Tarleton, FWISD sign historic, multimillion-dollar pact

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Tarleton State University, one of the fastest growing regional universities in the country and the Fort Worth Independent School District, the state’s sixth largest independent school district, signed an agreement Jan. 12 as a prototype to boost post-secondary education nationwide.

Beginning with the 2021-22 school year, Tarleton State University will provide annual scholarships and guarantee admission to Fort Worth ISD seniors who graduate in the top 25 percent of their class, Tarleton said in a news release.

Tarleton also will select one FWISD graduating senior each year to receive a $10,000 annual scholarship, renewable for up to four years. The award will result in an annual commitment of $40,000 to the school district.

As part of the Distinguished High School Partnership, created by Tarleton President James Hurley in 2019, the university will waive ACT (American College Test) and SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) requirements and application fees for qualifying Fort Worth ISD seniors.

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Students graduating in the top 10 percent of their class can expect a minimum $3,000 award as part of the President’s Guaranteed Award Program (GAP). Those in the top 25 percent are guaranteed a minimum of $1,500.

Hurley calling the Fort Worth ISD the backbone of freshman enrollment and said the partnership “raises a high tide,” enhancing opportunity, access and financial assistance for all students who want a university degree.

“We can’t be more excited about this collaboration with Fort Worth ISD, Superintendent Kent Scribner and the entire Board of Education Trustees. This is a big win for us, our students and the region. We firmly believe that Fort Worth ISD graduates are prepared to succeed. We’re prepared to ensure they do,” Hurley said.

The Fort Worth ISD serves almost 80,000 students, with more than 4,500 graduating annually from 21 high schools.

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Fall 2020 enrollment at Tarleton was a record high, up 6.5 percent with 14,033 students, placing the university among the top 40 public schools, according to U.S. News and World Report. The incoming freshman class was the largest ever, up 9.5 percent from 2019.

Scribner told those attending the Jan. 12 board webinar that the Tarleton partnership strategically aligns with the district’s mission to prepare all students for success in college, career and community leadership and “provides great support for Fort Worth ISD students.”

“Tarleton State University has really stepped up to the plate with the Distinguished High School Partnership Program,” he said. “Their efforts truly recognize the academic success our graduates bring to any educational setting. This long-term partnership offers promise and opportunity for so many students and their families who thought post-secondary education out of reach.”

Fort Worth ISD Board President Jacinto Ramos Jr. called the arrangement a game changer: “We are excited to participate in Tarleton’s Distinguished High School Partnership Program, designed to celebrate the achievements of our graduates and further the mission of both Tarleton and the Fort Worth ISD. This generous program will offer our students many more opportunities as they prepare themselves for career success and community leadership.”

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As a bonus, qualifying Fort Worth ISD seniors enrolled at Tarleton for spring 2021 can expect a bump in their financial aid. Admitted freshmen must submit a general scholarship application to determine eligibility.

For more information, go to www.tarleton.edu/scholarships To learn about the President’s GAP, visit www.tarletonstate.us/gap Stephenville-based Tarleton, a founding member of The Texas A&M University System, offers degree programs to more than 13,000 students at Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, RELLIS Academic Alliance in Bryan, and online.

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