August 2, 2012
The current poor state of the economy has made it increasingly difficult for low-income students to afford college placement tests. The U.S. Department of Education plans to change that with a recent initiative.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the Department of Education will grant a total of $21.5 million to 43 states to help subsidize the costs of Advanced Placement (AP) tests to low-income high school students. Under this Advanced Placement Test Fee Program, the grants will cover up to $38 of the cost of each AP exam for up to three exams per eligible student.
The Advanced Placement Test Fee Program is, according to the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, a part of the Advanced Placement Incentive Program. The AP Incentive Program provides funding for measures that increase the number of low-income students who participate in pre-advanced placement and advanced placement courses and tests. Such measures may include teacher training and course development, coordination, and articulation. AP Test Fee grants are awarded every year. According to KLFY Eyewitness News, the AP Test Fee grants can be used to help fund AP tests administered by the College Board and the International Baccalaureate Organization.
The amount of funding that each state receives is based on the number of AP tests that low-income students would take, according to state estimates. California, for instance, will receive the largest grant, totaling about $7.6 million. Last year, as the Los Angeles Times mentions, the state used AP test grants to fund all but $5 of an eligible student's exam fee. The current cost of taking an AP exam is $87. Without the federal grant and after subsidies through schools and the College Board, low-income students would pay $53 for each exam.
KLFY Eyewitness News states that by subsidizing test fees, the Department of Education aims to encourage low-income students to take AP tests and earn college credit. This will, in turn, decrease the amount of time and money necessary for these students to earn a post-secondary degree. As U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "These funds will help eliminate financial roadblocks for more low-income students and allow them to fully benefit from the AP program."
Duncan further explains the significance of the AP Test Fee Program, stating, "AP courses help students develop the study skills, critical reasoning and habits of mind that prepare them for the transition to college. They give students -- particularly first-generation college-goers -- the confidence that they can successfully handle college-level work."
With the help of such initiatives as the AP Test Fee Program, low-income students may have a better chance of completing college.
Compiled by Aneesha Jhingan
"Advanced Placement Program (Advanced Placement Test Fee; Advanced Placement Inventive Program Grants)," cfda.gov
"Feds fund AP tests for low-income students," latimesblogs.latimes.com, August 1, 2012, Howard Blume
"Millions in Grants Awarded To 43 States Cover AP Test Fees Charged To Low-Income Students," klfy.com, August 1, 2012