The annual list determines schools' accessibility and affordability for LGBTQ students nationwide.
In an annual list from Campus Pride and BestColleges, the University of Maryland scored number one for LGBTQ students in the United States, a huge step from its fifth-place spot last year. The top five schools included the University of Washington, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton, and Tufts University.
Luke Jensen, director of UMD's LGBT Equity Center, praised the university's work in creating a safe, inclusive environment for LGBT students and staff.
"It is an honor—and a welcome challenge to maintain and improve our leadership in LGBTQ+ campus inclusion as we face broad collective challenges related to health and social justice."
The list, which is released annually during Pride Month, ranks colleges that establish supportive environments for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and alumni across the nation. Campus Pride and BestColleges consider a variety of factors upon compiling their list, with school affordability and academic support, as well as the Campus Pride Index score, determining their LGBTQ-friendly status.
With these in mind, it's no surprise the University of Maryland claimed the top of the list. Their LGBT Equity Center works to ensure the campus environment is welcoming towards students and provides educational and social resources and that the school's efforts effectively woven into the institution's structure. Their accomplishments range from enforcing gender-inclusive language in university communications to all-gender restrooms on campus grounds.
Courtesy of University of Maryland's LGBT Equity Center
In addition to organizing networking events and the popular Lavender Graduation (which celebrates LGBTQ+ students' academic achievements), the school has designated staff who serve as "liaisons" to the LGBTQ community in their respective departments.
"This June for Pride Month we want to show our ‘campus pride’ for all the campuses working hard to create safer, more LGBTQ-friendly learning environments," said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride.
Along with their Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students list, they also released a state-by-state list that showcases colleges for students according to their geographic region. You can check out the full list here.
What do you think of the University of Maryland's ranking? Let us know in the comments!