Campus Pride’s 2016 Top 30 List of LGBTQ-friendly Colleges & Universities


The great August migration has begun for many 18 to 21 year olds.  College campuses across the United States are filling up with lost students, may they be looking for their next course, dorm rooms,  future careers, or their sexuality. These days, picking the right higher education establishment is not just based on which one will best prepare you for a healthy economic future, but the choice of which one best meets all the needs of the student.  One of those growing categories is how high on the list a college ranks as an LGBTQ-friendly campus.


Campus Pride chose thirty campuses to highlight this year based on their overall ratings on the Campus Pride Index and specific LGBTQ-inclusive benchmark measures.  The Campus Pride Index, currently 235+ campuses, is the premier national benchmarking tool which self-assesses LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices. The tool is free of charge and can be found online at

“Prospective students and their families expect colleges to be LGBTQ-friendly.  They want to know what LGBTQ programs, services and resources are available on the campus – and which are the ‘Best of the Best,’” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride and creator of the Campus Pride Index. “Now more than ever, there are colleges that are recruiting LGBTQ youth – and they are investing in a campus that is fully supportive of LGBTQ students. This Top 30 list showcases those ‘Top’ campuses leading the way.”

According to Windmeyer, “there is a lot to find for LGBTQ life at these campuses.”  Many of them are specifically addressing recruitment and academic retention efforts for LGBTQ students as well as concerns for transgender student safety. The campuses listed can also be found this Fall at the Campus Pride LGBTQ-friendly College Fair Program in cities like Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Atlanta, Vancouver and St. Louis.   Learn more online at

In order to be in the Top 30 listing, an institution had to score the highest percentages in the LGBTQ-friendly benchmarks for policies, programs and practices. The listing this year includes colleges with student populations from 807 to over 45,000, public and private schools alike. The Top 30 list is in alphabetical order and you can click on the name of the campus to learn more. –


But going to one of these campuses may be more than some can afford.  Out Magazine does a little mathematical comparison to see if our LGBT college students can reach their LGBT-friendly campuses.


Among the 30 schools—21 public, nine private—the average cost for an in-state, on-campus undergraduate in the 2016-2017 school year is about $35,174. The public schools average about $23,896 per year, while the private schools average $61,490.

Past data and trends gathered by College Board indicate that Campus Pride’s public schools on average cost roughly the same as any “moderate” public university. However, the most LGBT-inclusive private schools to make the cut will cost incoming students almost 25 percent more than the average $49,265 that College Board predicts.

The most expensive school, Harvey Mudd College in Clairmont, California, comes with a sticker price of $71,917. For out-of-state students, few public schools on the list offer costs below $25,000 per year. So if LGBT students are hoping to leave home and avoid the high cost of private schools, they will face significant financial barriers when budgeting for out-of-state tuitions at colleges and universities largely concentrated in New England, California, and the Midwest. –


Looking at the list below, did your alma mater make the cut?

If it didn't, should it have?  Easy to be out at?  

Was it important for you to have or see an LGBTQ presence at your college?





Here's the 30 colleges from the Campus Pride list (in alphabetical order).

  • Cornell University

  • Elon University

  • Harvey Mudd College

  • Hobart and William Smith Colleges

  • Indiana University, Bloomington

  • Ithaca College

  • Macalester College 

  • Montclair State University

  • Portland State University

  • Princeton University

  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick


  • San Diego State University

  • Southern Oregon University

  • The Pennsylvania State University

  • Tufts University

  • University of California Los Angeles

  • University of California, Davis

  • University of California, Santa Barbara

  • University of Illinois at Chicago

  • University of Louisville

  • University of Maine at Machias


  • University of Maryland, College Park

  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst

  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities

  • University of Pennsylvania

  • University of Vermont

  • University of Washington


  • University of Wisconsin – Green Bay

  • University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

  • Washington State University

What do you think?