Higher Learning Incentives

Tarleton State University enters partnership agreements with Heart of Texas school districts, providing scholarships to top graduates

STEPHENVILLE – Some high school students know exactly what they want to become, or what study path they want to follow, but which school they want to attend to reach that goal is sometimes a difficult choice. Do you go to your parents Alma Mater? Do you go to that small campus close by? Do you go across state lines? Is the tuition fee a stumbling block?


To make that choice easier, Tarleton State University is offering partnerships with Heart of Texas school districts aimed to encourage students to become a Texan Rider and bleed purple for life.

To that effect, TSU is offering the top 25 percent of the Clifton High School graduating class scholarship opportunities and guaranteed admission, thanks to an agreement approved May 18 at the Clifton Independent School District Board of Trustees meeting.

“We’re very excited to partner with Clifton High School to ensure that some of the best students in Texas have the opportunity to pursue their dream of a university degree,” said TSU President James Hurley. “This partnership aligns with our commitment to become a first-choice institution for regional high school seniors and the vision of Clifton ISD to be an acclaimed model of educational excellence. Together we are investing in the success and well-being of today’s students, destined to be tomorrow’s leaders.”

The Distinguished High School Partnership goes into effect with the 2020-21 school year. The agreement also means American College Test (ACT) or Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) requirements will be waived for students in the top quarter of their class, as will the $50 application fees for students who qualify. With that said, ACT and SAT requirements might still be required for additional scholarships though.


Clifton ISD Superintendent Andy Ball, a Tarleton State University alum (above); Clifton High School sends graduates to TSU every year, as illustrated in the CHS Class of 2020 parade (top).

“Tarleton State University is a leader in providing a high-quality college education close to home,” Clifton ISD Superintendent Andy Ball said. “And becoming a Distinguished Partner District with Tarleton is a great opportunity with numerous advantages for our #TeamCISD students. I am a proud Tarleton alum as are many of our staff members here at Clifton, and we are honored to enter into this agreement.

“I am grateful to Dr. Hurley and Dr. Javier Garza, vice president for enrollment management, for the communication and leadership they have provided through this process. And I look forward to a fantastic working relationship with them for many years to come.”

Until now, mostly larger school district like Brownwood, Copperas Cove, Gatesville, Midway and Robinson have entered into DHSP partnership agreements with TSU, smaller schools like Clifton are eligible to enter as well.

Even though Clifton students already have a good record of going to Tarleton State, becoming successful students and ultimately successful citizens, Hurley and Garza visited CISD management and students in January to promote their program. According to Ball, having a university leadership team come to the Clifton ISD campuses represents a first, and he feels it shows their commitment to school districts in the region.

Tarleton State officials continue to work on developing similar, non-exclusive agreements with about 30 other school districts in the region, hoping to make the choice for TSU an easier one.

President of the university since September 2019, Hurley actively recruits students for its different campuses, especially for its new Fort Worth campus where it offers more than 50 degree programs. The university opened its new campus along the Chisholm Trail Parkway in southwest Fort Worth just last week. Classes are scheduled to start in the fall, with 1,721 students.

Looking at alternative sources of funding to continue to grow the campus, the university hopes reach its goal of 9,000 students at the campus by 2030, after lawmakers failed to approve a multi-billion dollar bond revenue package that would have funded capital projects across Texas’ higher education institutions.

On top of guaranteed admission, the Guaranteed Award Program (GAP) assures first-time-in-college students graduating in the top quarter of their high school class between $1,000 and $4,000 in scholarships. Students graduating from one of Tarleton State’s Distinguished High School Partners will receive an additional $500 or $1,000. Admitted freshmen do need to submit a general scholarship application to determine eligibility.


Starting next school year, the Distinguished High School Partnership with Tarleton State University guarantees admission to Clifton High School graduates in the top 25 percent of their class.

For many incoming students, pursuing a prestigious university or one furthest away from Texas roots might seem enticing and exciting. But going to college remains an expensive endeavor, and this type of deal sweetener might sway parents and students alike to choose a campus closer to home.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for our #TEAMCISD students with numerous advantages,” Ball said.

Tarleton, the founding member of the Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven education marked by academic innovation and a dedication to transform today’s scholars into tomorrow’s leaders. It offers degree programs to more than 13,000 students at Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, RELLIS Academic Alliance in Bryan and online, emphasizing real-world learning experiences that address societal needs while maintaining its core values of tradition, integrity, civility, excellence, leadership and service.

For more information on GAP, go to http://www.tarletonstate.us/gap. To learn how to become a Tarleton Texan, visit http://www.tarleton.edu/becomeatexan/index.html.

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Tarleton State University recently opened the first buildings of their new Fort Worth campus.


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