College Choice and the Texas Top 10% Law: How Constrained Are the Options?

Marta Tienda, Princeton University
Sunny Xinchun Niu, Princeton University
Kalena E. Cortes, Princeton University

This paper addresses whether and how the Texas top 10% law influences college choice among a representative sample of Texas public high school seniors in 2002. We hypothesize that race and ethnic differences in students' knowledge of their rank-based eligibility for automatic admission will dampen the effectiveness of the law in attracting blacks and Hispanics to selective institutions. Tabulations of the baseline survey indicate that blacks and Hispanics were as likely as comparable whites to apply to a 4-year college, but the follow-up interviews reveal that both groups were significantly less likely to enroll in either a 2- or 4-year institution one year later. The full manuscript will ascertain whether these race and ethnic differences differ according to class rank and students' knowledge of the law, and will extend the analyses to consider differences in the selectivity of institutions, and whether located in or out of state.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 13: Racial and Ethnic Differences in Schooling