Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin: The Return of Strict in Theory, Fatal in Fact?

Note by Sara Norval

Abigail Fisher applied for undergraduate admission to the University of Texas at Austin in the fall of 2008 and was denied. The University admitted 81% of the freshman class that year through the Top Ten Percent Plan, which grants automatic admission to all Texas students who graduate in the top 10% of their high school class. To select the remaining 19% of the class, the University used a holistic review process, considering grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, essays, honors, awards, community service, work experience, family circumstances, socioeconomic status, and race. Fisher was not in the top 10% of her class, and so she joined 17,130 other applicants competing for one of the remaining 1,216 seats in the class. Fisher, who is white, challenged the University’s race-conscious holistic review program as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.


89 Tul. L. Rev. 947 (2015)