Over the next few years, UTSA will gradually begin denying admission to high school students who graduate in the bottom half of their class.

UTSA President Ricardo Romo said the change will not be radical, but the plan is to funnel students with weaker academic credentials to the Alamo Colleges, keeping enrollment at bay and giving the university a chance to build research capacity and catch up with explosive growth.

In an interview with KABB, the local Fox affiliate, Romo told potential students, “If you’re not a serious student and you didn’t finish well, then perhaps UTSA isn’t for you.”

UTSA is competing with six other emerging research universities to draw money from a $500 million endowment set aside for Tier One efforts.

The six other universities are: Texas Tech, University of Texas at El Paso, University of Houston, University of Texas at Dallas, University of North Texas and University of Texas at Arlington.

Students denied admission to UTSA but still wishing to attend can seek redress with the admission appeal process.

Interested students will need to submit a Letter of Appeal (UTSA banner ID necessary), supply at least one additional letter of recommendation, specify the reasons for the appeal and write a personal essay on one of the following topics Why a UTSA education is important to me? What I can contribute to UTSA as a student?

“Selectivity will come slow, we are not going to make any jumps,” Romo said. “But if we took in more students, we would not have any place to put them. With the recession, we will not be able to hire 53 (professors) like we did last year, maybe half of that.”

Over the past year, UTSA has also faced a hiring freeze and is planning for a 5 percent cut in its budget.

By 2016, the university plans to enroll a maximum of 30,000 students, only slightly higher than its current enrollment of 27,183.

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