The impact of modified top ten percent policy (TTPP) on diversity in university admissions in the Texas flagship university




Lim, Soojin, Ph.D.

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The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the recently modified Top Ten Percent Policy (TTPP) on diversity in the admissions for the flagship university in Texas, focusing on the policy process and the trend of racial and geographic diversity. In 1997, Texas devised House Bill 588 (HB 588), known as TTPP, to maintain public campuses diversified geographically, which is overlapping racially to compensate the potential loss of racial diversity after the Hopwood ruling to ban race-conscious policy. The recent influx of Top Ten percent freshmen caused the necessity to amend the TTPP, and finally, in 2009, Senate Bill 175 (SB 175) allowed UT to restrict automatic admissions to 75 percent of its enrollment capacity to admit resident freshmen. Additionally, UT limited to qualify automatic admission for those who graduate in the top eight percent of their high school in 2011, and top nine percent in 2012. For the quantitative analysis, this study used data publicly available from the Office of Admissions Research from UT-Austin (UT) for the years from 1998 on applicants, admittees, and enrollees. The data analysis represented that UT seems to make more progress to enhance racial diversity after implementing SB 175. The data showed a decline of Whites coupled with an increase in Hispanics and Blacks. However, this racial diversity was not reflected enough when considering the state’s demography. UT still has a long way to go before an underrepresented Black and Hispanic population. Improvements in racial diversity are one such sign, although these demographics lag too far behind in accurately representing Texas’ population. The finding for geographic diversity at UT suggests that the urban, suburban and rural status has not shifted so much beyond the expectation for geographic diversity after modification of TTPP. The initial intention of TTPP was to keep public campuses diverse geographically, that is overlapping racially. However, the data represented little improvement for geographic diversity. The findings of this study suggest that the focus for beneficiaries would be extended to a realistic plan, which gives specific considerations based not only on race, geography, or similar minority status as standards. Instead, it would match preferences mainly with economic needs since racial categories or the numbers solely are too blunt and inclusive to identify students in need. Also, this new economic version needs to continue to assist the lower class of minorities to break the cycle of deprivation and disadvantage that has overwhelmed earlier generations.


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