Transcript: March 6, 2023


Another big school just got rid of its SAT/ACT testing requirement for admission. Are they about to be a thing of the past? 

Plus – a pandemic benefit is about to end – and it’s putting the food security of millions at risk.

Those stories and more, today on Notice News.

Columbia University Removes SAT Requirement

Happy Monday, everyone. I’m Angie here at Notice D.C. Usually, getting into an Ivy League school requires top grades, extracurricular achievement, and lots of hard work. But at Columbia University in New York City, the one thing you won’t need soon are good SAT scores… or, any SAT scores.

That’s because Columbia is officially becoming “test optional,” meaning it’s dropping the requirement that prospective students take standardized tests as part of the undergraduate admissions process.

The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a three-hour test with three sections — reading, writing and language, and math — that schools can use to weigh a college application. Columbia says it instead plans to weigh each applicant’s unique journey, including “the rigor of a student’s curriculum, their academic achievement, and their demonstrated intellectual curiosity”…

They say students who don’t submit SAT or ACT scores won’t be at a disadvantage.

Columbia is the first Ivy League school to officially get rid of this requirement. Several other colleges though, including Harvard, Princeton, and NYU, temporarily dropped standardized test requirements during the pandemic, when it became difficult for students to schedule them.

Over 1,800 universities still have temporary “test optional” practices in place.

Some critics have long argued against standardized tests, believing they are racially biased in favor of white and Asian-American students. Others believe the tests are also slanted towards affluent students, who can better afford private coaching and expensive test prep.

And, studies have shown that high school grades alone are a better indication of a student’s likelihood to graduate and future college performance.


Here’s what else is making news right now…

After being called out for a number of wide-ranging lies, New York House Representative George Santos is officially under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, to determine whether he engaged in illegal activity during his 2022 congressional campaign.

Daylight Saving Time begins next week, when we’ll set our clocks ahead by one hour. But soon, changing clocks might be a thing of the past. A bill to make Daylight Saving Time permanent all year ‘round is getting a renewed push in Congress.

And – say goodbye to Billie Eilish – at least on social media. The 7-time Grammy Award winner says she’s deleted all her social media apps due to her complicated relationship with the internet.

SNAP Benefits Changing for Millions 

The Covid-19 pandemic changed everyone’s way of life, but for many low-income families, things are about to get more complicated.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called SNAP for short, gives low income households a set amount of money to spend on food each month.

Prior to 2020, most states coordinated the amount of money given based on the income of each household.

But after the pandemic hit, states were allowed to max out those amounts to anyone that qualified.

Now as the acute phase of the pandemic winds down, at the end of March, the federal government is making big cuts to the program.

Many people will receive less benefits, and some people won’t qualify for SNAP at all, as the cost of food continues to climb.

SOT: “We’re still dealing with COVID. We’re still dealing with a lot of people that lost their jobs and prices are going up. Gas, you know, food, eggs, what? $9.99 for 18 eggs, like, you know, so it’s… I don’t know. People that have children. You know, it goes beyond that. It goes with hygiene items, it goes with diapers, formula, all of that.”

Experts say the boost in benefits kept 4.2 million people out of poverty, and anti-hunger advocates worry that these cuts could reverse that.

SOT: “Decrease in benefits, in the SNAP benefits, is going to hit families and individuals at a time when food prices have increased 10% over the last year. So that’s going to put more pressure on food banks and our partner agency network to provide food because these are already families and people struggling to meet all of their basic needs. So we’re kind of holding on for another increase in the demand for food.”

With a split Congress, it’s unlikely this decision will be reversed. Republicans, who now control the House of Representatives, have hinted they may make SNAP qualifications even stricter.


That’s it for today – but let’s see how closely you were paying attention. Go take the Notice News quiz on our website

Jonathan will be back tomorrow with more from us, Notice News.