Finding college-caliber disadvantaged high-schoolers …

Universal SAT / ACT testing  “finds” talented low-income college candidates

Interesting study reported by Brookings

Entrance exams (ACT or SAT ) are required for admission to virtually all selective colleges in the US.


For low-income students, that’s a hurdle to overcome.

Students have to register and pay for these tests, and then travel to a testing center on a weekend to take them.

This is straightforward, if you have internet access, a computer, a credit card, and a car.

If you are missing any of these resources, it’s a lot more challenging.

The nearest testing center may be in a suburb that is unreachable by public transportation early on a Saturday morning.

To overcome these hurdles, several states are now giving the ACT or SAT exams in school, for free, on a school day during school hours.

The benefits are two-fold …


First, more highly-qualified low-income students get a shot at selective colleges.

Second, and perhaps more important, low-income students who are talented “at the margin” get get identified by school administrators who can provide them with extra attention and support … elevating their college consideration and helping them to navigate the application process.

The results can be dramatic.

In one Michigan-based study, the population of identified college-qualified low-income students increased by 50% once universal entrance testing was implemented.

These “hidden gems” previously just fell by the wayside.

Now, they stand a chance ….

Bottom line: “Universal and free testing can help to level the playing field, uncovering disadvantaged students who can benefit from college.”

I say: Go for it.



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