The University of Iowa has become the first public university in the US to add LGBT-specific demographic questions to its college admission form.
The school says it has added the questions, which are optional, in order to help with the success and retention of LGBT students.
'LGBTQ students are important members of our campus community, and we want to provide them with an opportunity to identify themselves in order to be connected to resources and to build networking structures,' says University of Iowa Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President Georgina Dodge.
The new college admission application asks the optional question: 'Do you identify with the LGBTQ Community?' and offers 'Transgender' as an additional gender option.
The move has drawn praise from Campus Pride, an educational organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students.
'For the first time, a major, public and national research university has taken efforts to identify their LGBT students from the very first moment those students have official contact with them. This is definite progress in the right direction — and deserves praise,' says Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride executive director.
The school follows a similar move Elmhurst College, a private four-year liberal arts college, which made history in August 2011 when it became first US institution of higher education to ask such demographic questions on their admission form.