10 of the Most LGBTQ-Friendly US Universities in 2017 | Top Universities

10 of the Most LGBTQ-Friendly US Universities in 2017

By Sabrina Collier

Updated February 16, 2021 Updated February 16, 2021

Looking to study in the US, and specifically interested in a positive campus environment for LGBTQ students? Every year, the Campus Pride Index publishes a list of the 25 most LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities in the US, aiming to highlight the institutions offering a positive, inclusive and safe experience for LGBTQ students.

The list is based on eight factors, including LGBTQ policy inclusion, housing, academic life and student life. The recently published 2017 results feature universities from a total of 16 states, including institutions from Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

Below, we’ve picked out 10 of the most LGBTQ-friendly US universities, all of which received a perfect five out of five stars in their overall Campus Pride index score. These universities have also all been featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2018.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick


Rutgers University - New Brunswick, ranked joint 283rd in the World University Rankings, was established in 1766 and has a student population of 48,000. Rutgers has a Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities (SJE) which aims to provide an inclusive, supportive environment for LGBTQ students and provides support in the form of counseling, career advice, networking, service referrals to those in need, drop-in centers, training initiatives and more. Rutgers also offers scholarships for LGBTQA students.

Tufts University

Tufts University

Located in Medford, Massachusetts, Tufts University is ranked joint 243rd in the World University Rankings and earns its top-25 place in the Campus Pride index due to its efforts to include LGBTQ students by providing gender-inclusive housing, healthcare options, and name/pronoun changes. Tufts helps ensure LGBTQ students feel welcome through organizations such as the LGBT center, which offers a space for all students and staff members to “explore their unique relationship to gender and sexuality through personal, activist, or academic lenses”.

The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University

Ohio State University, located in Columbus, Ohio, was founded in 1870 and is currently ranked 86th in the World University Rankings. The university’s Multicultural Center in its Office of Student Life offers a range of “Q*mmunity” groups for LGBTQ students such as CORE: Coming Out for Racial Equity, the First Year Q*mmunity, and Q*mmunity of LGBTQ Students and Allies. The center also hosts a number of LGBTQ events throughout the year, including LGBTQ History Month and National Coming Out Day in October.

University of Colorado at Boulder

University of Colorado at Boulder

The University of Colorado at Boulder is ranked joint 182nd in the QS World University Rankings and is both welcoming and celebrative of LGBTQ students. Its Gender and Sexuality Center offers scholarships, services and resources for students as well as running the annual TRANSforming Gender Conference. The university was also an official sponsor of this year’s PrideFest, one of the largest pride events in the US.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Next in our look at the US universities ranked among the most LGBT-friendly is the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which has just over 30,000 students and is currently ranked 249th in the world. Its LGBTQIA+ resource center, the Stonewall Center, was one of the first of its kind to open in the US (opening in 1985), and serves the student community with cultural and educational programming, a speaker’s bureau on LGBTQIA and ally issues, and information, support and referrals to students in need.

University of Oregon

Oregon University

The University of Oregon, located in Eugene, Oregon, is ranked 551-600 in the world this year and has around 23,600 students. Its Office of the Dean of Students aims to maintain a positive and inclusive experience for all students by offering LGBTQIA+ scholarships, as well as student organizations, speaker’s panels, career advice and more. The University of Oregon also offers specialized communities which allow students to select the halls which best suit their needs, beliefs, and lifestyles.

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Ranked 19th in the world, the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is located in Philadelphia and currently has around 21,350 students enrolled. Penn’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center is one of the oldest in the US, having served the university’s LGBTQ community for over 30 years. The center provides a space to study and socialize, and offers peer mentorships as well as various LGBTQ events which are held throughout the year. It also acts as a hub for over 25 undergraduate and graduate student groups.

University of Washington

University of Washington

Located in Seattle, Washington, the University of Washington is ranked 61st in the world and earns a place in the top 25 of the Campus Pride index for its (mainly student-run) resource center for LGBTQ students, the Q Center. On Washington’s Campus Pride report card (showing how it ranked for the eight categories) it receives perfect scores for its academic life, student life, counseling and health, and recruitment and retention.

Princeton University

Princeton University

Princeton University is already well known as one of the most prestigious universities in the US, (ranked 13th in the world) but also achieves a spot in the top 25 of the Campus Pride index. Princeton’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center was created in 2005 and aims to provide an affirming, supportive place for students to discuss topics on gender identity, attend events, and get support, advice and referrals on LGBTQ issues.

Pennsylvania State University

Penn State University

Pennsylvania State University, founded in 1855, is ranked joint 93rd in the latest QS World University Rankings and has around 99,000 students. Its LGBTQA Student Resource Center (SRC) offers a wide range of programming, education, information, and advocacy services and the university also offers a minor in sexuality and gender studies, as well as LGBTQA scholarships. The SRC also offers students opportunities to get involved with LGBTQ student groups.

Other LGBTQ-friendly US universities

The Campus Pride index doesn’t end there, with 15 more US universities and colleges featured as being the most LGBTQ-friendly in the country, and therefore well worth considering if you’re an LGBTQ student looking for an inclusive and supportive university.

These universities are: Augsburg University, Elon University, Harvey Mudd College, Indiana University Bloomington, Ithaca College, Kansas State University, Macalester College, Montclair State University, Portland State University, San Diego State University, Southern Oregon University, University of Louisville, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Washington State University.

The Shame List

Sadly, some US universities and colleges are still lagging behind their peers when it comes to LGBTQ inclusivity. Campus Pride’s Shame List identifies the “absolute worst campuses for LGBTQ youth”. These institutions may have applied for an exception to Title IX to enable them to discriminate against LGBTQ youth, and/or have demonstrated a history of anti-LGBTQ practices. Universities in this list include Brigham Young University, Oklahoma Baptist University, the University of Dallas, Yeshiva University and Spring Arbor University.

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This article was originally published in September 2017 . It was last updated in February 2021

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Written by

The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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