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Texas Universities will not lower admission standards to match high school graduation requirements


The Texas State Board of Education recently changed graduation requirements, curriculum, and testing requirements under the guidelines from lawmakers.  As part of the January change, algebra II will no longer be part of the “foundation graduation plan” beginning this fall said a recent article in the Texas Tribune.

Although students can get their high school diploma without taking the advanced math course, Texas universities say they will not drop their admission standards.  

“To be honest, HB 5 has kind of given us a headache,” said Jon Buchanan, assistant director in the office of admissions at Texas A&M University.

Texas A&M University and the University of Texas are the largest public university systems in the state.   They will continue to require the course for admission.  The University of North Texas System, which has four schools in the Dallas area, is following suit.

“The trend has been higher admissions standards to attract and retain higher-caliber students,” Dominic Chavez, spokesman for the Texas High Education Coordinator Board, said.  Chavez went on to say it is likely universities will raise the threshold for new applicants.

Many private universities are also declining to change their admission standards in response to the legislation.  Administrators at Rice University in Houston and Southern Methodist University in Dallas said students admitted there usually have taken at least precalculus. 

“We want the most academically prepared students,” said Wes Waggoner, the dean of undergraduate admissions at SMU. “That expects them to have gone above and beyond algebra II.”