The Senate Higher Education Committee approved Senate Bill 175 Wednesday that would cap the number of top 10 percent admissions in freshman classes at half the incoming class.
Senator Florence Shapiro authored the bill saying colleges must use a more holistic approach to recruiting new students. She says colleges should be looking at test scores, special talents, leadership ability, personal achievements and other relevant student academics.
Opponents of the bill say changing the rule would decrease ethnic, geographical and socio-economic diversity at state institutions.
Texas passed the rule in 1997 guaranteeing admission to any state school to any high school senior that graduated in the top 10 percent in his or her class.
UT President Bill Powers testified Wednesday that it is a capacity issue, and the school simply doesn't have the room to take all the top 10 percent students. Powers said top 10 percent students typically do not enter programs including music, electrical engineering and geosciences, so admissions officials essentially admit the remaining number of students to fill out those departments.