College hopefuls stuck as pandemic continues to upend admissions process

SAT drops plans for home exam amid internet access concerns

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Signaling it is out of options for a resolution to accommodate large numbers of students still needing to take the closely monitored SAT, ACT, or PERT college entrance exams, The College Board is asking now asking colleges and universities to be flexible in its admissions process.

For example, The College Board asked for universities to be flexible by extending early deadlines. It said this would relieve pressure on students and give them more time to take tests and send their scores.

“There are more important things than tests right now,” said David Coleman, CEO of the College Board. “In making these difficult decisions we focused on reducing the anxiety that students and families are experiencing this year.”

The College Board, the company which runs SAT testing, announced it had abandoned plans to offer an at-home test after it became apparent, not all students could have equal access to testing. To meet SAT standards, testing would require three hours of uninterrupted, video-quality internet.

With in-person SAT and ACT testing dates canceled due to COVID-19, college hopefuls across the state are wondering if they’ll be able to apply for a Bright Futures Scholarship in time for its June 30 deadline.

Nationwide, testing dates have been canceled until August. There is one more ACT before the Bright Futures deadline, however, the registration deadline for the test has already passed.

There hasn’t been a concrete update for students and their families from Bright Futures, yet.

“The impact of these measures on initial eligibility requirements are being evaluated. Once a decision has been made, official notification will be sent,” a statement on the website reads.

The University of California system decided in May it would phase out consideration of the SAT and ACT.

Critics of the tests have long argued that they put students of color and low-income students at a disadvantage, saying the test questions are slanted in a way that makes privileged children better equipped to answer and that those with privilege also have access to better preparation.

The College Board has denied that the test is discriminatory.

In-person SAT testing is scheduled to resume in August after spring exams were canceled. But many testing centers will have fewer seats amid social distancing measures, the company said, and some dates may be unexpectedly canceled.

Although only a quarter of seats have been filled for August testing nationally, some states hit hard by the virus are already nearing capacity, the company said.

Massachusetts is already at 75% capacity for August, while Rhode Island, New Jersey and Washington state are about 60% full.

The company said it will add a January 2021 test date if there’s demand.

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