COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - More colleges and universities are dropping the SAT and ACT test requirements for incoming freshmen students due to the coronavirus. In South Carolina, hundreds of students still rely on those test scores to qualify for state-funded scholarships.
Richland Northeast senior Winford Janvrin is relying on a nearly $7,000 Palmetto Fellows Scholarship to help pay for his college. In order to qualify for that, he must receive a score of at least a 1200 on the SAT or a 27 on the ACT. However, he’s been unable to take either. “It’s just kind of a pain to keep having to sign up, and then I get an email saying it’s not going to happen,” explained Janvrin.
Janvrin says he’s signed up for the SAT five times now, and they’ve all been canceled, most recently this Saturday’s test at AC Flora High School. Due to COVID-19, several sites haven’t offered the SAT or ACT since February, but it’s still a requirement for Palmetto Fellows.
Janvrin has above a 3.5 GPA and ranks in the top six percent of his class, which are the other two requirements for Palmetto Fellows. “He needs the SAT score, and without that score, there’s no money. There are so many kids that that’s their only opportunity for college,” said his mom Gina Ganvrin.
The General Assembly has to approve any change in requirements for state-funded scholarships, like Palmetto Fellows. Bunnie Ward is the director of Governmental Affairs for the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education and says this issue is important to lawmakers. She expects the legislature to discuss solutions to the testing dilemma when they return to discuss the budget in September. “We’re hopeful this would be something that’s considered sooner rather than later, just because the longer it goes, we have students that are not only relying on the state-funded scholarships but students that might be applying for early decision or early action at colleges. They need to get those scores in by a certain date,” Ward explained.
Ward also noted some students who graduated in the spring were unable to retake their SATS due to cancellations. The commission is also working with lawmakers to try to come up with a solution to give those students another shot at qualifying for that extra scholarship money.
The Commission on Higher Education says if the testing issue continues, and the SAT and ACT requirement is not waived, they will work to push back the application date for Palmetto Fellows to make sure seniors have time to take the test.