New York City education officials say the city will soon offer free SAT exams to public high school juniors, with Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina announcing that the move will give students from low-income families an equal chance to take the standard college entrance exam, ABC7 reported, adding that the College Board currently charges about $55 to register for the exam.
Ninety-two schools with about 15,000 students will participate in the SAT initiative starting in the spring of 2016, and citywide participation will start the following year, according to ABC7, which also claimed that the new initiative will offer the SAT during school days instead of on Saturdays, as is now customary.
Daryl Blank, the principal of High School of Fashion Industries in Manhattan, where Farina announced the new program, said that administering the test during the regular school day would make a big difference, according to a related New York Times article.
“I think the ‘for free’ part is actually a pretty big deal, also,” Mr. Blank was quoted by the Times. “[If the test is] something that’s on a Saturday, that’s considered optional, and you have to pay $54.50 – if you’re a teenager, you might decide to spend that $54.50 somewhere else,” he said in the article.
“The opportunity to go to college should never be decided by students’ backgrounds or ZIP codes,” Farina said in a statement quoted by the Times. “I only became the first person in my family to go to college because a teacher let me know it was an option and supported me through the application and enrollment process so I could follow my dreams of becoming a teacher.”
Students will not be required to take the exam, the Times reported, but educators hope the new program will make it a regular part of their educational landscape.