Senate bill may change college admission rules - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Senate bill may change college admission rules

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) -

The Texas Senate Committee, Higher Education, passed SB 2119 with a 4-2 vote on Wednesday.

The Senate bill would change the Top Ten Percent rule.

The Top Ten Percent Rule was established in 1997 and it was simple: if a high school student graduates in the top ten percent of their class, then they are admitted into any Lone Star State college they would want to attend.

If changed, it would only automatically admit 30 percent of Texas high schools top ten percent into any public Texas state college. It was proposed by Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo).

The Top Ten Percent Rule was established in 1997 and it was simple: if a high school student graduates in the top ten percent of their class, then they are admitted into any Lone Star State college they would want to attend.

A campus that would benefit from this senate bill it UT Austin. The university is exempt from the Top Ten Percent rule. Students need to be in the top seven percent in order to be admitted automatically. Almost 70 percent of their Fall 2016 freshmen class are top ten percenters.

Critics of the proposed bill said this would hurt minority and rural district students because the Top Ten Percent rule helped level the playing field. They said it helped those students have an opportunity to attend a university.

Gonzalo Robles, Café Con Leche founder, said he is against the bill and it will hurt many of the children his organization works with to go to the college of their choice.

“Minority students and disadvantaged students don’t do as well in extra-curricular activities and their admission scores.”

Sen. Kel Seliger said in a statement he saw no evidence in an increase in diversity due to the Top Ten Percent Rule. But a recent University of Texas Admissions report showed the majority of Top Ten Percenters at UT Austin were Hispanic.

One of the students Robles has worked with to find his path to college is Christopher Astudillo, an 18-year-old Hirschi High School senior.

Astudillo is a student in Hirschi’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, one of the most competitive programs in the state. He’s current in the top 12 percent in his class but hopes to break into the top 10.

Christopher and his mother Rossy are concerned if the proposed bill passes then he might be one of the unfortunate 70-percent who does not receive the benefits.

“All my hard work and effort to make it into the top ten place would not be worth it anymore,” Christopher said.

Rossy said her son worked hard to get where he is and is working harder to get where he wants to be.

“I see my son staying up all night studying,” Rossy said.

She said she pushes him to do his best at school so he can have a better life since she was unable to graduate from college.

Both Christopher’s parents work. His father works the graveyard shift but he makes sure to have lunch with his children. Rossy said their hard work is all worth it to help her children.

“For us to help him to realize his dream, that I wasn’t able to do, to finish school feels amazing.”

Christopher will attend Midwestern State University in the Fall. He already accepted scholarships from MSU and Café Con Leche that total almost $7,000 dollars. But the family said they could use the extra help from the Top Ten Percent benefits so he can reach his dream of becoming a dermatologist.

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