University Of Texas Limits Admission To Top Eight Percent

By Staff
September 22, 2009

A new policy approved at the University of Texas at Austin will reduce the number of students automatically granted admission based on their standing in high school.

State law guarantees admission to any Texas public university for students in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class, but UT-Austin--which had earlier pushed for more control of admission procedures--will grant automatic admission to only the top 8 percent.

After the top 10 percent policy filled 81 percent of the UT-Austin freshman class last fall, university officials argued that the rule unfairly forced the school to refuse admission to promising students who excel in art, music or athletics but may not fall in the top tier. In response, lawmakers passed a measure allowing UT to limit automatically admitted students to 75 percent of the freshmen from Texas. The new 8 percent rule will help meet that limit.

"Using data from recent years, the University has determined that automatically admitting students in the top 8 percent of their high school graduating class to the 2011 entering freshman class will fill 75 percent of available spaces," wrote UT President William Powers Jr. in a letter to Robert Scott, the state's education commissioner, which was published in the Austin American-Statesman.

The remaining slots will be filled using a "holistic review," said Powers, which will consider many factors other than class rank, including race and ethnicity.

The new law will not begin until 2011. According to Kedra Ishop, vice provost and director of admissions, if the new cap had been in place this fall, 8,434 students would have been automatically admitted--1,714 less than the 10,148 who were admitted.

"Capping it at top 8 percent for the 2011 class doesn't preclude a top 9 percenter or 10 percenter from getting in," Ishop noted for Austin's News 8. "It just means we'll look at the whole of their application, the whole process."

The 10 percent rule will remain in place for the other 37 public schools in Texas, reports the Associated Press.

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