Anchorage, Alaska – Alaska Pacific University (APU) has chosen to become a test-blind school and will no longer consider standardized test scores when determining undergraduate admissions or merit-based scholarships. APU is the first university in Alaska to implement this change in procedure. The decision continues the university’s mission to expand equity and access initiatives for all students.
“For many low-income students and students of color, standardized testing is a barrier to higher education,” said Director of Admissions Toni Riley. “Years of research has shown that standardized testing is biased against Black, Latina/Latino/Latinx, Native, and some Asian students. Likewise, wealthier students who can afford test prep courses and retests are rewarded with greater scholarships. Even the location of testing sites is tied to privilege and access. By removing test scores from our undergraduate admissions process, we’re eliminating a bias and a burden that hinders many potential students, while cutting ties with a testing industry that continues to perpetuate systemic racism.”
As a test-blind university, the APU Admissions office will take a more holistic and meaningful approach to each applicant by prioritizing their experiences and goals in place of test scores. Scholarship consideration will follow a similar procedure, offering students equal access to an affordable education.
“It is not enough to only remove testing as a barrier at the admissions level,” Riley added. “With the rising costs of higher education, it is imperative that university scholarships also be awarded without referencing test scores.”
The test-blind decision is one of many APU procedures designed to remove barriers to college. APU students can register for classes up until the semester or term begins. Students are also considered for merit-based scholarships at the time they apply, minimizing the need for multiple applications to secure funding. With a 7-to-1 student-faculty ratio, each APU student receives direct support to succeed.
“At APU, we pride ourselves on the individualized attention each student receives. Our students are more than their test scores, and we want that to be clear to all interested students,” said Acting President Hilton Hallock. “This change will create a more diverse and equally accomplished student body. The decision to go test-blind matches our strategic plan for the university: we aim to cultivate a multicultural community where people love to learn and work, and we plan to continuously assess our processes to ensure we’re always improving as a university. We’re proud to be the first university in Alaska implementing this change in procedure.”
The test-blind policy for undergraduate admissions is effective immediately. Applications are still being accepted for the Fall 2021 semester.