Impact of losing free ACT exams in the Quad Cities

Ongoing budget issues may leave school districts or students paying for the ACT

By Krista Burris

Published 07/27 2015 10:17PM

Updated 07/27 2015 10:24PM

A key factor on a college application could be harder to get for some students in Illinois taking the A.C.T.
 
The ongoing budget issues in Springfield might keep students from taking the test on the state's dime.
 
The A.C.T has been a rite of passage for high school juniors in Illinois.
 
For years, they've been able to take the test once for free, but that could change.
 
School districts or students might have to foot the bill. 
 
"For me personally it wouldn't be that big of a deal, but I know for a lot of kids at Rocky, there's a lot of kids who won't be able to afford that," said Rock Island High School senior Darrin Sierra.
 
Sierra's already taken his free A.C.T. test and plans to take it again in the fall to boost his college application.
 
"You have more practice with it, and you have more experience with it so it may be easier coming toward you with that." 
 
Without a state budget deal, local school districts have to figure out who's going to pay for the A.C.T.
 
Administrators with the Rock Island and the United Township school districts say it's possible their students would have to pay for the test, but nothing's final.
 
Moline's assistant superintendent says his district will see if it can come up with the money.
 
"With budget shakeups in the state, we just don't know what funding is going to be out there."
 
Without financial support, students will be on the hook for almost $60 to take the full test.
 
Sierra says students who don't have the money could miss out on a college opportunity if they don't have a score for schools to see. 
 
"If someone has an ACT score and someone doesn't, they're obviously going to pick that one kid."
 
About 60 districts across the state signed up to pay for the exam including some affluent districts around Chicago.
 
Some larger districts would have to pay around $100 thousand.
 
It wouldn't be as much for the smaller districts around the Quad Cities, but it still might be too much for them to handle.

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