Preserve the Top Ten Percent Plan
|Agenda Tuition Relief Top Ten TEXAS Grants|
Support SB 333. Oppose HB 2330 (Check bill status)
Issues and Concerns
- Most Texans support the Top Ten plan as it stands. 82% of Texans say they support the Top 10% plan, according to a February 2005 Scripps Howard poll. SB 333 would improve Top Ten by strengthening high school curriculum, not harm the admissions policy like HB 2330.
- Top Ten has been more successful than any known program at giving rural students a chance to attend a Tier 1 university. The number of high schools represented at the University of Texas at Austin has increased by nearly 200 high schools, from 616 in 1996 to 815 in 2004, according to the UT-Austin Admissions Office. According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, in 2003, 83.6 % of rural students enrolled at UT-Austin were admitted under the Top Ten plan. 61% of rural students that enrolled in 2003 at Texas A&M University were admitted under the Top Ten plan.
- Given the chance, Top Ten students have better academic records once in college than non-Top Ten students. According to UT-Austin's Admissions Office, Top Ten students receive much higher GPAs and higher retention rates in college. GPAs for Top Ten freshmen have ranged from 3.21 to 3.26 - higher than 2.65 to 3.05 for non-Top Ten freshmen. Also, between 1998-2000, retention rates for Top Ten freshman were 88%, while they were 78% for non-Top Ten students.
- HB 2330 does not provide viable methods to fulfill "Closing the Gaps" recommendations. The bill only suggests that universities "adopt admissions policies that further the goals of 'Closing the Gaps.'" This is an insufficient replacement for affirmative action & capping Top Ten!
- By citing minor increases in minority student populations, proponents of the Top Ten cap seem to want the "quota system" of affirmative action, but this cannot replace the merit-based system proposed by the Top Ten plan. More students of color rely on Top Ten to get into college now than they did under affirmative action, which means a Top Ten cap would deny college to many. According to UT-Austin's Admissions Office, 75% of African Americans were accepted to UT-Austin through Top Ten in 2004 while 50% were accepted via affirmative action in 1996. Critics have called affirmative action a "quota system" for 25 years since it is not based on merit, so it makes no sense to hamper a merit-based program that helps minorities.
- UT-Austin appears as the only school that has a Top Ten "problem." No other university has admitted as many Top Ten students - Texas A&M has admitted only 47% of its freshman class under Top Ten for fall 2005. But, roughly 70 percent of students admitted to UT-Austin for the fall 2005 semester were through Top Ten. However, the percentage is skewed since UT-Austin cut its freshman enrollment class by roughly 1,400 students - from 7,935 students in fall 2002 to 6,544 students in fall 2003 - almost an 18% reduction. If UT-Austin had not cut its enrollment, then it would not have to worry about Top Ten applicants taking over its entering freshman class. But Texas should work to provide more top tier schools to prevent the overflow of Top Ten students into UT-Austin. Out of 9 campuses, the UT System has only one nationally competitive university.