CALIFORNIA—On Thursday, May 21 the University of California announced that it will drop the SAT and ACT tests as admissions requirements for California residents until 2024, and eliminate the need to review test scores after that.

The Board of Regent, the UC system’s governing body, voted 23-0 to approve a proposal by UC President Janet Napolitano that will gradually phase out the test over the next 5 years, at which point the UC system aims to have developed an admissions test of its own.

Under the approved plan, the SAT and ACT will be optional for students applying for the academic semesters spanning from 2021 to 2023.

Napolitano asked the school’s academic organization to collaborate with administration on a plan for out-of-state and international students who will apply in 2023 and beyond.

Before this decision was reached, the UC system had already made the test optional for students applying for 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

In 2025, the UC system will either have to replace the SAT and ACT requirements with its own required test for applicants, or if it is unable to create an exam by that time, will have to eliminate any standardized testing requirement altogether.

After the UC released its decision, the College Board, which owns and operates the SAT, released the following statement: “Regardless of what happens with such policies, our mission remains the same: to give all students, and especially low-income and first-generation students, opportunities to show their strength. We must also address the disparities in coursework and classrooms that the evidence shows most drive inequity in California.”

During the next few years, SAT and ACT scores can still be optionally submitted to help calculate a California resident’s eligibility for First-Decision applications, or to gauge if they could be eligible to higher placement in courses. Submission of the scores will not affect the final admissions decision.

As a result of the decision, campus officials will be faced with the task of assessing how to adjust to the new decision, and how they should evaluate thousands of applicants without test scores.