The key test for college entry costs students $51 each to take. The price was a concern for Dezia Turner, 17, “I didn’t know how much the SAT was going to cost,” she says. But thanks to a new West Contra Costa Unified School District initiative, Turner will be one of many high school students in Richmond taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test — free of cost.
“Our students don’t traditionally take the SAT,” says Finy Prak, a counselor, who coordinates College Board testing for the West Contra Costa School District. “We want to make sure we eliminate the barriers.”
In the past, a limited number of fee waivers were available to students who qualified for free and reduced-cost lunches. This year the school district will cover testing fees out of the general fund. The board says allowing students to take the test free of charge promotes a culture of college and career readiness.
The cost has not been the only deterrent.
“Even if a student had fee waivers before, something could happen where they weren’t able to make it,” says Angela Tang, a counselor at De Anza High School. “Maybe their ride fell though, maybe their mom had to go to work and they had to stay home and take care of siblings.”
To eliminate transportation problems and other difficulties, the test will be administered during regular school hours.
“More students will take the test now, so I think this is a good thing,” Turner says.