Michigan May Soon Have Top 10 Percent Law

This story was written by Sabrina Vera, Daily Texan
Michigan State Republican Rep. Rick Jones, of Grand Ledge, is proposing a plan for the state's universities that mirrors the decade-old Texas top 10 percent law.

The plan would guarantee admission to any of Michigan's 15 public universities to students who rank in the top 10th percentile of their graduating high school class.

Jones believes the plan would give Michigan the results that Texas public universities have seen.

"I read in a recent Harvard study on the Texas 10 percent, which has now been in effect for a decade, that it has since been very successful," Jones said. "The study shows that students get higher grades and have a higher graduation rate."

Jones said the Texas law increased diversity not just ethnically but in terms of economic and geographic statuses as well.

"I have a strong belief that the kid from the farm ought to get the same chance to succeed as the wealthier students from the city," he said.

Michael Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council for State Universities of Michigan, feels that pursuing a model of the Texas top 10 percent law is not the route the system should be taking.

"Right now we look at you in terms of your GPA, test scores, involvement in the church and community and your character," Boulus said. "It doesn't take into account if you do drugs or this or that. It's too arbitrary. Simply admitting the top 10 percent is arbitrary and capricious."

Leah Nixon, a spokesman for Ferris State University in Michigan, said the top 10 percent law probably would not impact their admission population.

"Students in the top 10 percent are those who have succeeded and have done well in high school," Nixon said. "Students of that caliber are meeting the admissions standards already and are being accepted anyway. We neither oppose or agree with the plan yet."

Unlike Texas universities, which work under one system, Michigan universities are a part of an autonomous and independent system. Constitutional modification is needed to ensure that all universities accept the plan.

"I am currently working with Legislative Service Bureau, which consists of experts in all different areas, assisting me with drafting this piece of legislation," he said. "I have to have it done by July so that it is on the ballot in the fall."
© 2008 Daily Texan via U-WIRE