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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Increasing Access to the SAT
At first blush, the cost of taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test doesn't appear exceedingly prohibitive. It's $60 to take it with the essay portion and only $46 without. That's about where the simplicity ends.

Major revisions to the test in 2016 rendered the 50-minute essay portion to be optional. In response, many-but not all-universities followed suit, dropping the essay requirement for admissions. The problem for students is that the essay portion is not offered as a stand-alone option. So if there is any chance a student may try to gain entry to a school requiring the essay, they need to take the $60 version of the exam.

Then there are the add-ons. It costs an additional $15 to register by phone, $30 to change a test date, $12 to order additional score reports, and so on. There is the cost of preparatory workshops, of taking the PSAT, of repeating the SAT for improved scores. These are just some of the reasons why high-income students are at an advantage.

The College Board-the body that administers the exam-does offer benefits for low-income students, including free additional score reports and waivers for college application fees. In about eight states, the SAT is free for all high school juniors. States renegotiate contracts with the College Board annually, so it is important for students to check the status on free or reduced testing costs in their home state.

Obama-era legislation (on the chopping block under the current administration) incentivized accountability testing by offering states federal funding if they participated in standardized testing for high school students. Many states use(d) the SAT as a measurement, which was essentially federally funded, and therefore free to students.

In early 2017, the College Board also began offering testing supports for English Language Learners (ELL). Students taking the SAT at school now have access to testing instructions in at least eight different languages.


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