(CBS/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.
Campus Pride is an advocacy group that works to improve the college environment for gay and lesbian students. It says Iowa's move is the first by a "major, public, and national research university."
Elmhurst College became the first U.S. college to include similar questions on its application last year. Elmhurst is a private college in Illinois.
"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," said Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride executive director. "This is definite progress in the right direction -- and deserves praise."