Nearly three dozen religious colleges and universities in 20 states have received federal waivers allowing them not to accommodate transgender students in admissions, housing and other areas of campus life.

That's according to a report by the nation's largest LGBT rights group and documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Higher education institutions that receive federal funds for research or financial aid have been barred since the 1970s from discriminating on the basis of sex.

But federal education officials are increasingly applying that law, known as Title IX, to civil rights complaints involving transgender students. Colleges controlled by religious organizations are allowed to seek exemptions if they can show that treating all students equally would be inconsistent with their religious tenets.