- The nine-campus UC system with 226,000 undergraduates has been debating the use of the tests since well before the pandemic.
- In May 2020, the system’s Board of Regents agreed to a five-year plan to ease out the ACT/SAT and develop an alternative.
- But six months later, the courts in a lawsuit filed by students ordered UC to suspend the tests altogether.
And then last week, the system finally said there isn’t an alternative exam that wouldn’t create biased results.
Why it matters: When colleges nationwide recruit students, they most often strike gold in California. Seven states have more than doubled the number of students who cross their borders since 2008. No one had more students leave than the Golden State.
- In 2018, “California exported about 40,000 students to other states. About 90% of them (roughly 36,000) went to the types of colleges that might require the SAT or ACT (four-year public and private not-for-profits),” Jon Boeckenstedt, vice provost of enrollment at Oregon State, recently wrote on his blog, Higher Ed Data Stories.
— Those 36,000 California students each year spread out across the country to many different colleges, but plenty of them also travel in bunches to certain institutions.
- There are nearly two dozen colleges where California is the #1 state for the freshman class, including Oberlin in Ohio and Swarthmore in Pennsylvania.
- In the New England region alone, California is the #2 provider among all states to the freshman class at 11 colleges.
The big question: If California publics—where many of these students who travel elsewhere also are applying—don’t require the ACT/SAT how many will sit for a test required by only some colleges on their list?
By the numbers: Last year, 24% of applicants who submitted applications through the Common App sent scores to some, but not all, of the colleges they applied to. That’s up from just 4% the year before.
- Students from every zip code submitted fewer scores last year as you can see from the chart below (right) compared to the previous year (left), but those from wealthier zip codes (the bubbles to the right) were more likely to submit scores than those from lower-income zip codes.