Graduate programs across the U.S. are agreeing to waive the Graduate Record Examinations General Test requirement as part of their admissions process.
The GRE is a standardized test many graduate schools require in their applications.
College of Liberal Arts responded to an email, saying, “Most of the PhD programs in the College of Liberal Arts decided to make the test scores optional for this application cycle due to the Covid-19 pandemic, access to testing sites, and the possible difficulties in accessing the necessary equipment…”
University spokesperson Ray Betzner said this is a decision made at the school or college level, not at the university level.
As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, testing centers across the country closed, which led the GRE to adopt an online format of the test, so students could take the test remotely from home.
This decision raised concerns about fair access to the mandatory technology and materials needed to be able to take the test online.
Test-takers must have a computer with a webcam- smartphones and tablets are not allowed. A strong internet connection is also required. The test must be taken alone, in a private room at home. Any library or tech lab is out of the question. If test-takers plan on taking any notes, a white board is the only material allowed to be used.
“To have to worry about getting a computer or going somewhere with a good internet connection or just getting internet in general is just adding more to the cost” Luz Mejia, a Temple School of Pharmacy graduate student, said.
Students were outraged at all of the requirements for the standardized test, noting that it puts lower income and rural applicants at a disadvantage.
“It’s so much harder for people of lower income to just apply” Mejia added.
The fee to take the test costs more than two hundred dollars, and since graduate programs are waiving it, the GRE agency has only agreed to refund half of payments that have already been made.
Some other costs include the cost of prep books.
Senior Alex Stroup said that is the reason he is slightly upset with the decision.
“I spent so much money on the textbooks just to find out that we didn’t even need to take it” he said.