College Admissions Counselors Bar Test Score Based Scholarships

University Testing

Delegates to the fall 2006 annual convention of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) overwhelmingly endorsed a proposal banning the use of standardized test cut-off scores as the sole factor in determining financial aid by adding the language to the organization's Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP). NACAC's SPGP already opposed reliance on minimum score requirements for admissions decisions.


By a 129-79 vote, representatives to the NACAC Assembly approved language reading, "Members agree that they will not use minimum scores as the sole criterion for admissions, advising or for the awarding of financial aid." The expanded cut-off score ban is effective for students beginning undergraduate studies in the summer or fall of 2008. NACAC is the nation's largest membership association focusing on the high school to college transition - more than 4,000 guidance and admissions officials typically attend its annual convention.


NACAC defines "financial aid" as grants, loans, work-study awards and scholarships. The new practice does not apply to state-mandated financial aid programs. Several states have publicly-financed financial aid plans with minimum SAT or ACT requirements. These programs have been widely criticized for racial and gender bias, due to large differences in test scores among demographic groups. In addition, they skew funds away from students from the neediest households and towards the wealthiest. Average scores on both the ACT and SAT rise significantly with each increment of family income (see Examiner, October 2006).


Regional NACAC Admissions Practices Committees investigate complaints about violations of the SPGP and work with colleges to assure their policies conform to the guidelines.