Top 10 Percent Cap Slated for Final Vote

A bill to extend UT’s cap on automatic admissions, previously passed by the Senate, is now ready to be voted on by the House of Representatives.

Top 10 Percent Cap Slated for Final Vote

The Texas House higher education committee endorsed a measure Friday that would extend an existing cap on automatic admissions to UT-Austin and protect the cap against potential fallout from the Fisher v. University of Texas case. The bill, which limits admissions under the Top 10 Percent law to 75 percent of an incoming class through the 2017-2018 school year, was previously passed by the full Senate. It is now in line to be voted on by the full House membership. If approved, it will move to the Governor’s desk for signing.

A 2009 measure, set to expire in 2015, contained a provision that a court ruling against the use of race in admissions would nullify the cap. The new extension removes that provision in light of the Fisher case, for which a decision is expected in the coming weeks.

As the bill moved through both the House and Senate, UT-Austin administrators have provided expert testimony on the effects of the cap, and what would happen to admissions were it to expire. UT president Bill Powers has testified to the legislature, noting that without the cap, the University’s freshman class would be made up of more than 90 percent automatic admissions.  This would limit the criteria the University could use to select students, as well as its ability to attract out-of-state and foreign students.

Despite previous divisions over the Top 10 Percent law, legislators have found surprising unity on measures to extend UT’s cap. Lawmakers have credited their faith in UT administration as a major reason for their support.

“I’m going to support this bill,” said Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas). “I want to send a strong signal about where I am on Top 10 Percent at UT with you at the helm,” he said to President Powers earlier this month.

Editor’s Note: The Texas Exes supports legislation to extend the cap on Top 10. Read more about the Texas Exes legislative priorities here.

Photo courtesy Anthony Vance Clicks via Flickr Creative Commons.


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