Shannon Watkins of the Martin Center focuses on the University of North Carolina’s decision not to require SAT results for incoming students next year.

On July 23, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors voted to temporarily waive the SAT or ACT requirement for college applicants.

The vote came after UNC administrators proposed that an “emergency temporary waiver” be approved so that students who are unable to take the test due to cancellations are not negatively impacted in the admissions process. They recommended the board “waive the standardized test requirement for students applying for admission in Spring 2021, Summer 2021, and Fall 2021.”

Before the full board voted on the proposal, it first had to pass a vote in the Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs Committee meeting. During the meeting, UNC staff noted that the two standardized testing bodies, the College Board and the ACT, have continued to cancel test-taking dates due to COVID-19. At the moment, there are no available “at-home” testing options for students. UNC staff also noted that the College Board has requested that colleges “equally consider students for admission who are unable to take the test due to COVID-19.”

The lack of testing has had a direct impact on North Carolina students. Kimberly Van Noort, UNC system senior vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer, explained to the committee that, although North Carolina state law requires all public high school juniors to take the ACT each year in February or March, 9,000 students were unable to take the test this year because of the coronavirus.

During the meeting, two enrollment managers explained why they recommend temporarily waiving the testing requirement.

Louis Hunt, senior vice provost for enrollment management and services at North Carolina State University, informed the committee that a lot of public school students were unable to take the SAT or ACT in the spring.