The Republican-controlled Texas Senate voted on Saturday to allow the licensed carrying of concealed handguns in most state university buildings.
The measure includes a caveat that lets college presidents designate "gun-free zones" on their campuses.
Passage by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives is expected on Sunday and would send it on to Republican Governor Greg Abbott to be signed into law.
The bill was a priority for gun rights activists, even though many universities statewide opposed it.
Senator Rodney Ellis, a Democrat from Houston who voted against the bill, said in a statement that the passage reflected "misplaced priorities."
Both chambers had passed their own versions of the bill. A weekend agreement between House and Senate negotiators set up Senate approval.
Texans must be 21 to get a concealed-carry license, meaning many college students will not qualify. The measure would take effect in fall 2016.
The Senate vote came a day after the legislature approved a bill that would allow for openly carrying handguns in public. Abbott has vowed to sign it.