Texas Is Considering a Moratorium on Its “10 Percent” Admissions Plan

After the 1996 Hopwood ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals outlawed race-sensitive admissions at public universities in Texas, in 1997 the state legislature passed a law in order to maintain some level of racial diversity at the University of Texas and other state-operated colleges and universities. The law granted automatic admission to the state university of their choice to students from the top 10 percent of every high school graduating class in the state. This enabled the top 10 percent of the graduating class in predominantly black inner-city high schools in Dallas and Houston and in rural areas of East Texas to qualify for admission to the state university of their choice.

Now, 71 percent of all students in the University of Texas system qualify for admission under the 10 percent rule. This makes it extremely difficult for state universities to accept well-qualified students who do not graduate in the top 10 percent of their class. Some legislators want to see a moratorium put in place for several years to determine if racial diversity can be maintained without the 10 percent rule. State universities can now consider race as a positive factor in the admissions process.