Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

UTSA to phase out CAP Program

UTSA will phase out of UT Austin’s CAP system within the next 10 years. The phase-out is designed to boost UTSA’s own retention and graduation rates. UTSA is currently the number one destination for CAP students.

The University of Texas System created the Coordinated Admission Program (CAP) to broaden admission options to students interested in attending the University of Texas at Austin, according to UT’s Be a Longhorn webpage. The program gives students who were initially denied admission to UT Austin a chance to enroll at UT Austin if they attend another UT system university their first year and meet specific academic benchmarks.  

                        Of the 824 CAP students enrolled in UTSA this fall, only one-third are expected to stay at UTSA, according to UTSA Vice President of Admissions George Norton. On average, only six percent of those CAP students graduate within four years.

            “The CAP students do affect the current 12 percent four-year graduation rate… they come here with the intention of leaving,” Norton said. “About one-third stay, one-third go to UT Austin, and the other one-third either go elsewhere or drop out.”

In order to stay on the path towards Tier One status, UTSA incorporated the Graduation Rate Improvement Plan (GRIP) in late 2011. The goal of the plan is to improve retention and four-year graduation levels.

However, about 70 percent of CAP students leave UTSA after their first year, according to GRIP. That percentage represents about one-fifth of all freshmen and lowers UTSA graduation and retention statistics by 10 percent.

“The institution wants to spend its resources on UTSA degree-seekers,” Norton said.

Former CAP students have their own opinion on the change. “I personally think it is a good change for the university, but I don’t feel UTSA should completely eliminate CAP,” said UT economics major Alyssa Levine. “It brings in a lot of students to the college and a lot of my fellow classmates stayed at UTSA because they liked it so much.”

Levine attended UTSA in the fall 2009 and transferred to UT Austin the following year. Although she understands the reason for the change, Levine admits to having mixed feelings. “I would be upset if I were an incoming CAP student.”

In fact, Levine’s younger sister, undeclared freshman Cassidy Levine, was affected by the change. Although Cassidy was interested in CAP, UT did not offer UTSA as an option for her. Instead, she was offered UT Brownsville and UT El Paso as CAP school options.

Although Cassidy finds the change “bittersweet,” she said Tier One status “benefits UTSA because… more people are going to want to come to study here.”

The admissions department is aware that CAP students provide revenue and tuition that will be lost once the program is discontinued; however, the university has a plan to counter that loss.

“We plan to be recruiting UTSA degree-seeking students to take CAP students’ place,” Norton said.

The university also hopes to “convert” UT hopefuls to UTSA students. “Keep in mind,  CAP students didn’t get into UT. Austin is not even in the picture,” Norton pointed out. “Although we love the Longhorns, we want students to be Roadrunners,” he said.

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