(Photo: University of Iowa)
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The University of Iowa has become the nation's first public university to include optional questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on its admissions application.
The university announced Wednesday that its new application asks students whether they identify with the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer community. The application also offers transgender as a gender option.
University officials say the move sends a strong signal that that they value the diversity that gay and lesbian students bring to campus. They say knowing some students' sexual orientations will allow them to track their enrollment and retention rates and promote programs that might improve their social and academic success.
Elmhurst College became the first U.S. college to include similar questions on its application last year. Elmhurst is a private college in Illinois.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)