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The 10 most LGBTQ-friendly colleges

January 8, 2024

by Alessandra Falconer

Choosing a college as an LGBTQ student poses unique challenges. About 33% of LGBTQ students at four-year colleges were bullied, harassed, or assaulted, as opposed to 19%  of non-LGBTQ students, according to research conducted by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

This year, Best Colleges partnered with Campus Pride to find the top schools in the United States for LGBTQ students.

In finding these top colleges, Best Colleges used Campus Pride’s Index rating scale while also focusing on academic quality (i.e. enrollment, full-time retention, and graduation rate) and college affordability (schools that offer competitive tuition while also providing the skills needed to graduate and successfully enter the workforce).

According to the survey, here are some of the top LGBTQ-friendly colleges for students to consider:

Top LGBTQ-friendly colleges

*Editor’s note: EAB congratulates our partner institutions who made the list.
University of Maryland
San Diego State University
University of Washington
Indiana University-Bloomington
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Rutgers University
George Mason University
Kansas State University
The University of Texas at Dallas
University of North Florida

The University of Maryland is committed to providing a safe space for its LGBTQ students. The LGBTQ+ Equity Center supports UMD students, alums, and staff across all gender identities and sexual orientations and provides various resources and events on campus. For example, Quelcome is a long-running program that allows LGBTQ students to connect and have fun. At the same time, Q Camp enables learners to participate in activities that provide positive support in areas that include identity development and campus involvement.

In addition, the university also provides scholarships, awards, and internships that allow students to work in community organizations that serve LGBTQ populations.

San Diego State University’s Pride Center is an inclusive space that helps students with their sexual orientation, romantic orientation, gender identity, and gender expression development. The center also routinely hosts monthly events, including Trans Week of Empowerment, Lavender Graduation, and Black Gay Pride Week.

The institution also provides the peer mentorship program called Pride House, where mentees work “with an upperclassman mentor who is invested in supporting the LBGTQIA+ community and interested in helping students achieve their personal and academic goals.”

In 2005, the University of Washington established The Q Center after the university president received a letter that requested a safe space for queer students. The center assists LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty by providing educational programs and community building. They also offer services such as EnGender—a program that strives to provide free and accessible gender-affirming items to anyone who needs them—and Color Mode, a weekly advising session that centers queer, trans, bi, non-binary, and gender non-conforming POC experiences.

Outside of the physical center, the institution provides many areas for LGBTQ+ students to stay connected through media, including a community newsletter, the  QUEER (Queers Unpacking Everything Endlessly & Relentlessly) podcast, and a video that chronicles the queer experience on campus.

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