AP test fees hinder the educations of low-income students

The correlation between wealth and education affects many students’ decisions regarding their future. When applying to schools, tuition is taken into consideration and even Advanced Placement (AP) classes require deliberation over whether paying the exam fee is worth the college credit. AP exams should not cost as much as they do and budget adjustments should be made in our district to lower, or possibly eliminate the fees, for all students enrolled in AP classes.

The right to education should apply to students of all backgrounds. Many students choose to take AP classes to obtain college credit and lessen their college tuition in the future. However, the credit is not guaranteed unless the student registers for the AP exam and receives a score of three out of five or higher, and in many schools, a score of four out of five or higher, which for some, is not a financial risk worth taking.

Imagine your junior year rolls around and you are informed of the upcoming deadline for the sign-up fees of the five AP classes you were encouraged to enroll in last year. In previous years, the cost to sign up for a single AP exam was almost 100 dollars. This year, the price has inflated to 110 dollars per exam.

After receiving the email about the registration fees and deadlines and going to pay for the exams, I immediately thought of the hundreds of dollars it will cost students and their families, especially juniors, who are either already enrolled in, or are planning to take AP or IB classes, to register for all of the exams they are eligible to take.

It is no question that the intention behind the fees is to pay the people creating the exams, graders and test administrators, as well as going toward the printing and distribution of tests. However, with the ongoing shift from paper testing to online testing, the costs of printing and distributing tests will be minimized, and with some budget adjustments, I am confident test fees can be lessened if not completely waived.

Some school districts in the United States have already proposed and implemented plans dealing with this topic. In New Jersey, the Southern Regional School District, as well as many others, have completely covered the cost of the exams for all students enrolled in AP classes.

While I am aware of current financial aid available to students of low income and other means to make AP exams available to students of all backgrounds, removing the financial impediment that is the AP test fees will encourage all students to enroll in the free AP classes available at their school without the risk of possibly not receiving the college credit the class offers.