University proposes graduate test extension waiver until Fall 2022

The waiver was originally set to expire after Fall 2021 but due to ongoing effects of the pandemic, it was extended until Fall 2022.


Photo courtesy of Ben Mullins via Unsplash.

Natalia Ribeiro, News Editor

At the March 29 Faculty Senate meeting, members voted to extend the waiver of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) for incoming graduate students at the university through the fall of 2022.

The waiver started on Sept. 14, 2020 with a set date to expire after Fall 2021 but due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic, the waiver was extended through the fall of next year. Prior to this, programs could waiver the test on a case by case basis or eliminate test scores by following faculty governance procedures. 

Like the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT), both tests are used as the standardized testing requirement to be accepted into a university. The only difference is GRE and GMAT are used for those wishing to enter graduate programs.

Florida International University (FIU) extended the waiver of these tests this past January until Fall 2022. The University of Central Florida (UCF) chose not to extend their waivers and will be requiring prospective graduate students to submit test scores after the upcoming Fall 2021 semester. 

Faculty senate members cast a vote as “a number of student advocates that are concerned about the cost and accessibility of the standardized tests,” said Dean of the Graduate College Robert Stackman.

In most countries, GRE tests cost $205 but there are some exceptions. The test cost $230 in Australia, $231.30 in China, $213 in India, $226 in Nigeria, and $255 in Turkey. 

Should a student have to reschedule their test or change their testing location, a $50 fee is in place for all countries excluding China, where the fee is $53.90. All fees are in United States dollars and prices are subject to change. 

GMAT tests cost $275 for those in the U.S. with cancellation and rescheduling fees between $50 and $150 depending on the approximate number of days left before the test. Students cannot cancel or reschedule within 24 hours of the testing date. If a student does not cancel or reschedule with more than a day notice, the whole exam will be forfeited. 

International students can check the site to see how much a test and fees cost in their current country of residence. The price ranges of the test go as low as $250 to as high as $285, with fees also ranging from $50 to $155.

All prices for both the GRE and GMAT tests are only accounting for the test itself. Any other fees including test preparation, cancellation, or rescheduling fees are an extra add-on.  

Stackman wrote in an email that individual programs can still require the test scores in order to be admitted to their selected programs. At the master’s program at UCF, the test is optional unless specified by the college of which the students program is in. At FIU, programs that still require the exams can be found on their site for graduate admissions and students can contact the respective college for further information.  

Data is not available at this moment for FAU to know whether the waiver had any impact on the level of applications received according to Stackman, but graduate admissions are using this extension as a way to gain more data.

“The Graduate College is particularly interested in understanding the relationship between the waiver of standardized test scores and the impact on the number of applications and the demographics of applicants,” said Stackman.

Universities use a variety of supporting materials to determine which students will be best fit for programs. These include transcripts, resumes, letters of reference, interviews, among many others. 

Since the waiver of the tests, the Graduate College is recommending that all programs adopt a “holistic” approach to reviewing applications. Holistic means that all the components of an application are considered, with no single item being weighed more than others. 

Holistic review may take more time for admissions committees to complete, but the goal is to have a better understanding of issues like the applicant’s preparation for the rigors of graduate training, experience with independent research and scholarship, their grit and resilience – characteristics that are not easily gleaned from scores on standardized tests or the applicant’s GPA,” Stackman said.

At this moment, the Graduate College admissions team is confirming with each graduate program as to whether they want to continue to opt into the waiver or to require the test. 

Natalia Ribeiro is a news editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories email [email protected] or tweet her @nataliar_99.