Texas’ much-debated (and much cursed by parents) Top 10 Percent student admission rule appears destined for change during this legislative session, after a proposal to alter the rule passed the Texas Senate Tuesday.
State Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, is the driving force behind the proposed change, which would allow state universities to cap Top 10 Percent enrollment at 60 percent of the incoming freshmen class. Right now, only UT Austin would be affected, since 81 percent of that school’s 2008 freshmen enrollment class was comprised of Top 10 Percenters. A&M says about 50 percent of its admitted freshmen this year were Top 10 Percenters, but that number is growing and probably would surge if UT limited its enrollment to 60 percent of the freshmen class rather than 81 percent.
Obviously, this change would affect a number of neighborhood seniors who are in the Top 10 Percent of their class, along with those who aren’t if they have higher SAT scores than other Top 10 Percenters or, dare I say it, a little more political pull in the school admissions’ offices. Now, no political shenanigansare possible in admissions because if you’re in the Top 10 Percent of your high school class, you’re in a state school if you want to be.
The bill passed on a 22-8 vote, with the Morning News reporting that most of the dissenters were Democrats. Questions about how the change would affect minority applicants will undoubtably be asked as the bill moves to the Texas House, and I’m sure there will be some discussion about another provision in Shapiro’s bill that requires the legislature to find funding for Top 10 Percenters who are both minority and low-income. Also no word on when the change, if approved, would be implemented.