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The Reason Why Penn State Doesn’t Have a GRE Testing Center

Penn State sends hundreds, if not thousands, of graduates every year to earn their advanced degrees. It would only make sense that the University would give students the option to take the GREs, more or less the SATs for grad school, right here in State College, right?

Yet, not only is the GRE exam not offered in State College, but the closest exam center requires a nearly two-hour drive to Harrisburg. With the amount of Penn Staters interested in graduate school, the lack of a testing center seems to make no sense.

But much like many other decisions for the University, not having a testing center comes down to economics and logistics. The company that offers the GRE exam, creatively named the Educational Testing Service, is a private, nonprofit organization. To host one of its testing centers, ETS requires a dedicated and tightly prescribed space, equipment, security, and staff to administer the testing, for which they reimburse the testing site a modest amount for each test-taker.

The last time Penn State considered hosting an ETS center, the non-profit could not offer enough of a reimbursement per student, and the University refused to use student tuition funds to make up the difference. Penn State also did not have any spaces that would be suitable to use as an ETS testing center. One of the biggest barriers for Penn State was that the rooms ETS uses for testing centers must be used only for the GRE throughout the year, including evenings and weekends.

In the end, the logic behind the lack of GRE testing centers at Penn State is inconvenient, but sound. The best advice we have is if you are one of those students that have to drive down to Harrisburg to take the test, watch out for cops on Route 322.

About the Author

Vincent Trometter

International relations major, Onward State contributor, find me somewhere fishing and listening to country music. PSU'17


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