By Grace Austin

Finding educational institutions that are friendly to LGBT youth has become a major aspect of LGBT students’ college searches, and schools have taken notice. Many have implemented programs and attempted to foster welcoming environments to attract LGBT students. These schools, which vary widely from size, location, and private/public, were all recently named to Campus Pride’s list of the top 25 most LGBT-friendly colleges and universities in the U.S. UCLA, the University of Chicago, Carleton College, and Portland State University were all featured on this year’s list.

Founded in 2001, Campus Pride began as an online community, eventually broadening its reach to become a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping LGBT students.

Partnering with the Huffington Post, Campus Pride has released the full list, which also includes universities in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Michigan. The rankings are based on data from the Campus Pride Index, which rates colleges and universities on LGBT policy inclusion, student life, academic life, as well as other relevant practices. The full index comprises a total of 339 campuses across the country.

Calling it “the most reliable, trusted source” of its kind, Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer noted that the index differed from others in that its ratings were “done for and by” LGBT people. He also stated that there was still room for improvement across the board, particularly in rural areas and Midwestern and Southern regions.
The list is one of the first of its kind to acknowledge LGBT-friendly universities across the country. It takes into account student, faculty, and staff answers to comprehensive questions.

Campus Pride also recently partnered with The Advocate to release the first-ever list of the top 10 trans-friendly colleges and universities across the country. The list was determined using the Campus Pride Index ratings and Windmeyer and transgender college author Dr. Genny Beemyn’s acumen.

University of Vermont, New York University, and Princeton University all made the top 10 list.