SATs Should Not Be a Barrier to College, Options Center Head Testifies

Women smiling for a picture.

Standardized test scores like the SAT are given far too much weight in the college admissions process, putting low-income students at a disadvantage, Options Center director Lily Owen told the New York City Council at a recent hearing.

“Students from affluent families are often spending thousands of dollars and taking prep classes for months or even years,” Owen testified before the Higher Education Committee. Low-income students, on the other hand, have far less access to outside help.

Goddard Riverside’s Options Center__ helps students get into college, and succeed once they’re there. More than three-quarters of the students served come from low-income households.  More than two-thirds are the first in their family to attend college. Many can only afford in-state schools.

Owen highlighted policies at the state’s public institutions that make it harder for students like those to enroll. The State University of New York system has only one SAT-optional college, she pointed out, while the senior colleges of the City University system have firm minimums for SAT scores.

“If we want New Yorkers to be ready for the 2020 economy and beyond, we cannot continue to abide the many barriers that keep students from reaching higher,” Owen urged members of the committee.