What about Donald Trump’s scores on the SAT college entrance exam?

Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen

Everybody’s clamoring to see Trump’s tax returns, but the education community is gunning for something else: the president’s SAT college entrance exam scores.

The subject of Trump’s SAT scores came up during the blockbuster Congressional testimony this week from former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. U.S. representatives questioned Cohen about how many times Trump asked him to threaten people with lawsuits or other actions, according to the New York Times.

Cohen estimated at least 500 times over 10 years and then said he “provided letters he wrote during the campaign at Mr. Trump’s direction to the president’s high school, colleges and the College Board threatening civil and criminal action if they released his grades or SAT scores, ” the Times reports.

For years, controversy has swirled about Trump’s academic record, with various news outlets looking into where Trump went to college and how he got admitted.

A 2015 story in the New York Times, “Decades-Old Questions Over Trump’s Wealth and Education,” found:

–“Mr. Trump transferred to Wharton after two years at Fordham University in the Bronx, and he graduated in 1968 with an undergraduate degree in economics.”

–“The Daily Pennsylvanian, the University of Pennsylvania newspaper, tried to get to the bottom of whether Mr. Trump did in fact graduate first in his class at Wharton. The paper cited a 1985 Trump biography, by Jerome Tuccille, that said Mr. Trump was not an honor student and ‘spent a lot of time on outside business activities.’”

–“Gwenda Blair, another Trump biographer, wrote that he was able to get into Wharton only because a ‘friendly’ admissions officer knew his older brother, Fred Trump Jr., and did him a favor. A classmate of Mr. Trump’s, Steven Perelman, told the paper, ‘He was not in any kind of leadership. I certainly doubt he was the smartest guy in the class.’ Unless Mr. Trump releases to the public his Wharton transcripts — which he has declined to do — we won’t know for sure, of course, whether he was an all-star at Wharton or not.”

For decades, kids all over the country have been taking the College Board’s SAT, which college admissions officials use to determine how well students fare in key high school subjects like math and reading. The higher the SAT score the better, especially if top-performing students want to get into the best universities, including the Ivy League.

In Florida alone, about 177,000 teens in the Class of 2018 took the SAT, up from about 147,000 the year before. The groups tested included both public and private students. (The rival test ACT also provides a college entrance exam, but in this case, Trump would have taken the SAT.)




Diane Rado
Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.


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