Texas Top-10% Admit Rule Scrubbed

A while ago, if you were in the top 10% of your high school’s senior class, you were guaranteed admission to Texas state universities. No more, dude. The rules have change.

As reported in the New York Times:

AUSTIN, Tex. — The Texas Legislature voted Saturday night to scale back a program under which Texans who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high schools were given automatic admission to the state university of their choice. The action put limits on a 10-year-old experiment to increase diversity in the colleges.

The article continues:

The University of Texas, Austin, a top-ranked institution, had sought changes to the program for years because it allowed admissions officials almost no latitude in putting together a class and endangered some important but less popular departments, like music. Last fall, 81 percent of the members of the incoming class were admitted under the 10 percent rule . . .

Suburban parents with students at schools with rigorous standards also complained that the law discriminated against their children, since it was harder to make the cut at such schools than at smaller, rural and some urban schools.

For six years, however, an odd coalition of lawmakers from the inner cities and rural towns had beaten back efforts to weaken the program, arguing that it had ensured more of their students a chance at a first-rate education. They also pointed out that minorities and rural students had increased in number at the flagship university in Austin.

That coalition finally cracked this year under pressure from suburban factions in the Legislature and after heavy lobbying by university officials, who vowed to recruit minorities aggressively.

So, it appears that Texas universities, in the name of diversity, among some other factors, defeated the auto-admissions law:

The law was adopted a decade ago after a federal appeals court ruled that affirmative action was illegal in Texas college admissions. The formula took advantage of the fact that the state’s schools were so divided by race that a top 10 percent threshold would assure admission to many graduates of predominantly Hispanic and black high schools who once might have been overlooked, as well as rural schools . . .

. . . Since 1999, the number of white students in the undergraduate class at the Austin campus has dropped by 3,500, while the number of minorities has risen by 3,800, according to statistics provided by the university. The undergraduate population has remained about 37,000.

One has to wonder where lawmakers see student merit fitting into all this. Read the entire article and make up your own mind.

Don’t forget to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.