Apr 25, 2024 - News

UNC system could bring back testing requirements for some students

People walk on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Photo: Eros Hoagland/Getty Images

The UNC system looks likely to raise its minimum requirements for admissions at the state's 17 public universities — and allow individual campuses to bring back standardized testing requirements.

Why it matters: Since the pandemic, the UNC system — which includes campuses like UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State — had stopped mandating students submit standardized test scores as part of their applications.

  • Around 64% of applicants to UNC system schools did not submit an ACT or SAT score in 2022, according to system data.

Driving the news: A UNC Board of Governors committee, however, last week approved a proposal that would require standardized test scores for some — but not all — applicants. (These would be minimum requirements to gain admission, though standards vary at the system's 17 campuses.)

  • The full board will vote on the policy at its May 23 meeting.

Zoom in: The new policy would require that:

  • Students applying to a university for the fall 2024 or spring 2025 semesters with less than a 2.5 GPA would need to submit an ACT score of 19 or an SAT score of 1010 or higher to be eligible for admission.
  • For admission during the fall 2025 and spring 2026 semesters, students would need to submit an ACT or SAT score if their high school GPA was between 2.5 and 2.8. But no minimum score would be required.
  • For the fall 2026 semester and beyond, students with GPAs between 2.5 and 2.8 would need to provide an ACT score of at least 17 or an SAT score of at least 930 to be eligible for admission.

Additionally, individual campuses would be allowed to require test scores for students with high school GPAs higher than 2.8 — but the policy would need to be approved by the Board of Governors two academic years ahead of its implementation.

  • A UNC-Chapel Hill spokesperson said the school would review any new requirements from the Board of Governors and adjust its policies as necessary, but didn't say if the school would add back standardized testing requirements.

The big picture: Many colleges and universities dropped their standardized testing requirements amid the logistical challenges of testing in person during the pandemic. But the latest research shows that the tests help assess how well students will do in college.

Zoom out: Universities nationwide have been reconsidering their decisions to drop standardized testing as part of applications — including most recently Harvard, Yale and MIT.

Prior to the pandemic, the UNC system's minimum requirement for admission was either a 2.5 GPA or an ACT score of 19 or SAT score of 1010 — though all students had to submit test scores.

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