The most affordable LGBTQ+ colleges stand out for their inclusive, safe environments and low attendance costs. With college costs rising, LGBTQ+ students often look for a welcoming college without high tuition rates. In 2019, for example, 62% of graduates left college in debt, averaging nearly $29,000 in student loan debt.
Lower tuition rates, generous financial aid, and LGBTQ+ scholarship programs help students at these schools graduate with less debt. These colleges also offer an LGBTQ+ friendly community for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Accredited Online College Programs
Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.
What Makes a College LGBTQ+ Friendly?
What makes a college LGBTQ+ friendly? And how can you find LGBTQ+ colleges? Fortunately, students benefit from a wealth of resources when researching LGBTQ+ policies and support on campus. College websites provide information on LGBTQ+ resource centers, student organizations, and scholarships. Many schools host a rainbow or lavender graduation to celebrate LGBTQ+ graduates’ accomplishments.
The Campus Pride Index uses a five star score to rate schools on their inclusive policies, practices, and programs. The index considers institutional policies, student life for LGBTQ+ degree-seekers, and LGBTQ+ support on campus, such as counseling services. The metrics measure institutions on their inclusivity for diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.
Our list includes LGBTQ+ schools with affordable tuition rates. By choosing one of the most affordable LGBTQ+ colleges, students benefit from an inclusive, supportive community and a lower price.
A public institution in Seattle, the University of Washington offers an exceptional education on its evergreen and cherry-tree filled campus with views of Mount Rainier. UW ranks as the most affordable LGBTQ+ college thanks to its low tuition rates and LGBTQ+ inclusive campus. More than 60% of undergraduates receive financial aid, totalling $400 million each year. With a net price under $10,000 annually, the UW provides an affordable route to a degree.
The Campus Pride Index gives the UW five stars for its commitment to LGBTQ+ issues. The university hosts LGBTQ+ admission fairs, offers LGBTQ+ student scholarships, and mentors incoming LGBTQ+ students. UW students benefit from LGBTQ+ counseling groups, transgender-inclusive trained counseling staff, and a student health insurance policy covering hormone replacement therapy.
The Q Center creates a celebratory environment for all sexual and gender identities. The center runs a queer mentoring program, develops student leadership skills, and hosts a lavender graduation for LGBTQ+ students.
Founded in 1908 as a public university, UC Davis welcomes more than 37,000 students to campus. The institution offers over 100 majors in six professional schools. UC Davis maintains affordable rates, particularly for in-state students. Nearly 60% of students receive gift aid covering their tuition and fees. Since UC Davis relies on grants, scholarships, and work-study support for nearly 80% of its student aid, over half of students graduate debt free.
The campus LGBTQIA Resource Center promotes a safe and inclusive environment. The center connects students with a community counselor and support groups. UC Davis offers resources for trans and nonbinary students, including support for reporting bias. The Campus Pride Index gives UC Davis high marks for its campus safety, institutional commitment, and counseling resources. The university offers an LGBTQ+ studies program and trains faculty and staff on sexual orientation and gender identity issues.
In 2020, the University of California, Los Angeles received over 100,000 freshman applications, making it the most applied-to school in the country. UCLA has a reputation for academic excellence, with over 125 majors and nearly 150 graduate programs. The most popular majors include biology, political science, economics, and psychology.
UCLA blends affordability and academic excellence, with over half of undergrads receiving financial aid and 35% receiving Pell Grants. The annual in-state tuition rate of around $13,000 makes UCLA one of the most affordable top-tier public universities. UCLA reports a high 91% graduation rate.
In addition to its affordability, UCLA earns high marks for its LGBTQ+ academic life and student life. The LGBTQ Campus Resource Center connects students with counseling services, financial wellness resources, and LGBTQ+ career planning support. Incoming, continuing, and graduating LGBTQ+ students qualify for scholarships and grants.
A research institution in Southern California, UC San Diego offers over 100 degrees and programs. With a net cost under $13,500 per year, the public university is also an affordable option for LGBTQ+ students. California residents benefit from the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan. The University of California's program commits to pay any tuition and fees remaining after gift aid for residents with a family annual income under $80,000.
UC San Diego students share a campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean and pursue diverse academic paths. The university promotes inclusive policies and scores high marks for its LGBTQ+ support services, including counseling, mental health, and physical health resources. The LGBT Resource Center offers an inclusive space for students to explore sexual and gender identities. The center encourages student leadership, promotes LGBTQ+ research, and connects students with campus and community resources.
One of the largest universities in the country, the University of Central Florida enrolls nearly 72,000 students. The public university in Atlanta earns praise for its innovative approaches and its LGBTQ+ inclusive policies. With a low in-state tuition rate around $200 per credit, UCF ranks among the most affordable LGBTQ+ colleges.
The Campus Pride Index gives UCF high marks for its LGBTQ+ student life and the university's institutional commitment to inclusive policies. UCF students can easily change their name with the university, major in LGBTQ+ studies, or participate in LGBTQ+ student organizations.
LGBTQ+ Services connects students with resources and programs to celebrate LGBTQ+ history and culture. The university offers a Q guide with information about LGBTQ+ resources on campus. UCF features a transgender resource guide to connect students with resources and individuals to support their gender identity or help them transition.
Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia is one of the most affordable LGBTQ+ colleges in the country. UVA ranks as the #4 public university in the nation. The school holds a 97% retention rate and 94% graduation rate, the highest of any public university.
UVA promises to meet 100% of any student's financial need through scholarships, grants, work-study funds, and loans. In-state students pay an annual tuition rate around $14,000. UVA limits their loans to around $4,500 per year to ensure students graduate with less debt.
The Campus Pride Index gives UVA high marks for campus safety, LGBTQ+ counseling and health, and student life. The university's LGBTQ Student Services include resources for trans, asexual, and queer and trans BIPOC students. The LGBTQ Center, started in 2001, promotes inclusion on campus through its services and outreach efforts.
Founded in 1869 as a public institution, Purdue University enrolls over 41,000 students on its Indiana campuses today. With strengths in engineering, liberal arts, agriculture, and science, Purdue welcomes students with diverse interests and career goals. Purdue has not raised its tuition rates since 2012. Indiana residents benefit from an annual tuition rate of under $10,000.
Thanks to low tuition rates and an LGBTQ+ inclusive environment, Purdue ranks among the most affordable LGBTQ+ colleges nationwide. The campus LGBTQ Center offers resources for trans students, on gender-inclusive restrooms, for mental health, and on coming out. Purdue makes it easy to change your name or gender markers with the school. The university earns top marks for its academic and student life, including tutoring services at the LGBTQ Center. Purdue offers LGBTQ+ student scholarships.
Located on the banks of the Mississippi River close to Saint Anthony Falls, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities dates back to 1851. The flagship public university offers degrees in product design, geoengineering, and child psychology. UMN offers a gender, women, and sexuality studies degree.
At UMN, 75% of students receive financial aid or work-study support. The university caps the tuition charge at 13 credits per semester, so students with higher course loads earn college credits for free. With annual tuition around $13,000, UMN represents one of the best values in higher education.
UNM ranks as an LGBTQ+ inclusive college. The Campus Pride Index gives the university high marks for its institutional commitment to LGBTQ+ friendly policies. UMN also scores high on academic life, student life, and housing policies. The Gender and Sexuality Center works to support and advocate for queen and trans students. The center works with academic departments to educate the campus community and conduct outreach.
The state's flagship university, the University of Maryland, College Park welcomes over 40,000 students to campus. At UMD, undergraduates choose from over 90 majors in 12 different colleges. Learners can also create their own majors.
The Campus Pride Index gives UMD a perfect score on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression policies and campus life. The LGBT Equity Center offers a resource center, lounge, and support for LGBTQ+ students. Learners benefit from support groups, campus resource guides, and information on trans resources and policies. The LGBT Equity Center features a resource library and a list of LGBTQ+ faculty and staff.
At UMD, Maryland residents pay less than $11,000 per year in tuition and fees. UMD offers scholarships and grants to make a degree affordable. Freshman merit scholarships, for example, support incoming students with financial aid. The university offers transfer student merit scholarships, too.
A member of the California State University system, San Diego State University welcomes over 35,000 students to its Southern California campus. SDSU offers nearly 200 majors, including many online degrees. With an annual net cost under $15,000 and an above-average graduation rate, SDSU ranks as an affordable college. SDSU also stands out for its commitment to LGBTQ+ students.
SDSU offers an LGBTQ+ studies major blending interdisciplinary instruction with internships and international experiences. The university's Pride Center promotes an inclusive and safe campus environment. The center connects students with on-campus resources, including cultural and identity centers, a pride employee resource group, and student organizations. The Pride Center provides local community and national resources.
The Campus Pride Index gives SDSU high marks for its LGBTQ+ academic life, student life, and housing policies. The university offers gender-inclusive housing, roommate matching for LGBTQ+ students, and residence staff training on LGBTQ+ issues.
A land-grant university in Columbus, Ohio State ranks among the top-20 public universities nationwide and as one of the most affordable LGBTQ+ colleges. With an annual tuition rate under $12,000, Ohio State ranks among the most affordable flagship state universities. At Ohio State, undergraduates choose from over 200 majors, including agribusiness, agricultural communication, and animal science. Students can study gender and sexuality in Ohio State's interdisciplinary women, gender, and sexuality department.
Campus LGBTQ+ resources include a mentoring program, name change resources, and health and wellness support. Ohio State connects students with the off-campus community by providing a list of central Ohio resources and LGBTQ+ inclusive career resources. The Campus Pride Index ranks Ohio State highly for its institutional commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusivity and its student life, including campus social activities, educational events, and student organizations.
An Ivy League institution, Princeton University ranks as one of the most affordable LGBTQ+ colleges. With around 5,000 undergraduate students and 3,000 graduate students, Princeton commits to making college affordable. The class of 2023 received an average annual institutional grant of $56,500. Princeton promises to cover 100% of college costs for families earning under $65,000 per year. Only 4% of Princeton undergraduates take out loans.
Princeton scores high for its LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and student life. The LGBT Center promotes education, community-building, and inclusivity. The center offers training and advocacy for the broader university community. Princeton features LGBTQ+ student scholarships and mentoring programs to welcome new students to campus. All admission counselors receive LGBTQ+ inclusive training. As a result, Princeton offers an affordable and supportive environment for its LGBTQ+ students.
Founded in 1824 as a private liberal arts college, Kenyon College welcomes 1,700 students to its Gambier, Ohio campus. The sprawling, 1,000-acre rural campus and gothic revival architecture gives Kenyon a collegiate atmosphere. Kenyon offers 50 majors, minors, and concentrations.
Kenyon earns a five star rating from the Campus Pride Index. The college stands out for strong inclusive LGBTQ+ policies, institutional commitment to LGBTQ+ students, and counseling and health resources. Kenyon offers multiple resources for the LGBTQ+ community on campus, including ally training programs, lists of queer courses, and scholarships for LGBTQ+ students. The college provides resources for trans students.
Kenyon promotes LGBTQ+ inclusion in athletics as one of only two Ohio colleges with a trained NCAA LGBTQ+ inclusion facilitator. Kenyon promises to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for undergraduates. At Kenyon, 65% of students receive financial aid, including 1 in 4 who receive merit-based scholarships.
Located in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Williams College offers a supportive, inclusive education. The liberal arts college encourages deep thinking and strengthens leadership skills through a small student-to-faculty ratio. Tutorials and classes encourage research and writing skills.
Williams ranks among the most affordable LGBTQ+ colleges thanks to its financial aid and commitment to LGBTQ+ students. The Davis Center connects students with resources and empowers students. The Queer Student Union advocates for queer-identifying students. Williams offers an interdisciplinary gender and sexuality program. The college receives high marks for its LGBTQ+ student life and campus safety.
Over half of Williams students receive financial aid, and the college promises to meet 100% of students' demonstrated need. Williams makes books, supplies, and labs free for students receiving aid. As a result, Williams reports low loan-debt levels for graduates.
A public institution with 28,000 students, UT Dallas offers an affordable and LGBTQ+ friendly environment for undergraduates and graduate students. UT Dallas offers over 140 academic programs with an annual net cost under $10,000. Close to 70% of undergraduates receive need-based or merit-based financial aid to attend UT Dallas. The university's first-year student scholarships help make UT Dallas affordable for incoming students.
The university receives high marks from the Campus Pride Index for its institutional commitment to LGBTQ+ students, inclusive housing policies, and counseling and health resources. The university's LGBTQ+ counseling services celebrate diverse identities. All student counseling center staff members work to provide a safe and inclusive environment. The school's gender and sexuality consultation team, comprising trained clinicians, works with transgender and nonbinary students seeking gender affirming treatments.