HBA-KDB, LJP H.B. 1641 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1641 By: Rangel Higher Education 2/25/2001 Introduced 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 accurately reflect the population of these minorities in Texas. House Bill 1641 provides that a graduate or professional program must 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 provide that a graduate or professional program of a general academic teaching institution or medical or dental unit (institution) must 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 requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and each institution to adopt rules or policies relating to the admission of students and the awarding of scholarships. The bill provides that an applicant's performance on a standardized test may be used in the admissions or competitive scholarship process only to compare the applicant's test score with those of other applicants from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. If an applicant's performance is used for that purpose, it must be considered together with other compensatory criteria and may not account for more than 25 percent of the weight assigned to factors considered in the admissions or competitive scholarship process. The bill requires each institution to publish a description of the factors to be considered by the institution or unit in making admission and competitive scholarship decisions in the appropriate catalog, 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. EFFECTIVE DATE The 91st day after adjournment. The Act applies beginning with the admissions and competitive scholarships for the academic year 2002-2003.