As California State University, Chico upholds its strategic priority to building and fostering diverse and inclusive communities of excellence, it has been recognized for its continued successes by a national organization that measures the quality of life for LGBTQ+ people on college campuses.

Campus Pride Index, a national nonprofit organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create safer and more LGBTQ-friendly learning environments at colleges and universities, recently awarded CSU, Chico a four-star rating for being an “LGBTQ-Friendly Campus.”

The Campus Pride Index is an overall indicator of institutional commitment to LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs and practices. It often serves as a tool for assisting colleges and universities with improving their LGBTQ+ campus life, shaping the educational experience to be more inclusive, welcoming and respectful of LGBTQ+ people and allies, and guiding prospective students and their families toward the ideal campus.

“We are proud to support an environment where our LGBTQ+ Wildcats can be their authentic selves at school and work,” said Tray Robinson, who recently retired as director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “This recognition is a testament to efforts across campus to ensure our University is supportive, welcoming and meeting the needs of our LGBTQ+ community.”

CSU, Chico received 4.5 stars out of 5 in categories for “LGBTQ Support and Institutional Commitment,” “Academic Life” and “Counseling and Health.” The Department of Multicultural and Gender Studies (MCGS) offers students a comprehensive academic program, and the Gender and Sexuality Equity Coalition (GSEC)—a student-run activist organization—provides student support and post-graduation opportunities, including volunteer and workplace options, as well as graduate studies guidance.

Other ways the University augments its LGBTQ+ community’s experience is through inviting speakers and scheduling inclusive events, providing an annual Lavender Graduation Celebration and offering Lavender Living, an intentional on-campus living community affirming the cultural experiences of LGBTQ+ students.

“Facilities Management and Services have also included in their processes that all new facilities will have gender-inclusive restrooms,” said Robinson. “The University’s new Science Building has our campus’ first multi-stall inclusive restrooms—a feature that very few CSU campuses have.”

Robinson added that CSU, Chico now collects data on students’ sexuality and gender identity, allowing the campus to better understand the community and support their needs. Students can also easily update their pronouns for campus records like class rosters and complete a process to change their name—which faculty and staff can do as well.

In addition to the Campus Pride Index recognition, CSU, Chico was also recently ranked No. 20 on Student Loan Hero’s list of “Most Affordable LQBTQ-Friendly Colleges and Universities in the U.S.” Student Loan Hero—an arm of LendingTree—ranked 136 higher education institutions.

The rankings included four-year colleges and universities across the country, as well as community colleges. CSU, Chico ranked No. 4 in California, leading fellow CSU campuses Cal State Long Beach (No. 9), CSUN (No. 10), and San Diego State (No. 15).

The recognition as an affordable higher education institution is nothing new to CSU, Chico—in fact, the CSU, the nation’s largest university system, remains one of the most affordable when compared to other institutions across the country. CSU tuition and fees for an academic year of undergraduate education averaged $7,363 for the 2020–21 academic year while the national average was $11,839.

In separate rankings last summer, LendEDU listed CSU, Chico at No. 5 nationally and No. 1 in the state of California for the lowest student debt figures among the nation’s Class of 2019.