University system waives standardized test scores for admission to most campuses

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ATLANTA — The Georgia University System will waive SAT and ACT testing requirements at most of the system’s 26 institutions for another year, system Chancellor Sonny Perdue announced Thursday.

This story also appeared in Capitol Beat News Service

The university system has not included testing as an admission requirement for this year’s fall semester at all schools except the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Georgia College & State University.

The waiver will continue next fall, with the exception of UGA and Tech.

Perdue cited recent declines in enrollment at some of the system’s institutions as the driver of his decision to continue waiving testing. Schools in neighboring states that compete with Georgia for students are also waiving standardized testing requirements.

Universities across the country have been forgoing testing since the coronavirus pandemic hit two years ago, forcing high schools to cancel in-person instruction in favor of online classes.

“[University system of Georgia] students arriving this fall have been through pandemic high school years,” Perdue said Thursday. “The quality of education was not as good.”

Perdue said the value of the SAT and ACT tests has also come into question in recent years.

“There is a national discussion about whether GPA (grade point average) or [standardized] test scores are better predictors of student success,” he said.

Perdue said he will revisit the matter over the next few months and decide next spring whether to continue waiving test scores after the fall 2023 semester.

In other business Thursday, the system’s board unanimously approved an operating budget request of $3.14 billion for fiscal year 2024, a slight increase of 0.8% from to the spending plan for fiscal year 2023 that came into effect in July.

Gov. Brian Kemp last month asked state agencies to limit their spending when making their annual budget requests, despite the state’s record surplus. However, the university system has had some leeway to adjust to enrollment growth, said Tracey Cook, the system’s executive vice chancellor for strategy and fiscal affairs.

The proposed budget will then be presented to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, which will develop final spending recommendations to present to the General Assembly in January.

The Regents also passed a capital budget request of $204.2 million. It includes $137.7 million for four construction projects: a research tower at Georgia State University, an interdisciplinary STEM building at Kennesaw State University, and campus renovations at University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University.

This story is available through a partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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