States, districts, and schools that participate in SAT School Day give the test to students at their own school during regular school hours—usually at no cost to students. By doing so, they make the SAT available to more students, including those who think college is out of reach.
SAT School Day continues to grow rapidly. In the 2017-18 school year, nearly one million students participated in SAT School Day, compared to about 800,000 in 2016-17.
Universal SAT Adoption and College Attendance
The increase in SAT School Day participation coincides with the growing consensus among researchers that students are more likely to go to college when they can take the SAT at school for free.
Joshua Hyman's recent independent research in Michigan suggests that when states administer a college entrance exam to all public high school students, their college attendance rates increase—and low-income students benefit the most. This echoes the findings from a 2015 College Board study: four-year college-going rates among public high school students in Maine increased significantly when they were all offered the SAT for free.
In 2017-18, 10 states (Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and West Virginia) and the District of Columbia covered the cost of the SAT for all their public school students. By comparison, only Delaware, Idaho, Maine, and the District of Columbia did so in 2014-15.
Students who participate in SAT School Day don’t have to find transportation or juggle weekend jobs and other responsibilities to take the test.
Low-income students also get the same benefits as students who take the SAT with a fee waiver on a weekend. These include:
- Retaking the SAT for free
- Sending their scores to an unlimited number of colleges for free
- Applying to participating colleges for free
- Applying for financial aid with CSS Profile for free