Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The 10% Rule and In-State Tuition for DREAMERS

A lawsuit has been filed that claims the Texas 10% rule (top 10% of all Texas high school graduates get admitted to University of Texas or Texas A&M) uses "racial preferences" - ruling out successful students who rank in the 11% of their class or higher.

In what sounds almost comical, the Houston Chronicle reporter states at the end of the article that the student and attorney are concerned that she will not get her application fee back from the University of Texas if she enrolls in another college but is later admitted to UT.

How much is this fee? $100?

Of course this is a lot of money, but not for most of our suburban high school students, many of whom have cars, cell phone, x-boxes and lots of tutoring for their academic needs.

Either way, the bottom line was: The 10% rule that Texas lawmakers were thinking about when they tried to take away In-State tuition for DREAMERS las April (2007) *-- the talk was that the less than 100 DREAMERS at UT were taking away precious spots among the students who missed that 10% by a hair.

At the committee hearings in Austin last spring, lawmakers were telling DREAMERS (to their face) that life is not fair. For the 11 percenters, perhaps the legislators can tell them the same thing?

*Just a reminder that Representative Rick Noriega was instrumental in helping DREAMERS keep in-state tuition in Texas. Noriega is running for U.S. Senator this year.

April 8, 2008, 6:47AM
White teen sues UT over admissions policy
Sugar Land student, in top of class, challenges racial preferences

Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

An 18-year-old Sugar Land student sued the University of Texas at Austin on Monday, challenging the school's use of racial preferences in its admissions policy.

Abigail Noel Fisher, a senior at Stephen F. Austin High School in Sugar Land, was named in the lawsuit filed on her behalf by the Project on Fair Representation.

Project director Edward Blum, an activist against race preferences in Houston before he moved to Washington, D.C., said Fisher, who is white, will graduate in the top 12 percent of her class next month but learned in late March that she was not accepted at UT-Austin.

The lawsuit doesn't challenge the top 10 percent law, which guarantees admission to those who finish in the top 10 percent of a Texas high school's graduating class. Instead, it contends that UT-Austin unlawfully uses racial and ethnic criteria to select other students.

Blum and Fisher's lawyer, Bert W. Rein, said Fisher did not want to talk to reporters.

"She's still in high school," said Rein, who practices in Washington. "She isn't looking to become a national symbol. She just wants to go to the University of Texas."

Patti Ohlendorf, vice president for legal affairs at UT-Austin, noted in a statement that "every year, we ... receive applications from thousands of very able high school seniors, but as with many universities around the country, we are limited in the number of applicants we can admit."

She said the university believes its admissions policies comply with U.S. Supreme Court guidelines.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Austin, and by mid-afternoon, Blum said he had heard from several other students who wanted to join as plaintiffs. His organization has a Web site, www.utnotfair.org, to draw interested students.

The top 10 percent law was adopted after a 1996 court ruling stopped Texas colleges and universities from considering race and ethnicity in deciding admissions; UT-Austin's minority enrollment is higher now than at any time since the law passed.

A 2003 Supreme Court ruling said colleges and universities may consider race and ethnicity in order to create a diverse student population only if race-neutral methods haven't worked.

Blum argues that the top 10 percent law has worked, making it illegal to use race-conscious considerations for students who do not graduate within the top 10 percent of their class.

Ohlendorf didn't address that specifically but said: "we believe that our undergraduate admissions policies are ... in compliance with Supreme Court precedent and all other applicable law."

Fisher, meanwhile, will soon have to decide her future, perhaps before the case is settled.

UT-Austin has 20 days to respond. The lawsuit asks that she be re-evaluated by UT-Austin in a "race-neutral" manner and admitted if she qualifies. It also asks that the school be stopped from using race-conscious criteria for students who fall outside the top 10 percent law.

Fisher, who plays cello in her high school orchestra, has been accepted at Louisiana State University and Baylor University, according to the lawsuit. But accepting one of those schools, or a spot at another UT system campus, would require a deposit that wouldn't be refunded if she were later accepted at UT-Austin, Rein said.


for link to Chronicle article click the title of this post

image: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41lAHQq7BdL._AA280_.jpg

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