Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

May 12, 2007

Where are they going to go?

Filed under: college admissions, Education reform, Higher Education — texased @ 8:52 pm

This is a good idea.

MySA.com: Metro | State

Under UTSA’s proposal, guaranteed admission for top-ranked high school students would expand from the top 10 percent to the top 25 percent.

Below that threshold, students would have to score from 920-1020 on the SAT, up from the current range of 830-970; on the ACT, that range would rise from 17-20 to 19-21.Romo said higher standards are part of a strategy to slow enrollment and manage runaway growth, as well as raise graduation rates and push UTSA toward it goal of becoming a premier research university.

A draft of UTSA’s strategic plan calls for capping enrollment at 35,000 by 2016. Romo estimated that 400 students would be rejected under the new standards.

“You cannot be open admissions and say you have standards,” Romo said, adding that high schools must turn out better students because the university cannot afford remedial education.

“The message we send to high schools is that UTSA will take you, no matter what,” he said.

Of course, in some ways, this just shifts the issues of qualifications and enrollment to community colleges. And given the lack of predictability of transferring course work from community colleges to four year institutions, low graduation rates, and lower profiles, I can’t help but think it’s brushing the problem under the rug so the legislature doesn’t have to deal with it.

What problem? The problem that obviously a significant number of students graduate from Texas colleges believing that they are ready for college but the low graduation rate at many Texas universities suggest otherwise.

Then there is the problem of capping enrollments as a means to controlling growth. Even if our public school system never improves, the number of graduates capable of succeeding in college is going to grow simply from population growth. Where are these people supposed to go?

Our local school district has a bond issue on the ballot to build more more schools to accommodate the 4,000 plus students being added to the district each year. Where are the new universities being built?

This is basically why it’s so hard to get into the Ivy League schools. They probably have ten times the number of people applying than they had 30 years ago and all of them meet the minimum qualifications. However, they haven’t expanded to accommodate ten times the enrollment. Students are being turned away who would have been an automatic admission just 20 years ago.

UTSA will become more selective simply because it can’t keep growing, just like UT Austin and Texas A&M already have. So what happens next, the community colleges, our last door that opens the path to higher education to all, will start turning away students?


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