Chancellor to Conduct System-Wide Admissions Inquiry

A report released this week by the UT System found that letters of recommendation from legislators may in some cases have carried extra weight in UT-Austin admissions—and it has prompted Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa to announce that he will conduct a broader inquiry into admissions processes at all UT System schools.

Conducted by two UT System vice chancellors, the report found no evidence of a systematic process for favoring UT applicants recommended by legislators—but it did find evidence that some of those applicants got a leg up in the process.

The report looked at 77 letters of recommendation authored by legislators for prospective UT students (61 undergraduate applicants and 16 law school applicants). The report found that on average, about half of those students were admitted—a percentage notably higher than for the general applicant pool.

“For the School of Law data, it appears that it is unlikely, absent some compelling holistic factor, that the applicants in the sample with the low numbers noted above would have been admitted without the intervention of a legislator,” the report notes. “There is at least the strong appearance that letters of recommendation from legislators … count more in admissions decisions than other letters of recommendation.”

Regent Wallace Hall, whose repeated inquiries have led to calls for his resignation and a vote earlier this week that grounds exist to impeach him, has questioned the admissions processes at UT.

In a statement, Cigarroa said that the questions raised by the report are substantial enough to warrant a similar review (which he will lead) of all schools in the UT System. “In many cases, the first interaction students have with our campuses is through the admissions process,” Cigarroa said. “We must get the admissions process right.”

Read the report in full below:

U.T. Austin Admissions Inquiry


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