Kansas students can take ACT exam for free in February

OLATHE, Kan. — Jaharia Cheral and Arriona Shorter are starting their Junior year at Olathe North High School.

Cheral, an aspiring anesthesiologist, has been thinking of taking the ACT for a while.

"My career is really involved with math and science so I kind of have to take it," Cheral said.

And for Shorter, the cost was a concern.

"When I found out you have to pay for it I was like, 'Uhhhh,'" Shorter said.

But the future corporate lawyer plans to sign up this school year because all Kansas high school juniors will be able to take ACT exams and assessments for free.

As part of the new school finance plan, the legislature allocated $2.8 million to fund this initiative. 

"We have students who in the past wouldn't have had the ability to pay for ACTs and probably weren't comfortable asking for assistance to pay for it and so we know that we'll be capturing students who wouldn't have had that opportunity before," said Brent Yeager, assistant superintendent for learning services at Olathe Public Schools.

The funding will only cover the test administrated in February.

Usually, students will pay $50 for the ACT exam and an additional $16.50 for an optional writing assessment.

And with other expenses, it can quickly add up.

"There's college applications. There's College Now classes. There's the AP tests. There's a lot of things to consider and they build up over time and this is just one of them and you know to take it off that list," Amandeep Nagra, an 11th grader, said.

Juniors aren't the only ones who can take advantage of this opportunity. Kansas educators are encouraging seniors who haven't taken the ACT to do so in February.

"There's a significant focus on college and career readiness and so obviously having kids do well and see where they perform on the ACT helps us as a system but also as a school know how well we're preparing our students for college," Yeager said.

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