Alaska Pacific University (APU) has joined a small but growing number of schools that no longer consider standardized SAT and ACT test scores when determining undergraduate admissions or merit-based scholarships. The school announced earlier this month that it is the first university in Alaska to make this change.

In explaining the change, APU leadership used some of the key talking points made popular by critical race theory activists that claim nearly all U.S. cultural institutions are fundamentally racist at their core. This aspersion is especially levied against those entities, such as schools, which reward applicants based on merit and past achievement.

Like some other schools across the nation, APU’s decision is based on a belief that standardized tests are irredeemably tainted by systemic racism and biased against minority students and those who are low income.

It’s not clear, however, that APU’s decision to dump admission tests is based on any actual problem with regard to racial or ethnic diversity at the school.

“Years of research has shown that standardized testing is biased against Black, Latina/Latino/Latinx, Native, and some Asian students,” said Director of Admissions Toni Riley. “Likewise, wealthier students who can afford test prep courses and retests are rewarded with greater scholarships.”

Riley claimed that even the location of testing sites is “tied to privilege and access.”

“By removing test scores from our undergraduate admissions process, we’re eliminating a bias and a burden that hinders many potential students, while cutting ties with a testing industry that continues to perpetuate systemic racism,” Riley added.

It’s not clear, however, that APU’s decision to dump admission tests is based on any actual problem with regard to racial or ethnic diversity at the school. According to, which ranks diversity in schools across the country, APU is considered “extremely racially/ethnically diverse.” For example, white students comprise only 54% of APU’s 529 students, while 65% of Alaskans overall identify as white.

In moving away from objective tests to a more subjective admission approach, APU says it will take a “more holistic and meaningful approach to each applicant by prioritizing their experiences and goals in place of test scores.” The new policy also applies to awarding merit-based scholarships.

Acting President Hilton Hallock said APU’s policy reflects the school’s belief that “students are more than their test scores.”

“The decision to go test-blind matches our strategic plan for the university: we aim to cultivate a multicultural community where people love to learn and work, and we plan to continuously assess our processes to ensure we’re always improving as a university,” Hilton added.

While proudly celebrating its new progressive admissions policy, the university has not figured out how to entirely jettisoned the idea of considering academic performance when admitting students. The school still requires official high school and college transcripts, and a high school grade point average of 2.5 or higher based on a 4.0 scale. Additionally, international students must submit all their grade transcripts pass an English language test prior to admission.

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Alaska university claims admission tests are racist, won’t use them in 2021

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Sharon Turner says:

    So, do you want a doctor, therapist, trash collector, TEACHER, School board member, etc., who cannot read, think, debate learn basic history, morals, ethics, and be able to, with rudiments of common sense? What have the traits “content of their character” got to do with race? A quote probably misquoted by Dostoyevski (sp?) ‘when there is NO God.. everything is permissable.

  • Steve Peterson says:

    APU, once AMU, (Methodist) is basically just another trendy, secular college trying to keep up with the failing L48 colleges. The state universities are following the woke trend as well. If you are pouring money into the system on behalf of yourself or your child, you are part of the problem. It is possible to get a better, cheaper, and less “progressive” education elsewhere or online. This is coming from a (once proud) UAF alumnus.

  • Mike Moore says:

    So, lets see, if you are not bright enough scholastically you get to go to College anyway. Therefore lowering the bar that contradicts the concept of higher education. But, other than this lets look at the nuts and bolts of this concept .Unless you’re an exchange student, you are an American a Caucasian, Latino, Black, or other student. That means your culture is American, and because you are American you have had every privilege and opportunity to achieve what ever goals you have set, with hard work and effort no matter where you live in this country. The rub here is the attempt to keep this nation divided. Are we not to treat everyone equal? So why is there a need to change tests, and other criteria when we are all Americans with equal rights to the privilege of education. That’s right, education used to be a privilege for the rich regardless of how bright you were, if you didn’t have the money you didn’t go to college regardless of race. For those who came here and gained legal citizenship and now believe they are disadvantaged because of their culture, I would quote one of the greatest Presidents this nation produced in the last 150 years. “We can have no ’50 -50′ allegiance in this country. Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is NOT an American at all”. (Theodore Roosevelt) We may consist of many other cultures and none are entitled or privileged than another, although affirmative action has warped that concept in the past and present. What we should always proudly be, are Americans first, and celebrate our own cultural heritage and traditions within our home as not to forget where we came from and how far we’ve now come! Shame on any Colleges that would think that this is nothing more than a division of our people in this country, racist, and un-American.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    Barely over 500 students? Well as they seek to dilute the requirements for entrance and likely also the academics, even such a low student number will slide further. along with quality of education. An example of the elevation of mediocrity. Thank goodness for distance Ed that gives serious students more options without leaving Alaska.

  • Jennifer says:

    None of this makes sense. Wouldn’t the solution to “the blacks, Hispanics and some Asians are too feeble to study for and take an admissions test” be to provide outreach to blacks, Hispanics and Asians who want to study and pass the test?

    No the answer is eliminate testing. Great! Can’t wait to drive over a bridge built by a student who was too feeble to sign up for and pass a basic standardized test. Fun times ahead for all.

  • Michael says:

    My thought is different from a lot of the others, sometimes in high school and such we don’t take the future seriously or realize the immense impact those grades will have on ones future. Many teens may slack until life happens in the adult world and you realize that college opens a lot of opportunities that otherwise are solidly shut. So, then when you get on a better track it’s difficult for any university to give you a chance because of your grades from years ago as an immature adolescent. I’m attending college now but only by Gods grace and a few compassionate university staff members, to whom I’m eternally grateful for allowing me to attend. I’ve been maintaining A’s and B’s praise God. And I never took the SAT or ACT but someone gave me a chance and it’s made all the difference in my life, truly.

    Peace of Christ