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New policy gives students another option to qualify for merit scholarships
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln will no longer require high school students to submit standardized college admissions test scores to qualify for university admission or scholarships, under a policy approved by the Nebraska Board of Regents Aug. 14.
The new policy adds a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to the list of criteria for nonresidents to be considered for merit scholarships. Previously, out-of-state students were required to rank in the top 25% of their high school class, or to score 23 or higher on the ACT or the equivalent on the SAT, to be considered for university merit scholarships.
This change aligns with updates made to university admission criteria in February, which added a minimum 3.0 GPA to assured admission performance criteria that was previously only based on class rank and ACT or SAT scores.
Nebraska enrollment officials say the changed policy is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the move to remote learning may have hampered students’ ability to take the ACT as scheduled.
“The new test-optional policy that allows students to be eligible for scholarships without a test score is an expression of our belief in the power of every person,” said Matthew Ellis, executive director for enrollment services. “In this disrupted environment where students may experience inconsistent access to standardized testing, we will continue to look for students’ strengths through our holistic admission and scholarship review process.”
The new policy applies across the NU system. NU President Ted Carter said it reflects two national trends: Many high schools no longer calculate students’ class rank, and COVID-19 has disrupted the standardized test process and college planning.
“Our highest priority is taking care of students and families,” Carter said. “That includes students outside Nebraska who want to be part of the University of Nebraska family.”
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln continues to invite students to submit ACT or SAT scores when available. Scholarship decisions will be based upon where a student demonstrates their strongest academic performance. In some cases, a strong GPA alone may qualify them for an award; in other cases, it may be the combination of their GPA and test score. In all cases, the students will be offered the highest award they are eligible for, with or without the inclusion of an ACT or SAT.
“The Board of Regents’ important policy decision was needed to expand this scholarship policy to nonresidents, and students from both Nebraska and out of state will be eligible for admission and scholarships at UNL without an ACT or SAT score,” Ellis said.