The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has approved an increase to Tarleton State University’s intercollegiate athletic fee, making the school ready to join the Western Athletic Conference as an NCAA Division I institution. 

A&M System approval follows a student referendum earlier this month to raise the athletic fee from $22 to $35 per semester hour, capped at 13 hours. In one of the largest turnouts in Tarleton history, almost 70 percent of student voters approved the increase.

“Support from the A&M System and our students moves us one step closer to joining NCAA Division I ranks,” said Tarleton President James Hurley. “A transition to D-I will benefit more than our athletic programs. It will raise our institutional profile and bring national visibility to our university.” 

Regents also gave the green light to add four degree programs to Tarleton’s portfolio of majors. They will be available in fall 2020 pending approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The programs:

•Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Kinesiology •Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communication •Master of Science in Child and Family Studies •Master of Science in Computer Science. Hurley said each program brings Tarleton closer to being the leading comprehensive university in the nation. “Each strengthens our commitment to preparing students for 22nd century careers.”