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Although the university has increased the size of its undergraduate student body in recent years, it does not have the capacity to admit and enroll all strong applicants. The admissions process is regulated by state law. The offers of admission made each year are dependent upon an automatic admission cut-off that was based on an estimate made two years earlier. For the entering class of 2019, for example, it was determined the 6-percent high school rank cutoff for automatic admission back in 2017.
In accordance with state law, these automatic admits must total 75% of all Texas high school graduate offers of admission, thereby limiting the non-automatic admission offers to 25% of all Texas high school graduate admission offers. This means that admission for students outside of the automatic admission process is very competitive. This year, fewer than one-in-five of non-automatic admission applicants were offered admission.
Shift to Top 6% Automatic Admission
Because of the continued growth in the number of high school graduates across Texas and given the university’s need to manage enrollment at a level that effectively serves our students, the university’s fall 2019 automatic admission rate was set to admit students graduating in the top 6% of their high school class. Continuing at a top 7% automatic admission rate would have put the university on track to enroll an even larger freshman class than in the fall of 2018. This would have far exceeded the university’s ability to ensure students have access to the majors, classes, faculty, housing and other resources necessary to receive the exceptional educational experience that we and they expect. Additionally, bringing in more students than the university can effectively serve is counter to the incredible work the campus has done to support student success and timely graduation outcomes.
SB175 Quick Overview
Under Senate Bill 175, which was approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor in 2009, The University of Texas at Austin must determine the automatic admit rate for the admission cycle two years into the future. The university uses historic student application and enrollment behavior, projected high school graduate numbers, and university capacity to determine the automatic admission rate. In line with the statute, the university makes a good faith effort to accurately estimate automatic admission applicant behavior. Student behavior and academic interest may shift over those two years, but we cannot adjust the percentage once it is determined. According to the statute, 75% of Texas high school graduate admits must be automatically admitted students. No more than 25% of admission offers to Texas high school graduates can be made to applicants who are not automatically admissible. That means the automatic admission application numbers determine the total number of admission offers that can be made to Texas high school graduates who do not qualify for automatic admission. Once the size of the “75%” is known, the university determines how many applicants can be admitted to fill in the remaining “25%.”