The private college, affiliated with the United Church of Christ, a denomination that endorsed same-sex "marriage" in 2005, asks students, "Would you consider yourself a member of the L.G.B.T. (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community?"
According to The Chicago Sun-Times, if students answer yes to the optional question they are eligible for a diversity scholarship totaling up to a third of the cost of tuition.
"I thought from the recruitment standpoint we might be more proactive ," said Gary Rold, Elmhurst's dean of admissions. His decision touched off a flurry of publicity from advocates for the gay community.
The question now is, will other colleges follow suit?
The Sun-Times report states that a few other colleges have taken steps, but none as drastic as Elmhurst. At Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, students can check activities that might interest them, including LGBT-centered ones. Prospective University of Pennsylvania students who write in their application essay they are homosexual can be paired with a mentor.
Penn State discussed whether to add the question "with some in favor and some suggesting it's not the best decision to make at this time," said Terrell Jones, vice provost for educational equity. So far, the university doesn't see the need, he added.
Nathan Harden at National Review Online raises a more important question, Will heterosexual students facing loan burdens "be compelled to consider 'broader' sexual horizons?" He wrote that it's absurd a school "that knocks one third off the sticker price of 'an education' because of sexual orientation effectively doling out tens of thousands of dollars on the basis of students' bedroom behavior."
Brittany Smith writes for World News Service, where this story first appeared.
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