ACT free for select students

First time juniors, seniors receive waiver

More stories from Kaeden Thurber

This year a state-wide opportunity for juniors and seniors has been introduced to select high schools throughout the country; the American College Testing (ACT) is free for juniors. Additionally, senior students who have not already taken the ACT are able to participate as well. The ACT is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States.

Kansas legislators approved a 2.8 million dollar finance bill on May 22 to provide the ACT. In addition to Kansas, 17 other states have also paid for their juniors and

seniors to take the standardized test.

Counselor Jana Crittenden said she thinks it could increase the amount of students that participate in the ACT.

“We didn’t know this was going to be an opportunity. We don’t know if it will be an opportunity in the future,” Crittenden said.

The free ACT testing will be offered statewide on Feb, 20, 2019. Additionally, any junior in Kansas who takes the ACT WorkKeys assessment will have the chance to receive an ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate. Three tests are required to qualify for this certificate; applied math, workplace documents and graphic literacy.

In past years, the testing has cost $50.50 with a additional fee of $16.50 upon taking an optional writing portion. According to a student from a high-income family is six times as likely to earn a college degree than a low-income student. Students who qualify for reduced lunch rates qualify for an ACT waiver with the max amount of waivers that can be used being two. The free ACT gives low income students a third free chance to take it.

“It’s a great opportunity to save yourself like fifty bucks if you’re planning on taking the ACT anyway. Or, if you’ve already taken the ACT, most students take it twice so it would be an opportunity for a free test,” Crittenden said.

Senior Jillian Kelley believes the free ACT option provides a positive opportunity for students.

“I think that students definitely will take advantage of the ACT. I know I would because I would take it more times to improve my score,” Kelley said.

Junior Brooke Petersen however fears there is a downfall with the ACT being free this year.

“I think students will take the ACT less seriously because they can pay for a second try,” Peterson said.

Due to the number of available students to take the test, the school administration is still figuring out how to provide the ACT during a school day. In order to provide the test for students the administration will first have to find a way to give students an equal environment for testing.

“If every junior takes the ACT that’s 230 odd students, and then, if we include seniors, there could be 30 to 40 seniors. How do we logistically have school and administer to that many students in our building?” Crittenden said.

Further details such as the location of testing, available opportunities, and registration dates will follow.