REDUCTION IN TOP TEN PERCENT ADMISSIONS AT UT AUSTIN MAY AFFECT LATINO STUDENT NUMBERS
The University of Texas at Austin has long been fighting the Top Ten Percent law and now that the college’s wish has been partially granted, the number of Latinos admitted into the university may drop.
According to a story released by The Houston Chronicle, UT Austin will only take the top 7 percent of graduating classes for the summer/fall 2014 semesters. The 2013 (and 2011) UT Austin freshmen were admitted by the top 8 percent and the freshmen for 2012 were admitted by the top 9 percent.
The changes to the Top Ten Percent law for UT Austin were due to allowing the university to allocate only 75 percent of the incoming freshmen slots to be filled by automatic Texas resident admission. A change that was welcomed by the school in order to allow the admissions office a chance to offer other students a chance into the school based on other criteria, which includes ethnicity.
But what does this all mean for Latinos?
Under the Top Ten Percent law, 29 percent of the 5,432 admitted students to UT Austin were Latino. The other quarter of the incoming class admitted by other criteria only had 13 percent of 2,660 students be made up of Latinos.
The law was originally created and passed in order to increase minority student numbers at Texas universities. The problem that has arisen from this law, which is the same problem UT Austin has with it, is that there are too many students in this Top Ten Percent pool applying to mainly two schools: UT Austin and Texas A&M. There are too many students demanding too few spots and the universities have no choice but to turn away other students in order to comply with the state law by admitting the overflow of Top Ten Percent kids.
It seems that no matter which way you go, whether we keep the Top Ten Percent law or we do away with it completely, some students are going to lose out while others gain new opportunities. It’s a sticky situation and no one person or organization seems to have an exact answer on how to solve it.
I think the changes to the admission policies at UT Austin will certainly have an effect on the number of Latinos admitted to the university. At the same time, I think the admission policy changes will have an effect on all future applicants to the university, not just the ones with a Hispanic background.
UT Austin is wanting more freedom to admit students they feel deserve an opportunity to go to school who may not have been the best at academics. The argument is that a school should be able to admit a talented musician into its music school so they can grow in their music and have a prolific career instead of having to turn them away for a student who was part of their school’s Top Ten Percent. Or that a college can increase the diversity of talents on its campus by admitting students with talents outside of academia. Then, there are also those students who have better GPAs than other admitted UT Austin freshmen, but who were just outside the Top Ten Percent of their graduating class.
I think we have moved past the days where we had to worry that institutions would not admit certain people because of racial, gender or any discrimination. I especially believe that to be true of our higher education institutions were progressive thinking, education and contributing to the betterment of society are key goals.
Let UT Austin and other universities have says in who they admit. The schools obviously have good reasons for wanting their admission policies certain ways so we should hear them out. We can monitor the policies to make sure they do not discriminate any groups. These colleges want what is best for their students, for their staff/faculty and for society.
With the number of Latinos in the United States and especially in Texas growing, it is inevitable that the number of Latinos applying and being admitted into college will grow. More Latinos continue to pursue higher education now than ever before so their presence on university campuses will become more abundant. We just have to wait and watch the numbers grow.
Former state Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos discuss the passing of the Top Ten Percent law: