by Lindsay Daugherty, Paco Martorell, Isaac McFarlin
April 30, 2014
The Texas Ten Percent Plan (TTP) provides students in the top 10 percent of their high-school class with automatic admission to any Texas public university. Texas created the policy in 1997 after a federal appellate court ruled the state’s previous affirmative-action system unconstitutional. Through the TTP Plan, the state sought to maintain diversity in its most-competitive public universities in a race-neutral way, but some critics allege that it forces selective public colleges to admit underprepared students while other complain that it doesn’t do enough to promote diversity. Our results demonstrate that eligibility for TPP does appear to increase enrollment at flagship universities for students in an urban school district that sends relatively few students to college, particularly for minority students. But the effects on flagship enrollment are concentrated in the most-advantaged schools. The plan may lower costs for eligible students, but it does not enhance the quality of their education opportunities.