Minority Student Academic Performance under the Uniform Admission Law: Evidence from the University of Texas at Austin

Sunny Xinchun Niu, Princeton University

Administrative data from students enrolled at University of Texas at Austin (UT) between 1990 and 2003, are used to evaluate claims that students granted automatic admission based on top 10% class rank underperform academically relative to lower-ranked students who graduate from highly competitive high schools. Compared with white students ranked at or below the third decile, top 10% black and Hispanic enrollees arrive with lower average standardized test scores, yet consistently performed as well or better in grades, first year persistence, and four-year graduation likelihood. Similarly, top 10% graduates from Longhorn high schools also arrive at UT with much lower average test scores, yet through 2001, their academic performance was comparable or above that of lower-ranked students who graduated from highly competitive feeder high schools. Finally, multivariate results reveal that high school attended rather than test scores is largely responsible for group differences in college academic performance.

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Presented in Session 117: Race and Ethnic Inequality