The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

September 6, 2013

Low-income students to get state help paying for AP tests

Low-income students no longer have to struggle to pay for Advanced Placement (AP) test fees, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Ohio Department of Education received $327,846 under the Advanced Placement Test Fee Program.

Jefferson Area High School Principal, Jeremy Huber, said that while he is waiting on information from the Ohio Department of Education on how the funds will be dispersed to each district, “it would certainly help and encourage students to take the AP tests.”

Forty-two states received grants that, based on the estimated number of test-takers, should be sufficient to cover all but $10 of each exam fee for low-income students.

“Right now, there is a push statewide to have students college and career ready when they graduate high school, and this initiative is a step in the right direction to encourage students to enroll in AP courses,” said Huber.

He explained, “We want students prepared for their freshmen year of college so that they will not have to take remedial classes. From what I understand, remedial college courses do not apply to your course of study and are additional costs to the students.”

“AP courses not only prepare you for a more rigorous curriculum,” Huber said, “but help you save money by opting out of freshmen level courses if you score high enough on the AP exam.”

Huber also mentioned that in addition to the exam fee waivers, students can take a free AP course online through ilearn Ohio (ilearnohio.org), and that several Jefferson students have utilized that option.

He said that the new component on the report card for high schools, “Prepared for Success,” will evaluate schools “on their utilization of AP courses, Honors Diplomas awarded, Dual Enrollment credits, and International Baccalaureate program.”

“Over the long run,” Huber explained, “high schools are going to become more rigorous in terms of curriculum and assessment. For students entering their junior year, if they make the choice for a technical school, then they will need to earn industry credentials through a certification process.”

“For students at traditional schools, these students need to take dual credit and AP courses,” he said.

U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, said, “This administration has taken unprecedented steps to boost college and career readiness for our young people, especially first-generation college goers.”

“Participation in Advanced Placement courses gives these students a jump start in college by challenging them to develop stronger study and critical-thinking skills,” he said.

Duncan explained, “These grants will eliminate some financial roadblocks and enable more minority students to gain access to rigorous AP courses, which will help them succeed in today’s knowledge economy.”

The grants for all 42 states total more than $28 million.

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