Northeast, midwest lead list of LGBTQ-friendly colleges; Florida, Texas excluded

Rutgers University–New Brunswick is the lone New Jersey school on Campus Pride's list of the most LGBTQ-friendly colleges in the nation.
Rutgers University–New Brunswick is the lone New Jersey school on Campus Pride’s list of the most LGBTQ-friendly colleges in the nation.

With school back in session, queer students are returning to educational environments that have been shaken by the nationwide attacks on LGBTQ rights — though some regions have been hit harder than others. 

Campus Pride ranks the most LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities in the United States every year based on LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs, and practices on campus. While this year’s list includes schools that have made the list in the past, it also features notable omissions — particularly in Florida and Texas — thanks to a wave of anti-trans laws that have especially impacted education in those states. 

The rankings show the midwest leading the way among all five major regions of the country, followed by the mid-Atlantic. In the midwest, Wisconsin is well-represented, with three University of Wisconsin schools — Eau Claire, Green Bay, and Milwaukee. In the mid-Atlantic, New York-based schools top the list, with Adelphi University, Ithaca College, and the University of Rochester. Rutgers University–New Brunswick is the lone New Jersey school on the list, while Pennsylvania’s schools include Penn State University and University of Pennsylvania. The  University of Maryland, College Park also made the list. 

The New England region features Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts; the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusetts; and the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont.

The midwestern schools on the list include Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana; Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas; Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois; Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana; Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio; and the University of Illinois in Chicago. St. Louis is represented on the list by Washington University.

Schools in the west include San Diego State University in San Diego, California; Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon; and the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.

The schools listed above only represent the highest scorers, with each of the 30 schools receiving the coveted five-star ranking that translates to 90% or higher on the Campus Pride Index. The grade is based on eight factors, including campus safety, academis, housing, student life, and recruitment and retention.

“The Best of the Best list was first created in 2009 as a way to showcase colleges and universities that were committed to offering safe and inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ students, so that students and families could make informed choices about where to pursue higher education,” Campus Pride founder, CEO and executive director Shane Mendez Windmeyer said in a written statement. “In today’s climate, which finds LGBTQ+ identities being used as political talking points and laws being weaponized against LGBTQ+ people, the commitment to creating campuses that welcome and protect LGBTQ+ students can not be taken for granted. The colleges and universities that made our list this year deserve this highest recognition for the efforts they have made and continue to make.”

Campus Pride explained that Texas and Florida were excluded due to the anti-trans laws in those states as well as policies erasing inclusion programs, though it was noted that schools in those states have historically maintained strong support for LGBTQ students and faculty. By excluding those states, Campus Pride hopes to send a message to future students.

“It is important that prospective students and families know that these Texas and Florida laws endanger and harm LGBTQ+ people and create a hostile and unwelcoming learning environment before going to school there,” Windmeyer added.

Campus Pride also organizes other rankings, including the Campus Pride Sports Index, and offers training, college prep resources, and more. Learn more at