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Tarleton State University's nursing program placed on ‘conditional approval’ after 3 years of poor test scores.

Updated: Apr 29


After three years of poor testing scores by Tarleton State University’s nursing students, The Texas Board of Nursing has placed the program on “conditional approval.”


The new status means that Tarleton cannot enroll any new students into the nursing program until an 80% pass rate is reached.


Tarleton’s interim program director was informed about the change in status when she received a letter from the board on April 20.


“Based upon the NCLEX-RN® examination pass rate for the three previous years, findings from the 2023 survey visit, and failure to comply with Rule 215, it was the decision of the Board to change the approval status of the Tarleton State University Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Education Program in Stephenville, Texas, from FULL APPROVAL WITH WARNING TO CONDITIONAL APPROVAL,” the letter states.


Parker was approved to serve as interim program director in April 2023. There have been five directors since 2020.


Parker had pleaded with the Texas Board of Nursing to refrain from placing the program on conditional status, saying the move would reduce funding and the chance to make improvements to the program.


“Tarleton State University requests the continuation of its Full Approval with a Warning for an additional year. This provides a realistic timeframe to demonstrate adherence to TBON Rules & Regulations without unduly impacting ongoing program quality improvement efforts or limiting professional nursing education options for Texas students,” Parker wrote in a letter to the board.


“If our June/July 2024 passage rates fall below the Board of Nursing thresholds, then the Board has the power to revisit this decision.”

Beneath the Surface News asked Tarleton for a statement on the matter, and on Tuesday, Sven Alskog, director of communications, emailed the following:


“In response to the recent decision by the Texas Board of Nursing, Tarleton State University acknowledges the status change for our nursing program and takes full responsibility for any deviations from our esteemed standards.


“Over the last year, the School of Nursing has been under the leadership of Dean Parker. She is rebuilding a structure to support faculty efforts to reimagine and implement a nursing program that reflects the high standards the public expects while reinstating the respect, integrity and excellence synonymous with a Tarleton State nursing degree.

“Together, Tarleton State University is poised to regain regulatory approval and emerge as a trailblazer in nursing education. We remain steadfast in our commitment to upholding the highest standards of academic quality and look forward to continuing to empower future generations of nursing professionals.”


Alskog added that junior and senior-level students currently enrolled in the program will continue without interruption.




As news of the change in status to Tarleton’s nursing program began to spread over the weekend, so did panic among students and their parents.


A post on the Tarleton Parents Facebook page encourages parents of current and future nursing students to stay in touch about their plans.


One parent wrote: “If your student is a fall junior they have no choice but to leave, paying for a full year of non degree classes in ‘hope’ that the school program will magically start teaching the kids well enough to pass the nursing certification is enough to let me know that the university has not been transparent about how well Tarleton is able to prepare nursing students.


“My kid has always wanted to be a nurse, she has a 4.0, is in honors and has a Presidential scholarship, she deserves to be in an accredited nursing program and her future jobs will be dependent on that. Waiting and hoping and paying $30k a year to graduate in 5 or 6 years because the school can't prepare their nursing students. Why?”


Beneath the Surface News also received calls from managers and owners of local student-housing who said they have been flooded by calls from parents of nursing students trying to get out of their leases.


“It’s been total chaos; parents have no idea what they are going to do,” one owner said.


Tarleton has created a FAQ page that answers additional questions.



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