Three HBCUs in North Carolina Get a Break on SAT Threshold Requirements

logoIn 2011, the University of North Carolina System instituted a higher threshold for combined SAT scores in order to be considered for admission to any campus of the system. Once again in 2013, the threshold was increased by another 50 points. Students are now required to score at least 800 on the combined reading and mathematics section of the SAT college entrance examination.

The SAT threshold has had a disparate impact on African Americans who, on average, score about 200 points lower than Whites on the reading and mathematics sections of the SAT. North Carolina Central University, the historically Black educational institution in Durham, reports that it was obliged to reject 292 students last year who had 3.0 grade point averages in high school but did not meet the SAT threshold. Several HBCUs in the North Carolina system reported drops in enrollments after the new SAT thresholds were introduced.

Now the board of governors of the University of North Carolina System has instituted a three-year pilot program where in-state applicants to North Carolina Central University, Fayetteville State University, and Elizabeth City State University – all historically Black institutions – may admit students with SAT scores lower than 800 if they achieved a high grade point average in high school. Under the program, students with a high school grade point average of 3.0 and who score 750 or more on the combined SAT will be eligible for admission.

More details on the Minimum Admission Requirement (MAR) pilot program is available here.

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  1. There should be more emphasis on K-12 preparation instead of lowering the bar at the top end. The HBCUs in North Carolina should encourage more rigor and preparation for prospective students in K-12 education. This is probably a contributing factor in the lower six year graduation rates at these colleges. Opportunity + Preparation = Success.

  2. Until the larger society (e.g., state and federal legislators) decides to expend more fiscal and material resources in Pre-K through high school, we shouldn’t be surprised how some Black students perform on the socially engineered exams called the ACT or SAT. There’s no correlation between a students performance on the SAT or ACT and their success while in undergraduate or even graduate school. In fact, even the ETS inform instructs university admission counselors that a students score on the ACT, SAT, or GRE should not be used as the sole determining factor when considering admissions.

    I would venture in saying that until the paradigm of anti-intellectual behavior is reversed for the society at-large, we will continue to see a downslope in academic performance for Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and Asians respectively. Unfortunately; Black students do not have the luxury of not performing academically, making up excuses, or perpetuating negative stereotypes about not excelling in the classroom.

    I never hear anyone discussing what colleges and universities low performing White students attend after graduating from high school. Yes, these students attend the Morrill Land Grant (1862) schools from Auburn, University of Arizona, UC-Berkeley, University of Delaware, University of Georgia, University of Maryland, College Park, Michigan State University, Cornell University to Penn State University. Further, the overall graduation rates for “all universities and colleges” is near a dismal 55 percent.

    Does anyone find it rather hypocritical that the UNC Board of Governors thrive on dictating policies that will explicitly deny Black students the opportunity to attend an HBCU. Yet, the HWCUs in the UNC system still treat Black students as second class citizens particularly if you’re there in a purely academic capacity as compared to those in labor capacity playing football and basketball.

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