Top 10 percent rule sending students to other states

Sunday, February 1st 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) _ Anxiety among parents whose children aren't in the top 10 percent of their classes is driving Texas students to look out of state for a college education.

Recruiters from some of those out-of-state universities are looking to capitalize on the panic.

Many are offering early acceptance letters and some like the University of Arkansas will soon announce a scholarship specifically for Dallas-area students.

Janet Miranda, a counselor at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, said half of her 135 seniors have applied to the University of Oklahoma.

``Parents are anxious to get an acceptance letter in hand,'' Miranda said.

All but a handful were accepted.

The out-of-state money generates about $1 million dollars for some out-of-state colleges, making them aggressively seek Texas students.

The universities of Tulsa and Missouri have recruiters based in North Texas. The University of Alabama has for the first time requested permission to recruit at Frisco schools, the newspaper reported.

``These students are very capable, high-achieving, but they've been eliminated from the flagship'' schools in Texas, said Don Pitchford, OSU's interim director of recruitment. ``We identify kids who meet that criteria and we actively recruit them.''

Critics of the 10 percent rule say the university system is not giving capable students who aren't at the top of their classes an opportunity to be admitted to Texas' flagship schools. The rule also allows automatic admission for students who score 1300 on their SATs.

This year, 70 percent of the freshman class at the University of Texas at Austin were admitted under the top 10 percent rule, The Dallas Morning News reported in its Sunday editions.

Since the rule went into effect with freshmen in 1998, the number of Texans enrolled as undergrads at Oklahoma State has tripled and at Louisiana State University it has doubled.

Higher Education Commissioner Don Brown said the trend of Texans heading out of state needs to be monitored. However, he said most students continue to attend colleges close to home.