With the Supreme Court’s decision that outlaws race-sensitive admissions at colleges and universities throughout the United States, the flagship campus of the University of South Carolina is taking an approach that aims to maintain some level of racial diversity on campus.
All South Carolina students who are ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class will be guaranteed admission to the University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus starting with the Fall 2024 application cycle. Students ranked in the top 10 percent of their class who will graduate from a public high school in South Carolina or residents who will graduate from an independent school with a graduating class of 20 or more will be admitted regardless of test scores, provided they complete the required college preparatory high school course curriculum and are otherwise eligible for admission.
The other four-year campuses of the University of South Carolina System also will guarantee admission to all South Carolina students who ranked in the top 20 percent of their graduating class and who are otherwise eligible for admission.
“Across every corner of our state, talented students who aspire to a college degree can count on finding a home and a future at the University of South Carolina,” said university president Michael Amiridis. “By welcoming the top 10 percent of our state’s high school graduates, we are reinforcing our commitment to access and excellence in education for South Carolina citizens.”
The “Top 10 Percent” idea was tied in Texas beginning in 1997. It guaranteed Texas students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class automatic admission to all state-funded universities. It has now been reduced to the top 6 percent of each graduating class. The law has had minimal impact on Black enrollments. In 2022, Blacks were 5 percent of the undergraduate student body at the University of Texas at Austin.
The 10 percent plan may work better in increasing diversity in South Carolina. Blacks are 26 percent of the state’s population but only 9 percent of undergraduate enrollments at the flagship campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Across South Carolina, more than 14 percent of the schools in the state, are attended by student populations at least 90 percent minority. The top 10 percent of the graduates of the high schools in this group will now qualify for admission to the flagship campus.