Campus Pride has released its annual Best of the Best list of the top 30 colleges and universities for LGBTQ+ students.
The list is composed of campuses with exceptional work in LGBTQ+ inclusive policies, programs and practices. The Top 30 recognizes these institutions’ efforts to create safe and welcoming campuses for LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty. (The complete Campus Pride 2023 Best of the Best list can be found below and online at CampusPride.org/BestoftheBest.)
“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,” said Campus Pride Founder, CEO and Executive Director Shane Mendez Windmeyer. “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’s 2023 Best of the Best list includes 30 four-year public and private colleges and universities from around the country. Each institution achieved 5 out of 5 stars, earning 90% or higher on the Campus Pride Index (CPI), the premier national benchmarking tool measuring LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs, and practices on college and university campuses. To earn a ranking of 5 out of 5 stars, campuses receive a percentage score from 90 to 100 based on their reporting of LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices. Campuses are scored in eight LGBTQ-friendly factors, including housing, campus safety, academics, student life, and recruitment and retention efforts.
Campus Pride’s 2023 Best of the Best LGBTQ-friendly Colleges and Universities (listed alphabetically by region) are:
Adelphi University, Garden City, NY
Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick, New Brunswick, NJ
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Augsburg University, Minneapolis, MN
Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
Oakland University, Rochester, MI
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL
University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI
University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, Green Bay, WI
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Tufts University, Medford, MA
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA
University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Elon University, Elon, NC
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Guilford College, Greensboro, NC
Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY
University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Southern Oregon University, Ashland, OR
University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO
The full Campus Pride 2023 Best of the Best list is also available online at CampusPride.org/BestoftheBest.
“At a time when many Republican-controlled states are persecuting trans and nonbinary young people, it is critical for colleges—especially institutions in more supportive states—to be sanctuaries for LGBTQ+ students, and the Best of the Best colleges have worked to be places where trans and nonbinary students feel welcomed and included,” said Dr. Genny Beemyn, coordinator of the Campus Pride Trans Policy Clearinghouse.
Due to the passage of anti-LGBTQ state laws in Texas and Florida, Campus Pride excluded from consideration all colleges and universities from both states in the 2023 Best of the Best list. These campuses, in many cases, have demonstrated a long-standing commitment to safe and inclusive learning environments; however, the new anti-LGBTQ laws effectively ban inclusion and support in programs, services and policies.
“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 said. Learn more about Campus Pride’s decision at CampusPride.org/LGBTQharm.
The Campus Pride Index rates colleges and universities based on self-reporting of LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices, such as non-discrimination statements inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, gender affirming health care, LGBTQ+ peer mentorship programs, campus safety trainings on sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBTQ-specific major and course offerings, and the presence of LGBTQ & ally student and faculty organizations. The online tool is free to the public and can be accessed at CampusPrideIndex.org. The index is visited by over 120,000 prospective students, families/parents and those interested in higher education, each year, with over 95,000 referrals to campuses. Currently, more than 240 colleges and universities, including two-year and four-year colleges, have public profiles on the Campus Pride Index.