All students in Hawaii now have access to free online SAT and ACT prep courses through a partnership with the National Military Impacted Schools Association.
Because of its single statewide district, Hawaii is the only state where all children — whether in public, private or home school — have access to the Princeton Review preparation courses for free.
Similar courses run upward of $300.
The free courses come as Hawaii is encouraging more students to take college entrance exams and enter college.
Fifty-nine percent of Hawaii public school seniors last school year took the SAT.
Students at Roosevelt High School got a tutorial on the free test -prep course Friday and several said they would log on again at home.
Junior Sharon Kim said her family is paying about $80 a class for an SAT test-preparation course.
She said she’d use the free course to either replace the one she’s taking or to supplement it.
Kim, who wants to go into television editing, added that getting a good score on her SAT is "everything."
"Your SAT score is what colleges look at," she said.
Hawaii is one of 56 members of the National Military Impacted Schools Association, which helps children in military families transition after moves and get extra support to school districts with large populations of military students.
The association received about $6 million in federal money to offer free online test preparation to school districts, including Hawaii.
Hawaii has long lagged behind the rest of the nation with its SAT scores, a significant factor in admission to most major universities.
Kathryn Matayoshi, state schools superintendent, said the free test preparation will help families who can’t afford pricey courses, especially given the tough economic times.
"I think this is just a tremendous opportunity," she said. "It’s about all kids."
FREE SAT/ACT PREP COURSE
To access the free online course, go to www.educationinhawaii.com. In addition to prep materials, there are resources on a variety of topics for children in grades 3-12.