50 Best Colleges and Universities for LGBTQ Students

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to find your fit?

Choosing a college is an overwhelming process in and of itself. But for LGBTQ-identified folks, the task is all the more intimidating. To succeed academically it’s important to succeed socially; it’s important to think holistically about your well being while in school. We at College Choice have assuaged some of the difficulty in the search by researching the country’s fifty best colleges and universities for LGBTQ.

What does “best” mean exactly? Well, there are several key things LGBTQ folks should consider. Foremost, the university’s non-discrimination policy should include gender expression and sexual orientation. This information is available on all school websites, and if they don’t explicitly promise to protect you, move on. Other things to look for range from comprehensive health care (trans students should have hormone therapy included) to campus safety hate prevention, a faculty board who is queer and trans-inclusive, a curriculum that is representative of LGBTQ voices and histories, and a vibrant Resource Center that facilitates a diversity of events, education, outreach, and programming.

A quick note about the acronym: We realized that acronym “LGBTQ” may not explicitly include your identifier. We don’t mean to be exclusive, but used “LGBTQ” for the sake of consistency. Please know when we say “LGBTQ” we mean those who identify anywhere along the queer spectrum.

Another quick note: The tuition rates below are in-state rates. To find out-of-state tuition rates, please visit the school’s webpage.

Top 10 Best Colleges and Universities for LGBTQ Students

Rank School Location
1 Princeton University Princeton, NJ
2 MIT New London, CT
3 University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Eau Claire, WI
4 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
5 UCLA Upland, CA
6 University of Michigan Dearborn, MI
7 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
8 Harvey Mudd College Claremont, CA
9 Ohio State University Wooster, OH
10 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
mini icon
Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Accredited Online College Programs

Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.

What are the Best Colleges and Universities for LGBTQ Folks?

Best Colleges and Universities for LGBTQ Badge

Below are the nation’s fifty best schools for LGBTQ-identified students. While some schools are renowned Ivy Leagues, others are small liberal arts colleges, and still others large public schools, they all share one thing in common despite the difference of size and model: they take care of their LGBTQ students. Here at College Choice we sought out those schools that protect their LGBTQ students through policy inclusion, those that offer a number of resources and services for LGBTQ students—from queer-specific health care and counseling to safe spaces and queer centers—and those schools that intentionally promote LGBTQ perspectives in their curriculum.

From there we collated and compared the academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability, and average annual salary of graduates from these schools across the country to create a definitive ranking of the nation’s fifty best colleges and universities for LGBTQ people. We chose programs with the most renowned academic reputation and from those pared the list down to those with high retention rates—a reflection of student satisfaction—added those with the most economical accessibility, and finally we included the averages of early career salaries (care of PayScale) to arrive at a list marked by thorough research and extensive data aggregation. Our figures come from the university and colleges’ websites as well as nationally recognized Campus Pride Index, U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Princeton University
    Location

    Princeton, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Boasting one of the most vibrant, active, and extensive LGBTQ student centers in the nation, Princeton University tops our list for best campus for LGBTQ students. At Princeton queer students will find education, social, and supportive programming that is designed by the LGBTQ community; a busy calendar full of queer lectures, discussions, film, and art; a huge LGBTQ library; and much more.

    Princeton’s support of the LGBTQ community is visible in several arenas, from housing and residence to its campus safety crew, counseling, health services, and scholarship fund allocations. This means your opportunities at Princeton are multitude. You can choose to be matched with a LGBTQ student (or a LGBTQ friendly student) as a roommate. You have access to free, anonymous HIV and STI testing. There are a plethora of clubs, organizations, and mentoring opportunities specific to the LGBTQ community. And, trans students will have full access to insurance that covers counseling and hormone replacement therapy delivered by trans-inclusive trained staff.

    The mark of a genuinely LGBTQ inclusive school is found in its efforts to affirm and encourage the LGBTQ perspective in all areas of college life. Princeton offers a Gender and Sexuality certificate that can be paired with an undergraduate major or with a graduate degree. This program has a history spanning more than thirty years of scholarship on the intersections of identity, power, and politics.

    Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Princeton University is, hands down, one of the best places in the country for LGBTQ students.

  2. MIT
    Location

    New London, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is most known for its research contributions to and training in the physical sciences and engineering, as well as being the alma mater of hundreds of Nobel laureates, Rhodes Scholars, MacArthur Fellows, astronauts, and Fields Medalists. But not only does MIT maintain a reputation for its academics, it is more and more often recognized for the number of services it provides its LGBTQ students.

    The LGBTQ student life at MIT is among the best in the country. Not only are there a number of queer organizations and students clubs for undergraduates, but graduate students can get involved in LGBTQ extracurriculars too. Additionally, MIT has a queer social fraternity and sorority, a social calendar pocked with regular queer events, a consistent educational platform on trans issues, and LGBTQ inclusive career services.

    Not surprisingly, MIT emphasizes and encourages leadership in its undergraduates. They help cultivate student leaders of color within the LGBTQ community through programs and events while also spotlighting the intersectionality of race, gender, ability, and sexuality. Finally, MIT challenges students, faculty, and staff alike to reflect on their own prejudices and privileges, especially as they pronounce themselves in academia.

    MIT is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

  3. University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
    Location

    Eau Claire, WI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    With an emphatic commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusivity, the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire is home to diverse cultural programming, support services, and a LGBTQ Resource Center that works hard to keep the campus accountable to its stated commitment to equality. This same center also provides expert training (called Safe Space Training) to peers, students, staff, and faculty on a wide range of gender and sexuality issues, including gender identity, erasure, heteronormativity, and the queer legal landscape.

    And of course, UW Eau Claire hosts the annual Eau Queer Film Festival, an event that has taken place each year since 2010. Promoting equality, inspiring activism, and educating the community, this queer film festival not only showcases LGBTQ documentaries, features, comedies, and shorts, they host discussions, sometimes with the filmmakers themselves.

    Not only do UW Eau Claire’s LGBTQ students have access to this great cultural event each year, but regular life on campus is comprised of a queer resource center, an annual drag ball, and an inclusive curriculum that includes classes on queer theory, sexual politics, the sociology of sexualities, and gender and sex in history. LGBTQ students are also supported through institutional policy, faculty training, gender-inclusive housing, and much more.

    The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

  4. University of Pennsylvania
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Pennsylvania receives near perfect marks from Campus Pride, especially for its health, counseling, housing, student life, and campus safety sectors. The heart of LGBTQ life at Penn is found in the resource center, where students can take part in workshop and outreach programs, connect with a queer mentor, apply for travel fund assistance, make a name change, and get involved in one of the many organizations and student clubs. Queer students who are also international students, Jewish, athletes, or studying law, medicine, education, or business will all find an organization that specifically serves their unique needs.

    Penn is a notably trans inclusive university. From the initial program and housing applications, where trans students can choose “gender neutral” to opt of the binary to a non-discrimination policy that explicitly protects trans students, Penn seeks to ensure all of its students are safe and served well. They also have a name change initiative, dozens of neutral bathrooms, and an extensive health care plan. Trans students not only have access to primary medical care, but gender-affirming hormone therapy, sensitive gynecological and sexual health care, and referrals to local surgeons, endocrinologists, other specialists, and trans competent providers.

    A private, Ivy League research institution of approximately 25k students, the University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  5. UCLA
    Location

    Upland, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) puts you in direct proximity to one of the most queer friendly cities in the world. Los Angeles has a huge LGBTQ center, hosts one of the country’s biggest Pride festivals, and is home to dozens of gay bars, restaurants, and cafes. UCLA is thus a microcosm of the greater LA cultural landscape. Dozens of queer organizations, events, outreach opportunities, and programming exist on campus for LGBTQ students and allies alike.

    The Williams Institute (on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy) is an integral research center on the UCLA campus. Current research initiatives includes an investigation into LGBTQ discrimination post-marriage equality. Concurrently, UCLA’s greater Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies Program is creating the first PhD Program in LGBTQQ Studies. As an undergraduate, you may not think this directly affects you but, in fact, with so few universities giving financial, structural, and administrative support to queer studies, UCLA is making a huge statement with this graduate program and its research priorities. For that reason—and for its array of LGBTQ centric resources, services, and retention efforts—UCLA tops our list for best universities for LGBTQ identified students.

    Globally and nationally ranked by U.S News & World Report, Forbes, and the Times Higher Education among others, UCLA is accredited by the Western Association of Colleges and Schools.

  6. University of Michigan
    Location

    Dearborn, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Spectrum Center at the University of Michigan houses over twenty independent, student-led organizations for LGBTQ students. There’s an asexual visibility group, a coalition for queer and trans people of color, a group for LGBTQ students who are in a STEM field, a queer business student meet up, and more. In addition to this active social atmosphere, the University of Michigan supports its LGBTQ students through scholarships, holistic healthcare, ally development training, and academic inclusion efforts. Regarding the latter, the University of Michigan leads the country in its Women and Gender Studies program, which offers a LGBTQ Studies minor as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees in Women’s Studies.

    The University of Michigan excels in many ways in its support of the LGBTQ community: its institutional support, student life experience, housing and residential life, campus safety priorities, counseling and health services, and retention efforts all prove the university’s commitment to safety and inclusion.

    The University of Michigan—located in one of the most queer friendly cities in the country, Ann Arbor—is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

  7. Cornell University
    Location

    Ithaca, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Cornell’s LGBTQ Resource Center is over twenty years old, and its history of providing outreach, education, support, and advocacy for the LGBTQ community clearly demonstrates the larger university’s efforts to create an inclusive, safe space for all its students. Most notable, Cornell’s healthcare and counseling services include a range of resources for queer and trans students. Cornell offers LGBTQ counseling and support groups, trans-inclusive trained counseling staff, free and anonymous HIV and STI testing, and trans-inclusive health policies that cover ongoing counseling as well as hormone replacement therapy.

    LGBTQ students can also expect a number of other guarantees from Cornell: queer specific scholarships, mentoring programs with other LGBTQ students, rainbow graduations, a bunch of gender neutral bathrooms, and LGBTQ career services as well as a LGBTQ alumni group. Like many of the other schools on our ranking—though unlike many of colleges and universities nationwide—Cornell offers both an undergraduate and graduate minor in LGBTQ studies. Students can take classes on an array of queer and gender topics, from masculinities to a global history of love, gender and the brain, and cross-cultural perspectives on sex and gender.

    Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Cornell University is a private, Ivy League institution based in Ithaca, New York.

  8. Harvey Mudd College
    Location

    Claremont, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Because Harvey Mudd College is part of The Claremont Colleges system, it shares its Queer Resource Center (QRC) with the seven other undergraduate and graduate schools but is primarily based on the Pomona College campus. The QRC prides itself (pun intended) on not just being a safe space for its queer communities, but a fun and laidback space where students can hang out together. The QRC has over 1k queer-related books and movies that can be checked out for free, meeting rooms and lounge areas for group meet ups, and staff who can point you to the outreach, education, health service, or advocacy resource you may need.

    Harvey Mudd College consistently ranks as one of the best schools for LGBTQ folks. There are many reasons this is the case, but primarily it is because of the school’s explicit and extensive policy inclusions, its many housing options for queer students, its highly trained campus safety staff, and its strict procedures for reporting LGBTQ related bias incidents and hate crimes.

    Harvey Mudd College is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. A private liberal arts school that specializes in hard sciences, engineering, and mathematics education, HMC is nationally ranked by Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and Washington Monthly.

  9. Ohio State University
    Location

    Wooster, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Ohio State University houses its own, full Sexuality Studies Department, through which students can major or minor in the undergraduate interdisciplinary program. The classes students will have the opportunity include the history of modern sexuality, adolescent parenthood, AIDS facts and issues, literature classes on James Baldwin or Audre Lorde, sex and gender in the ancient world, and much more. And for those who are not looking for an academic approach to their LGBTQ experience, Ohio State University offers a bunch of student cohort groups, leadership opportunities, education programs, and signature events through the Multicultural Center.

    Like many of the larger, renowned universities on our list, Ohio State University has vocally committed to highlighting the intersectionality of identities. So queer students can anticipate a campus experience brimming with options and opportunities; there’s a racial equity queer group that connects racial justice issues with LGBTQ equality struggles. There’s also a students of color “q*munnity” that seeks to foster community among students living at the intersections of race, sexuality, and gender. However you want to get involved, even if you want to stay behind the scenes, OSU has a safe space for you.

    Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Ohio State University is located in Columbus, Ohio.

  10. Johns Hopkins University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    LGBTQ life at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is distinctly organized into a four-tier structure: community support, education, advocacy, and networking. Community support of the queer community entails an exhaustive interpersonal support system in which students can connect with staff—counseling or otherwise—as well peers, even opting into the peer mentoring program. Johns Hopkins emphasis on sex and gender education means there are a number of training programs in place for staff and faculty. This includes understanding sex and gender identity, how to be an ally, and understanding orientation. JHU’s advocacy work includes its active Diversity Leadership Council. And, finally, LGBTQ networking at JHU brings together students on campus as well as other queer groups in the Baltimore and DC areas.

    Specifically, trans students at JHU can expect gender inclusive housing, a thorough non-discrimination policy, and a health insurance plan that provides coverage for transition-related health care. There are also numerous gender neutral bathrooms across campus, and a university-wide system that makes name change swift and extensive.

    Johns Hopkins University, based in Baltimore, is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

mini icon

Online College Resources

Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.


Online Master’s Degree and Program Guide

Online Master’s Degree and Program Guide

April 6, 2021   |   CollegeChoice Staff

Enrolling in an online master's degree program can enable you to study at your convenience. Learn why distance education might be the right choice for you.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Management Degrees 2021

Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Management Degrees 2021

February 9, 2021   |   Staff Writers

A complex global economy drives the need for business leaders who can navigate a fast-changing economic landscape. Students interested in learning how to effectively run an organization should consider pursuing...

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Search schools to find the program that is right for you.