Texas House Bill 588, the "Top 10% Rule" (1997)
The bill had one primary author, four joint authors and four coauthors. The primary author was Irma Rangel (D).
- January 21, 1997: Bill filed
- February 4, 1997: First reading of bill
- May 9, 1997: Bill signed by State Senate and State House.
- May 20, 1997: Bill signed by Governor
Text of bill
This is the full text of the bill as enacted on May 20, 1997.
An act relating to uniform admission and reporting procedures for institutions of higher education.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
Chapter 51, Education Code, is amended by adding
Subchapter S to read as follows:
SUBCHAPTER S. UNIFORM ADMISSION POLICY
DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter, "general academic teaching institution," "governing board," "medical and dental unit," and "university system" have the meanings assigned by Section 61.003.
UNIFORM ADMISSION SYSTEM A general academic teaching institution shall admit first-time freshman students for each semester under the provisions of this subchapter.
AUTOMATIC ADMISSION: ALL INSTITUTIONS. (a) Each general academic teaching institution shall admit an applicant for admission to the institution as an undergraduate student if the applicant graduated in one of the two school years preceding the academic year for which the applicant is applying for admission from a public or private high school in this state accredited by a generally recognized accrediting organization with a grade point average in the top 10 percent of the student's high school graduating class. To qualify for admission under this section, an applicant must submit an application before the expiration of any application filing deadline established by the institution.
(b) After admitting an applicant under this section, the institution shall review the applicant's record and any other factor the institution considers appropriate to determine whether the applicant may require additional preparation for college-level work or would benefit from inclusion in a retention program. The institution may require a student so identified to enroll during the summer immediately after the student is admitted under this section to participate in appropriate enrichment courses and orientation programs. This section does not prohibit a student who is not determined to need additional preparation for college-level work from enrolling, if the student chooses, during the summer immediately after the student is admitted under this section.
ADDITIONAL AUTOMATIC ADMISSIONS: SELECTED INSTITUTIONS.
For each academic year, the governing board of each general academic teaching institution shall determine whether to adopt an admissions policy under which an applicant to the institution as a first-time freshman student, other than an applicant eligible for admission under Section 51.803, shall be admitted to the institution if the applicant graduated from a public or private high school in this state accredited by a generally recognized accrediting organization with a grade point average in the top 25 percent of the applicant's high school graduating class.
(a) A graduating student who does not qualify for admission under Section 51.803 or 51.804 may apply to any general academic teaching institution. (b) The general academic teaching institution, after admitting students under Sections 51.803 and 51.804, shall admit other applicants for admission as undergraduate students. It is the intent of the legislature that all institutions of higher education pursue academic excellence by considering students' academic achievements in decisions related to admissions. Because of changing demographic trends, diversity, and population increases in the state, each general academic teaching institution shall also consider all of, any of, or a combination of the following socioeconomic indicators or factors in making first-time freshman admissions decisions:
- (1) the applicant's academic record;
- (2) the socioeconomic background of the applicant, including the percentage by which the applicant's family is above or below any recognized measure of poverty, the applicant's household income, and the applicant's parents' level of education;
- (3) whether the applicant would be the first generation of the applicant's family to attend or graduate from an institution of higher education;
- (4) whether the applicant has bilingual proficiency;
- (5) the financial status of the applicant's school district;
- (6) the performance level of the applicant's school as determined by the school accountability criteria used by the Texas Education Agency;
- (7) the applicant's responsibilities while attending school, including whether the applicant has been employed, whether the applicant has helped to raise children, or other similar factors;
- (8) the applicant's region of residence;
- (9) whether the applicant is a resident of a rural or urban area or a resident of a central city or suburban area in the state;
- (10) the applicant's performance on standardized tests;
- (11) the applicant's performance on standardized tests in comparison with that of other students from similar socioeconomic backgrounds;
- (12) whether the applicant attended any school while the school was under a court-ordered desegregation plan;
- (13) the applicant's involvement in community activities;
- (14) the applicant's extracurricular activities;
- (15) the applicant's commitment to a particular field of study;
- (16) the applicant's personal interview;
- (17) the applicant's admission to a comparable accredited out-of-state institution; and
- (18) any other consideration the institution considers necessary to accomplish the institution's stated mission.
(c) A general academic teaching institution may review other factors in making an admissions decision. (d) Not later than one year before the date that applications for admission are first considered under this section, each general academic teaching institution shall publish in the institution's catalog a description of the factors considered by the institution in making admission decisions and shall make the information available to the public. (e) This section does not apply to an institution that has an open enrollment policy.
REPORT TO COORDINATING BOARD.
Each general academic teaching institution shall provide a report annually to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board describing the composition of the entering class of students admitted under this subchapter. The report shall include a demographic breakdown, including a breakdown by race, ethnicity, and economic status, of the students admitted under Sections 51.803, 51.804, and 51.805.
RULEMAKING. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board may adopt rules relating to the operation of admissions programs under this subchapter, including rules relating to the identification of eligible students and the reporting requirements of Section 51.806.
APPLICATION OF ADMISSION CRITERIA TO OTHER PROGRAMS. (a) Each general academic teaching institution or medical and dental unit that offers admissions to undergraduate transfer students or admissions to a graduate, postgraduate, or professional program shall also adopt a written admission policy applicable to those programs. (b) The policy shall be published in the institution's or unit's catalog and made available to the public.
SCHOLARSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP AWARDS (a) A general academic teaching institution or a medical and dental unit that offers competitive scholarship or fellowship awards shall adopt a written policy describing the factors to be used by the institution or unit in making an award. (b) A policy adopted under this section shall be published in the institution's or unit's catalog and shall be made available to the public in advance of any deadline for the submission of an application for a competitive scholarship or fellowship to which the policy applies.
(a) The change in law made by this Act applies beginning with admissions and scholarships for the fall term or semester in 1998.
(b) The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, each general academic teaching institution, and each medical and dental unit shall adopt rules or policies relating to the admission of students under Subchapter S, Chapter 51, Education Code, as added by this Act, not later than January 1, 1998.
The importance of this legislation and the crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an emergency and an imperative public necessity that the constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.
- Texas State Statutes, "Rules that Govern top 10 percent admission"
- Bill 588 Legislative History
- National Bureau of Economic Research, "Jockey for Position: Strategic High School Choice Under Texas' Top Ten Percent Plan" January 2011
- OLR Research Project, "Texas Top 10% Law" Report Released on February 15, 2008"
- University of Texas Austin, "Admissions Research Office: Texas House Bill 588"
- University of Texas Austin, "Top 10% Law and its impact on University of Texas Austin" Report Released December 2008
- Alcalde, "TXEXplainer: Why Top 10 Percent Is Now Top 7" November 2, 2012"
- Texas Tribune, "Senate Passes Bill to Keep UT-Austin's Top 10% Cap" April 9, 2013
- Dallas Morning News, "Bill passes to postpone reconsideration of UT’s Top 10 Percent rule," May 9, 2013