Texas Higher Education Opportunity Project (THEOP)

THEOP is a multi-year study that investigates college planning and enrollment behavior under a policy that guarantees admission to any Texas public college or university to high school seniors who graduate in the top decile of their class. The study collects administrative data on applications, admissions and enrollment from 9 colleges and universities in the state that differ in the selectivity of their admissions, and conducts a two-cohort longitudinal survey of sophomores and seniors who were enrolled in Texas public schools as of spring, 2002.

College Administrative Public Use Data

The THEOP administrative public use data consists of College Application Data and College Transcript Data from seven public and two private Texas universities.

For the public institutions, College Application Data coverage begins several years prior to the implementation of the Texas top 10% law in 1998, and extends until at least 2002. College Application Data for the two private institutions is available for the period after implementation of the automatic admission law. Each university was asked to provide applicant demographics, academic and high school characteristics, admission and enrollment decisions, and graduation dates for those who earned a degree within the time span of the data. THEOP added several data items to each application record, which include flags indicating whether an applicant's high school is (1) public or private, (2) regular or special, and (3) in Texas or out of state. Additionally, for Texas high schools, the data include a variable indicating the percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

College Transcript Data is available for enrollees at each of the nine THEOP universities. Each college transcript registers academic progress toward a degree for a single enrollee in a single semester. Each record provides hours earned, semester and cumulative grade point averages, and the department and field of major.

Administrative Public Use Data was prepared with the goal of making available the highest quality information while minimizing the risk of applicants being identified. Several confidentiality measures were taken to achieve this goal, including elimination of identifiers, collapsing small frequency cells, and setting values to missing.

Public Use Survey Data

THEOP Baseline (wave 1) and Follow-up (wave 2) Survey Public Use Data are available for both the senior and sophomore cohorts. The THEOP baseline survey sample is statistically representative of the state population of seniors and sophomores enrolled in public high schools as of spring, 2002.

The baseline survey (wave 1) is based on a stratified random sample of 105 high schools, or 13,803 and 19,969 students for senior and sophomore cohorts, respectively. Respondents completed a paper and pencil questionnaire that asked about their course taking and grades, experiences with guidance counselors, knowledge and perceptions of college admissions process, college perceptions, future plans and demographic information, including race and ethnic origin, family background, and household structure. Seniors were asked questions about colleges applied to, their self-reported admission status, and plans to attend college.

A sample of 5,836 respondents from the senior cohort were re-interviewed (wave 2) one year after graduating high school to ascertain primary post-secondary school activity, military enlistment, laber force participation, and others.

For the sophomores, 3,092 respondents from the cohort were re-interviewed (Wave 2) during their senior year to record their progress in high school, their college plans, and changes in other circumstances.

Acknowledge, Please

Please include the following acknowledgement on the cover page of all papers published using any THEOP data:

This research uses public data from the Texas Higher Education Opportunity Project (THEOP) and acknowledges the following agencies that made THEOP data available through grants and support: Ford Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Spencer Foundation, National Science Foundation (NSF Grant # SES-0350990), The National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD Grant # R24 H0047879) and The Office of Population Research at Princeton University.

Registration Required

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