Change in top ten percent rule may help enrollment at other colleges

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A bill scaling back the automatic college admissions policy for students, known as the Top 10 Percent Rule, is on its way to the governor for a signature. Beginning in 2011, universities can cap the number of Texas students admitted under the program to 75 percent. Out of state students can be capped at 10 percent. The new rules will take effect in 2011, affecting students who are high school sophomores this year. The reforms would expire after 6 years, giving the legislature time to judge its impact and make changes if necessary.

At U-T more than 80 percent of the home state freshman class enter under the rule. So many that classes can be as hard to manage as football fans. Smaller state universities, such as SFA, quietly set in the wings as the 75 percent cap was debated. Administrators know top students who don't automatically get in UT or A & M, may consider their university. "I think this is really going to be positive," expressed Bob Wright, SFA spokesperson. "It means we're going to have a greater access to some of those students who are in the top ten percent of their classes who maybe didn't consider a university like SFA."

The enrollment shuffle can even trickle down to the community college level. "We will have a ton of what we call transient students," explained Jeremy Thomas, Angelina College admissions director.  "Students who are going off to SFA, or going off to University of Texas or going off to A & M who have chosen to come to us during the summer. I think we'll see those numbers grow, especially those summer numbers as they try to reach that point of being able to transfer."

Automatic admission is a good incentive to do well, but high school counselors don't expect students to be any less aggressive in making the grades. "I don't think it's going to change their graduation plans or what they plan to do in the future because those students are driven as it is and they're going to keep trying to be in the top ten, top twenty percent, just because they always have," said Rose Stanaland, Nacogdoches High School senior counselor.

Students in the top ten percent tend to stop their college search says SFA's admission director Monich Cossich.  Her advice is consider all the options to find the right university, no matter its size or prestige.