April 16, 2020


Karen Ogden
Communications Director
406-449-9173 (o); 406-788-4375 (c)


Regents make standardized tests scores optional, temporarily, for MUS admittance
Most Montana students are expected to complete the ACT exam as usual


The Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education on Thursday voted to temporarily suspend the Montana University System’s requirement that students provide ACT or SAT test scores for admission to its 4-year campuses.

The change, which is effective today through Sept. 1, 2021, recognizes the disruption COVID-19 has created for students, potentially interfering with test preparation and the logistics of taking the ACT exam.

The ACT test serves as an assessment tool for K-12 schools, measures college preparedness and helps colleges with placement of incoming students, explained Brock Tessman, Deputy Commissioner of Academic, Research & Student Affairs. The ACT has been Montana’s state standardized exam for high school students since 2016 for federal accountability purposes. The exam is administered by the Montana Office of Public Instruction and funded through a grant from the Montana University System.

“While we expect nearly the same, or very nearly the same, number of students to take the exam this year, we want to recognize the many new challenges they face and ensure that testing is not a barrier to entering the Montana University System,” Tessman said.

Students are still encouraged to submit their ACT or SAT scores, however they are not required for admission to the Montana University System’s four-year campuses. The BOR today approved additional temporary admissions options as follows:


  • A cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 or higher; or
  • A cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or higher AND an Algebra II course grade of C or better.


  • A cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 or higher; or
  • A cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or higher AND a course grade of C or better in an 11th grade English course.

Students competing for certain merit scholarships, most notably MUS Honor Scholarships, will need to provide ACT or SAT scores.

Last month, the Montana University System and the Office of Public Instruction announced that Montana juniors will have the opportunity to take the ACT free of charge this coming fall semester of their senior year.

Normally, current high school juniors would take the ACT this spring, however, that will not be possible because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Instead, high schools will have the ability to administer the ACT on October 6 with a makeup test October 20.