CSU Permanently Discontinues Use of SAT/ACT Scores for Admission

by | Mar 23, 2022 | Academics

The CSU Board of Trustees has approved an amendment to permanently discontinue the SAT and ACT standardized tests as a factor in a student’s undergraduate application. 

The SAT and ACT will no longer be a required part of the California State University (CSU) admissions process for undergraduate students. On March 23, the CSU Board of Trustees approved the amendment to permanently discontinue the standardized tests as a factor in a student’s application, effective immediately. 

The consideration of the SAT and ACT for admissions purposes was previously suspended for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the unavailability of examinations for prospective applicants.

“As the nation’s most transformational university, we are excited to see how our admissions process can become even more equitable,” said San José State University Interim President Steve Perez. “We look forward to welcoming the diverse, talented and exceptional students of tomorrow.”

In January, the CSU’s Admission Advisory Council — made up of faculty, administrators and students — recommended the permanent discontinuation of the SAT and ACT in undergraduate admissions. 

The council began its review of standardized tests in spring 2021 and found that standardized tests added “negligible additional value” to the admissions process and “the negative impact of stress on students, families and high schools as well as the consistent differential tests results between students in more affluent communities relative to less affluent communities [that] cannot be ignored.” 

“This decision aligns with the California State University’s continued efforts to level the playing field and provide greater access to a high-quality college degree for students from all backgrounds,” said Acting Chancellor Steve Relyea. “In essence, we are eliminating our reliance on a high-stress, high-stakes test that has shown negligible benefit and providing our applicants with greater opportunities to demonstrate their drive, talents and potential for college success.”

Shifting the requirements 

With the permanent discontinuation of the SAT and ACT standardized tests, the CSU’s Admission Advisory Council has recommended the CSU “develop a quantitative formula using data related to four categories to determine CSU minimum admission eligibility for applicants beginning in fall 2023.” Impacted campuses and programs will determine the multi-factor admission factors for their particular campus. 

During the pandemic, with the temporary suspension of the use of SAT and ACT scores for admissions, the CSU’s minimum eligibility requirements required a student to:

  • Be a high school graduate or equivalent.
  • Have completed the 15-unit comprehensive “a-g” pattern of college preparatory courses with a grade of “C” or better. The “a-g” subjects are History and Social Science, English, Math, Laboratory Science, Language Other Than English, Visual and Performing Arts, and College Preparatory Elective.
  • Have earned a qualifying “a-g” grade point average. California residents and graduates of California high schools will be eligible for admission by earning a 2.5 or greater “a-g” GPA.

For California residents with a GPA between 2.0 and 2.49, additional supplemental factors could be considered. Non-California residents may be eligible for admission to the CSU by earning a 3.0 or greater “a-g” GPA along with other supplemental factors utilized by the individual campus. Any non-California residents earning a GPA between 2.47 and 2.99 may be evaluated for admission based upon supplemental factors. 

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