Southern Oregon University has been ranked 21st among the 50 Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students in 2017, according to the online publication College Choice. The new ranking is in line with that of Campus Pride, which has rated SOU as one of the nation’s 30 most LGBTQ-friendly campuses for the past four years.

In its ranking, College Choice cited the findings of Campus Pride — a leading educational organization for LGBTQ college students and campus groups — and also pointed to the university’s “impressive academics” and numerous resources for LGBTQ students.

“Recognitions similar to this one are important for our current and prospective students, especially as some juggle multiple factors in college choice, and in choosing to stay at SOU,” said Thomas Arce, coordinator of SOU’s Queer Resource Center.

“Our campus environment at SOU provides our students with a welcoming, inclusive and affirming learning and living space,” he said.

College Choice offers numerous rankings of colleges and universities, based on criteria ranging from “Happiest Freshmen” to “Most Affordable Online MBA.” The list of 50 Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students is topped by Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tuition rates at SOU are lower than at any of the institutions that are ranked higher on the College Choice list.

The University of Oregon, which ranked 28th, was the only other institution from Oregon on this year’s list.

“Even in a state that has a liberal reputation like Oregon does, it’s still important for universities to pay close attention to the needs of their LGBTQ+ students,” said Christian Amondson, the managing editor of College Choice. “That’s what Southern Oregon does, and that’s why it appears on this ranking.”

In its online rankings, College Choice points out that SOU faculty and staff are trained on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, hate crime prevention, trans-specific concerns and LGBTQ-specific career services.