Testing Companies to Offer More Free Score Reports to Low-Income Students

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New policies unveiled this week by ACT and The College Board will reduce the fees low-income students encounter in the college admission process.

Starting in September, students who use a fee waiver to register for the ACT will be able to send up to 20 free score reports to the institutions of their choosing. Previously, ACT test-takers were allotted only five free reports, with each additional transmission costing $13.

Under the new College Board policy — which goes into effect next spring — low-income students who take the SAT will be able to send unlimited score reports to colleges. Previously, low-income SAT test-takers were allotted up to eight free score reports, with additional transmissions costing $12 each.

“By lifting the limit (on free score reports), both ACT and the College Board said that they hoped low-income students might be encouraged to apply to more colleges than they have in the past,” according to Inside Higher Ed. “Applying to more colleges can be particularly important for low-income students so they can compare aid packages.”

The move comes at a time when a growing number of colleges have begun allowing students to self-report scores as part of an effort to make the college application process more affordable.

In that context, perhaps the decision by ACT and SAT to increase the number of free score reports was “inevitable,” Eric Hoover, a reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education, noted in a recent article.

He concluded: “Still, among admissions officials and college counselors, the immediate response to Wednesday’s twin announcements could be summed up in a word rarely associated with standardized tests: Cool!”

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org

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