San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 2nd, 2009
Texas State watching top ten percent law

Managing Editor

Changes might be looming for Texas’ top ten percent law.

Currently, if a student places academically within the top ten percent of their peers, she is guaranteed admission to a public university in Texas. However, State Senator Florence Shapiro (R-Plano) has filed SB 175, which would cap admission under this rule to 60 percent of incoming freshmen.

Texas State administrators are unsure what a change in the law would mean for enrollment.

“I think it’s unclear what the effect might be,” said Dr. Michael Heintze, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management. “We may wind up with a few more students in the top ten percent bracket.”

Texas State admitted 13 percent of its incoming freshmen under the ten percent law last year. The University of Texas (UT), however, admitted 81 percent of its incoming freshmen under the law in the same time period.

Student leaders are also watching the potential change.

“I think it’s something that’s necessary,” said Associated Student Government Vice President-elect Tommy Luna, talking about the proposed changes. “I know that a lot of people who have merit, but not necessarily grades, get penalized, and aren’t able to go to the schools they would like to attend.”

Said Student Body President-elect Chris Covo, “I think there are good sides and bad sides. If you’re a student that attends a (Class) 5A high school, and need to get a 110 average to be top ten, in opposition to someone that attends a school where they need an 85 (average) to be in the top ten, it doesn’t really make sense.”

Covo continued, saying, “What’s the bad side? Well, there are students that work very hard to be in that top ten.”

According to a report prepared by the House Research Organization (HRO) for the Texas House of Representatives, the most affected universities under this law are UT and Texas A&M.

However, in the same report, there was a marked increase in minority representation at UT. The 2003 freshman class was the first time in the school’s history where freshman Anglo student enrollment fell beneath 60 percent, while African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic enrollment all rose.

SB 175 has already passed in the state senate by a vote of 24-7. It has now been referred to the House Higher Education Committee.

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0 thoughts on “Texas State watching top ten percent law

  1. This is a very important issue coming before the House. I think this provision is necessary, and it encourages students to do well and stay in the state for college. Sometimes the top 10 percent rule is the only guarantee you have to get admission.
    I have to point out that this article didnt mention that it’s the top 10 percent of HIGH SCHOOL students who are guaranteed admission. Although, most of us know that, you may have some reader who were not aware that you’re talking about HIGH SCHOOL students when you say, “if a student places academically within the top ten percent of their peers, she is guaranteed admission to a public university in Texas.” This article seems to be missing something. Im not sure of what exactly, maybe more substance. It just seems very dry leaves me not wanting to read anymore.

  2. I think you’re being a little too nitpicky there John. It’s obvious throughout the story that it applied to high school students. Nobody is that dense.

  3. Casual Observer (aside from your anonymous name) if everyone was indeed at the same level of understanding and reason, this world would be a better place. If only. But since we are all at different comprehension states, a newspaper should be clear to cover all angles. I understand that most would know that it is high school, however, there may be that one that doesnt. A newspaper should address that and be written so that everyone can understand everything in it.

  4. Education beyond high school may be a mute point with unemployment at 8.5%. and expected at 10% by the end of 2009. After college where will one find employment?
    Unless the graduate speaks Chinese, I understand they are hiring teachers from aboard.

  5. Good lord, I hate this law.

    I go to a VERY VERY competitive 5A high school (Coppell, anyone?) and yet, with 3 AP level classes and a weighted GPA, I have a 4.8/5.0 and am top 25%. I visited UT back in February, absolutely loved the campus, and was incredibly impressed with their education program since I am looking into becoming a teacher one day.

    I’m still applying for UTA, but it makes me feel awful that some Joe Schmoe from the middle of nowhere who has a lower grade than I do yet is in the top 10% of his class can get auto-accepted to UTA and deny me a space when I have the grades, test scores, and essays to back me up. I graduate in 2010 so I desperately hope something is done to repeal this law. What the legislature needs is a student in my same position to speak up on behalf of all of us because they don’t have a clue how difficult it is for ‘sandwich’ students (as in, we do great in school but are sandwiched between the kids taking a million AP classes and the do-nothings).

  6. UTA is a great campus. But the undergraduate classes are huge and you wind up being taught by TAs. It is much better for graduate school. You’re better off at a smaller school with smaller classes where you can actually get a stab at talking with your professors and get the real attention when you need it. After all, that’s what you pay for.

    You seem to think that the legislature needs to hear from students like yourself – but I detect an unwillingness on your part to do it yourself. With that kind of attitude, maybe you are more follower than leader….

  7. Lila, was your last paragraph really necessary? I read and re-read swizzle’s post and don’t see anywhere they he/she indicated that they were unwilling to contact their legislator. Then to go on and say they may be more of a follower than a leader? Really? Come on now…unless you know this person, you have ABSOLUTELY no idea how much of a leader they are and to post what you did is inflamatory.

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