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Montana regents temporarily waive university ACT/SAT requirement

Posted at 8:21 AM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 10:24:51-04

HELENA — The Montana Board of Regents is temporarily adjusting admission requirements for public universities in the state, to help students impacted by COVID-19.

The board held a meeting over conference call Thursday, where they agreed to waive the requirement that all students applying to a four-year university submit an ACT or SAT score.

They will allow students to prove proficiency in math and writing by having a cumulative GPA of 3.0 – or a 2.5 GPA and a passing grade in Algebra II or 11th-grade English. The changes will be in effect through Sept. 1, 2021.

With coronavirus disrupting schools across the state, leaders say this move will make sure testing rules don’t become a barrier.

“We imagine we’ll have many, many students who still will submit ACT scores or other standardized test scores to demonstrate proficiency,” said Brock Tessman, the Montana University System’s deputy commissioner for academic, research and student affairs.

“However, we wanted to add another method of demonstrating proficiency in the event that students have had their preparation for those standardized tests disrupted, or if there is a change in situation and they’re unable to take those tests.”

Leaders say the changes strike a balance between maintaining academic quality and making sure all students still have opportunities.

“We pride ourselves on being an open-access state; it’s one of our key priorities as a system,” said Tessman. “However, we want to make sure students are prepared, and I believe that this method of applying to our campuses still meets that commitment to college preparation.”

The Montana University System and Montana Office of Public Instruction have announced that current juniors will have the opportunity to take the ACT free of charge next fall.

Students will still need ACT or SAT scores in order to qualify for some state merit scholarships.