Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Texas A&M University System?

The A&M System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center, the A&M System educates more than 109,000 students and reaches another 15 million people through service each year. Externally funded research brings in $676 million every year and helps drive the state’s economy.

What does “A” and “M” stand for?

Texas A&M, the state’s first public institution of higher education, was opened on Oct. 4, 1876, as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. Both Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M owe their origin to the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890, which established the nation’s land-grant college system.

The A&M System is the state’s land-grant system. What does that mean?

A land-grant college or university is an institution that has been designated by its state legislature or Congress to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. The original mission of these institutions, as set forth in the first Morrill Act, was to teach agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanic arts as well as classical studies so that members of the working classes could obtain a practical education.

The A&M System’s agencies, which conduct research and bring practical applications of research findings to the people of Texas, also came out of the land-grant system.
There is now at least one land-grant institution in every state and territory of the United States, as well as the District of Columbia.

More information can be found here (from the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges).

How is the A&M System governed?

The A&M System is governed by a nine-member Board of Regents, who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Texas Senate for six-year terms. A non-voting student member was added in 2006. The A&M System chancellor oversees the day-to-day administration, and each of the A&M System’s 19 members has a president, CEO or director. Each university is independent; only Texas A&M at Galveston and Texas A&M at Qatar are branch campuses of the oldest and largest member of the System, Texas A&M.

When was the A&M System established?

The Texas A&M University System was officially recognized in 1948. The original members were Texas A&M, Prairie View A&M University, Tarleton State University, Texas Forest Service, Texas Engineering Experiment Station, Texas Engineering Extension Service, Texas Cooperative Extension (formerly the Texas Agricultural Extension Service) and the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.

System Member Year Established
Texas A&M University 1876
Prairie View A&M University 1876
Tarleton State University 1899
joined the A&M System in 1917
Texas A&M University at Galveston 1950s
joined the A&M System in 1962
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi 1947
joined the A&M System in 1989
Texas A&M International University 1970
joined the A&M System in 1989
Texas A&M University-Kingsville 1925
joined the A&M System in 1989
West Texas A&M University  1910
joined the A&M System in 1990
Texas A&M University-Commerce 1889
joined the A&M System in 1996
Texas A&M University-Texarkana 1971
joined the A&M System in 1996
Texas A&M University-Central Texas 2009
Texas A&M University-San Antonio 2009
Texas A&M Health Science Center 1999
Texas AgriLife Research 1887
Texas Engineering Experiment Station 1914
Texas Forest Service 1915
Texas AgriLife Extension Service
(established as Texas Agricultural Extension Service)
Texas Engineering Extension Service 1948
Texas Transportation Institute 1950
Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory 1967

The System Real Estate Office maintains a history of the school names in the A&M System.

What is the mission of the A&M System?

The A&M System strives for the highest quality undergraduate, graduate, and professional educational programs, outreach and community enhancement services that meet the needs of individuals and organizations, and research and knowledge generation that meets our creative needs and provides the foundation for economic development in Texas.

What does “upper-level institution” mean?

This means that the university offers courses only for junior and senior students (and perhaps graduate students). Students transfer to these institutions after completing their freshmen and sophomore years elsewhere.

Texas A&M University-Texarkana, Texas A&M University-Central Texas and the Texas A&M University-San Antonio are upper-level institutions.

What are the Permanent University Fund and Available University Fund?

The Permanent University Fund (PUF) is a public endowment contributing to the support of certain universities and agencies in the A&M System and certain universities in the University of Texas System.

The PUF was established in the Texas Constitution of 1876. Today, the PUF includes over 2.1 million acres in 19 West Texas counties.

Mineral income from this land has accumulated over several decades and the PUF was valued at approximately $9.4 billion as of Aug. 31, 2005. All mineral income and all increases in the value of equity investments from PUF capital gains become and remain an inviolate part of the endowment.

The PUF’s 2.1 million acres of West Texas land produce two streams of income.  Mineral income remains forever part of the PUF endowment and cannot be expended, but surface income (primarily grazing and surface leasing) flows directly into the Available University Fund (AUF). In addition, financial investments held in the PUF are utilized to provide a payout stream into the AUF.

The annual distribution to the AUF is based on 4.75 percent of the market value for the last 12 quarters ended each February.

The A&M System may sell debt equal to 10 percent of the book value of the PUF.  The indebtedness is secured by AUF income and among other factors is rated on the stability of the PUF, the quality of its investment management and other commitments of the AUF.

The Texas constitution specifies allowable uses of the AUF to include debt service on PUF debt, and support and maintenance for the A&M System Administrative and General Offices, Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M.

The following members of the A&M System benefit from PUF bond proceeds:

Texas A&M Texas AgriLife Extension Service
Texas A&M at Galveston Texas Engineering Experiment Station           
Prairie View A&M Texas Engineering Extension Service
Tarleton Texas Transportation Institute
Texas A&M Health Science Center
(excluding Baylor College of Dentistry)
Texas Forest Service
Texas AgriLife Research System Offices

Does the “top 10” rule for admission apply to all A&M System universities?

Yes. Those who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class from a Texas high school will gain admission into any of the A&M System’s nine universities.

Does the A&M System have a central admissions office?

No. Students must contact directly the preferred A&M System institution’s admission office.

Where can I find out which A&M System universities offer the major I’m interested in?

Our degree program inventory that lets you search the offerings at all our universities.

Where can I find out about jobs in the A&M System?

The System HR Office maintains links to all the job opportunities with the A&M System.

Where can I find enrollment and other information for each A&M System member?

About the System contains enrollment figures.