District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg lauded The University of Texas at San Antonio’s rapid progress in a letter to the University of Texas Board of Regents on Monday. He also joined students and administrators in their effort to terminate the Coordinated Admissions Program (CAP), which guarantees transfer admission to UT-Austin for students who complete a specified curriculum in one year at UTSA.
“UTSA’s current narrative is one of vast potential, promising new programs and its ascendance as a first choice university,” said Councilman Nirenberg. “It is not a stepping-stone, so we must remove antiquated admissions practices that impede its progress to Tier One status.”
UTSA President Ricardo Romo has established achieving Tier One status as a priority. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has identified UTSA as one of the seven Texas institutions with the potential to reach this prestigious landmark. This pursuit has led to economic development and enormous investments in research capacity.
The CAP program artificially deflates the four-year graduation rate for UTSA by up to ten percent, a university study found. The graduation rate is a metric used for determining which universities receive grant funding and are recognized as Tier One institutions.
The text of the letter is as follows:
Thank you for vision and dedication in making the University of Texas system a premier higher education system in the United States. A strong balance between academic excellence and accessibility defines that vision. The purpose of this letter is to add my voice in support of terminating the Coordinated Admissions Program (CAP) at University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).
The UTSA Student Government Association recently joined the voices of university officials throughout the UT system and passed a resolution urging the termination of the program, which I have attached for reference. As the City Councilman representing UTSA’s main campus, I ask the Board of Regents to join the broad support surrounding this policy change.
We are constantly reminded of the value of UTSA to this community and to the entire UT system. UTSA’s pursuit of Tier One status has led to an expansion of research capacity and regional strength. These investments have contributed immensely to the state and local economy and raised the profile of higher education in South Texas. UTSA’s more selective admissions standards signal that it is firmly committed to establishing an independent identity that advances the Board’s vision for academic excellence. This attitude will attract a higher caliber of students and enrich the UT System.
CAP poses a detriment to the graduation rate of UTSA, a fact that has been recognized regionally and locally, and by administrators, faculty, staff, and students. According to UTSA’s Graduation Rate Improvement Plan (GRIP), the University’s four-year graduation rate is artificially deflated by 8-10 percent by the CAP. Since graduation rate is an extremely important metric for institutions pursuing funding and Tier One status, continued inaction on the termination of CAP will hinder UTSA’s progress.
Most importantly, both UTSA and UT Austin favor ending the CAP. I firmly believe that these institutions understand the impact this program has on their campuses and the system as a whole. UTSA’s current narrative is one of vast potential, promising new programs and exciting new fronts of growth. It is not a stepping-stone, so we must remove antiquated admissions practices that impede its progress to Tier One status. I encourage you, as the Board of Regents, to act in the best interests of the students, the institutions, and the communities on which they depend, and allow UT Austin and UTSA to change their admissions plan to end the CAP.
Ron Nirenberg, San Antonio City Council District 8