Federal Budget Cuts Prevent Poor from Taking AP Tests


Budget cuts will thwart many low-income students’ efforts to access Advanced Placement examinations, unless they can come up with the money on their own.

According to an article by Tamar Lewin in the New York Times:

As part of the federal budget agreement last December, Congress cut federal financing for programs that offer advanced high school courses to slightly under $27 million, from $43 million the previous year, with only about $20 million to be used to subsidize low-income students’ exam fees. So, in recent weeks, state education officials have been notifying high schools that low-income students, who have for decades been eligible for fee waivers, will have to pay $15 for each of the first three exams they take, and $53 per exam for any beyond that.

A.P. exams, given in May, cost $87 apiece, and many schools are now in the process of collecting registrations and fees.

The College Board, which administers the examinations, estimates that 29,000 fewer students than expected will take the exam because they’ll be unable to pay the fee College Board charges.

This cut, which could have the effect of preventing tens of thousands of children from taking examinations they often use to be admitted to (and receive scholarships for) college, would save less than $17 million. That represents less than 0.001 percent of the federal budget. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer