Politico reported this morning that the 30 colleges and universities that dropped the SAT and ACT this year have seen an increase in applications, especially among minority and low-income students. There are now more than 850 “test-optional” institutions of higher education.




FEWER TESTS, MORE APPLICANTS: After a wave of more than 30 colleges and universities decided to make SAT and ACT tests optional for applicants last year [http://politico.pro/1TnyJl5 ], a number of those institutions are seeing an uptick in applications. Though officials at several colleges cautioned that they can’t attribute the growth in interest to test-optional policies alone, some universities think it could be helping, especially when it comes to increasing the number of applicants from minority and low-income backgrounds. George Washington University announced a test-optional policy last summer, and has reported a 28 percent increase in applications, with 20 percent of applicants opting not to submit scores. The school also said it has also seen an increase in minority applicants and first-generation students. The Washington Post has more about GW: http://wapo.st/1nLjJDn.


– Kalamazoo College, which announced a test-optional policy last spring, had seen a 51 percent increase in applications as of Feb. 2. And applications from domestic students of color have risen 50 percent compared to last year, the college said. Kalamazoo also recently hired a consulting firm to help expand its applicant pool, and installed new technology to help staff track and communicate with prospective students.


– The University of Puget Sound, in Tacoma, Wash., has seen a 10 percent increase in applicants since announcing a test-optional policy last June. The school has also had a 20 percent increase in applicants from underrepresented minorities, 23 percent of whom applied without test scores. “I can’t draw a definitive link, but our test optional policy may have contributed to that increase,” said Jenny Rickard, vice president of enrollment. Puget Sound also launched an initiative with local public schools to provide full financial aid to Tacoma students, and to first-generation students who participated in a special college access programs.