University of Texas at Austin admissions controversy

The University of Texas System
Motto Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis
(Latin for "Cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy")
Type State university system
Established 1876
Endowment $20.5 billion[1]
Chancellor William H. McRaven or Mark G. Yudof
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 141,134[3]
Postgraduates 59,752

The University of Texas admissions controversy grew out of the investigations and public statements of a member of the University of Texas System Board of Regents. Wallace Hall, Jr. was appointed to a six-year term in February 2011 by then Governor Rick Perry.[4] Following his appointment, Hall began broadly investigating the administrative dealings of President Bill Powers at the University of Texas at Austin.

Hall was the first to publicly raise concerns about legislative influence on admissions at UT-Austin under President Powers' tenure.[5] Following up on these concerns, the UT system launched a limited probe to determine whether legislators' application recommendations made directly to Powers were given special treatment.[5] On February 12, 2015 this investigation found that Powers had helped certain applicants gain admission, including those with questionable academic credentials, if he felt that doing so was in the University's best interests.[6] This was described by some as vindication of UT Regent Wallace Hall, Jr..[7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16][17] [18] [19] [20] Others have pointed out that such admissions procedures are widespread, even desirable, in American higher education.[21][22][23]

According to the report, from 2009 to 2014, students flagged by university officials were admitted 74% of the time compared to an overall admission rate of 40%.[6] President Powers and his Chief of Staff "each failed to speak with candor and forthrightness expected of people in their positions of trust and leadership," the report stated.[6] Powers agreed to step down in June 2013, partly in response to the probe. He told the Wall Street Journal that he had "intervened on behalf of a relatively small number of students" but denied that it was "undue influence".[6] This report was widely described as vindication of UT Regent Wallace Hall, Jr., and a validation of the concerns raised by Hall if not his methodology.[7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12][14] [15] [16][17] [18][20]


  1. As of February 14, 2014. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2013 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2012 to FY 2013" (PDF). 2013 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 19, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  2. 1 2 "2006 figure" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-16. Retrieved 2007-04-28.
  3. "2005 figure" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-16. Retrieved 2007-04-28.
  4. ""Perry Appoints New Regents", Dallas News".
  5. 1 2 "UT Regents Push Back". External link in |publisher= (help)
  6. 1 2 3 4 Wall Street Journal UT Faulted
  7. 1 2 "Report: Powers Overruled UT Admissions Office". The Texas Tribune.
  8. 1 2 "UT President Bill Powers overruled admissions office, report says".
  9. 1 2 CCAP (13 February 2015). "'Everyone Else Does It'". Forbes.
  10. 1 2 "The State of Texas: February 13, 2015". Texas Monthly. 13 February 2015.
  11. 1 2 "Gun bills on different paths; 'snippy' over border security?".
  12. 1 2 "Turmoil resumes at UT over admissions, records requests". San Antonio Express-News.
  13. "Texas Celebrates Fourth of July By Ousting Corrupt UT Austin President".
  14. 1 2 "Admissions Report Chips at Austin Chief's Uncompromising Reputation". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  15. 1 2 "Turmoil resumes at UT over admissions, records requests". Houston Chronicle.
  16. 1 2 "Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year finalist: Wallace Hall".
  17. 1 2 "UT Regent Uncovered Waste, Fraud And Abuse... And Might Be Fired For It - The Daily Caller - Part 2". The Daily Caller.
  18. 1 2 "Senator Charles Perry on UT Admissions Scandal Report". Pratt on Texas.
  19. "Investigation Vindicates UT Regent - Empower Texans℠".
  20. 1 2 "Texas Admissions Rumble". WSJ. 12 February 2015.
  21. "On Bono, Favoritism and College Admissions". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  22. "The Farce of Meritocracy: Why Legacy Admissions Might Actually Be A Good Thing". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  23. NatalieKitro, Natalie Kitroeff. "One in Four Colleges Say They're Pressured to Rig Admissions". Retrieved 2016-01-18.
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