The Beginning Impact of State "Percentage Plans" on College and University Admissions

By Shushok, Frank | College and University, Spring 2001 | Go to article overview

The Beginning Impact of State "Percentage Plans" on College and University Admissions


Shushok, Frank, College and University


In Hopwood v. Texas (1996), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the use of race in admissions illegal in the binding states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Reacting to this decision, Texas, in 1998, created a "percentage plan" guaranteeing admission to students who graduate within a specified percentile of their high school class. Florida and California, states outside the Fifth Circuit where affirmative action policies have been struck down or challenged, have followed the lead of Texas and created their own percentage admissions plans. Although the consequences of these new admission policies are still uncertain, this article provides an overview of the current policy landscape, as well as early data hinting at potential outcomes of these new policies.

Under the 1998 Texas plan, any student graduating in the top io percent of his or her high school class is guaranteed admission to any state college or university. California and Florida also have adopted similar measures slated to take effect next year. California's plan will admit the top 4 percent of a high school's class to the University of California, while Florida's plan taps the top 20 percent for the state's public universities as long as a student completes a prescribed 19 academic units. Unlike Texas, both California and Florida do not guarantee admission to the institution of the student's choice, but rather one of the state's public universities.

Most recently, two states, Pennsylvania and Colorado, have debated the adoption of a "percentage plan." Pennsylvania abandoned its proposal after reviewing arguments offered by opponents of such initiatives. Pennsylvania is now considering a statewide standardized test to be used in a manner similar to percentage plans. In Colorado, Senator Bob Martinez has introduced a bill that would ensure admission to any University of Colorado branch campus as long as a student ranks in the top 20 percent of his or her graduating class.

Since the use of percentage plans is a relatively new approach for ensuring student diversification in higher education, little is known about the outcomes of such efforts. Only the Texas plan has been in existence for a time period sufficient enough to analyze the potential impact of using "percentages" for admitting undergraduates. The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&cM University are the two public institutions which have historically utilized selective admission standards. According to a study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin, that institution is enrolling as many minority undergraduate students today as it did prior to the Hopwood decision. In 1996, Hispanic students represented 14 percent of undergraduate students while black students accounted for 4 percent of the population. A review of 1999 enrollment figures suggests a negligible impact, with Hispanic and black students continuing to account for 14 and 4 percent of enrollment, respectively.

However, Mary Frances Berry, who chairs the US. Commission on Civil Rights, warns that these numbers cannot be taken at face value.1 Berry credits UT Austin's substantial "outreach efforts" to the institution's success in maintaining campus racial diversity. The acceptance rate, Berry asserts, may better gauge the plan's impact. In 1996, 65 percent of Hispanic and 57 percent of black applicants to the University of Texas were admitted. By 1999, the number of admitted Hispanic and black students had fallen to 56 and 46 percent, respectively. The admission of white students remained steady from 1996 to 1999 at 62 percent. Berry, therefore, concludes that "...the university now rejects minority students who would have been admitted under affirmative action and who, based on past experience, would have succeeded."2

Although it is difficult to predict how "percentage plans" in Florida and California will impact enrollment patterns in these states, critics contend that class-rank admissions policies will include many under-prepared students, while excluding many academically capable students.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Beginning Impact of State "Percentage Plans" on College and University Admissions
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.