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Shapiro Will Agree to House's Top-Ten Bill

By Shelley Kofler, KERA News

Austin, TX – State Senator Florence Shapiro says she will reluctantly go along with the top ten percent college admissions bill adopted in the House.

In the Senate she passed a bill that limited top ten percent enrollment to 60-perent of incoming freshman. She was visibly upset when House sponsor Dan Branch compromised with opponents to pass a weaker reform that limits top-ten enrollees to 75-percent of first year admissions.

Currently Texas high school students who graduate in the top ten percent are entitled to attend the public college of choice. That has resulted in more than 80 percent of freshmen at the University of Texas in Austin coming from the ranks of top ten graduates, and UT-Austin has pleaded for flexibility.

Shapiro said her legislation tried to provide that flexibility and she was disappointed when Branch opted for a weaker alternative without conferring with her. She said she had also wanted to provide opportunity for students who may excel at debating, music or other activities, but have little chance of entering UT-Austin because they are, perhaps, in the top 15-percent of graduates.

Branch has said the opposition to reforming the policy was so strong in the House he could not pass the stronger Senate measure.

Late Friday Shapiro said she plans to concur with the House bill because UT Austin is satisfied with it. Any agreement between House and Senate members would go to Governor Rick Perry for his signature.