High school juniors and seniors in the District of Columbia will be able to take the SAT college entrance exam for free, Mayor Vincent Gray announced Aug. 20.

Doxie McCoy, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said the cost of the SAT test was often a barrier for low-income and poor students in the city. Access to this test will help students pursue a college-level education, she said.

“I’m so pleased that we are able to make this crucial college-entrance exam more accessible to all of our students, making it easier for them to gain admission to institutions of higher education across the country,” Gray said in a statement. “This is part of my commitment to ensure that every student in every part of the District of Columbia has access to a first-rate public education.”

Currently, about 72.3 percent of the students in Washington, D.C. receive free or reduced lunch, the highest percentage of any region in the country, according to a study by National Center for Education Statistics.

“Education reform is a top priority for the mayor,” McCoy said. “This move is about helping to prepare Students for college. It’s another tool to give them access to education.”

The SAT had cost $51 and is published and developed by The College Board. The exam tests students’ application of reading, writing and math to measure their college readiness, competencies and competitiveness.

The D.C. Office of the Superintendent of Education, local education agencies and College Board came together to provide free testing for students in the district as part of their SAT School Day initiative.

“We are very excited that our high school juniors and seniors can now take the SAT, with fewer roadblocks keeping them from their pursuit of success in college and life,” Interim Superintendent of Education Emily Durso said in a statement.

Students will also receive full access for one year to the Official SAT Online Course, the Official SAT Practice Test, and free SAT practice tools.

The superintendent’s office will also provide vouchers for low-income students who wish to take the ACT exam in place of the SAT.

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Krishana Davis

AFRO Staff Writers