Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

April 11, 2007

Avoid the UT Austin classes on logic

Filed under: Top Ten Percent Rule — texased @ 7:50 am

The article is talking about the tuition deregulation and the rising cost of attending a state school. And then for some reason, we’re warned about the a train wreck coming if the top ten percent rule isn’t changed at UT Austin. Huh?

Senators pan tuition hikes | WFAA.com | Local News: TV:

Lawmakers tried but failed to regain control over tuition two years ago. And deregulation has a powerful supporter in House Speaker Tom Craddick.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, said the two-year, $152.1 billion budget his committee approved Tuesday provides enough money for state schools to forgo tuition increases.

With the top-10 admissions law, Mr. Powers said, UT is headed for a “train wreck” because more than 70 percent of students are admitted based solely on class rank.

“When we get to 80 and 90 percent it will be dire, and when we get to 100 percent it will be catastrophic,” he said. UT officials say that could happen by 2010.

What does the top ten percent rule have to do with tuition deregulation? Why will it be catastrophic when they get to 100 percent? Am I missing the connection? Maybe if tuition increases enough and financial aid decreases, UT wouldn’t have to worry about pesky students from predominately poor, urban, or minority schools from enrolling and opening up more slots for diversity candidates who didn’t make the top ten percent.



  1. My understanding is that the top 10% rule has changed demographics towards rich white kids. Class rank doesn’t guarantee student quality, especially between schools in radically differently-equipped districts.

    So they’re trending towards a monoculture (which won’t ever be fully achieved) featuring a lot of kids who would do better at other institutions, a lot of kids who can’t do the work, and fewer kids who represent the diversity that helps make a better school and a better society.

    But, yeah, the article leaves a lot of the reasoning out — it’s really impossible to tell just what the heck is going on, and why.

    Comment by Ed Darrell — April 18, 2007 @ 3:34 am

  2. Actually, UT’s own stats show that it has made the class more diverse in terms of race/ethnicity and geography. Furthermore, the stats show that the SAT isn’t a predictor of success in college. Students in the top ten percent with higher GPAs out performed students not in the top ten but had higher SAT scores. I have more information at the following posts:


    Comment by texased — April 18, 2007 @ 7:56 pm

  3. Thanks for the pointers to the data. And please don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing for SATs.

    Comment by Ed Darrell — April 19, 2007 @ 1:56 am

  4. I just think the whole situation is confusing. I think most people (me included) expected the top ten percent from weaker schools would not have performed as well as other students. From what I can see, this program is working very well. No one from UT is providing examples of some poor poet or artist that wasn’t admitted under the rules. I think it does bring up the question as to why UT is the only school “everyone” wants to go to. All I can think of is that there are some very important alumni and political supporters whose kids aren’t getting admitted.

    Comment by texased — April 19, 2007 @ 8:24 am

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