While a recent Supreme Court case surrounding the University of Texas’ race-conscious admissions process has gained national attention, officials say ethnicity is not used as an admissions standard at Texas State.
Abigail Fisher, a Caucasian female, was denied admission to UT in 2008. She said the rejection was because of the use of race as a standard during the admissions process. Fisher later sued the university, arguing that using race as an admission standard violates the 14th Amendment. Fisher’s case was brought Oct. 10 before the Supreme Court. UT officials contend ethnicities are considered during the admissions process to create diversity on campus.
Texas State does not consider race as a factor during its admission process, said Michael Heintze, associate vice president of Enrollment Management. The university has no quotas for racial diversity, but does support an enrollment that is representative of the state’s population, he said.
As a result, the university has seen a shift in the racial make-up of Texas State students over the past two years. Heintze said increasing enrollment at Texas State has helped increase ethnic diversity among the student population.
According to Institutional Research, Texas State saw an increase from fall 2009 to fall 2012 in the number of Hispanic, African American and Asian students being admitted and enrolled at the university. There was also a decrease in the number of admitted and enrolled Caucasian students. This trend is reflected in the amount of each ethnicity automatically admitted under the state’s Top 10 Percent rule.
Race began being considered in the college application process after 1997 Texas legislation gave high school seniors who ranked in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes automatic admission into state schools.
UT admits three quarters of each freshman class automatically based on the Top 10 Percent rule. The remaining quarter are admitted under a system that considers an applicant’s race, among other factors.
Joe Meyer, director of Institutional Research, said approximately 12.2 percent of Texas State freshmen were admitted under the Top 10 Percent rule in 2011.
“Texas State’s very close proximity to UT puts us into competition with that flagship institution for top 10 percent students,” Meyer said. “As a result, our yield rate for such students may be lower than seen at some Texas public institutions that are farther away from UT.”
Texas State is in its second year as a Hispanic Serving Institution. The distinction requires the university to maintain at least a 25 percent Hispanic enrollment of undergraduate full-time-equivalent students.
Heintze said the university has stationed regional admissions officers in the Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and valley metropolitan areas to recruit students and improve campus diversity. He said this in an active effort to acquire students from around the state.
“While (the regional admissions officers) recruit broadly, they also target high schools that are very diverse, and they are working closely with the community colleges where you will find a diverse mix of students,” Heintze said. “So it has been a deliberate, conscious effort to become diverse.”
Adam Brass, communication studies senior, said race should not be a factor during the admissions process.
“I think if we are trying to move to a more equal-rights era, we need to put aside everyone’s differences in general, whether it be some kind of disability or skin color or religion,” Brass said. “I think we need to look past that kind of racial quota that some schools have been unjustly using.”
Brass said students who want guaranteed acceptance should work hard to be in the top 10 percent so issues like the Fisher v. University of Texas case won’t arise.
Dance sophomore Megan Wylie said she understands universities such as UT’s points of view when it comes to considering race during the admissions process.
“(They use race) so that they seem diverse and not to accept more of one race over another,” Wylie said.
Heintze said as Texas State’s student population grows, the university will continue to enroll a wide variety of students from all racial backgrounds.
“It was and it still is important that we make some progress both on the qualitative side—not just bringing them here but graduating them—but also working hard to include all aspects of our state citizenry,” Heintze said. “It’s not a huge change but I think it reflects the kind of evolution within our state.”