COVID-19 has turned academia upside down, with remote learning widening racial and income disparities and causing a noticeable drop in post-secondary college enrollments.

Last summer, several U.S. colleges and universities announced they put a temporary hold on the ACT/SAT admissions requirement. At the time, many institutions said the change only applied to the 2020-2021 academic year but with COVID-19 still raging in many parts of the world, it looks like the policy will stick around a little while longer. 

Fair Test: the National Center for Fair and Open Testing reports that at least 1,400 four-year colleges are waiving the ACT/SAT requirement next year. That’s around half of all four-year colleges in the U.S.

“Last year’s sharp spike of admissions exam suspensions was not a one-time phenomenon,” FairTest executive director Bob Schaeffer said in a statement.

“Schools that waived ACT/SAT score requirements during the pandemic generally saw more applicants, better academically qualified academics, and more diversity of all sorts. Now, most are extending those policies for at least another year.”

While many schools insist the policy change remains temporary, it’s too soon to tell if this is, in fact, the start of a lasting trend. Experts point out that entrance exams have been under scrutiny for years, long before COVID-19 threw a wrench in the academic machine.

Advocates for admissions testing say comparing students based on a common and objective metric could create more equitable opportunities for disadvantaged students. 

But studies have raised concerns about cultural and racial bias in the process, and opponents say admissions tests create pressure to elevate test scores, something we all say play out during the 2019  college admissions scandal in the U.S.

See the full list of schools waiving ACT/SAT score requirements here.