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Idaho will pay for SAT for high school juniors

BOISE – Idaho high school juniors can now take the SAT for free, state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna announced Wednesday.

State lawmakers in 2007 required completion of a college entrance exam by the end of the junior year as a graduation requirement, starting with the class of 2013. This year, at Luna’s urging, they appropriated $963,500 for a statewide contract to pay for the tests. After a competitive bid process, the State Department of Education selected the SAT and signed a one-year contract with the College Board.

A College Board spokeswoman said just two other states, Maine and Delaware, have similar contracts with the firm to pay for all high school juniors’ tests.

“Our goal is for every Idaho child to be college- and career-ready,” Luna said. “For the first time, every Idaho student will have the opportunity to take a college entrance exam, paid for by the state, and to know whether they are prepared for the rigors of postsecondary education.”

Under the contract, students will take the SAT for free during their school day. They can still take other college entrance exams, such as the ACT, at their own expense.

Melissa McGrath, spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, said both the SAT and the ACT offer financial assistance to qualifying low-income students for testing costs. Eligible students still could access that aid to take the ACT or take the SAT at different times, she said.

The contract also covers various SAT test-prep tools for students.

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