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University of California announces it will not use SAT, ACT in admissions decisions

The University of California will not use SAT or ACT test scores as a factor in admissions through at least 2025. (Sakshi Joglekar/Daily Bruin staff)

By Christine Tran and Saumya Gupta

May 14, 2021 3:02 p.m.

The University of California will continue using a standardized-test-blind approach to admissions through at least 2025, according to a settlement reached between the University and plaintiffs Friday.

The UC agreed to not use the ACT or SAT as a factor in admissions for freshman applicants until at least 2025 under the terms of the settlement, according to a Friday press release by Public Counsel, the firm representing plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the University’s test-optional policy. 

An August 2020 court ruling barred the UC from using standardized test scores during the fall 2021 admissions cycle. A California court also denied the UC’s request to make standardized test scores optional in October. 

The lawsuit settlement reached on Friday extended the University’s test-blind admissions through at least 2025. The settlement also prevents the UC from implementing its planned test-optional admissions policy, which would have allowed applicants to decide whether or not to submit standardized test scores. 

Under the terms of the settlement, the University will not consider SAT or ACT scores in admission or scholarship decisions for fall 2020, said UC Office of the President spokesperson Stett Holbrook in an emailed statement. The UC Board of Regents has already decided SAT or ACT scores will not be considered in admissions for fall 2023 and beyond, he added. 

The UC Board of Regents previously unanimously voted at the May 2020 regents meeting to make the ACT and SAT optional until 2022 and to eliminate the test scores from consideration by 2024. The regents voted to create a new UC-wide test for admissions by fall 2025.

[Related: UC to use test-blind admissions for fall 2021 following court decision]

SAT and ACT scores may be still submitted in order to fulfill the English subject matter requirement, for course placement or for advising after admissions, Holbrook said.

“The makeup of this year’s applicants already (shows) that students are no longer deterred from applying based on their inability to access standardized testing,” said Marci Lerner Miller, a Potomac Law Group partner, in the press release. “We’re confident that this settlement will lead to students demonstrating their abilities, rather than their disabilities, in the application process.” 

The UC system received the highest number of applications fall 2021 in its history, receiving a total of 249,855 applications. Campuses also saw a 21.8% growth in freshman applications from African American students and a 12.2% increase in Chicano/Latino students. 

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Christine Tran | National news and higher education editor
Tran is the 2021-2022 national news and higher education editor in addition to being a contributor for Enterprise. She is also a fourth-year political science student at UCLA.
Tran is the 2021-2022 national news and higher education editor in addition to being a contributor for Enterprise. She is also a fourth-year political science student at UCLA.
Saumya Gupta | Assistant News editor
Gupta is the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the national news and higher education beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat. She is also a third-year psychology student.
Gupta is the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the national news and higher education beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat. She is also a third-year psychology student.
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