Class of First-Time Freshmen Not a White Majority This Fall Semester at The University of Texas at Austin

Sept. 14, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — For the first time in the history of The University of Texas at Austin, fewer than half of the fall semester's first-time freshmen are white students, according to a preliminary analysis.

The report, provided by Kristi Fisher, associate vice provost and director of the Office of Information Management and Analysis, shows the number of first-time freshmen who identified their ethnicity/race as "white" on admissions information total 47.6 percent. The university's overall total white student population, including graduate, Pharmacy Doctorate and law students, is 52.1 percent.

The figures reflect changes in the demographics of Texas. The Office of the State Demographer, Texas State Data Center, estimates the state's ethnicity in 2010 to be 45.1 percent Anglo (white), 38.8 percent Hispanic, 11.5 percent black and 4.6 percent other. The state's ethnic/race distribution by 2020 is projected to change to 37.6 percent Anglo (white), 45.2 percent Hispanic, 11.2 percent black and 6 percent other.

Fisher said the figures are based on 12th class day numbers. Final enrollment figures will be available in October, but there usually is little variation from the preliminary figures, she said.

Total enrollment at The University of Texas at Austin increased for the 2010 fall semester by 238 students (0.5 percent) from 50,995 last fall to 51,233 in fall 2010, according to the enrollment report, which uses new federally mandated ethnic and race reporting categories and provisions for students and employees to specify more than one race/ethnicity in identifying themselves.

The report shows undergraduate enrollment increased by 282 students (0.7 percent). Graduate enrollment (including Pharmacy Doctorate) decreased by 26 students (-0.2 percent) and law school enrollment by 18 students (-1.5 percent). The undergraduate one-year retention rate (91.7 percent) and six-year graduation rate (80.2 percent) remained relatively stable for fall 2010. There was an increase in the two-year retention rate, from 87 percent in 2009 to 88.5 percent in 2010.

Fisher said that starting this fall, ethnic/racial categories are being reported in accordance with newly implemented federal and state guidelines. Reporting categories are consistent with those adopted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) for the fall 2010 reporting cycle. Reporting changes include the introduction of two new race-reporting categories, "Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander" and "Two or More." Students identifying themselves in more than one category with one being Hispanic are reported in the "Hispanic" category only, in accordance with federal guidelines. Students identifying themselves as black, or in more than one category with one being black (and not Hispanic), are reported in the "total black" category. All other students identifying themselves in more than one category (neither Hispanic nor black) are reported in the "Two or More" category. Information describing the process of adopting new race and ethnic categories for students, faculty and staff members was described in an Oct. 15, 2009 university press release that may be viewed online.

Based on this reporting system, a preliminary analysis shows first-time freshmen enrollment figures increased for Hispanic and total black ethnic/race groups, as well as for foreign students. The ethnic/racial distribution of fall 2010 first-time freshmen enrollment is as follows:

  • The white only category is 47.6 percent (3,464 students) compared to 51.1 percent (3,700 students) in fall 2009.
  • The Hispanic (any combination) category is 23.1 percent (1,680 students) compared to 20.8 percent (1,503 students) in fall 2009.
  • The black total category is 5.1 percent (372 students) compared to 4.9 percent (354 students) in fall 2009.
  • The Asian only category is 17.3 percent (1,260 students) compared to 19.6 percent (1,423 students) in fall 2009.
  • The American Indian only category is 0.2 percent (15 students) compared to 0.4 percent (29 students) in 2009.
  • The Native Hawaiian category is 0.1 percent (four students); this is a new reporting category for fall 2010.
  • The two or more — not Hispanic or black — category is 2.6 percent (190 students); this is a new reporting category for fall 2010.
  • The foreign student category is 3.9 percent (282 students) compared to 3.2 percent (230 students) in fall 2009.
  • The "unknown" category is 0.1 percent (10 students) compared to 0.1 percent (four students) in fall 2009.

Fisher said her office compiles 10-year trends for ethnic/racial distributions of first-time freshmen (fall and summer combined). They show that since fall 2000, the proportional representation of Hispanic first-time freshmen has increased by 11.9 percent, total black freshmen by 1.8 percent and Asian freshmen by 4.9 percent. The proportional representation of white first-time freshmen has decreased by 12.8 percent, from 60.4 percent in fall 2000 to 47.6 percent in 2010.

Of the 14,583 first-time freshmen (fall and summer combined) offered admission for fall 2010, 7,275 (50 percent) enrolled. According to data provided by the Office of Admissions, 76 percent of all entering freshmen were automatically admitted under HB 588 (the Top 10 Percent Law). Of the entering freshmen from Texas high schools, 85 percent were admitted under HB 588.

The average ACT score for the entering class was 27 and the average Scholastic Aptitude Test composite score (mathematics, writing and critical reading) was 1819.

The preliminary analysis of graduate students shows enrollment (excluding law school) decreased by 26 students (-0.2 percent) to 11,589. Total law school enrollment decreased by 18 students (-1.5 percent) but new law enrollment increased by 10 students ((2.2 percent). The decrease in total law enrollment figures spans all ethnic groups.

Undergraduate enrollment increased for Undergraduate Studies by 801 (104.2 percent), Natural Sciences by 271 (3.1 percent), and Education by 201 (10.2 percent). Undergraduate enrollment in all other colleges decreased or remained stable, although a 793-student decrease in undergraduate enrollment in Liberal Arts was offset by a comparable increase in Undergraduate Studies.

Graduate enrollment increased for Engineering by 54 (2.7 percent), Geosciences by 27 (11.1 percent), Nursing by 17 (5.9 percent), Information by 15 (5.3 percent), Social Work by 7 (1.6 percent), Architecture by 6 (1.6 percent) and Public Affairs by 3 (1 percent). Graduate enrollment in all other colleges decreased or remained stable.

The university's total enrollment increased for the Hispanic and black ethnic groups. The ethnic/racial distribution of the total fall 2010 enrollment is as follows:

  • The white only category is 52.1 percent (26,671 students) compared to 53.5 percent (27,263 students) in fall 2009. It reflects a 2.2 percent decrease in the number of white only students.
  • The Hispanic (any combination) category is 17 percent (8,725 students) compared to 16.2 percent (8,265 students) in fall 2009. It reflects a 5.6 percent increase in the number of Hispanic students.
  • The black total category is 4.5 percent (2,315 students) compared to 4.5 percent (2,276 students) in fall 2009. It reflects a 1.7 percent increase in the number of black total students.
  • The Asian only category is 15.2 percent (7,794 students) compared to 15.5 percent (7,910 students) in fall 2009. It reflects a 1.5 percent decrease in the number of Asian only students.
  • The American Indian only category is 0.4 percent (187 students) compared to 0.4 percent (215 students) in fall 2009. It reflects a 13.0 percent decrease in the number of American Indian only students.
  • The Native Hawaiian only category is 0.0 percent (19 students); this is a new reporting category for fall 2010.
  • The category for two or more ethnicities — not Hispanic or black — is 0.8 percent (394 students) this is a new reporting category for fall 2010.
  • The foreign students category is 9.0 percent (4,635 students) compared to 9.1 percent (4,656 students) in fall 2009. It reflects a 0.5 percent decrease in the number of foreign students.
  • The "unknown" category is 1.0 percent (493 students) compared to 0.8 percent (410 students) in fall 2009. It reflects a 20.2 percent increase in the number of students who listed ethnicity as unknown.

Fisher said this fall semester marks the implementation of new federally mandated ethnic and race reporting categories and provisions for students and employees to specify more than one race/ethnicity in identifying themselves. These changes were required of all colleges and universities, as well as primary and secondary schools throughout the United States, by the fall semester of 2010.

"To ensure that reported shifts in the ethnic/racial mix of our student population are not merely artifacts of these changes to reporting methodology, the Office of Information Management and Analysis has carefully analyzed the impact of these changes with respect to categorization of multi-racial students," Fisher said. "We performed six-year and 10-year regression analyses on the ethnic/racial percentage distribution trends of total and freshman enrollments and found the THECB reporting methodology to very closely follow the projected distributions for 2010. While we know of cases where, for example, black students identifying themselves as 'black and Hispanic' are now being reported as 'Hispanic' only, the upward trend in minority enrollment percentages holds true and is not significantly affected by the reporting changes."

For more information, contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of the President, 512 475 7847.

44 Comments to "Class of First-Time Freshmen Not a White Majority This Fall Semester at The University of Texas at Austin"

1.  Kenny said on Sept. 15, 2010

I applaud the classification system trying to accomodate greater variety with the addition of Native Hawaiian as a category, but this system is still woefully deficient. If I understand correctly, students who report as multiple categories, if one of those categories is black or Hispanic, are automatically lumped with black or Hispanic, rather than with "other." There is a growing population of multi-racial students, myself included, who identify not as Hispanic or black, but as multi-racial. It is a disservice to multi-racial students to force them into a category. What's the point of allowing students to report more than one category in the first place, if they're simply going to be lumped into one in the statistics? All students who report in more than one category should appear in the statistics as such. The current system presumes too much.

2.  Former Non-Athletic Black Student said on Sept. 16, 2010

"The black total category is 5.1 percent (372 students) compared to 4.9 percent (354 students) in fall 2009."

One-third of the black students are football and male basketball players. The other two-thirds are all females. If the athletics department could recruit [or find] white football and basketball players (like they do with baseball), there would indeed be no black male students at UT. How sad is that! What a good job UT is doing. Thank you for nothing. :(

3.  Ravi said on Sept. 16, 2010

This title is fairly offensive, if not outright racist. By saying that 47.6 percent is "not a white majority," you are essentially grouping all nonwhite ethnicities into one race and presenting a skewed example of cultural diversity. I think having more than twice as many enrolled freshmen as the next highest population (23.1 percent Hispanic) still largely counts as being the majority. I guess next time I fill out a form, I will just look for the "not white" bubble.

4.  aminabhavi tejraj m said on Sept. 16, 2010

It is amazing how the time is changing from when I first entered UT as a graduate student in the fall of 1979. Then, others were too small a community and whites had a major contribution.

5.  Maggie Loney said on Sept. 16, 2010

I certainly hope the quality and reputation of the university don't go down as well.

6.  Betty Ludwig said on Sept. 16, 2010

This is the beginning. This is enrollment, now will you please furnish the percentage of students who actually graduate and what are those ethnic numbers. Include graduate students upon completion as well.

7.  Bob Thomae, BBA 1974 said on Sept. 16, 2010

I find it sad that we are not bragging about how many valedictorian or salutatorian applicants from across the nation were included in the freshmen class. Used to be that recruiting the top, very best qualified students was a key goal for ranking the finest college programs. Could it be that UT is not the first choice for the cream of the crop freshman entering college today? If that is the case, I would suggest that celebrating meeting federal quota standards is a poor consolation prize for loosing out on attracting the best and brightest. Just a thought from an old alum.

May God bless the Horns.

8.  David said on Sept. 16, 2010

This is all well and good if these numbers emerged organically from the admissions process. Otherwise, it's merely a triumph of social engineering.

9.  Jesus (Corky) Rubio said on Sept. 16, 2010

How things change. When I entered UT in the fall of 1970 out of about 40,000 students only 250 were "Spanish surnamed" and 50 were from my hometown of Eagle Pass, Texas. Back then the vestiges of discrimination were all over campus. Thank you, UT, for being a vehicle of change.

10.  Von Allen said on Sept. 16, 2010

I beg to differ with the headline. At 47.6 percent, white students are still the majority. By saying they are no longer the majority, you imply that the number of white students compares with the number of every different race. It's this kind of us against them mentality that stokes the fire of racism. I'm embarrassed by this article.

11.  K Patterson said on Sept. 16, 2010

I also applaud the classification system, but agree with Kenny. All students reporting multi-racial status should not be lumped into a single black or Hispanic classification; this is not consistent with reporting for other racial ethnicities and therefore fosters continued segregation issues.

12.  Sue Stockly said on Sept. 16, 2010

It's very gratifying to see that the best university in the world is successfully dismantling the barriers people of color once faced. The extremely high retention and graduate rates (national averages are about 1/3 of UT's) shows that increased diversity has been coupled with high standards of quality. I'm proud to be the child of a white UT graduate and a Chicana and UTEP graduate, a Chicana UT graduate myself and the mother of a Chincano UT graduate. My granddaughters are 6 and 3 and we're hoping they'll be 4th generation Longhorns!

13.  Letti said on Sept. 16, 2010

I am embarrassed by some of the comments made here. To imply, as a few posts have below, that a shift in demographics wherein the white student population falls below fifty percent means that quality and reputation will suffer is appallingly racist. The definition of "best and brightest" is not exclusively white. Education is a right for all, and diversity does not equate deficiency.

I am happy that my alma mater can be a reflection of a more diverse American fabric.

14.  James said on Sept. 16, 2010

Folks, here is the definition of a majority:

Majority: A subset of a group consisting of more than half of the group.

Here is the definition of a plurality:

Plurality: A subset of a group consisting of more members than any other subset in the same group.

In this class, the White kids have a plurality, not a majority.

15.  Stuart (Class of 1987) said on Sept. 16, 2010

This is just silly. The proclamation that the percentage of "white students" is lower now than it's ever been is utterly meaningless. It is a premise without a conclusion. Does it have any verifiable significance to the research and educational functions of the University? If so, what is it? If not, who cares that the proportion of whites is less today than it was yesterday? I'll tell you who: people who resent whites for irrational reasons . . . in other words, Racists. UT is suffering academically, not because of the percentage of minority students, but because it has thrown in with the bean-counting government. Congratulations (sarcasm).

16.  Tyler said on Sept. 16, 2010

As a white freshman here at UT, I find the headline of this article somewhat offensive. It implies that this school is priding itself in not having as many white students as it previously accepted.

17.  Claire said on Sept. 16, 2010

Congratulations, UT. I'm so glad the admissions process is about what race you are and not about individual merit. And you wonder why I don't give any money to you.

18.  Alan Peek said on Sept. 16, 2010

I enrolled at UT in the fall of '66. Not sure of the number of freshmen but the total student body was about 25,000. Don't remember seeing many non-whites. I do know the football team didn't have a black player until 1970. This country has come a long way in diversity and inclusiveness. No other country can make this claim.

19.  Patrick Oegerle said on Sept. 16, 2010

If the figures reflect changes in the demographics of Texas, shouldn't we be citing the ethnicity of students applying to college in 2010?

20.  V Bolen said on Sept. 16, 2010

You're seeing a reflection of the Top 10 Percent rule in effect. This is something the school has no control over, only the state can change it. The Office of Public Affairs is only presenting the numbers to us. If 85 percent of the in-state freshmen were Top 10 Percent kids, that left only 15 percent for the school to fill any gaps in sports teams, fine arts departments and all the majors. There is very little room left for the school to have any flexibility in who they select.

21.  Sam said on Sept. 16, 2010

Why is enrollment going up? UT should be becoming smaller and more selective on the undergraduate level.

22.  Phillip Brant said on Sept. 16, 2010

How about some positive comments for y'all? The first-class college educations provided by UT go a very long way toward reducing racist views. Such views hold back the advancement and prosperity of our society. Racism thrives in environments of poverty and substandard or absent educations. This demographic change at UT reflects the changes in the country as a whole. Welcome to the brave, new pluralistic America. Phil, Class of 1969

23.  Alex (RTF 2005) said on Sept. 16, 2010

This article is exactly what is wrong with America today: too many people focus on race. When will we ever move past that? Why couldn't this article have focused on the incoming class's academic achievements, or something that shows that they are the best and the brightest? This article could've been on the number of blondes versus brunettes for all it matters in the big picture.

UT, I loved my time at your campus and I cherish my degree, and I hope to be able to send my son (now 2 years old) to your school. But my son is white, and I want to be able to tell him that if he studies hard and is at the top of his class he'll have a place on your campus. Don't lump him into a category based on race.

24.  Daniel (Class of 2014) said on Sept. 16, 2010

Thank you, James, for distinguishing between majority and plurality, which so many commenting above mistook. So what are they pointing out here anyway? 76 percent of my class got in from the Top 10% rule this year, so is this just a reflection of the changing population of Texas?

I looked up the average fall 2009 entering freshman scores: average ACT was 27 and average SAT was 1791. That may just as well be because test prep classes are better, or maybe because I applied this year, haha. I'd just like to see some proposed correlations to go along with this endless stream of diversity data, to make these articles and all the fuss about diversity worth my time.

25.  Leslie said on Sept. 16, 2010

Another reason to remove the quota system that gives more points to "minority" applicants than "white" applicants. Yes, indeed, America's melting pot is multi-racial, multi-cultural, etc. In Houston, for example, "whites" are the unrecognized minority. Students should be admitted upon their merits regardless of what racial category the university wants to fit them into.

26.  Andrew said on Sept. 16, 2010

And to keep the diversity going strong, UT’s executive offices must immediately reconfigure itself to match the racial/ethnic demographics of the state of Texas.

Unfortunately, that means that about half of the “executives” will need to resign immediately as there are too many whites in UT’s executive offices. And even worse than that, almost all are white males!

So I wish, President Powers, EVP & Provost Steve Leslie, VP for Development David Onion and AVP for Development John McCall, VP & CFO Kevin Hegarty, CIO Brad Englert, Director of Audits Mike Vandervort, VP of Public Affairs Don Hale, VP of Legal Affiars Patricia Ohlendorf and VP of University Operations Pat Clubb the best of luck in deciding who steps down from the executive offices so that the leadership of The University of Texas at Austin looks like and matches the diversity of the state of Texas.

27.  ruben said on Sept. 16, 2010

The last study from the TEA that I'm aware of (actually reported in the Dallas Morning News and others) from roughly five years ago showed that "10%'ers" had slightly higher GPAs and retention rates (though not statistically significant) than "non-10%'ers." So be careful if you assume that quality will suffer due to diversity. You know what can happen when you assume. As a parent of a Longhorn and an Owl, I'm thrilled to have excellent options in our state.

28.  jack said on Sept. 17, 2010

What is good news in this is that the "minority students" are generally performing well in high school and will contribute to our society instead of just burdening our society.

What is bad news is that this drumbeat of diversity and quota obsession is way beyond tiresome. I will actively work for an opportunity/merit based society and not an entitlement/outcomes based society which is for sure the present administration's focus, and from the sound of things also our university's bent.

29.  Lala said on Sept. 17, 2010

Instead of bashing UT for what you think it is or is not doing with regard to equality, remember that it was the Texas Legislature - who you elected - that made the Top 10% law.

If you're not happy with it, take it up with your state senators.

30.  Mark said on Sept. 17, 2010

Just FYI, these are new STATE and FEDERAL ethnicity rules. Not a UT decision.

31.  Carl Webb said on Sept. 18, 2010

Students identifying themselves in more than one category with one being Hispanic are reported in the "Hispanic" category only, in accordance with federal guidelines.

Students identifying themselves as black, or in more than one category with one being black (and not Hispanic), are reported in the "total black" category.

All other students identifying themselves in more than one category (neither Hispanic nor black) are reported in the "Two or More" category.

My question is what category would Black Latinos go into?

32.  Kiara said on Sept. 18, 2010

For all those who are commenting on filling a quota and essentially affirmative action, let's remember that the Top 10% rule still applies, and will only be more selective next year -- so the minorities admitted weren't admitted on race. They fulfilled the merit requirement.

33.  Martha said on Sept. 19, 2010

Guess I'm not as liberal as I thought. Just how many qualified white applicants were turned away so that the top 10 percent at some of the lowest performing schools in Texas could get in? I believe in equality, but this is not it. It is based on skin color and not on academic merit. Could it be racism?

34.  msanders said on Sept. 19, 2010

I thought UT was now trying to get the Legislature to change to the top 8 percent so they can have more freedom in admissions.

35.  William said on Sept. 20, 2010

Does this report result reflect the population of our state? How about giving the Mackster another one million a year raise - the students will surely be forced to make up any budget shortfall.

36.  Becky said on Sept. 20, 2010

Consider that UT was a segregated institution that systematically denied admission to African Americans -- for no reason other than skin color -- until required to end its discriminatory practices by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1946 and the Legislature in 1950. (How many people wondered, back then, how the makeup of enrollment compared with the overall state population?) The university has come a long way from that past to enter a promising new future. Bravo, UT.

37.  Concerned Educator said on Sept. 20, 2010

According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, racism is defined as "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race." Many of the posters have called the increased numbers of non-white students racism, but I am unsure how this fits with the standard definition of racism. Can someone please enlighten me?

Many detractors have insinuated (see "liberal" Martha's comment above) that the non-white students are automatically not qualified given their minority status. Comparing her response with the dictionary definition of racism we can clearly see an example of what this definition means. She seems to imply that white students are automatically more qualified than the minority students. If she wanted to back up her position that the quality of entering students is declining, she could provide us with some statistics which support her position.

38.  Mr. X said on Sept. 21, 2010

Why are we still talking about race? This country will never, ever become color blind if we speak of nothing else other than race. UT should be accepting the best students regardless of race or sex. I want to be surrounded with those who are at UT due to intelligence and hard work, and not those who are there because they have the right skin color.

39.  Matt said on Sept. 22, 2010

1. UT does not have a racial quota system. In fact, no university does. The Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional in the Bakke case in the 1970s. The Top 10% (8%) rule is in many ways the opposite of a quota system because it only considers academic merit, as evidenced by G.P.A. ranking in one's high school, for enrollment decisions. While the new federal guidelines require the reporting of race in terms of specific categories, you are not admitted or denied entry to UT because of your race.

2. The Top 10% rule was enacted not only to facilitate UT's diversification, but also because the "low-performing" schools in Texas were historically and are currently the most underfunded and understaffed (in terms of experienced and capable educators) in the state while also having the highest concentrations of poor and non-white students, a direct legacy of the segregated schools and communities Texas boasted until well into 1980s.

3. "Color blindness is an ideology that functions as the new, acceptable face of racism. People arguing 'I am color blind' are, in effect, reinforcing the racial status quo. You cannot change racial inequality if you pretend that race isn't there."

4. And, yes, I am white.

40.  Tom V said on Sept. 22, 2010

At what point will a decreased white percentage lead to a *decrease* in "diversity"? Does such a point exist?

Since "Concerned Educator" asked for statistics, go to the Texas Education Agency Web site and take a look at the "Academically Unacceptable" schools. About half of them have the percentage of white students in single digits. Right here in Austin, Eastside Memorial Green Tech is 80% Hispanic and 17% black. Is the top 10% of Memorial Green a great source of coveted non-Asian minorities for UT? You bet! Are they as academically qualified as, say, the top 40% of Westlake High (rated "exemplary," 82% white and 11% Asian)? I doubt it.

41.  Tom V said on Sept. 22, 2010

The 10% rule was designed to circumvent the Hopwood v. Texas decision, which barred the use of race in admissions, by using school as a proxy for race. Now that Hopwood has been abrogated, I suggest repealing the 10% law so that UT can practice straightforward affirmative action (i.e. choosing the best from each race rather than each school).

All applicants should then choose "African American" in their applications. After all, we're all originally from Africa. What is UT going to do, anyway? Genetically test everyone? Even as its own professors preach that race is nothing but a "social construct"?

Ah, to think that UT will have no white students at all in a few years! Maybe they'll turn off the lights on the Tower in celebration.

42.  Former Non-Athletic Black Student said on Oct. 1, 2010

@ Tom V: Do you think affirmative action is really being implemented? I doubt that. Instead of using affirmative action to admit minorities who are otherwise left far behind in this country, we should implement purification action to remove all racist elements in this society.

43.  Concerned Educator said on Oct. 3, 2010

@ Tom V:

Tom V. directs us to compare the statistics of "academically unacceptable schools" to the "exemplary" ones. He fails to acknowledge the reality of racial segregation that helps to reproduce these differential outcomes just like it was originally designed to do. Why are we so unconcerned that our educational quality is still largely divided along racial fault lines?

44.  Concerned Educator said on Oct. 3, 2010

The 10% rule is designed to allow the de facto racial segregation to continue without actually addressing why so many of our students are subjected to low quality instructional environments and high racial segregation. If he, or other white Texans, wanted to circumvent the 10% rule, they would integrate these "academically unacceptable" schools thereby excluding all those "unqualified minorities" from entering UT.

For instance, since Westlake contains 30-40% of students who are excluded from automatic admission to UT, the bottom 30% of Westlake students should leave their school and split their enrollment at Green Tech and other similar schools. This technique would ensure that all the white students that, according to Tom V, are more qualified than the students at these schools would get in.

We all know that the reason these schools are underperforming is due to personal factors (i.e. motivation, parental support, etc.), so the white students from Westlake will have an automatic advantage, right?