UT Admissions to Cut its Automatic Acceptance Rate

Students who have their hearts set on getting into the University of Texas will have to hit the books a little harder, if they want a guaranteed spot in the freshman class in a couple of years. The Austin campus announced this week it will take advantage of a recent rule change that allows it to cut its automatic acceptance rate. David Pitman has more.

Starting in 2011, UT Austin will only guarantee acceptance to the top "eight" percent of graduating high school seniors. 

State lawmakers this year gave UT an exception to the law that still requires the other public universities to admit students who finish in the top "ten" percent of their classes.  

About 85 percent of UT's freshman class is made up of those students in the top ten percent.  And the school pushed for the exception, saying it needs more flexibility with its admission policies.

Houston Democratic State Representative Sylvester Turner voted in favor of giving UT the exception.  But he says he'll be watching for whether the change negatively affects minority students, and those from rural areas.

"And if, when we look at 2011, it appears that the diversity will not be as great under the revisions we have made, then that does raise room for concern."

Representative Turner says a sunset provision will force lawmakers to take another look at UT's exception in six years.

"The changes that we put in place in this last session will come to an end, and the legislature will have to affirmatively vote to renew it, or we would revert to the top ten percent rule in its original form."

With the rule change, the automatic acceptance rate will be capped at 75 percent of the freshman class, with the rest admitted based on UT calls a "holistic  review", which includes race and ethnicity.
 

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David Pitman

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