Admission Groups Act to Help Students Impacted by Natural Disasters

ACT, the College Board, The Common Application, NACAC, and Naviance have joined together to share updates about the community’s response to natural disasters in California and Alaska.

The following update is the first coordinated response designed to make information and resources available to members and the public about catastrophic events that could impact students, families, and professionals in the college application process.

“As these events become more frequent, we began to think about how we could all work together to assist families who are facing the unfathomable,” said NACAC CEO Joyce Smith. “I’d like to thank the College Board, Common App, Naviance, and ACT for responding so quickly and recognizing the value of coordinating updates from our respective organizations to help students, families, and our colleagues.”

“This joint effort is due in large part to efforts by Western ACAC, which urged other organizations and companies with programs, products, or services to step up our efforts to help during this crisis,” Smith said.

Providing updates in the days and weeks following a disaster will allow the college counseling community to focus on the task at hand – offering overburdened students and families the advice and resources needed to plan their next steps.

Community Response to Wildfires in California and Earthquake in Alaska

Over the past two weeks, the five groups involved with the collaboration have taken steps to assist students affected by the California wildfires and are working on efforts to support students, counselors, and schools in Alaska. For the latest information, please check each organization’s web site.

ACT has:

  • Worked with individual students to accommodate the needs of those impacted by recent fires in California and the earthquake in Alaska through its ACT Customer Care department.
  • Offered flexibility with no-charge test rescheduling and other measures on a case-by-case basis.
  • Encouraged those impacted by the recent events to either visit, reach out by phone at 319-337-1270, or complete this online form to begin an email conversation around a specific test registration request.

College Board has:

  • Worked with local educators and organizations to provide direct assistance. In addition, the College Board is providing:
    • Free spring 2019 SAT registration to students in FEMA-designated areas, and
    • Free CSS Profile Waiver for Students Impacted by Recent Natural Disasters
    • Implemented a process to help schools whose AP programs may be impacted. More information can be found online.

Common Application has:

  • Emailed the approximately 46,000 first-year applicants who live in one of the three FEMA-designated counties—Butte, Los Angeles, and Ventura—and created an adapted version of that message in this FAQ. The message outlined that Common App had established a dedicated support email address (; informed students that its member colleges are the best source of information about deadline flexibility; and reminded them of two product features—fee waivers and test score self-reporting—that may be beneficial. (Common App is working with its partner, Liaison International, to provide similar support to students using Common App for Transfer.)
  • Emailed its 833 member institutions to remind them of steps that they can take within the Common App system (e.g., deadline extensions, fee waiver codes) to support these applicants.
  • Emailed the approximately 2,200 counselors who work at schools in the impacted counties to express sympathy, offer the same dedicated support email address, and share the same information that had been provided to students.
  • Following communication efforts with California applicants and counselors, and in response to the Alaska earthquake, Common Application sent similar messages to 901 first-year applicants and 122 counselors in three FEMA-designated boroughs in Alaska—Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula, and Matanuska-Susitna—offered the same support, and updated its FAQ to make it relevant to anyone impacted by natural disaster.

NACAC has:

  • Posted a message on its website and issued a statement through the national media offering support to affected schools and families and encouraging colleges to be flexible concerning application deadlines.

Naviance has:

  • Helped counselors train others on the use of Naviance to assist California families and students with getting applications created or completed.

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