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ERIC Number: EJ803153
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun-6
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
New Twists Mark the Debate over Texas' Top 10-Percent Plan
Schmidt, Peter
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n39 pA20 Jun 2008
Born out of one legal battle over affirmative action, the Texas college-admissions policy known as the "top 10 percent plan" is now at the center of another. The University of Texas at Austin is being challenged in U.S. District Court over its 2004 decision to return to using race-conscious admissions criteria after years without them. The outcome of the case may hinge on this question: Did Texas lawmakers come up with a workable alternative to such policies when they adopted a measure that required public colleges there to admit any young state resident in the top 10th of his or her high-school class? The court's ruling could have implications for the University of California and for Florida's public university system, which followed Texas' lead in adopting class-rank-based admissions guarantees, and may further complicate colleges' efforts to promote diversity. In briefs submitted to the court, lawyers for two white students rejected by the university are arguing that the 10-percent law has proven so effective in diversifying campuses that the institution has no need--and thus no legal justification--for using race-conscious admissions. Should the court accept their argument, it could set a precedent whereby the development of effective alternatives to race-conscious admissions policies undercuts the defense of such policies in the courts. Those colleges that have had to make do without race-conscious admissions policies as a result of ballot measures, court decisions, or some act of government may find it harder to go back to using them. The lawyers for the University of Texas, for their part, dispute the assertion that having the 10-percent plan precludes their consideration of race and argue that the policy is deeply flawed because it leaves their institution having to fill too many freshman seats based solely on applicants' high-school class rank.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas