Top 10 percent legislation passes Texas Senate panel

A Texas Senate panel today approved a bill to no longer guarantee automatic admission to a public university to the top 10 percent of high school graduates.

The plan would cap top 10 percent admissions to 50 percent of a school's entering freshman class.

More than 80 percent of current freshmen at the University of Texas gained admission through the automatic-entry guarantee.

Sen. Florence Shapiro of Plano says -- practically speaking at UT -- only students graduating in the top 6-8 percent would be guaranteed admission under current trends. It only affects colleges that admit 50 percent or more of entering freshmen under automatic guarantee provisions.

But Sen. Royce West of Dallas raised concerns about efforts to recruit minorities.

UT President William Powers says the school is allowed to use race-based affirmative action. Powers says that's a preferable and more flexible route to diversity.