Georgia colleges waive SAT/ACT requirements for upcoming admissions

Alex Brandon / Associated Press
Alex Brandon / Associated Press

Several dozen Georgia colleges and universities will waive SAT and ACT test requirements for upcoming semesters due to uncertainty about the scheduling of those exams amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Tuesday.

The 26-member University System of Georgia will waive the requirements for the spring, summer and fall 2021 semesters. Spelman College in Atlanta also announced Tuesday it will waive the requirements for students hoping to enroll there for the fall 2021 semester.

“USG made the decision after monitoring testing availability during the spring and summer when multiple test date cancellations have prevented thousands of students from having access to a testing opportunity,” Tristan Denley, the system’s chief academic officer, said in a letter to officials received by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through the Georgia Open Records Act.

Spelman will consider the student’s academic records, civic involvement, personal essay and recommendation letters as part of its admissions process. Applicants can still submit those test scores, if they desire to do so.

“Standardized tests have always represented only a portion of Spelman’s application review process, which includes many opportunities for students to share their full selves — all of their gifts and talents — with our admissions team. We are committed to remaining flexible and empathetic during these unprecedented times,” Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell said in a statement.

Prospective first-year USG students must meet all other admissions requirements, such as completing the state’s Required High School Curriculum. Students who have SAT/ACT scores may still submit them.

The schools, at their discretion, may reconsider applicants previously denied admission for the 2021 terms.

USG colleges and universities will make admissions decisions based on grade-point averages and other criteria.

More than 1,300 other institutions across the country, including the University of Texas at Austin and Atlanta’s Emory University, have already dropped the testing requirement. Education experts warned that Georgia’s public college system would lose students if they kept the testing requirement.

Georgia Student Finance Commission officials said the USG’s announcement will not impact eligibility for the state’s Zell Miller scholarships, which pay for nearly the entire tuition costs at University System schools. Students are still required by law to have a minimum 1200 on the SAT or 26 on the ACT to receive the Zell Miller Scholarship.

The commission’s board voted earlier this year to extend the deadline until December 30, 2020 for students to submit qualifying test scores for the Zell Miller Scholarship because of test cancellations resulting from COVID-19.

“In light of the recent USG decision and given the ongoing cancellations of SAT and ACT testing, our team is currently looking to see if there are any additional steps that we can take to support students,” said Chris Green, the commission’s director of governmental relations.

GPA REQUIREMENTS

Here are the required minimum unweighted high school grade-point averages for admission to USG institutions:

The University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State and Augusta universities: 3.0

The University of West Georgia, Kennesaw State, Georgia Southern and Valdosta State universities: 2.6

The University of North Georgia, Georgia College, Albany State, Clayton State, Columbus State, Fort Valley State, Georgia Southwestern State, Middle Georgia State and Savannah State universities: 2.4

College of Coastal Georgia, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural, Atlanta Metropolitan State, Dalton State, East Georgia State, Georgia Gwinnett, Georgia Highlands, Gordon State and South Georgia State colleges: 2.0