House Representative

Phillips, Larry

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/09/2003

Bills Could Affect the Top 10% Rule

Some changes to the state's current higher education admissions policy have been proposed. The policy, which automatically grants admission to a Texas public college or university to a person graduating in the top ten percent of his or her high school class, was originally enacted by the 75th Legislature in 1997.

Senate Bill 86, if passed, will require a student to complete the recommended or advanced curriculum program to qualify for automatic admission. Under the existing "ten-percent" law, students completing the minimum curriculum program are eligible for automatic admission as well.

Proponents of this bill contend that this change would better prepare students who are guaranteed admission to be successful in the demanding academic atmosphere of colleges and universities. Supporters of SB 86 say the existing law penalizes students who choose to take the more advanced classes and instead encourages others to stack up on non-academic classes in order to boost their GPA's.

Opponents contend that students who graduate in the top ten percent of their class work hard regardless of the curriculum path they choose and deserve to have the opportunity to be automatically admitted to public colleges and universities.

House Bill 612 will require high schools to give written notice to families of high school seniors by October 15th of each year that their children can qualify for automatic admission under the top ten percent rule. Currently, high schools are required to give such notice to eligible students at the end of the school year. Additionally, signs are already required to be posted in principals' and counselors' offices and verbal explanations are given to eligible seniors by counselors and class advisors regarding the law.

Supporters of this bill say that many students and their families are unaware of the top ten percent law, causing many to miss out on the opportunity to continue their education at a state school. Many supporters also feel that if students and families are aware of this rule early during a student's senior year, that the students will make a stronger effort to excel academically during a time when students are often prone to relax.

Opponents claim that school districts are already overburdened with administrative requirements and that students who graduate in the top ten percent are already amply notified.

I encourage you to contact me with your questions or comments regarding this issue. You can reach me by writing to P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910 or by e-mailing me at larry.phillips@house.state.tx.us.

Contact: Mike Barnett
(903) 891-7297