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Butler joins others dropping SAT, ACT requirement to apply for admission

An increasing number of universities are dropping the SAT and ACT requirement for fall 2021 admissions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. (Shutterstock via CNN)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/CNN) — Beginning with high school seniors in Class of 2021, Butler University said Wednesday, standardized test scores will no longer required from applicants to enter specific college programs starting with the fall 2021 semester.

The standardized test requirement also will change for some graduate programs at Butler, who take the GMAT, GRE or both for admission.

Butler is joining an increasing number of universities that are dropping the ACT and SAT test requirement for fall 2021 admissions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Butler says the change will “remain in effect for future admission cycles” beyond students seeking admission starting in fall 2021.

With high schools across the nation shut down or in limited operation, ACT Inc. and the College Board, the companies behind the ACT and SAT, canceled administrations of the exams until June, prompting a record number of colleges and universities to suspend the standardized test requirement or make it optional.

“There are many students across the country who no longer have access to test prep … their school’s free test date … whose living situation has been changed and no longer have time to study for standardized tests. Those are the students that this test-optional campaign aims to help,” said Maodon Tohouri, a junior at Amador Valley High School in California, in a news conference.

In total, at least 50 universities and colleges have dropped the ACT and SAT requirement for at least fall 2021 in recent months, according to a list by the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, or FairTest, a nonprofit organization working to end the misuse of standardized testing. FairTest’s list included these Indiana universities: Indiana University Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU Southeast, Franklin College and Indiana Wesleyan University.

Butler University said in a news release the change will “provide support and improve access for prospective students during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.” Butler’s test-optional admission policy starts Aug. 1, when the application process begins for the 2021-2022 academic year, and remain in effect for future admission cycles.

Several others U.S. universities are also extending the change beyond the 2021 application process for the 2021-2022 academic year. Those include Tulane University, all Oregon public universities, the University of Washington, Scripps College, Northeastern University and Texas Christian University.

Ed Colby, spokesman for ACT, Inc., told CNN that its scores are still widely being used in admissions and scholarship decisions and that while some schools were making “temporary adjustments to their admission criteria to mitigate COVID-19 impact on applications and enrollment,” the organization is reminding both students and colleges alike “that ACT remains committed to benefiting them both.”

“The health and safety of students is our first priority and we are collaborating with higher education institutions to provide flexibility to students and to support admissions under these unprecedented circumstances,” Jerome White, spokesman for the College Board, said in a statement to CNN.

The College Board will provide additional SAT testing dates “as soon as the public health situation allows,” White added.

Butler said in the release that more details about the change to its application process will be communicated to prospective students in the coming weeks through the Butler admission website. Students also are encouraged to contact their Butler admission counselors to receive personalized support.

Butler also said in the release, “Applicants who still prefer to provide their test scores will be able to do so, and those scores will be considered alongside other application materials. Select undergraduate programs may still require or encourage the submission of test scores.”

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