate and 2,671 graduate students during its 2014-2015 academic year, with an undergraduate to faculty ratio of 6:1. Princeton is a quick one-hour train ride to both New York City and Philadelphia, and student trips to both cities for concerts, plays, and athletic events are often subsidized by the university.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center at Princeton was established in 2005. The center “works to create a safe and supportive academic environment through educational opportunities and advocating for the needs and concerns of LGBTQA students.” This includes outreach across campus to ensure inclusion and integration of LGBTQ issues across Princeton. The center is used for a wide array programs, meetings, hanging out, studying and features LGBTQA resources and information in its library. The center’s website includes a list of gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus.



CC SCORE: 93.65

PER-YEAR COST: $48,093


Located in St.Louis, Missouri, Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university and is accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. The university was founded in 1853. In the fall of 2014, the university had 14,503 students, both undergraduate and graduate, with an 8:1 student to faculty ratio. With over 300 academic programs, three out of four students pursue multiple majors and/or minors. Around 75% of undergraduate students participate in intramural sports, and there are around 320 undergraduate student groups on campus.

While Washington University does not have a LGBT center like many institutions, it has an extensive network of groups and organizations, on campus, locally, and nationally to support the LGBT community. In addition, the LGBT Advisory Board “supports the LGBTQIA community by creating programs focused on growing a culturally rich campus through community building, advocacy, social justice and diversity education, leadership, and the development of global citizens.” The school holds three annual events throughout the year: Destination Q (an overnight retreat for undergraduate students in the LGBTQIA community), Lavender Recognition (honoring achievements and contribution of graduating LGBTQA students), and the Holobaugh Honors (recognizing students, staff, and faculty, and St. Louis community members who live and lead authentically and perform direct advocacy and service to LGBTQIA communities).



CC SCORE: 92.94

PER-YEAR COST: $46,966


Twenty miles outside Charlotte, North Carolina in the town of Davidson, is Davidson College, a private liberal arts school. Established in 1837, Davidson is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Davidson is the first liberal arts college to do away with loans in financial aid packages. The college has a 9:1 student to faculty ratio and an enrollment of 1,950 students, as of fall 2015. Students can choose from 26 majors. 85% of students participate in community work and 80% work, study, or travel (with Davidson travel grants) to another country. Though small, Davidson is a NCAA Division I school.

As the LGBTQ at Davidson website states, “through student groups, course curriculum, hiring practices, and the Safe Space program, Davidson is committed to creating a community that welcomes and fosters mutual respect among all campus members.” Officially the LGBTQ Resource Library and Lounge, the Lavender Lounge is open to everyone on campus – generally to provide space for meetings and film screenings. A newer group to campus is the LGBTQ Caucus, a faculty and staff affinity group which “connects the campus community together to educate on LGBTQ issues, supports the college’s non-discrimination policy, collaborates with other social justice groups, and disseminates LGBTQ achievements.” There are also a variety of student-led groups on campus that both advocate and serve as resources for gender and sexuality issues on campus.



CC SCORE: 92.75

PER-YEAR COST: $22,991


Founded in 1861, the University of Washington, also known as UW or U-Dub, is a public research university. The school’s main campus is in Seattle, Washington, with campuses in Tacoma and Bothell, Washington. UW is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Across all three campuses, the university had 55,767 students, both undergraduate and graduate/professional, in the fall of 2015. It offers over 1,800 undergraduate courses each quarter across 16 colleges and schools. The UW has more Pell Grant recipients than all Ivy League schools combined.

The Q Center is a student-run resource center serving “anyone with or without gender or sexuality: UW students, staff, faculty, alum, and community members.” The Q hosts student groups, hold regular events, and has a library, as well as runs several blogs – Q Blog, Dear Queer, and Qmmunity Qurterly. The center offers a Queer 101 course, an ally training through the Safe Zone Project, and provides policy advocacy, counseling, and group meeting space. The Q Center also supports and collaborates with the student groups on campus, including Queer People of Color Alliance, Queer Student Commission, and the Gender Discussion Group.



CC SCORE: 91.90

PER-YEAR COST: $48,887


Macalester College, or Mac, is a private liberal arts college in St. Paul, Minnesota, and an easy commute to Minneapolis. Mac was founded in 1874 and is regionally accreditated by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It has an average class size of 17 and offers over 800 courses each year. There are over 60 courses that work with businesses and organizations as part of the curriculum. More than 90% of students participate in community-based work.

LGBTQ@Mac is part of the Department of Multicultural Life as “as part of our mission to integrate and affirm the peoples, discourses, thoughts, and experiences of marginalized people into the fabric of the Macalester community.” It includes many student-run groups, on-campus resources, and annual events, including the Allies Project Training, Trans* @ Mac, and the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC). The GSRC aims “to create a stronger culture of resistance against all forms of oppression by making resources more accessible and by bringing people together through empowering, transformative, and revolutionary meetings, discussions, and events.”



CC SCORE: 91.42

PER-YEAR COST: $49,263


Forty miles outside the Twin Cities, in the Mississippi river town of Northfield, Minnesota sits Carleton College, a private liberal arts college founded in 1866. Carleton offers 37 majors and has a student to faculty ratio of 9:1. It is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. 90% of students live in student housing. With a commitment to environmental sustainability, some of Carleton’s power is supplied by its wind turbine, offers Fair Trade organic coffee and locally-grown food in the dining halls, and composts all food waste and disposable items at the Snack Bar. Carleton was also the first higher educational institution in Minnesota to implement a single-stream recycling program.

Carleton College’s Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) “offers resources and support on issues related to diversity in gender and sexuality and coordinates campus initiatives to prevent sexual violence and create healthy communities and relationships.” The center offers advising, peer support, peer-led educational programs, a lending library, and a meeting space for related student groups. It also plans a variety of events throughout the year, including National Coming Out Week, Transgender Day of Remembrance, the Rainbow Retreat, and Pride Banquet. There are several LGBTQ-related groups on campus students can join, such as Queer, Questioning, Trans People of Color, Sexuality and Gender Activism, Asexual Community & Education, and the Gender Discussion Group.



CC SCORE: 90.46

PER-YEAR COST: $21,826


Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is an American public research university in New Jersey. With campuses in New Brunswick, Camden, and Newark, it is the largest institute of higher education in the state. Founded in 1766, it is one of the nine Colonial Colleges, founded before the American Revolution. Rutgers presently offers over 100 undergraduate majors and over 200 graduate programs across 31 schools and colleges. Despite its size, the average class has 30 or fewer students with a student to faculty ratio of 14:1. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities (SJE) at Rutgers “provides educational and social programs, leadership development, and policy consultation” with a vision “to provide an inclusive campus experience for all members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Non-binary, Queer, Questioning, Asexual and Ally community.” SJE does this in a variety of ways, including providing LGBTQA students and allies with advising, advocacy, and service referrals, maintaining a drop-in resource center, and supporting a wide range of initiatives to engage students in a variety of ways. It also provides a weekly listserv guide with social justice programs, opportunities and initiatives happening across the campus and within surrounding communities and has six LGBTQIA organizations, including Queer & Asian and Out in Science, Technology, Engineering,and Math (oSTEM).



CC SCORE: 90.19

PER-YEAR COST: $40,658


Originally founded in 1892 as a music conservatory, Ithaca College is a private college in Ithaca, New York, United States. In the Finger Lakes region of New York state, Ithaca is halfway between Manhattan and Toronto. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In the fall of 2015, Ithaca had an enrollment of 446 graduate and 6,323 undergraduate students and over 100 degree programs.

Founded in 2001, the Center for LGBT Education, Outreach, and Services “actively fosters the academic success and personal growth of LGBT students, and it offers college-wide services to enhance the campus community’s understanding and appreciation of LGBT people and themes.” These services include resources and referrals on LGBT issues, as well as campus-wide LGBT programming & events. In addition to the center, there are four LGBT student organizations on campus: Created Equal (LGBTQA activism), PRISM (social and education focus), Spectrum (community for “people who have feelings and are attracted to the person and not the gender”), and Athlete Ally (ending homo- and transphobia in sports teams). Students may also choose to be a part of Ithaca’s LGBTQA-themed residential living/learning community, House of Roy.



CC SCORE: 90.08

PER-YEAR COST: $26,305


A public research university, the University of California, Davis is located in Davis, California. Commonly referred to as UC Davis, the university, founded in 1905, is one of the 10 campuses of the University of California system. It is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges–Senior College and University Commission. As of 2015, UC Davis offers 104 undergraduate majors and 96 graduate programs and has a student to faculty ration of 18:1. The campus is 20 minutes from Sacramento and a two-hour drive from the San Francisco Bay Area, Lake Tahoe, and Napa Valley.

The LGBTQIA Resource Center was established in 1994 and “promotes education about all sexes, genders, and sexualities, as well as space for self-exploration of these identities.” It offers a wide array of resources including those for counseling, hotlines, coming out, support groups, and hate and bias incidents. As of 2015, the university is working toward addressing the campus-wide need for more access to gender-inclusive restrooms. The center also has a volunteer program and various mentorship programs, including high school outreach. The university also has 15 student organizations for LGBTQIA students—from Asian Pacific Islander Queers (APIQ) to Delta Lambda Phi to Queer Research Cluster. Rainbow House is a 1st year housing community geared towards LGBTQIA students.



CC SCORE: 89.66

PER-YEAR COST: $18,701


One of the country’s largest universities, The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State or OSU, is a public research university in Columbus, Ohio. It was established in 1870 as a land-grant university and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. For undergraduates, OSU offers over 200 majors and as of the fall of 2014 had 44,741 undergraduate students. 71% of first-year classes have fewer than 50 students.

Through the Student Life Multicultural Center, OSU offers LGBTQ initiatives through student cohort groups, leadership opportunities, educational programs, and events. There are four cohort groups, or Q*mmunities: Students of Color, First Year, LGBTQ Students and Allies, and Spiritual. Some hallmark LGBTQ events at OSU each year are LGBTQ History Month and Coming Out Day, Queer Family HoliGay Dinner, and the Rainbow Celebration. The university offers gender-inclusive housing options and students able to specify if they would prefer to have a roommate who is LGBT or identifies as an ally. A list of gender neutral bathrooms on campus is available on the Student Life Multicultural Center website.



CC SCORE: 89.14

PER-YEAR COST: $20,570


About four miles northeast of Washington, D.C., in College Park, Maryland is the University of Maryland, College Park, a public research university. The university, established in 1856, is the flagship school for the University of Maryland system. It is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. College Park offers more than 90 undergraduate majors over 10 colleges and has over 800 student organizations. In the fall of 2015, undergraduate enrollment was 27,443 and had a student to teacher ratio of 18:1.

The LGBT Equity Center at College Park envisions the university “as a fully equitable community that empowers innovators and agents of social justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people.” It offers a variety of resources, from a counseling center to information on studying abroad as a LGBT student. All LGBT-identified students and allies are encouraged to join the Rainbow Terrapin Network as a way to both show support for LGBT inclusion and learn more about the resources the university provides. There are a number of LGBT-related student groups on campus, including One Project (for first-year students), The Pride alliance, and Hamsa—Jewish and LGBTQQIA.



CC SCORE: 88.94

PER-YEAR COST: $28,666


A public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, or simply Michigan, was established in 1817. It has two satellite campuses in Flint and Dearborn. In 1866, it was the largest university in the country with 1,255 students. As of 2015 the university had grown quite a bit and enrolled over 51,000 students across all three campuses. It is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Spectrum Center at Michigan’s mission is a commitment “to enriching the campus experience and developing students as individuals and as members of communities. Our work is accomplished through a student-centered, intersectional lens” using sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as a framework. The Center includes resources on ways LGBTQ intersects with other social identities, a gender-inclusive restroom map for the campus, information on the Gender Inclusive Living Experience (GILE), and community resources. Some in-office services include a library, trainings, HIV testing, and a meeting space. A long list of LGBT student and faculty organizations are listed on the center’s website as well.



CC SCORE: 88.92

PER-YEAR COST: $22,065


The flagship school for the Indiana University system, Indiana University, Bloomington is a public research university in Bloomington, Indiana. It is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. IU Bloomington was originally established in 1820 as a state seminary. It offers 550+ majors and programs for undergraduate and graduate students, over 300 overseas study programs, over 200 research centers and institutions, over 750 student organizations, and 23 thematic, academic, and living-learning centers. There were 38,365 undergraduate and 48,514 total students enrolled in 2015.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Support Services (GLBTSSS) Office is the resource and information center at IU Bloomington, which provides “a welcoming environment for individuals seeking to grow in their understanding of LGBT issues.” Through the center students can utilize the GLBT Library, sign up a weekly e-mail newsletter, access a local resource guide, chat with one of the center’s staff members, access the center’s counseling services, and find more information on upcoming events! IU Bloomington also offers a variety of LGBTQIA & Ally Groups, including the Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity and the Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority.



CC SCORE: 88.25

PER-YEAR COST: $50,277


California’s oldest private research university, the University of Southern California (USC) was founded in 1880. Its main campus is in Los Angeles, California. It is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. In the fall of 2015, USC enrolled 19,000 undergraduate and 24,000 graduate and professional students across 21 schools and units. It offers 95 undergraduate majors and 134 master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees over 17 schools. Responsible for the majority of programs and events on campus, the student organizations number of 800.

Established in 2005, the LGBT Resource Center “provides support, education, and advocacy for LGBTQ and Ally” students at USC. The center has resources and referrals, including local LGBT support services, trans resources, resources for students who are questioning, resources for coming out, and resources for parents. There is a plethora of student LGBT organizations and events at USC, including Queer People of Color, Genesis 9:13 (LGBT Christians), Rainbow Scholars, and the Queer Rising Fall Retreat.



CC SCORE: 88.22

PER-YEAR COST: $16,047


Montclair State University was first founded in 1908 as the New Jersey State Normal School at Montclair.  Today the current student enrollment of 20,000 accounts for almost half of Montclair, New Jersey’s overall population. The campus encompasses nearly 250 acres and is located a mere 30 minutes’ drive from the lively Time Square in New York City. Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Montclair State University offers almost 300 majors, minors, concentrations and certification programs to its students.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) Center at Montclair State University was created to offer a safe campus environment for the inclusion and support of sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression through educating, advocating and supporting the students, faculty and staff of the university. Programs of the LGBTQ Center include Peer Mentor Programs between upperclassmen and underclassmen that build trust through authentic one-on-one relationships in order to positively influence newer students to enjoy better school involvement, personal confidence, and academic retention. Dating back to 2010, The LGBTQ Center at Montclair State University presents an annual Pride Awards Ceremony each spring semester to honor and recognize outstanding individuals for their contributions to the LGBTQ and campus community. Awards given each year include the “Student Ally of the Year”, “Faculty/Staff Ally of the Year” and the “LGBTQ Trailblazer Award”.



CC SCORE: 88.09

PER-YEAR COST: $22,338


Located in the rural community of Amherst, Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts—Amherst is ranked 29th among the best public universities in the nation and has moved up 11 spots in the last two years according to the U.S. News & World Report’s annual college guide. Founded in 1863, the campus is located close to large urban centers and only 90 miles from Boston. UMass Amherst, accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges, holds the distinction of being the single largest library system in New England, boasting more than 7 million items in its collection. The 30,000+ student body takes part in over 350 community service programs annually and three UMass Amherst teams qualified for NCAA tournaments during the 2013-2014 season.

The University offers the Stonewall Center as a resource for the LGBTQIA+ community. The Stonewall Center was a trailblazer for its time as there were only two other college campuses in the country that offered a similar resource in 1985. Since then many other colleges and organizations have used them as a model for how to provide students, staff, and faculty with education, programming, and resources that encourage an attitude of communication and cooperation among all people. LGBTQIA ally training, special speakers on LGBTQIA issues, a library full of print and video-based resources and support for those who experience harassment and abuse are just some of the resources available through the Stonewall Center at UMass Amherst.



CC SCORE: 88.08

PER-YEAR COST: $24,430


Boasting an overall count of 97,000 students, 47,000 of which attend the main campus located in University Park, Pennsylvania, Penn State University “generates approximately $8.5 billion in direct and indirect economic impact annually within Pennsylvania”. Founded in 1855, the university is the largest in the state and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Even though Penn State offers 24 campuses for students to attend and currently possesses the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world comprised of over 175,000 members, the average student to teacher ratio remains low at 17 to 1.

In their own words: “We work to eliminate homophobia and heterosexism at The Pennsylvania State University so that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students and their allies have equity in every respect and are included in all areas of the Penn State Community.” Penn State has fleshed out these principles and values by establishing the LGBTQA Resource Center on campus which offers programming and support to the LGBTQA community. Beyond the Resource Center’s library of printed resources and training events, the Center works to advocate for policy changes at the institutional level to better recognize the unique needs of individuals within the LGBTQA community.



CC SCORE: 87.89

PER-YEAR COST: $18,000


Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was established in 1851. Today the Twin Cities campus serves over 30,000 undergraduate students and offers over 180 undergrad majors. The school has a rich history of success in sports as the “Golden Gophers” were five-time national football champions between 1934 and 1941. Well-known graduates of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities include Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug, Super Bowl champion coach Tony Dungy, award-winning writer and storyteller Garrison Keillor and former vice president Walter Mondale.

In 1993, the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities established a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Programs Office in order to support the GLBT students, staff, and faculty on campus. In 2006, the GLBT became the GLBTA Program Office to recognize allies of the GLBT community. Current programs include a robust alumni network, an international student group and peer to peer mentor program. Students can also enroll in specific GLBT Courses and seek a GLBT Minor. The GLBTA Program Office is open each weekday and offers many events throughout the calendar year.



CC SCORE: 87.64

PER-YEAR COST: $47,750


Dating all the way back to 1832, NYU’s first classes were offered at Clinton Hill, near New York’s City Hall in Lower Manhattan. Today 49,000 students call themselves NYU “Violets” and the campus contains 11 libraries that are outfitted with more than 5.9 million volumes sought out by 10,000 library visitors per day! Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, New York University employs 4 Nobel and Crafoord Prize Winners and 5 Pulitzer Prize Winners yet prioritizes a smaller student to instructor ratio of 10 to 1.

The New York University Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Student Center was designed to foster a welcoming and healthy environment where students and staff alike could learn more about LGBTQ issues. One unique component of the LGBTQ Student Center is its ongoing QUENCH (Queer + Free Lunch = QUENCH) program that invites guests to hear from dynamic speakers over a variety of important thought-provoking topics and enjoy a free meal. QUENCH meets 6 to 7 times over a given semester. The Student Center also provides NYU students and staff with a Cyber Center, resource library and well-stocked and finely appointed lounge where visitors can enjoy crafted coffees, watch movies and enjoy conversation in a relaxed atmosphere.



CC SCORE: 87.24

PER-YEAR COST: $12,556


Located in sunny San Diego, California, SDSU is the home of the Aztecs and has seen its fair share of notable graduates in the field of sports and entertainment. Current alumni of the 33,000 student campus include stars Julie Kavner, Gregory Peck and Marion Ross, and athletes Marshall Faulk, Gene Littler and Stephen Strasburg. With its star appeal and perfect weather comes a rich history in education as the university began in 1897 as an institution equipping elementary school teachers under the name “San Diego Normal School.” The university currently offers 91 undergrad majors, 78 master’s degrees and 22 doctoral major programs.

The Pride Center as SDSU exists to create, sustain, and strengthen resources and support for persons of all sexual and gender identities and their allies. In January 2012, San Diego State University made history by becoming only the second public college in North America to offer a major in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Studies. The school paired their major degree plan with a minor and a graduate-level certificate in LGBT Studies. Courses available include “LGBT literature, history of sexuality, media and sexuality, psychology of human sexual behavior, sexuality in modern society, valuing human diversity, lesbian lives and cultures, among many others.” With its longstanding and strong advocacy for LGBT issues, the school also offers over 12 internships for students interested in getting involved with its on-campus service organizations.



CC SCORE: 86.52

PER-YEAR COST: $20,040


The University of Wisconsin–Madison was established in 1848 and is located in Madison, the state capital of Wisconsin. UW offers a liberal arts general education to freshmen and sophomore students both on any of its 13 regional campuses and through a virtual campus where over 2,300 students currently learn online. The University of Wisconsin is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and believes a quality education can be attained at an affordable price revealed in their $4,750 annual tuition fee.

The LGBT Campus Center was established in 1992 and in 2013 celebrated its 10th anniversary as an Office of the Dean of Students. The Center identifies “Intersectionality, Social Justice, Empowerment, Celebration, Community, Collaboration and Inclusivity” as its core values and operating principles. The LGBT Campus Center’s goal is to help the staff and student body of the University of Wisconsin–Madison “actively address oppression in all its forms and affirm, include, and celebrate people across the spectrum of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, including their intersectional experiences and perspectives.” Programs and services include mentor and leadership programs, a resource library and regular schedule discussion groups throughout the academic year.



CC SCORE: 85.86

PER-YEAR COST: $19,403


Although Purdue University boasts over 39,000 students, the student to instructor ratio sits at a modest 12 to 1 showing the school’s high priority for a ground level, relationship-based education for its student body. Home of the Boilermakers (a nickname dubbed in 1891 when the school’s athletic department was accused of recruiting young men from the boiler shops) the university has a strong tradition of success in NCAA tournaments for the past few decades, most notable in its basketball program. An 85,000 lb Schenectady #1 locomotive stands proudly on the campus in West Lafayette, Indiana as a reminder of the school’s solid history and the university’s journey into the global future, as marked by the fact that Purdue leads most American public universities in international student enrollment.

Located on the campus of Purdue University, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Center is open every day of the week and staffed by a full-time director and program coordinator. The LGBTQ Center provides a collection of printed and video resources in their library as well as programming that educates individuals on topics important to LGBTQ issues. The Center’s study abroad program, entitled “Sex, History and the Cities” offers students the opportunity to travel to New York and Paris and study six upperclassmen level courses that count towards their degree.



CC SCORE: 85.71

PER-YEAR COST: $44,560


Located just 5 miles away from busy downtown Cleveland, Ohio, Case Western Reserve University offers its student body many popular attractions and options for entertainment. The campus is situated in bustling University Circle, an area known for its shopping, restaurants, and live performance venues: West Side Market, Playhouse Square and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to name a few. With 10,000 students enrolled in courses at CWRU, the student to instructor ratio is a comfortable 11 to 1. Established in 1826, Case Western Reserve receives their accreditation through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Lesbian/Gay Student Union was first formed in 1987 and just over twenty years later the school opened the LGBT Center in 2010. The LGBT Center has been the recipient of several prestigious awards during its history including the 2014 Transgender Day of Remembrance Illumination Award for the most supportive organization in recognition of the university’s “inclusive healthcare policies for transgender individuals.” The Human Rights Campaign awarded the school with the Equality Award in 2009. Resources of the LGBT Center include campus and conversation groups and resources for health, education, and allies. The school also has a designated LGBTQA Committee made up of staff, students and former students that work to address the growing needs of the LGBT community at Case Western Reserve.



CC SCORE: 85.49

PER-YEAR COST: $35,465


Originally established in Marshall, Wisconsin in 1869, Augsburg College would be moved three years later to Minneapolis in 1872. The college has retained its connection with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the dominant religious affiliation among the 3,500 students enrolled is Lutheran at 21 percent followed by 13 percent of students identifying themselves as Roman Catholic. With a ratio of 12 students per 1 instructor the most popular majors declared at AC are Biology and Psychology followed by Management. The campus prides itself on being one of the most accessible institutions for education in the region with a well-developed system of elevators connecting buildings with skyways above and tunnels below. Augsburg College athletic programs compete at the Division III level and the school is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Augsburg College established the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA) Student Services in order to foster an environment of acceptance and community among the entirety of students, staff, and faculty. The programs and resources offered by LGBTQIA Student Services are set in place to promote mutual understanding of gender and sexuality throughout the campus. This is carried out by offering training for students and staff alike over topics like gender identity and equality throughout the calendar year. There is also a high priority placed on policy and procedure revision at the administrative level in order to promote diversity and inclusion for the LGBTQIA community of Augsburg College.



CC SCORE: 84.75

PER-YEAR COST: $43,740


Founded in 1847, the small, private Lawrence University offers its students a unique and customized education philosophy they call “Engaged Learning” which emphasizes a constant education process that takes place not only in the classroom but within student housing, in various community locations within Appleton, Wisconsin (where the campus is located) and wherever its students venture in life. LU administration and educators desire to equip students for life with not only knowledge but character development as well. Although there is a more intimate student to instructor ratio of 9 to 1, the student body is comprised of students from 44 states and 40 countries within its current enrollment of 1,500.

Lawrence University features a LGBT support network organization called GLOW that stands for “Gay, Lesbian, or Whatever.” Campus Pride Index gives LU high marks for their policy inclusion that includes health insurance coverage to same-sex partners of employees and the accessibility for students to easily change their names and identities on university records and official school documents. The school also scored the highest marks available for campus safety which includes regular training for hate crime prevention and a campus police department trained in gender identity and expression issues.



CC SCORE: 84.59

PER-YEAR COST: $13,704


The inaugural graduating class of Grand Valley State University was comprised of only 226 students who walked the stage in 1963. The school, based in Allendale, Michigan, is now comprised of 25,000 students and offers its student body 407 student organizations to take part in (58 of which are service programs and advocacy groups while 33 are fraternities and sororities). GVSU receives their accreditation through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the school enjoys a winning tradition in its sports programs. The Lakers have won 19 NCAA Division II national championships over the school’s history.

GVSU features the Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center. The Center is staffed by a full-time assistant director and program coordinator. Added to the staff are a graduate assistant, 5 student aids, and a 23-member advisory council. With a vision that includes a strong focus on social justice the Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center leaders believe that “the current economic system does not serve the interests of the majority of people and that economic justice must be part of all our social justice work for the future”.



CC SCORE: 84.09

PER-YEAR COST: $42,490


First established as “Illinois University” in 1850, the institution became a reality due to the efforts of a group of 30 leaders in the civic and religious realms of Bloomington, Illinois, where the school still exists today. The institution was later named Illinois Wesleyan University when the United Methodist Church lent its support to the institution. The connection between the Methodist Church and IWU remains today yet the school strives for an attitude of diversity and inclusion at all levels. Currently, the student body is comprised of 1,900 students who enjoy a ratio to instructors of 11 to 1. The main goals of the administration of IWU include teaching and learning, growing an authentic campus community and diversity. 

At IWU there are strong LGBTQ+ social and support organizations, such as the IWU Pride Alliance and Safe Zone, or the Pride Alumni Community which serves alumni, students, faculty, and staff. The IWU Pride Alliance is a student-led organization that was reactivated in the fall of 2003 by students of IWU who were interested in supporting the LGBT community and offering resources for their support and development. The group meets weekly on campus and covers a range of topics in order to foster good communication and respect among the student body. Though only comprised of current IWU students, the Pride Alliance is governed by an executive board elected from among the members themselves.  There is an open door policy for all visitors and a high respect for privacy is practiced throughout the organization.



CC SCORE: 83.89

PER-YEAR COST: $27,964


Dating all the way back to 1791, the University of Vermont is the 5th oldest university in New England (predated by Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown) that today emphasizes a very modern priority for research and experience-based learning among its 12,000 students. Over its long history, UV has been progressive in its ventures as it was the first college in America to voice support for freedom of religion and the first university to admit women and African-Americans into Phi Beta Kappa honor society. The Burlington-based school is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and offers 100 majors in 7 undergraduate schools of study.

Equipping is at the top of the list for the LGBTQA Center@UVM. Whether it’s offering a physical space for inclusion and education at the Student Lounge Center and Lending Library or offering free internet access at the David Bohnett CyberCenter, students of all lifestyles and orientations are encouraged to celebrate their identities in a judgment-free environment. Two resource publications that the LGBTQA Center has created and made available to students is the “411”, a two-sided sheet of on- and off-campus resources and the “Affirming Card” which students are encouraged to display in order to share their support for the LGBT community at large. The back of the Affirming Card includes advocate action steps.



CC SCORE: 83.70

PER-YEAR COST: $43,103


American University is a private, coed liberal arts institution with a Methodist affiliation that offers everything from undergrad to doctoral programs. Based on its being established in Washington DC, the school predictably emphasizes many academic programs centered on public policy, political and public affairs. Many of its 13,000 students seek individual participation in experiential education including study abroad programs, internships, and community service. American University dates back to 1893, was originally chartered by the United States Congress and is currently accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion came to be as a result of the principles formed by American University in its Strategic Plan of 2008. Goal 5 in the Strategic Plan states that “American University embraces diversity in its broadest sense, including diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, nationality, disability, socioeconomic standing, and intellectual viewpoint.” The Center for Diversity and Inclusion desires to see the students of American University reach their full potential as accepted and respected members of academia. One program in place is the LGBTQ Peer Educator Panel which students can apply to join in order to have a voice in topics like equality and social justice. Queer Talk is another program the school offers which allows students to meet in one-on-one or group conversations in order to talk about issues unique to the LGBT community.



CC SCORE: 83.27

PER-YEAR COST: $16,395


Located on Long Island’s North Shore, the 1,000-acre campus of Stony Brook University enjoys a true four-season climate nestled between Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. The university, with an average enrollment of 24,000 students, has been the recipient of many recent awards includingKiplinger’s list of “Best 35 Values in Public Colleges and Universities” and sits among the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1957, Stony Brook University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education andmember of the Association of American Universities and a National Merit Institution.

Through the Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action there are several LGBT resources available to students of SBU including The Stony Brook LGBTA (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alliance), which exists to bring awareness to queer issues in a welcoming and encouraging environment that fosters diversity and a sense of community on the campus. Several other on and off campus organizations offer social events, resources, support and advocacy for the queer community including the Stony Brook Graduate Queer Alliance, Pride @ SBU and the Stony Brook Safe Space.



CC SCORE: 83.10

PER-YEAR COST: $21,157


Known as a powerhouse within the Division I, Pac 12 Conference, The University of Oregon offers more to its student body than just consistent success on the football field. 316 academic programs are available to the 24,000 enrolled students and with a freshman retention rate of almost 90%, the school is doing well in its job of getting students on board and staying! Despite its large size, the median class size at UO is currently 19. The University of Oregon touts a strong study abroad program in 90 countries with 200 fields of study. Located in Eugene, Oregon, the school is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Dubbed “U Out” The University of Oregon’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Education & Support Services Program offers students multiple ways to lead out, get educated and take action on behalf of the LGBT community on campus. Student leadership organizations include the Queer Ally Coalition, Bridges: Speakers Bureau, OUTreach and the Standing Committee on LGBT Concerns. UO also offers gender inclusive housing where students can room with members of any gender they wish. In the scope of academics, OU currently offers a minor in Queer Studies through the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS).



CC SCORE: 83.09

PER-YEAR COST: $22,608


The 32,000 students of University of Colorado Boulder enjoy the distinction of living in the #1 ranked college town in America. The quality of living and education speaks directly to why the school claims an 86% student retention rate and also why UCB can be the top dog in the 4-year graduation rate among all Colorado public institutions and universities.Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Forbes listed the school as the 18th most entrepreneurial university in the nation in 2015 and the emphasis on advocacy and involvement is evident in the 14,500 students who participate in community service on a regular basis.

Beginning in March 1995, The Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) has worked to supply students from all backgrounds and persuasions with resources, education, programming, and advocacy at the University of Colorado Boulder. Their programs include peer education and safe zone training and there are many areas to become involved with including the weekly newsletter, volunteering on a regular basis and even applying for Resource Center Internships which offer three hours of academic credit upon their completion. The LGBTQIA Scholarship Fund offers $2000 annually to students who work to make the University of Colorado Boulder “a more hospitable place for LGBTQIA people.”



CC SCORE: 82.90

PER-YEAR COST: $12,609


Originally named the Eau Claire State Normal School in 1916, the university was renamed University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire in 1971. US News and World Report ranks the school as among the best public regional universities in the Midwest for 20 years and running. Offering a quality education at a low cost is a priority for the administration as it is the only school in Wisconsin listed as lowest in debt load. The student body of less than 11,000 students enjoys a campus with a river running through it and a 230-acre wildlife park that offers many opportunities for observation and learning. Sustainability and conservation are two important values emphasized to students as they seek higher education at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

Branching from the Women’s & LGBTQ Resource Center, the university has established The Bridge LGBTQIA+ Resource Center as a place for education and support on the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire campus. The leadership of “The Bridge” consists entirely of student interns who run all programs and training events. One such program offered is the Peer Haven LGBTQ Mentoring Program which exists to equip first-year students with an upperclassman mentor who will form a one-on-one relationship of quality communication and mutual trust knowing that the first year of college can be a daunting experience for many.



CC SCORE: 82.72

PER-YEAR COST: $13,596


It is a little-known fact that the home of the University of North Florida, Jacksonville, is the 5th largest city in the United States based on overall land area. Plans for the school began in 1969 when 1,000 acres of natural preserve was set aside between downtown Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach. Construction began two years later and the inaugural UNF staff was comprised of only 150 members. Listed in Forbes Magazine as one of America’s top colleges, the school attracts students with high academic marks with incoming freshmen holding a 4.02 high school GPA.  Within the university, the College of Arts and Science holds the largest number of students with 6,000 enrolled while the College of Business comes in a distant second with less than 3,000. The University of North Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The University of North Florida’s LGBT Resource Center holds the distinction of being only one of two institutions of higher learning in Florida with a designated full-time staff. Established in 2006, the Resource Center got its start as the result of a campus survey and student activism. Over the last year, programs like gender inclusive housing and gender-neutral restrooms have been put into place on the campus of UNF. There are several academic courses covering the issues of gender and sexuality offered by out LGBT and ally instructors on campus.



CC SCORE: 82.33

PER-YEAR COST: $17,997


Home to the Hawkeyes and accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the University of Iowa was founded on February 25, 1847, a mere 59 days after Iowa became a state! Today the student body consists of just under 30,000 students yet enjoys a lower student to instructor ratio of 16 to 1. The University of Iowa is an environmentally-friendly institution that prides itself on possessing over 7,700 trees on campus and has committed to planting more than 300 more on an annual basis. There is no shortage of student organizations to get plugged into as the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership offers over 500 to choose from.

The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer Resource Center (LGBTRC) opened its doors in 2006 after the executive board of the UI Gay, Lesbian, Transgender & Allied Union (GLBTAU) met with University administration to discuss the current needs of the LGBT community on campus. The Resource Center is designed to offer a place for UI students and staff to interact and fellowship in a safe and welcoming environment. The LGBTRD is open six days a week, has a designated Facebook page and offers students space that can be reserved for activities during normal hours of operation.



CC SCORE: 82.05

PER-YEAR COST: $25,881


Calling itself “A University of Distinction and Diversity”, the University of California–Riverside is one of ten schools within the UC family and the only campus located in inland Southern California. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, UC Riverside opened for classes in February 1954 in Riverside, California, a city of 270,000 residents and one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. The university ranked first in Time Magazine in the areas of affordability, graduation rate and accessibility of financial aid to students.

The LGBT Resource Center opened its doors in 1993 as the first campus in California to offer a professionally-staffed resource center and since then has focused on equipping the student body of UC Riverside with support, education and advocacy for the LGBT community and its allies. The university became the first campus in California to offer a LGBT studies minor three years later. The next milestone the school achieved was in 2005 when it became the first public university in the nationto offer a gender-neutral housing. Programs and support services include a CyberCenter, Allies Safe Zone Program and Peer Connections. Leadership scholarships and financial aid are also available through the LGBT Resource Center.



CC SCORE: 82.02

PER-YEAR COST: $12,846


With a student body of under 1,900 students, the University of Minnesota, Morris offers 35 majors and minors and retains a student to instructor ratio of 13 to 1. The university’s website states the school “unites an eclectic mix of faculty, staff, and students generating a one-of-a-kind synergy inspiring open-mindedness, involvement, discovery, creativity, and determination.” Although the university was established in 1960, the original campus was used 125 years ago as a Native American boarding school run by the Catholic Sisters of Mercy and later the United States government until 1909. The property was deeded to the University of Minnesota with the stipulation that academically accepted Native American students would always receive free tuition. The school still honors this agreement.

The organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, pansexual (GLBT or QLBTQQIAA ) students and allies of GLBT’s at the University of Minnesota, Morris is called E-Quality. E-Quality is a University-recognized organization that meets weekly to discuss a variety of topics are of interest to the LGBT community and its allies. These topics include cultural, ethnic, political and social justice issues. Besides the weekly meetings the organization promotes social events, educational programs, pride activism, and political awareness in their effort to foster change on the campus and community.



CC SCORE: 81.75

PER-YEAR COST: $11,611


The University of Wisconsin–Green Bay is a 4-year public school offering associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, master’s programs and online education in 45 total fields of study. The student enrollment is currently less than 7,000 with 6,600 of those being undergrads. The Green Bay Phoenix have successful men’s and women’s basketball programs with both teams ranked in the top 20 in NCAA Division 1 play. The men’s program is still best known for the 1994 national upset of Jason Kidd and the California Golden Bears in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Pride Center is located on campus and is open five days a week with a mission to “identify and respond to the concerns and needs of the LGBTQ students, faculty, staff and their allies.” Pride Center advisors recognize the high value of personal growth of the school’s students as well as their academic success so they strive to create a welcoming and safe atmosphere within the Pride Center. The Pride Center offers two levels of SAFE Ally training for any individuals wanting to learn more about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersexual current issues. Other programs on campus include a name change for transgender students, gender inclusive restrooms and a Pride Center UWGB Alumni group.



CC SCORE: 80.90

PER-YEAR COST: $18,767


Established in 1890, Washington State University is a public, research university with a main campus in Pullman, WA. The university is known colloquially as Wazzu. Nearly 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students enroll in courses on the main campus each year. Although the university is moderately sized, the professor to student ratio is low at 1 to 15. Wazzu offers 90 on-campus undergraduate majors, 76 on-campus master’s degrees, 64 on-campus doctoral degrees and three professional degrees. In addition, the university offers over 20 graduate and undergraduate programs online. All degree programs are regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

WSU established its first student center dedicated to supporting students in the LGBTQ community in 1995. Today the Gender Identity-Expression Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC) provides support, events, scholarships and resources for the school’s LGBTQ community and allies. The GIESORC supports all WSU campuses, not just the main campus in Pullman. According to the university’s website, the mission of the GISORC is to “promote education, empowerment, and engagement for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and ally (GLBTQA) constituents” and to advance “diversity, integrity and transparency at WSU by developing and sustaining support for GLBTQA issues by the administration, advocating for the development of University policies and the dedication of resources to serving GLBTQA employees and students, and promoting education and action on bullying, harassment and bias against LGBTQA individuals.”


EUGENE, Ore., May 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- College Choice (http://www.collegechoice.net/rankings/50-best-lgbt-friendly-colleges-and-universities/).