For the first time, every New York City junior will have the chance Wednesday to take the SAT for free during the regular school day.
Typically, the SAT costs $45 and the test is administered on a Saturday at sites across the city — all of which can present barriers for students who lack internet access to register, can’t pay for transportation to the testing site or have other obligations, such as work, on weekends.
The effort is part of the city’s College Access for All initiative, which aims to clear a path to college starting in middle school. Mayor Bill de Blasio, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and City Councilman Daniel Dromm, who chairs the Council’s education committee, touted the free test day on Monday at Queens Vocational and Technical High School in Long Island City.
“For a long time, a lot of kids were told they don’t have a chance to go to college, and that was so often wrong,” de Blasio told a group of juniors. “We’re sending the opposite message now: Anyone who wants to go to college has a chance to make it.”
Fariña told students about her own difficulties signing up for the exam as the first in her family to go to college. She didn’t register until a teacher encouraged her to, and paying for the test proved difficult since her parents didn’t have a checking account.
“I did not even know what an SAT exam was,” she said. “For all of you this is an opportunity to start thinking college.”
The city first began offering the SAT for free at 40 pilot schools in spring 2015. It grew last year to 91 high schools and now the test will be offered to any of the city’s 70,000 juniors who chooses to participate.
Also Wednesday, sophomores can take the PSAT — which helps student prepare for the SAT and is used to determine eligibility for a National Merit Scholarship. The PSAT has been offered in schools since 2007, according to the city.