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December 13, 2019

SIU Carbondale to end SAT/ACT admissions requirements

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale will no longer require the SAT or ACT test for admission, aligning with a national trend to make standardized tests optional.

“Research has consistently demonstrated that the most important predictor of college success is the high school grade point average,” said Chancellor John M. Dunn. “Standardized tests can be a barrier to many students due to cost and demographic factors. We have a responsibility to level the playing field and ensure that every student with potential has an opportunity to study at SIU.”

According to the FairTest, a national organization that advocates for fairness in the college admissions process, more than 1,000 institutions have made standardized tests optional, including the University of Chicago, the University of Arizona and Kansas State University. The board of trustees at Indiana University recently voted to allow faculty on its campuses to decide whether tests are required, and the leaders of the University of California and California State systems have advocated for the approach.

At SIU Carbondale, applicants with a high school grade point average of 2.75 or above who have met course requirements will be admitted to the university regardless of whether they submit their SAT or ACT scores. Students enrolling for summer or fall 2021 with a 2.75 or above will be eligible for consideration for most scholarships without submitting standardized test scores.

Standardized tests tend to favor students who come from high socio-economic families and whose parents have a college education, according to FairTest.

“SIU has a long history of attracting strong students from diverse backgrounds, and we want to make sure this tradition continues,” Dunn said. “More than 40 percent of our students are the first in their families to go to college. In fact, we have just launched a First Saluki Center to support our first-generation students.”

SIU also offers in-state tuition rates to any U.S. student, Dunn said.

“Our goal is to eliminate as many barriers to a college education as possible,” he added. “SIU Carbondale is a national university that gives students opportunities to engage in research and other hands-on learning experiences in the freshman year. We have a lot to offer students who are seeking a high-quality education in a friendly, supportive environment.”

The university’s test-optional plan is effective immediately.

Dunn said the decision to set the cut-off at a 2.75 grade point average is based on the university’s review of students who have been successful at SIU.

“Students come to us with a wide range of GPAs and test scores,” he said. “We know that those with a GPA of 2.75 or above are successful here, in part due to the strength and commitment of our faculty. GPAs are a reliable indicator because they reflect a student’s willingness to put forth effort and engage in the learning process – both factors that contribute to positive outcomes in college.”

Undergraduate students whose grade-point-averages are below 2.75 will continue to be eligible for admission based on submitted ACT or SAT scores. The automatic admission criteria include pathways for students who score a 23 or higher on the ACT or who are in the top 10% of their high school graduating class.  Certain academic programs may continue to require additional admission requirements.

Admission decisions for those not automatically eligible for admission will continue to be reviewed for consideration for provisional admission to SIU using a number of other factors.  The admissions requirements for international students will not change, Dunn added.

To learn more and apply, students can visit