The College Board, the New York City-based company that administers the SAT college admissions test, announced Tuesday that 178,600 of 402,000 students who signed up to take the test on Aug. 29 will not be able to do so because nearly half of test centers have closed due to the ongoing pandemic.
SAT and SAT subject tests are typically administered in local school buildings that are designated as test centers. The College Board said 46 percent of test centers have closed, while some of the remaining 54 percent have said they are only operating at a reduced capacity.
“We know this is a challenging time for students who want to take the SAT,” Priscilla Rodriguez, the College Board’s vice president of college readiness assessments, said in a statement. “Our top priorities are the health and safety of students and educators, and we are working with test centers that need to close or need to reduce their available seats because of new safety measures.”
The College Board is requiring that test centers follow local public health guidelines as well as the College Board’s own health-related policies. Students and staff at test centers must wear a mask or protective face covering throughout the three-hour test, and students must be seated at least six feet apart. Students will also have to verify that they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19 and that they are not violating any travel or quarantine restrictions in order to enter the test center.
“We are notifying students as quickly as possible about test center closures and capacity reductions to reduce uncertainty before test day,” the College Board statement reads. It also links to a “test center closings page” that helps students look for up-to-date information on the location where they were registered to take the test.
Students whose test center won’t open on the scheduled date will be offered a refund, the College Board said. The SAT test currently costs either $49.50 or $64.50 for a version that includes an essay. Each SAT subject test costs $22 with a $26 registration fee for each testing date.
Most colleges and universities have dropped standardized test score requirements for the 2020-21 academic year due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreak, which makes large-scale, in-person standardized tests infeasible. According to non-profit advocacy group National Center for Fair & Open Testing, 1,240 of the nation’s 2,330 bachelor’s degree-granting schools have said they will not require students to submit SAT or ACT scores when they apply for fall 2021 admission.