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NKU Launches a Holistic Test-Optional
Approach to Undergraduate Admissions


Oct. 9, 2020 —  Northern Kentucky University announces significant changes to its admissions and student support process including eliminating standardized test scores, such as the ACT and SAT for many students applying for the Fall 2021 semester.

NKU will implement a simplified admissions process that reduces barriers to higher education for diverse learners. This is one of the goals of the university’s strategic framework, Success by Design, to challenge NKU to become a more student-ready and regionally engaged institution. Freshman applicants with an unweighted 2.75 or greater high school GPA are automatically admitted to NKU without submitting standardized test scores. Applicants with an unweighted GPA lower than 2.75 will need to submit ACT or SAT scores as part of the admissions application.

“Multiple studies have shown that student high-school grade point averages are significantly stronger predictors of college success than standardized test scores,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya. “This is an opportunity for accelerating change towards an equity-focused approach to student success. We must break down barriers, meet the needs of diverse learners and create greater access opportunities to an NKU education.”

“We must break down barriers, meet the needs of diverse learners and create greater access opportunities to an NKU education."

NKU’s commitment to student success remains top of mind throughout the pandemic. Adopting a test-optional admissions process allows NKU to look at applicants holistically instead of reducing the decision to a mere test score and GPA. Along with eliminating the test score requirement, NKU is waiving application fees through November 15.

“We changed our admissions requirements and aligned them with institutional aid to be more equitable and enable greater student success. Our research demonstrates that the high school GPA is the best predictor of student's long-term success,” said Kimberly Scranage, NKU’s vice president for Enrollment and Degree Management. “NKU is unique because of the way we're uplifting students through enhanced academic support. Our Pathfinder Program and Student Success plans offer comprehensive resources for helping students have a successful academic journey and timely graduation.”

NKU continues investing in high-impact initiatives that address affordability, including an undergraduate tuition freeze for the 2020-21 academic year and making education more accessible for out-of-state learners with the EDGE program. NKU offers merit- and need-based support for first-year students, and in-state scholarships are also automatically awarded to those who meet criteria.

Visit NKU’s Admissions website for more information on all of the university’s programs.


About NKU: Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 15,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit