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Top ten reasons for going out of state: Texas rule has qualified students looking elsewhere.

The controversial Texas law that guarantees college admission to the state's top 10 percent of high school students has yielded enormous benefits--for neighboring states. Universities in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana have seen a dramatic rise in admissions from the Lone Star state. The number of Texans enrolling at the University of Oklahoma, for example, has increased 142 percent in the six years since the Top Ten law took effect. Texans account for a record 22 percent of OU's freshman class this year. Similarly, the number of Texans attending Oklahoma State University has tripled in that period, and more than doubled at Louisiana State University.

The reason is that qualified Texas students who fall short of the 10 percent cut believe they won't be able to get into the state's top schools. Critics of the law say it excludes these students from admission to state schools such as the University of Texas and Texas A&M University.

At first glance, the numbers appear to support those claims: This year, 70 percent of the University of Texas freshman class was admitted under the top 10 percent rule. But a recent survey by Princeton University researchers debunks the charge. From a random sample of 5,200 Texas college freshmen, the researchers found that nearly three out of four high-achieving students who didn't make the top cut were still able to attend either Texas A&M University or UT, if they wanted to.

Perception is everything, however, and students who fall short of the Top Ten mark believe they will have more success applying elsewhere. That's fine with other state schools, which are taking advantage of the "Texodus" by targeting recruitment efforts to those students who don't make the cut. Besides the increased demographic diversity it provides, higher out-of-state tuition adds significantly to university coffers. "Texas is a very ripe place for us," says Dawn Medley, director of Admissions at the University of Arkansas. "You have really good, high-achieving kids there and there's lots of anxiety--enough that kids are Looking out of state. It's made our job easier," she told reporters.
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Title Annotation:In The News
Publication:University Business
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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