North American University (NAU) was founded by the Texas Gulf Foundation (TGF). There is no short or straight path to becoming recognized as a university. NAU’s path began in April 2007 when the Texas Gulf Foundation (TGF), a non-profit educational organization, was formed to create and support the establishment of higher education institutions. The Foundation, under the direction of Dr. Alp Aslandogan, explored locations and settled at 9441 W. Sam Houston Parkway South Suite 100, Houston, Texas 77099 to open the Texas Gulf Institute (TGI) in September 2007 offering certificate courses. The Texas Gulf Institute decided to add undergraduate programs to their academic offerings; thus, TGI applied for a Certificate of Authority to offer Bachelor of Science degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, Computer Science, and Business Administration to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) on January 20, 2009.
The Texas Gulf Institute’s vision was to draw students from every corner of the world. These students would represent a broad spectrum of economic, racial, religious, and demographic backgrounds, and they would play a special role in advancing TGI’s international character. To advance this vision, TGI submitted their certification application to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) on April 11, 2009, and on August 6, 2009, the SEVIS initial Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status was received for TGI to issue Form I-20s to prospective international students after admitting them for a course of study.
Anticipating a positive response from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board regarding offering bachelor’s degrees, TGI, on October 16, 2009, applied for accreditation to the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Gratefully, on October 29, 2009, THECB granted the Certificate of Authority allowing TGI to offer bachelor’s degrees. Subsequently, on April 20, 2010, ACICS granted initial accreditation to TGI to offer certificate programs through December 31, 2013.
To spur the growth of its academic programs, TGI applied on June 16, 2010, to the ACICS to include Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, Computer Science, and Business Administration. On July 2, 2010, the ACICS approved TGI to offer the respective degrees under its accreditation.
From an Institute to a College
Approval to offer undergraduate degrees resulted in the renaming of Texas Gulf Institute to North American College (NAC). The first campus of NAC was located at 3203 N. Sam Houston Parkway W., Houston, Texas 77038.
On August 16, 2010, ACICS approved the TGI name change and on September 10, 2010, the THECB also approved the name change to North American College. The college enrolled its first student in the Fall of 2010 with the launch of the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies in Education degree program. In the Spring of 2011, NAC expanded the enrollment to include Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Business Administration degree programs.
Many of the students applying to NAC needed funding and the Federal Financial Aid Plan which is available to students who are interested in receiving federal grants, federal loans, or both to pay for tuition in an eligible degree or certificate program. On September 24, 2010, North American College applied to the Federal Student Aid department of the United States Department of Education to take part in the Federal Student Financial Assistance Programs and on January 30, 2011, NAC was designated as an eligible institute to participate in the Student Financial Aid by the U. S. Department of Education.
North American College continued to look to the future to increase a comprehensive academic and student life program. Hence, North American College applied to ACICS to offer a Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree, which was authorized July 29, 2013.
College Becomes the University
By the action of ACICS, on August 28, 2013, North American College and Texas Gulf Foundation were renamed North American University (NAU). “Becoming a university,” defined as a change in organizational name, symbolizes the transition to a comprehensive university mission which offers full undergraduate and graduate programs.
The inaugural enrollment in the Master of Education in Educational Leadership commenced in Fall 2014. NAU received endorsements for three more master’s programs on June 18, 2015: Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, Master of Science in Computer Science, and Master of Business Administration. Students in Fall 2015 enrolled in the first courses towards a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, Master of Science in Computer Science, and Master of Business Administration. In December 2016, NAU received endorsement for the Master of Education in School Counseling program and student enrollment began Fall 2017.
North American University moved to a new campus May 15, 2016, located at 11929 W. Airport Blvd, Stafford, Texas, 77477. The new facilities were in response to the university’s growth in size and professionalism.
In the following year, NAU applied to another accreditation agency, the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and received approval in February 2018. Through this accreditation, NAU applied for and was approved for a new undergraduate degree program: Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Science.
Effective as of July 2023, NAU Athletics became an Associate Member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and is currently playing football within the Sooner Athletic Conference and other sports within the Red River Athletic Conference.