The University of Iowa becomes the nation's first public institution of higher learning to add LGBT-inclusive language to its admission forms.

“Do you identify with the LGBTQ Community?” the new college admission application asks. An additional “Transgender” option is also included. Both questions are optional.

“The move by the University of Iowa administrators to include these specific LGBT identity questions represent a growing paradigm shift in higher education to actively recognize out LGBT youth populations and to exercise greater responsibility for LGBT student safety, retention and academic success,” Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, the nation's leading advocate for LGBT students, said in a statement lauding the university's move. “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.”

“Asking LGBTQ students to identify themselves demonstrates that we value this aspect of identity just as we value the other categories for which students check boxes,” said University of Iowa Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President Georgina Dodge.

Last year, Elmhurst College, a private four-year liberal arts college in Illinois, became the first institute of higher education to include such questions on its admission forms.