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Rise in test-score fees may bar university applicants

It has once more become harder to get into college. The reason? The price of two tests critical to college admission went up, making it even harder for students to afford college.

Responding to a trend in education that places increased emphasis on writing skills, the companies responsible for development and distribution of the nation’s foremost two college entrance exams, the ACT and the SAT, have added writing sections to their respective tests, and, subsequently, a significant amount of money to their testing fees.

The SAT, which previously cost $29.50, now costs $41.50 per examination. The ACT is offered as a core test sans writing exam for $28; with, each test goes for $42. The written portion of the ACT comes a la carte only because not all universities require it for admission. As it is the standard on the SAT, however, universal requirement is merely an inevitability.

Quite simply put, these fees are too high.

A prospective university student taking each test once and submitting his or her results to four schools can expect to pay at least $183.50: $83.50 for the privilege of being ranked by a standardized test, $72 for four copies (at $18 apiece) of the student’s SAT transcript and $28 for four copies of said student’s ACT transcript. Still to be considered are the cost of retests, Advanced Placement examinations, college application fees and any tutoring the student might seek out.

The prices of these tests have gone from exorbitant to prohibitive. College must remain affordable. To burden 17- and 18-year-old students with hundreds of dollars in fees for required tests is unconscionable.

Especially for students that are hard pressed for money, the increased prices could mean they will not make it into college at all. If they cannot come up with the money for the test, students will not even have the chance to apply.

Making it harder to get a college education is hardly acceptable, but the increase of fees does just that.