Texas House Bill 588
Texas House Bill 588, commonly referred to as the "Top 10% Rule", is a Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 law passed in 1997.

The law guarantees Texas students who graduated in the top ten percent of their high school
High school
High school is a term used in parts of the English speaking world to describe institutions which provide all or part of secondary education. The term is often incorporated into the name of such institutions....

 class automatic admission to all state-funded universities. The bill was created as a means to avoid the stipulations from the Hopwood v. Texas
Hopwood v. Texas
Hopwood v. Texas, 78 F.3d 932 , was the first successful legal challenge to a university's affirmative action policy in student admissions since Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265...

 case banning the use of affirmative action.

The law only guarantees admission into university. Students must still find the means to pay, and may not achieve their desired choice of major. (Another existing law, which preceded 588, provides a full tuition scholarship for the class valedictorian
Valedictorian is an academic title conferred upon the student who delivers the closing or farewell statement at a graduation ceremony. Usually, the valedictorian is the highest ranked student among those graduating from an educational institution...

 of a Texas high school for their freshman year at a state public school.)

The law has drawn praise and criticism alike. Supporters of the rule argue that it ensures geographic and ethnic diversity in public universities. They also point out that students admitted under the legislation performed better in college than their counterparts. The law has been blamed for keeping students not in the top ten percent but with other credentials, such as high SAT scores or leadership and extracurricular experience, out of the larger "flagship" state universities, such as The University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

 (UT-Austin) and Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University is a coeducational public research university located in College Station, Texas . It is the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System. The sixth-largest university in the United States, A&M's enrollment for Fall 2011 was over 50,000 for the first time in school...

. UT-Austin has argued for several years that the law has come to account for too many of its entering students, with 81 percent of the 2008 freshmen having enrolled under it.

Some administrators, such as former University of Texas at Austin president Larry Faulkner
Larry Faulkner
Larry Ray Faulkner was the twenty-seventh president of The University of Texas at Austin. Faulkner is, as of January 31, 2006, President of the Houston Endowment Inc.....

, have advocated capping the number of top ten percent students for any year at one half of the incoming class. Others have suggested a move to a top seven percent law. However, until May 2009 the Texas Legislature
Texas Legislature
The Legislature of the state of Texas is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Texas. The legislature is a bicameral body composed of a 31-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives. The Legislature meets at the Capitol in Austin...

 had not revised the law in any way since its inception. A 2007 measure (HB78) was introduced during the 80th Regular Session (2007) but never made it out of committee.

Under legislation approved in May 2009 by the Texas House as part of the 81st Regular Session
Eighty-first Texas Legislature
The 81st Texas Legislature began meeting in regular session on 11 January 2009. The regular session adjourned sine die on June 1, 2009.Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, called a special session of the Legislature on July 1, 2009...

 (Senate Bill 175), UT-Austin (but no other state universities) was allowed to trim the number of students it accepts under the 10% rule; UT-Austin could limit those students to 75 percent of entering in-state freshmen from Texas. The university would admit the top 1 percent, the top 2 percent and so forth until the cap is reached, beginning with the 2011 entering class. UT System
University of Texas System
The University of Texas System encompasses 15 educational institutions in Texas, of which nine are academic universities and six are health institutions. The system is headquartered in Austin and has a total enrollment of over 190,000 students...

 Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa
Francisco G. Cigarroa
Francisco Gonzalez Cigarroa is a medical doctor and Chancellor of the University of Texas System. He is also the first Hispanic to serve as president of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio ....

 and UT-Austin President William Powers Jr.
William C. Powers
William Charles Powers Jr. is the 28th president of The University of Texas at Austin, a position he has held since February 1, 2006....

 had sought a cap of about 50 percent, but lawmakers (led by Representatives Dan Branch
Dan Branch
Dan Branch is a member of the Texas House of Representatives from Dallas, Texas, U.S.A. First elected in 2002, as a Republican, Branch is currently in his fourth term representing District 108, the "heart of Dallas", which includes Downtown, Uptown, Historic East Dallas, Greenland Hills, Lower...

 (R-Dallas) and Rep. Mike Villarreal
Mike Villarreal
Michael U. “Mike” Villarreal is an American state politician serving as a member of the Texas House of Representatives from a district centered in north central San Antonio...

 (D-San Antonio)) brokered the compromise.

A study by Julie Berry Cullen et al. (2011) found that the law created a perverse incentive
Perverse incentive
A perverse incentive is an incentive that has an unintended and undesirable result which is contrary to the interests of the incentive makers. Perverse incentives are a type of unintended consequences.- Examples :...

for students to transfer to a high school with lower-achieving peers, in order to graduate in that school's top percent.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.