MCPS supplies free ACT, SAT vouchers to students

By Brandon Li, Online News Editor

MCPS is now offering a free SAT or ACT voucher for every junior.


In order to receive the free voucher, students must apply through the Counseling Department or the College/Career Center. Students complete a form, including a photo, and return it to the College/Career Center. The voucher only applies for the May 5 and June 2 SAT, as well as the Apr. 14 and June 9 ACT tests.


“Having a free opportunity to take a test is a great opportunity for our students and MCPS students,” College/Career Information Coordinator Luana Zimmerman said.


For the SAT, registration for the voucher must be completed on paper. To receive the voucher for the May 5 test, students must register by Mar. 16. To receive the voucher for the June 2 test, students must register by Apr. 20.


“I think that it is nice that MCPS is paying for one of our tests,” junior Matthew Sun said. “If I did not take the SAT already, I would for sure have used my voucher for the test.”


For the ACT, the College/Career Center will be holding multiple group registration times before the registration deadlines. To receive the voucher for the Apr. 14 test, students may register on either Feb. 7 or Mar. 9. To receive the voucher for the June 9 test, students may register on Mar. 9, Apr. 5 or May 4.


“While the SAT registration process is on paper, ACT registration is all online,” Zimmerman said. “The requirement for students is to register with a staff member and if they want to add something, like the essay portion, they’ll need to have a credit card.”


Although the voucher covers the cost of taking the SAT or ACT, it does not cover the cost of either test’s writing section, so students who plan on taking the writing portion as well will only need to pay for that section; this is an additional $14 for the SAT and $16.50 for ACT. To add the essay portion, students will have to log into their College Board accounts after registration, add the essay portion and pay online via credit card.


“Paying for the multiple choice section of the tests is good enough,” Sun said.


Without a voucher, the cost to take the SAT is $46. By taking the test with the essay portion, the total cost will be $60. On the flip side, the ACT costs $46 without the writing portion and $62.50 with it.


“Students are going to be able to save some money,” Zimmerman said.


Although some view the cost for either test financially manageable, some find it tough to pay for it, whether it being an issue with income or other circumstances. Allowing students to take a test for free will alleviate the financial burden for some.


“I thought it would be nice to get a free SAT in case I have to take it multiple times,” junior Brian Gold said. “I used the voucher to save money.”


The reason why MCPS is offering a free SAT or ACT for all juniors is because the Maryland College and Career Readiness and College Completion Act of 2013 (CCRCCA) requires that juniors be assessed in english and math.


According to the CHS website, MCPS uses the SAT and ACT to measure whether or not students meet the requirement of the CCRCCA.