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UC Regents Suspend Requirement For SAT, ACT Test Scores For Admissions

The Geisel Library, one of UCSD's most prominent buildings, in an undated photo.

Credit: Courtesy of University of California, San Diego

Above: The Geisel Library, one of UCSD's most prominent buildings, in an undated photo.

The University of California Board of Regents voted Thursday to suspend the requirement for SAT and ACT scores for students applying for admission as freshmen to its nine campuses, which include UC San Diego, through fall 2024.

The plan is to create a new test that better reflects preparedness and is equitable to all applicants. However, if a new test does not meet specified criteria in time for fall 2025 admission, UC will do away with the standardized testing requirement for California students. Details have not yet been worked out for out-of-state and international students beginning in 2025.

UC President Janet Napolitano said it was a sea change in policy.

"Today's decision by the board marks a significant change for the university's undergraduate admissions," Napolitano said in a statement issued by the board. "We are removing the ACT/SAT requirement for California students and developing a new test that more closely aligns with what we expect incoming students to know to demonstrate their preparedness for UC."

RELATED: Colleges Go Test-Optional After SAT, ACT Are Called Off

The board had voted in April to suspend using SAT scores and letter grade requirements for A-G courses completed within the 2020 school year for all students. Hoping to ease already high anxiety among applicants during the coronavirus pandemic, the board also earlier suspended standardized test requirements for students applying for fall 2021 freshman admission.

"I think this is an incredible step in the right direction toward aligning our admissions policy with the broad-based values of the university," UC Board of Regents Chair John A. Perez said before Thursday's vote. "I see our role as fiduciaries and stewards of the public good and this proposal before us is an incredible step in the right direction."

For fall 2021 and 2022, campuses will have the option to consider test scores if applicants choose to submit them, but all campuses will be "test- blind" and not consider scores for California students for admission in fall 2023 and 2024. Scores could, however, be used to decide course placement, scholarships and eligibility for the statewide admission guarantee.

The university will eliminate the SAT essay and ACT writing test for undergraduate admissions effective for fall 2021 admissions.

California State University has also suspended the requirement for standardized testing this year for reasons related to the COVID-19 emergency.

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