HBA-KDB, LJP H.B. 1641 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1641 By: Rangel Higher Education 7/3/2001 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE After Hopwood v. Texas, in which the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that race and ethnicity had been used illegally in admissions decisions at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law, the number of minority applicants to the state's graduate and professional schools decreased dramatically. The number of African American and Hispanic students in these programs may not have accurately reflected the population of these minorities in Texas. House Bill 1641 authorizes a graduate or professional program to consider factors relating to an applicant's background in making an admissions or competitive scholarship decision for a graduate or professional program. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in SECTION 1 (Section 51.823, Education Code) and SECTION 2 of this bill. ANALYSIS House Bill 1641 amends the Education Code to authorize a graduate or professional program of a general academic teaching institution or medical or dental unit (institution) to consider certain prescribed factors relating to an applicant's background in making an admissions or scholarship decision for admissions into or competitive scholarships for the graduate or professional program. The bill provides that an applicant's performance on a standardized test may not be used in the admissions or competitive scholarship process as the sole criterion for consideration of the applicant or as the primary criterion to end consideration of the applicant. If an applicant's performance is used for such purposes, then the applicant's test score must be compared with those of other applicants from similar socioeconomic backgrounds to the extent that those backgrounds can be determined. The bill provides that the prohibition and score comparison requirement do not apply to a standardized test used to measure the English language proficiency of a student who is a graduate of a foreign institution. The bill prohibits an institution from assigning a specific weight to any one factor being considered in the admissions or competitive scholarship process for a graduate or professional program. The bill requires each institution to publish in the institution's catalog a description of the factors to be considered by the institution in making admission and competitive scholarship decisions, and to make the information available to the public and to applicants for graduate and professional programs. For the 2002 fall semester, the required information must be available not later than December 1, 2001. For admissions and competitive scholarship for any following semester, the required information must be available not later than one year before the date the applications for admissions and competitive scholarships are first considered for a graduate or professional program. The bill requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and each institution to adopt rules or policies relating to the admission of students and the awarding of scholarships. EFFECTIVE DATE June 15, 2001. The Act applies beginning with the admissions and competitive scholarships for the 20022003 academic year.