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Under Top-10% Plan, Hispanics’ Admission Rates Fell at Texas Flagships

The proportion of Hispanic applicants admitted by the University of Texas at Austin and by Texas A&M University dropped after a class-rank-based admission guarantee replaced race- or ethnicity-conscious admissions, two Princeton University researchers conclude in a report published in the journal Race and Social Problems. The share of  Texas’ Hispanic students who applied to one of the two flagships also declined after a federal appeals court in 1996 banned the institutions from considering applicants’ race or ethnicity, according to the study, by Angel L. Harris, an assistant professor of sociology, and Marta Tienda, a professor of sociology and public affairs. They based their analysis on data from the universities and the Texas Education Agency from 1993 through 2003, a period during which race-conscious admissions were banned by a federal judge and then replaced by a state law guaranteeing students in the top 10th of their high-school class admission to any public university in the state. The University of Texas at Austin, which is the subject of a legal challenge to its race-conscious admission policies now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, has argued that it needs to consider applicants’ race to achieve adequate levels of diversity on the campus.

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