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VCU announces new focus on GPA, not SAT scores, of incoming students

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Posted at 4:16 PM, Jan 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-27 16:17:31-05

RICHMOND, Va. – In a move that mirrors a national trend, Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao announced Tuesday that VCU will no longer will require SAT scores for some of its students.

During Rao’s annual State of the University address he announced applicants with a high school GPA of 3.3 or higher will not be required to submit SAT scores.

This is in alignment with the relatively new decision of many institutions of higher learning to rely on the GPA as a better predictor of student success.

About 800 universities around the country, including four in Virginia, already have dropped the requirement, Rao said.

VCU is the first of the three research universities in Virginia to do so.

There are instances where the SAT will still be required, for some programs like engineering, and for some of the university’s endowed scholarships.

Rao emphasized that VCU is not lowering its quality standards for students who are admitted, but rather they chose to focus on the GPA over SAT scores, since the GPA has proven to be a better determinant of how well a student will do in college.

Also, Rao said, research has shown that the SAT has racial and socio-economic biases, and VCU’s internal research has verified that.

“We are not denying a transformative education to students who we know would flourish here just because they don’t have a certain SAT score,” Rao said. “So beginning this fall, your ability to succeed at VCU will no longer depend on your ability to pass a test that’s fundamentally flawed.”